In 1993, Mark Bender began his career in real estate brokerage. Four years later, upon realizing this type of service was underserved locally, he opened his own brokerage firm, “Bender and Associates”. His mission was to exclusively represent corporate space users. Unlike other major urban centres, this type of service was rarely used by Québec City businesses. There was thus a potential niche market to assist them in their negotiation or space relocation efforts. At that time, and this is still the case today, brokerage offices would represent space users as well as sell and lease buildings. This placed them in a potential conflict of interest situation, which is the main reason why Mr. Bender only chose to represent the interests of corporate tenants.
Before that, Mr. Bender worked as an advising representative for 18 years at IBM Canada Ltd. As a marketing specialist from 1974 to 1992, he was very successful in selling computer systems such as the first word processors and large central systems. Mark received recognition for his achievements on several occasions, often exceeding his objectives.
When he started his business, Mr. Bender wanted to apply the knowledge gained at IBM to the real estate market. At IBM, replacing a client’s computer system was something that had to be planned in advance as errors could prove to be very costly. Mr. Bender also realized that corporate space users were making long-term financial commitments with their lessors and did not take their time to seriously think about their complete real estate situation.
He also noted that a mere detail or poorly negotiated clause could hinder a company’s flexibility. Indeed, businesses often need to expand or retrocede office space, which is not always planned when entering lease agreements.
This is why Mr. Bender prefers a long-term approach, rather than a transactional one, to assist companies in their development. The mission of Bender & Associates is to continually focus on optimizing the real estate situation of its clients while taking their corporate objectives into account.
Mr. Bender implemented other elements of the IBM culture to his business such as combining discipline, total quality and client satisfaction in order to manage delicate and complex situations and effectively meet client expectations. Another of these elements is adopting a “no-surprises” approach when dealing with clients or among the team members of Bender & Associates. This means that when the team is working on a mandate, the client expects no surprises along the way. It is also important for clients to properly understand all the different steps of the real estate process. During this process, Bender & Associates makes sure that any new information that could have an impact on the conditions is reported to the clients. This allows them to make informed decisions and adjust their negotiation strategies.
The brokerage field is highly competitive. Indeed, colleagues can turn into competitors even when working for the same firm. Mr. Bender did not want to implement this way of working in his team. He preferred a business model based on teamwork rather than the traditional, individualistic one.
In order to ensure continued success for new agents, Mr. Bender created a mentorship program in which they are paired with senior agents for a two-year period. Agents have to meet set objectives during this period. His son François was the first one to take part in this program.
François Bender joined the company in 2000 after completing his studies in administration at Université Laval (urban management and real estate profile). With his studies and work experience, he acquired knowledge in various areas such as property evaluation, project management and real estate financing. He represented various companies in their lease renegotiation and restructuring efforts, relocation and built-to-suit development process. François is also actively involved with various foundations located in Québec City. Marie-Jasmine Cantin Obando is also part of the Bender & Associates team. More recently, Eric Marquis have joined the Bender and Associates team as business development agent and broker.