Business As Unusual: Compass Florida

Lifestyle reached out to businesspeople all over South Florida—in categories ranging from retail and real estate to medical and automotive—and asked three questions: How did COVID-19 and the shutdown impact your business; how did you position your business in the interim; how will experiencing this unprecedented pandemic change the way you conduct business moving forward? Today, we check in with four members of Compass Florida.


Andy Ziffer (pictured above)

The present: “My business model is balanced between consulting buyers and sellers, as well as diversified between condos, townhomes, single-family resales and new construction; not all our eggs are in one basket. I had transactions in the pipeline previous to the pandemic, however, the volume of traffic has slowed. As my firm, Compass, is technology-based, the adjustments to accommodate buyers and sellers digitally and remotely has been effortless. I’ve taken advantage of personal virtual showings by walking buyers through a home, and sharing details down to the construction of cabinets and drawers.”

The future: “Prior to the pandemic, the market already had shifted to technology. For example, buyers and sellers have estimated property values with historical information at their fingertips. Digital signatures have become commonplace. During the pandemic, buyers and sellers have been further engaged in technology via screen-sharing and virtual meetings. My business will continue to evolve with the highest level of technology while never sacrificing the personal attention I extend to my clientele.” (andyziffer.com)


Dondi Hopkins
Dondi Hopkins

Dondi Hopkins

The present: “We are a very hyperlocal and community-oriented team that loves face-to-face interactions at local events. We were scheduled to participate in a Plantation family movie night and food truck events in March and April; the events were all canceled. As we continue to work from home until further notice, we had to strategize and figure out how to continue being connected to our community. We have built Facebook groups to connect small business owners and mutually support each other. We have another team member building a hockey mom’s group as an avenue to bring the South Florida hockey community together. We have also increased our digital footprint in order to stay in front of people while they search the web and the different social media platforms.”

The future: “We will continue to work to increase our members on the different Facebook groups we manage and utilize this platform to help others connect by organizing in-person events. Organic reach on Facebook is in decline; Facebook will be shifting its emphasis to groups, therefore, we will continue to adapt to the times in order to provide as much value as possible to our community.” (thehopkinsteam.com)


Mark Gilman and Peter Barkin
Mark Gilman and Peter Barkin

Mark Gilman and Peter Barkin

The present: “No one is ever truly ready for life changes as we are going through, but we have been ahead of the curve for some time, using the latest technology to market and communicate with our buyers, sellers and vendors. Selling real estate is a people business no matter what anyone says. We had adapted to social media, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Zoom conference calls long before it was fashionable.”

The future: “Our major adjustment has been our day-to-day safety practices and how we conduct ourselves. Working from home, we rely more on virtual showings and virtual closings. Still, even though we continue with new advances, there is nothing like picking up the telephone, reaching out to someone and having an old-fashioned conversation. Moving forward, we will be more aware of how we interact and the consistency of communication. We will be educating and assisting our clients on the latest technology to assist them in buying and selling a home.” (barkingilman.com)

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