What Is The Keller Williams Business Model?

Interdependent VS. Dependent and Independent

Let’s imagine for a minute that you have a business partner. And that partner has lots of rules that you have to follow.

In fact, they act much more like your boss than a partner. They give you some support, but just enough to keep you from leaving them. However, these rules are dictating how your business operates and ultimately stifle your growth. (ie, the dependent model)

Now imagine that you’re in the same business, but your business partner is hands-off. They give you little support and help and expect you to assume all the risks of running a business. In fact, your partner expects you to do it all and just send him a check. (ie, the independent model)

Either way, you’d be pretty frustrated, right?

What I just described for you are two opposite ends of the spectrum of real estate companies that are out there. This is what’s described in the image above… the dependent model and the independent model.


On the far left, you have the “dependent company” model of traditional companies. These traditional brokerages try to keep you dependent on them by giving you just enough support to keep you in the rat race of real estate, which you pay dearly for.

There is not too much business building going on here. It will end up feeling more like a job. The irony is that you probably left your job to pursue real estate to have more freedom. So why would you join a company with a dependent business model?


On the far right, you have the “independent or 100% companies.” They have a hands-off, landlord-type relationship with you. Their fees are probably really low and it might even be a virtual office type of setting. You assume all the risk and receive very little support.

An independent model seems good at first, and they entice people with the promise of low fees. But if you’re looking to build a sustainable business and be with a company committed to your growth, then this model will not give you what you’re looking for.


Keller Williams founder, Gary Keller, looked at both of these models back when he started the company. At that time, those were the only 2 models out there.

He then set out to design a company that no agent would ever want or need to leave. This gave birth to what we call the “interdependent model.” It’s like being in business with a partner who cares about your success, delivers value to you every day, and believes you are both stakeholders in the business together.

This model is built around the belief that you, the agent, are the single most important asset to the company. There is a team-based approach and a collaborative mindset within the company. If you succeed then we all succeed.

I encourage you to read this article written by Stanford University on why the Keller Williams model is unique and, in my opinion, the best model for agents to build a great business.

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