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Agency fees: how low will they go?

 
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Beerwulf55



Joined: 23 Apr 2017
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:19 pm    Post subject: Agency fees: how low will they go? Reply with quote

Hi folks, we've had three months as newbies with cottages.com, have had plenty of bookings but the usual gripe of how much they cream off what with their £39 booking fee then the 19% plus VAT on whats left. So of course what we end up with looks a lot smaller than we had hoped as they make great play of the 19% but we have to stump up the VAT and the booking fee off the advertised headline figure so its more like 30% they're getting.
I was wondering if any experienced letters have managed to drive down the rates, perhaps to 15% or less? If so can you offer some advice as to the best way to go about it...or is it a non-starter?
Thanks! Rob
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 910
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sounds like your own version of a personal mini Brexit! Laughing Laughing

You have signed a contract with no review or renewal date, and you have found you are paying more on your part than you feel you are getting for your moneyís worth??

The secret to any negotiation is to go to the table with something the other party can gain from, so that you can get what you want as well.

So the key question is ďWhat can Cottages.com (possibly) gain from lowering your commission rate?Ē
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 408
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How long is your contract for? The main bargaining point you have is to take your business elsewhere.
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Jemima Copping



Joined: 21 Jun 2013
Posts: 170
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only way to get the price you want is to have your own website and manage the bookings yourself. Look to advertise on local tourism sites. We advertise our website on IsleofSkye.com and WalkHighlands but now we find that most of our bookings come directly through our own website. We also advertise on ABB which although I do not like them, charge a percentage rather than a flat booking fee, and we have had a few bookings through them especially for short breaks. I put my prices up for them, to try to get what I want and it seems to work. I add on £80 cleaning fee for ABB and no-one has complained.
We made our site through PromotemyPlace and the payment fir bookings come mostly through Freetobook. Freetobook tells you where the bookings originate, thatís how I know people are looking directly at the website and booking on it.
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 272
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with cottages.com until the 5th Jan 2019. I tried negotiating with them etc etc no budge.

To get out of contract you have to either pay a large lumpsum to terminate contract or hand in notice to cancel contract before may to get out of jail free the first week of January the following year.

This is what i have done.

So handing in your notice now (October 2018) will get you out of jail free in January 2020!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Beerwulf55



Joined: 23 Apr 2017
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for feedback; yes I suspect I may have to hand in notice which I don't want to do since it's a lot of hassle doing evrything oneself or swicthing agency...but the other annoying thing cottages.com do is their so-called dynamic pricing which means in practice they chop the price arbitrarily so you get even less income than you expected. We avoided Sykes because everyone says they sell too cheaply but almost all their cottages of comparable size are priced higher than cottages.com are selling ours for. Grrr!
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 910
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When a property is with with an agency, you cannot tell how much the owner will get from looking at the advertised prices. You really need to have the agency give you a sheet stating how much you will receive, rather than their prices. They can be all kinds of hidden charges that will be deducted before you get your share.

Your comment about it being a lot of hassle doing it yourself is the myth that the agencies are happy to promote. If you have a second home that you want to bring in money to pay itís keep when you donít use it but arenít bothered about the detail - an agent is perfect for you.
If you want to make money from your property then you are much better off doing it yourself, or even paying another individual to manage your bookings.

As yet, I presume you havenít had a problem with any guests? It doesnít happen often, but when you do I doubt you will see much of the agency. They will want the guest to book with them again next time, so you will be on your own.

Just think, you set up some template terms and conditions and booking letters and you receive 30% more money. You can then afford to lower your prices to be competitive if needed and still be better off. The only other cost you will have will be advertising, but many sites are commission only. You can also take advantage of advertising on websites promoting your village or local area.
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Beerwulf55



Joined: 23 Apr 2017
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting Zebedee...but I suppose the one aspect which concerns me is how easy or difficult it might be to drive viewings to your site? I do have a little web site on PMP which I think is perfectly adequate and we have an ad in the window of the cottage, but I wonder how many people will find it if they do what I assume most people do and that is go online and look at Sykes/Cottages.com etc . I'm not a web geek and do not want to get into writing my own code etc in order to drive my site higher up the listings...so I would be interested to hear what yiou think about the effectiveness of alternative advertising...
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 910
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think most members of this forum are not listed with an agent. Many may have been (as I was) and now are independent and find it works much better.

Websites like the one below, plus a well worded front page on your own PMP website will direct traffic to your own website on a search of key words. You dont need to have a complicated site, although many members of this forum prefer not to have a hosted website (which PMP is).

A lot of your competitors are graded by Visit England, so if I were you I would go down that route as well, but you need to get 4 stars for it to be worthwhile.

https://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/accommodation/oaklands-country-lodges-p675281

What do people come to your cottage for? Walking- get in some walking sites and any other speciality sites that cater for your guests (eg climbing, fishing, caving...)

Iím sure other contributors to this forum can recommend non commission advertising sites like Independent Cottages. There is ample information about how to use commission sites on the forum. Why not talk with other local owners or search properties in your area.
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Beerwulf55



Joined: 23 Apr 2017
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK thanks for your time, I will digest and consider...Smile
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 763
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2018 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've advertised on various sites over 20 or more years and never used a commission based one. No-one has more interest in renting our property than we do so we do it ourselves. A commission site doesn't care if they let your property or another just so long as they rent one.

There are lots of advertising sites which will advertise your site and not charge commission.
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 272
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cottages.com dynamic pricing is adjustable not that they want you to know that though.

Phone them and change the level of discounting.

The default level is 20%, you can change it to 10%
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1650
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

akwe-xavante wrote:
Cottages.com dynamic pricing is adjustable not that they want you to know that though.

Phone them and change the level of discounting.

The default level is 20%, you can change it to 10%


I thought the point of dynamic pricing is that the prices would increase if demand increased. Just reducing prices is not dynamic pricing...
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akwe-xavante



Joined: 01 Jul 2015
Posts: 272
Location: East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I thought the point of dynamic pricing is that the prices would increase if demand increased. Just reducing prices is not dynamic pricing...


Absolutely agree, that's why i'm leaving cottages.com asap (5th Jan)!

It tends to go down rather than up far more often in my short experience with cottages.com

It is 20% in both directions but in reality it goes down far more often than it goes up. You can narrow down the price fluctuation to 10%

Because it more often than not goes down rather than upward your limiting losses but you are allso limiting increased profits too. But in my opinion theres a greater gain to be had by limiting losses apposed to restricting the occasional increased profit.

Cottages.com predict your next 12 months income in advance within your online account. Having looked at previous predictions and matched them up with actual income, the income falls short of there predicted income far far more often.

Actual income rarely exceeds there predicted income but often falls short.

If cottages.com are pricing my cottage too high and my prices are getting dynamically lowered as a result i'll find out 2019. If this is the case then i'm out of the FHL Business 2020 because i can increase my income on the cottage by about 30% by letting as a permanent let with next to zero effort and costs by comparison.

You could argue that dynamic pricing allows fair pricing as the price will find it's true level depending on demand. Is the FHL business over stocked whilst permanent lets are in popular demand, demanding higher than usuall prices!?
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