Anthony Lolli is the CEO of Rapid Realty, an INC. 5000 company with over 70 locations open today. He also manages an investment portfolio including commercial, mixed-use, and residential properties in New York City, New Jersey, and Ecuador. Giving back to the community is a central focus of his company, and he works with over 70 charitable organizations, receiving notable recognition for empowering military veterans, women, immigrants, and minorities to become business owners. Anthony has also published an autobiography, The Heart of the Deal, which is also a guide to growing a successful career in real estate without compromising one’s integrity. Anthony has appeared in over 2,000 media outlets around the globe, including The New York Times, The Today Show, Time, FOX Business, and The Wall Street Journal.
1. Tell us about the Rapid concept.
Rapid Realty is a real estate brokerage franchise, which started out in the rental sector. Everybody knows that there was a housing crash, so we focused primarily on rentals when people couldn’t afford to buy, or it didn’t make sense for them to sell, but instead to rent out their homes. We actually grew our business during the recession, during a crushing economic collapse, so our model has already been tested and found to succeed in any economy. We focus on commercial and residential rentals primarily, but we also do sales.
2. How and when did you become involved with Rapid?
I started out in real estate all on my own when I was 19 years old. I took a real estate crash course, and next thing you know, I’m selling real estate, I’m buying real estate, and focusing on the rental market, which is how I started my own brokerage – which I named Rapid Realty.
3. What was your background prior to joining Rapid?
Before I got involved with real estate, I worked a few other jobs. I worked with my father when I was a kid; he was a street entertainer known in New York for charging tourists to take photos with trained parrots. I worked in an eyewear store for a while, and also installed security systems with my cousin, whose business was already successful at the time.
4. What are some of the advantages in being a Rapid Realty franchisee?
The main advantage is the fact that every franchisee has direct access to me, and I am very much at the helm and involved in every aspect of the business. We’re an organic and homegrown company, and we practice what we like to call “coop-etition”, meaning that everybody cooperates with each other to help the whole company, and each franchise on an individual level, succeed. You’ll actually see franchisees from different offices showing up to each other’s grand openings, to support the growth of a new territory everyone can do business in. Our agents are free to work out of any Rapid office they want to, so we’re a very collaborative company, and offer a lot of support to the entire Rapid family.
5. Who is your ideal franchisee?
Our ideal franchisee yearns for the freedom and independence that comes with being a successful entrepreneur, but also wants direction, guidance, and an established system to follow. Someone who has the entrepreneurial spirit and limitless ambitions but is also very regimented, who doesn’t want a cap in income, and loves to work with others while providing opportunities to them – someone who understands, and actually enjoys and embraces the commission-based world.
6. Tell us a little about the rental industry market?
Well, rentals are booming. Ever since the economic downturn, you see more and more luxury rental properties, and private equity firms that are buying single-family homes by the hundreds and renting them out. The economy is very rental-centric. People rent iPhones, people rent bikes from Citi Bike, they even rent their cars. Renting is hot, and it’s here to stay.
7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
Mainly that, when you give somebody a blueprint, an opportunity, guidance, and direction, they will succeed. That’s something that we’ve created. We give our franchisees a system to follow, and what I’ve learned is, when you put the right candidate in that opportunity, they grow it themselves.
8. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
I grew up looking up to my father, my cousin, and my brother, who I’ve written about in more detail in my book, The Heart of the Deal. I also look at myself in 10 years, and try to picture myself as someone I can aspire to become. I ask myself, how wise am I going to be? How smart? What can I do to get to that point?
9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
We are known as a very transparent company, and very heavy on social media. One of the first things you should do, if you are thinking of becoming one of our franchisees, is to go to our website, rapidnyc.com, look at our franchising section, and look at our social media pages and also my website, Anthonylolli.com. Look at the Rapid Realty world that we’ve created, and that we live, breathe, and sleep every day. The next step, of course, is to communicate with the franchise salesperson.
10. In your opinion, why do you think that Rapid would be a great opportunity for someone?
If you are done working a 9-5, you are done with corporate America, you are done working in an unhealthy environment, or worrying about whether or not you will keep their job, we may be a good fit for you. With a franchise, you can create your own environment, your own income opportunities, and you can extend these opportunities to others. We’re the perfect franchise for someone who doesn’t want to sit at a desk all day, who likes to go out on the field and meet people. You can help to improve the economy, while a