Post Lockdown Expansion!
10 Feb • Belvoir
Now that lockdown has eased, this could be the perfect time for independent agents to consider selling their business or rebranding to become part of the Belvoir Group. With Belvoir and Northwood franchisees retaining 90% of their lettings income during the coronavirus pandemic, the UK’s largest High Street property management franchise continues to actively seek independent sales and lettings agents who have emerged from lockdown with a desire to sell or franchise their business.
“There is absolutely no doubt that this pandemic has been a huge challenge for everyone, but I am incredibly proud that Belvoir has come out of lockdown stronger and better placed than before lockdown commenced,” says Belvoir CEO Dorian Gonsalves.
“Fifteen ago franchising was viewed very much as a poor relation to other business models, with big corporates looking down on us, and independents asking why anyone would want to do it. Franchising has now proved itself to be the most successful and resilient style of operating in the business sector and the number of enquiries from other agents looking to franchise their business has increased dramatically.
“Belvoir’s Assisted Acquisition Programme remains extremely active, and we are very much open for business when it comes to lending to facilitate viable acquisitions. Throughout lockdown our team conducted vast amounts of research on new opportunities, and we have franchisees right across the Group who wish to expand their businesses through acquisition.
“If you are an independent agent with a business to sell, whether it is large or small, purely lettings or a combination of sales and lettings, or you would like to discuss rebranding to Belvoir, I strongly advise that you call the Belvoir Acquisition team for a confidential chat. We have a strong pipeline of franchisees who are looking to expand their businesses through acquisition, and our team is highly experienced in matching the right opportunity with the right business owner.”
The timing of acquisition is important, but there is no doubt that when the right acquisition opportunity comes along it can be good for business growth, no matter when it occurs. This was certainly the case for Dave Roberts from Belvoir St. Helens, who completed on the acquisition of shares of JB & B Leach Ltd on 19th March – just days prior to the government announcing lockdown on all property management agencies.
“This is the third, and largest acquisition I have completed in the past few years,” says Dave. “It is a sales and lettings agency, but mainly sales, and is located next to my other office, making it a perfect fit. The business was founded in 1856 and is regarded as the largest estate agency in St. Helens. For the time being it will be operated under its own name, so as far as the public and staff are concerned there have been no changes. One of the previous partners has now retired, but the other one has a MAB franchise that is physically located within the office so he is still based there. In addition, we inherited 12 new staff members.
“The acquisition provided a pipeline of approximately 148 sales properties, of which 80 were sold subject to contract and there were also 153 managed properties on the lettings side. The lettings portfolio was large enough to be of interest in its own right, but the huge sales potential made this acquisition very exciting.
“We completed the acquisition on 19th March and announced it to staff on 23rd March. Lockdown began the following day, so the timing could have been better - I had my first meeting with the team on the Monday and the following day I had to shut the business down!
“Even though lockdown happened, I have absolutely no regrets; in fact, there have been some benefits. This was a fantastic opportunity for my wife Tracy and I to go in and look at the procedures that were in place and review what could be improved.
“I worked closely with the team at Belvoir Central Office on this acquisition. Gillian Mills was very instrumental in helping to get the original contacts, and Grace Milham did the due diligence. It was fantastic to have their support. Incredibly, although we only had the acquisition for a few days in March prior to lockdown, the income that it generated was enough to push our business into the top ten of the Belvoir rankings! I realize that April and May will be a different story for everyone, but there is absolutely no doubt that this acquisition has helped my business to grow.
“Now that lockdown restrictions have been lifted, I am looking forward to furthering business growth, particularly on the sales side. We are currently all extremely busy, working through the sales that were waiting to complete.”
For more information on Belvoir opportunities, or to arrange a confidential chat with a member of the Acquisition Team please visit: www.belvoirfranchisegroup.co.uk or call 01476 570000.