In 2008, many real estate companies had to cut back on services and resources but not Prudential Tropical Realty. The company took advantage of the slow housing market to expand operations and improve its services, says Robert Hilliker, vice president of sales and marketing.
"Even though times are challenging, we are in a growth mode," Hilliker says. "We have continued to target the key markets of Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Hernando counties, and we nearly doubled our unit market share in St. Petersburg through the acquisition of two real estate companies.
"While other real estate firms were downsizing, we added more than 120 new sales executives and opened a new office. The main thing is that we have been able to continue growing while delivering a high level of service to our agents, which they in turn pass on to clients."
Along with acquiring Premier Group and Prudential Gower in St. Petersburg and opening an office in the East Lake Woodlands area of Pinellas County, Prudential Tropical has focused on efficiency, such as merging the Dade City/Zephyrhills office into the Wesley Chapel/New Tampa office. Through reducing the size of lobbies and converting training centers, the company has increased its production space without having to increase physical space.
"We have taken steps to refine our business processes, and we have looked at every inch of production space to ensure that we are using it in the most efficient manner," Hilliker explains. "We have done everything we can throughout the year to put ourselves in a position of strength within the market."
Prudential Tropical Realty has expanded its online presence as well, creating alliances with Realtor.com, Google, Oodle, Cyberhomes, Yahoo, HGTVFrontDoor, PropSmart, Zillow, Trulia, Environmental Data Resources and RealtyTrac to increase the visibility of its inventory for sellers and buyers.
The continual expansion and re-evaluation of how it does business has benefited customers, Hilliker says.
This year, Prudential Tropical extended the DreamBuilder benefits package to its sales executives. At a time when so many companies are cutting benefits, the DreamBuilder package can provide agents with peace of mind and allow them to focus more on providing quality service to clients, Hilliker says.
"It is a big thing for us because our sales executives are independent contractors," Hilliker explains. "It is very hard for independent contractors to get health insurance, but Prudential Financial Services has put together a package that allows our agents to join a group health insurance program. The program includes disability insurance, life insurance and retirement planning."
Hilliker says all of these initiatives have helped Prudential Tropical Realty to have a successful year of growth without sacrificing the quality of services it provides to its sales executives and clients.
That success is on top of local and national accolades.
Quality Service Certification Inc. recently recognized Prudential Tropical and its New Tampa office with its QE Award. The award is presented to real estate companies and individual offices for delivering service excellence and the highest levels of customer satisfaction. The awards are based on the results of 250,000 consumer surveys of more than 500 participating companies and 30,000 real estate agents.
On a national level, Prudential recently won the JD Power and Associates Award for "Highest Satisfaction For Home Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms," based on the results of a study that measures customer satisfaction of home buyers and home sellers.
"We are a one-stop shop that includes general real estate sales, full property management services, mortgage services, title services and commercial real estate services," Hilliker says. "From national surveys we have learned that customers prefer one-stop shopping. If someone buys a home through us, we can provide the mortgage services and title closing services as well. Our mortgage partner, Wells Fargo, recently merged with Wachovia, and is the only bank in the U.S. to have the highest possible credit rating from both Moody's Investor Services and Standard and Poor's Rating Services.
"In 2009, our goal is to continue to look at acquisition opportunities and to continue to improve and grow in the Tampa Bay market," Hilliker says.
To learn more, visit www.prudentialtropical.com or call 1-888-778-8258.