What Compass agents said then, and what they’re saying now
Compass ability to grow leaps and bounds was its ability of acquiring other brokerages and wooing agents with lavish incentives (stock options, signing and referral bonuses, and expense accounts, to name a few), allowing it to build formidable operations Early on, Compass focused on recruiting elite agents, but over time, they started throwing money at any and everyone, according to a former Compass agent.
“The earlier agents were told, ‘You’re so great and special to be here,’ but a few years later it was ‘Everyone who’s in line gets in.’ ”
Agents trying to build out their teams found out that junior agents they’d been recruiting were having side meetings with Compass, which was giving them better offers. Not only did that kind of manic recruitment waste money and lead to morale issues, it also meant that there was never enough support staff to go around.
One former agent, the number of tech support people never increased proportionally to the number of agents the company was bringing on, and marketing meetings were 25 to 30 minutes, tops — so short that she stopped bothering to make them. And while she’d initially been impressed by Compass’s marketing templates, she quickly realized sophisticated designs were useless if half the brokers in the city were using the same ones. “My first week, I thought, This stuff is great. But then they started growing by leaps and bounds, and I was like, Isn’t everyone going to have the same shit?”
It appears, in any event, that the spree may be over. The company saw its stock price sink from its initial public offering price in 2021 (and even that was significantly less than the $23 to $26 price it had been planning for). It’s not crashing and burning — one agent said, its more coming back to Earth, settling into the reality of being not the next big thing but just another brokerage, albeit one that still spends more money than it makes.