A Brief History of Benchmark
In March 2006 Phillip Cantrell launched Benchmark Realty LLC with his wife Amanda as business partner in the front room of a house in downtown Franklin TN. Primarily established to service high end new construction in the Williamson County area, the company followed a traditional broker model offering for the agents and quickly grew to become a 13 agent firm. Then came the economic downturn in early 2007, accompanied by the decline and eventual closure of almost all of the firm’s builder clients. That was immediately followed in the fall of 2007 with the news that the firm’s largest client had decided to start an in‐house real estate division, enticing several of the firm’s agents to make that move. Almost immediately, the firm shrank to just 5 agents with a resultant loss in sales volume and causing the firm to face bleak prospects.
Not one to accept defeat, Phillip embarked on a thorough research effort to determine what was THE most successful business model employed in the major markets of the Eastern United States, which was not being done in the Greater Nashville area. Based on that extensive research, a new business plan was formulated in December 2007 and January of 2008. Benchmark reorganized and re‐launched in February 2008 under a revolutionary brokerage model. Combined with an aggressive recruiting campaign, the company has seen rapid growth since then, consistently adding 9‐12 new agents to the roster each month. In fact, the firm has seen a doubling in all major indicators for each year of the past 3 years. Those indicators are: gross sales volume, gross commission income, profitability, transaction count and agent count. This cumulative success has pushed Benchmark into the ranks of the top five real estate firms in the Greater Nashville area and perhaps into the top 10 in the entire state of Tennessee.
With hundreds of agents on staff, Phillip and company have now launched Benchmark Auction Company to service the needs of those clients who simply need property disposal services. Always willing to recognize prospective opportunities, a sister company –Touchstone Title & Escrow LLC –was recently founded to provide quality title insurance and closing services for Benchmark clients.
A Word About Our Founder – Phillip Cantrell
Born and raised in Nashville, Phillip Cantrell graduated from the University of Tennessee in the early ‘80’s, then followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps by embarking on a career path in the commercial printing industry. That career would take him on a 20 year journey. Starting out in sales and working his way up the ladder of some of the largest companies in the area, Phillip spent the last 6 years of his printing career as the general manager of one of the largest companies in the area. During that tenure he was responsible for building the team that helped the company experience unprecedented growth by increasing sales six fold, along with accompanying increases in market share and profitability.
Simultaneous to his printing career, Phillip began investing in residential rehab properties as early as 1988. Beginning this venture by moving his family into the properties he purchased and doing much of the work himself, he then progressed to spinning off the investing activities into a separate company, with full time tradesmen and staff. Within a year, it became obvious that a career path decision needed to be made. Either sell the rehab company and continue in commercial printing or move full time into the real estate industry. Given his love for real estate, the choice was obvious, and the 20 year printing career came to an end.
Once the decision was made to become a full time Realtor® and investor, it was a natural evolution of this “new” career to set his sights on obtaining a broker license and eventually opening his own company. As with most activities in Phillip’s life, it’s 110% effort or nothing…and failure is never an option! That first year as a full time agent, his sales exceeded $4.8 million and continued to climb from there, with personal production (not the team, not the company) in 2006 exceeding $21,000,000, including both residential and commercial transactions.
Along the way Phillip, in conjunction with partners, opened a real estate company in west Nashville, quickly growing it into a 100+ agent firm before converting to a national franchise brand. Following a series of discussions with a major custom home builder in the area, Phillip decided that his future lay in the hands‐on assembly and management of the team that would provide this builder with major growth. In doing so he allowed his partners to buy him out and Phillip focused his career on personal production. Doing so quickly catapulted him into the top 1% of Realtors®in the area and earned him numerous sales awards.
A very strong believer in continuing education, Phillip has earned the Education Achievement award for the past several years from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors®and possesses the GRI (Graduate, Realtor® Institute) designation, the e‐PRO designation and the CBR® (Certified Buyer Representative) designation. Recently Phillip has been accepted by the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers as a CRB‐Candidate (Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager), the highest professional designation offered by the National Association of Realtors®.
Our vision statement reflects the values and principals that we hold true to our hearts here at Benchmark. No fluff, No hype, just a group of quality people doing our absolute best for our clients. Every day.
As a company, we will consistently deliver 110% of our client’s expectations in every real estate transaction, thereby adding true value to every relationship.
As our name defines, our performance will become the standard by which all other brokerages are measured.
As our Faith requires, we will be guided by Christian principles in every decision. Honesty, Integrity, Fairness, and strength of Character will be our guideposts.
As our family deserves, we will allocate the appropriate attention to our personal lives in order to receive the support we need in our professional endeavors.
While maintaining these guiding ideals, Benchmark Realty will become the primary market force in residential real estate within the Greater Nashville area, beginning with Williamson County.