Agent Giving Away Himself as a Priceless Prize
An Auckland real estate agent in Orewa is organizing a competition for homeowners in his area. Instead of traditional prizes like cars or vacations, the agent, Ben Gibson from Harcourts, is offering five hours of free outdoor labor to approximately one house on each street. Gibson's intention is simply to help without expecting anything in return.
Since starting this project in November, Gibson has already provided 70 hours of free labor, including tasks such as weeding, water blasting, gutter cleaning, painting, tree trimming, and removal. For more complex requests, Gibson enlists the help of others, such as his wife for building a shed. He focuses on outdoor tasks to facilitate meeting neighbours and maintaining transparency.
The idea originated when Gibson was working on his father's house and had the opportunity to interact with his neighbours. He found it to be a more genuine way of connecting with people. Approximately every three to four weeks, he selects a street to distribute flyers offering the chance to win five hours of free yard work. Participants can enter the draw by emailing him the flyer or dropping it off at his address.
Gibson's main objective is not to gain more listings but to establish a reputation as a trustworthy and community-oriented agent. Engaging in these acts of service is fulfilling for him and sets a positive example for his children.
His approach involves putting in physical labor instead of merely paying for community projects.
With 30 more streets to cover in Orewa, Gibson plans to continue offering his services to every street before starting over again. In addition to helping neighbors, he has allocated about 10 hours to contribute to community initiatives.
For instance, he painted the bathroom at the local Girl Guides den after a neighbour won his time and nominated the group. He also took it upon himself to clear the Moana Avenue accessibility ramp to Orewa Beach, which was obstructed by shells left after Cyclone Gabrielle.
Ultimately, Gibson hopes to inspire other locals to dedicate some of their free time to annual community projects. He envisions involving friends who are tradespeople in tasks like painting community halls or participating in beach clean-ups.
The response to Gibson's initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, despite occasional criticism from skeptics questioning his motives or time management as a salesperson. Other real estate agents have reached out to him to replicate his idea, and he encourages them to do so, emphasizing the satisfaction it brings to the local community.
Gibson's advice to fellow agents is to choose activities they enjoy and are willing to continue. He personally enjoys outdoor work, finding it conducive to thinking and generating new ideas. He expresses a genuine passion for the work and states that he would continue doing it indefinitely.