Ray White was born in Tasmania in 1878 but moved to Crow’s Nest, Queensland, at a young age. Ray began work in his father’s drapery before starting a farm supply business in 1902 and then becoming a district agent for a wide range of products such as pianos, buggies and stoves. By 1906 he had branched into auctioneering, particularly in the area of pig auctions, the main produce of the area, and into real estate sales. The auction method of sale has remained a focus of the Ray White Company to this day.
In 1924 Ray established new premises in the Colonial Mutual building next to the Brisbane GPO, maximizing their visibility and marketing potential. He opened with a saturation blitz of creative, eye-catching advertising that was characteristic of his business style, even pioneering free giveaways. Soon he was selling property as diverse as cotton country near Rockhampton, holiday cottages at Currumbin and farming land in the Maranoa region.
The secret of Ray’s success, and the company’s expansion, was his energy, creativity and the early adoption of new technology. He was not driven by money, but by the challenge, the competition, the sheer love of doing business in an authentic and ethical manner. Ray dealt with customers in a caring and compassionate way, establishing a high standing in the local community. One impoverished family Ray had helped even taught their children to pray,’ God bless Father and Mother and Mr Ray White’.
The generations following Ray have expanded and developed the business. Son Alan developed a branch office network throughout Queensland and grandsons Brian and Paul adopted a franchising model which has expanded throughout Australia, New Zealand and into Indonesia.
Today the fourth generation of the family is actively involved in a company group that has around 1,000 offices, 12,000 staff, an annual turnover of more than $25 billion and which handles 10 percent of all the real estate business in Australia. The company has diversified into Financial Services, Funds Management, Rural and Live stock, Insurance and Construction.
A prominent slogan used by the founder, Ray White, was ‘Ray White Sells’. The phenomenal success of the company over four generations simply underlines the truth of that slogan. Ray White was selling in 1902 and Ray White is still selling – very profitably – today. It is now Australasia’s most recognised real estate brand and is acquiring an international reputation.