The best of both worlds?

For savvy estate agents and introducers who are looking to sell Home Information Packs (HIPs) and conveyancing products to their clients ahead of their formal introduction in June 2007, there is one critical decision to be made before they begin.

Whether to sell HIPs under their own corporate umbrella or maintain it as a separate service, branded under the provider’s name. Both options have pros and cons which merit careful consideration before venturing into the market.


With a white-label service the agent or introducer can extend their brand identity to the product they are selling to their clients.

The client will often have come to the introducer on the basis of an existing relationship or on the recommendation of trusted friends, family or colleagues. Therefore, the trust earned through previous positive experiences will often be extended to other services and products associated with an introducer.

Provided the introducer has full confidence in their HIP provider or conveyancing service, this trust could prove to be an excellent selling point for a white-labelled HIP.

Another advantage is the possibility of repeat business, even if the client does not buy or sell through them. For HIPs it means that they may be able to tie in the customer who will not be able to take their business, including their HIP, to another agent.

Many providers are able to deliver branded solutions for introducers mirroring the corporate colour scheme and logo. Many can also create bespoke packages defining how much they want to earn from their HIP service.

Introducers are also able to define their solicitor panel, ensuring they can maintain existing working relationships and provide a seamless fit with their corporate image.

The downside to going down the white-label route is that a sub-standard service provider may damage an introducer’s reputation and cause him to lose the trust which he has built up among his client base.

As a result, it is imperative that you research your providers thoroughly before committing, in order to make sure that their service matches your corporate values.

Some companies will let introducers trial them on a non-exclusive basis, giving them the best opportunity to see what is available.

When you choose to white label a conveyancing service many providers will require you to guarantee a certain level of business before signing up with them.

Therefore introducers need to be realistic about their target levels of clients before committing themselves financially. It would also be prudent to find out if there are any clauses relating to penalties which may be incurred should these guarantees not be met.

Another potential drawback with a white-label service is the time taken to set it up and the level of integration required. However some providers, ourselves included, can set this up within 24 hours of starting the account; others may take considerably longer.

Depending on the volume of business expected, providers may also be required to produce additional marketing material such as brochures and leaflets, all of which take time. For higher volume clients it may be necessary to have a dedicated line in the provider’s office to specifically deal with instructions from a particular introducer.

Therefore it is important for the introducer to be aware of his specific time frames within which he has to work in order to make sure that implementation deadlines are met, and thus keeping one step ahead of the competition. But it is important to bear in mind that some providers may charge set up fees.

Projected image

In a world where image seems to be everything, corporate branding needs to reflect and keep up with a company’s projected image. When a company seeks to alter this, there is a great deal to consider and with it there are lots of things to change.

In addition to business cards and letterheads, for example, having white-label HIP and conveyancing products mean that there is yet more to add to the list of things to do. So it is important to look for a conveyancing provider who will take this on board and produce these on your behalf.

Ultimately by selling products under the provider’s name, the client is not acting out of loyalty to the introducer, and although they may remember where they bought the HIP or conveyancing service, equally they might not.

However by purchasing through a white-label service they will be under the impression that they are buying a product from the introducer, and this will be where customer loyalty kicks in. However, the buck stops with the provider, for if their service doesn’t come up to scratch, no amount of window dressing will disguise the fact and for introducers opting for a white-label service this could result in other non-HIP businesses being affected.