The genesis for Keller WilliamsÂ® Realty Inc. evolved out of Gary Keller's desire to build a company that valued ethics, integrity, and people. Gary founded the company on the premise that as a servant leader he would work for his agents, treat them as partners, and even share company profits with them.
However in 1983, Gary had difficulty securing loans to start the business he envisioned. So, he partnered with fellow agent Joe Williams to raise $42,000 in seed money, and incredibly, Keller Williams Realty earned more than $100,000 in profit its first year.
Through many struggles, Gary's commitment to building the country's most dynamic and profitable real estate franchise system grew even stronger. Today, Keller Williams Realty is the fifth- largest real estate franchise firm in North America. Since 1996, Keller Williams Realty has grown an unprecedented 40% each year in agent numbers, earned commissions, and profit sharing. In 2003, Keller Williams Realty shared $13 million in profits with its agents and administrative staff. The company earned nearly $800 million in gross commission sales in 2003 while commanding an unprecedented 33% market share in Central Texas.
Keller Williams Realty is founded on an "agents as partners" business model. Agents and staff have access to the companyÂ´s financial reports, share in up to 50% of company profits, and have a say in all decisions. Most real estate companies operate on a dependent model where the broker provides leads to sales people and then offers them a commission, or they operate on an independent model where agents receive minimal support from the broker but keep more of the commission. In contrast to these traditional models, the Keller Williams Realty model fosters a synergistic environment where both parties succeed through teamwork. This model encourages agents and brokers to share their best practices with each other and rewards associates who bring others into the company. It is these industry-changing philosophies that have rocketed Keller Williams past older, more established companies to claim a top-five spot in the real estate industry.
In 2004, Keller Williams Realty is poised to gross over $1 billion in commission income, and the company's growth seems unstoppable. Currently, the company has more than 370 offices and more than 35,000 agents in the U.S. and Canada.