Two franchisees who started out as ‘viewings boys’ have expanded their estate agency empire. The pair now have their fourth office after purchasing “the leading agent in Skegness”.
Ben Oglesbee and Matt Holland began modestly by working as trainee estate agents. Wanting to run their own business, they have taken on four Newton Fallowell franchises since their early days. They have done this whilst still being in their 30s: Ben is 38 & Matt is 36.
On the business opportunity, Oglesbee said: “Matt and I were particularly attracted to it because it has a lettings portfolio of over 400 properties, and for some time we have been planning to grow the rental side of our businesses as there is huge demand for this.”
As part of this acquisition, the business partners also took on a second TES office in Spilsby, which has now been incorporated into their Newton Fallowell Spilsby branch.
Ben & Matt’s journey is a lovely example for any potential franchisee with ambition. They started as teenagers with no experience by arranging viewings for a Newton Fallowell office. As trainees, they learned the ropes of the estate agency business, eventually developing into sales negotiators.
With an enthusiasm for the business, Ben, the elder of the two initially took the plunge into having his own business by buying the Boston Newton Fallowell Franchise. Matt joined him at Spilsby which was an opportunity that was found for them by Newton Fallowell, along with a third co-owner who the two eventually bought out in 2014.
After growing & perfecting the running of the Boston & Spilsby offices, the next logical step was to open an office in Horncastle which was on their doorstep. This they did in 2020.
There followed another period of consolidation, but with an active interest and with being on the Belvoir Group Acquisition Programme, they were presented with an opportunity to purchase a business in Skegness & to turn it into their fourth Newton Fallowell office. This was an easy decision to make as the target was a well-established business with an excellent reputation in Skegness as well as a lettings portfolio that allowed the pair to diversify their income.
The New Franchise Acquisition
Ben & Matt completed the acquisition of Turner Evans Stevens (TES) in Skegness. As part of this acquisition, the business partners also took on a smaller TES office in Spilsby, which has now been incorporated into the Newton Fallowell Spilsby branch.
Ben Oglesbee picks up the story: “Matt and I were particularly attracted to it because it has a lettings portfolio of over 400 properties, and for some time we have been planning to grow the rental side of our businesses as there is huge demand for this.”
“This acquisition resulted in us taking on 12 existing staff members, split across lettings and sales, so we have doubled the size of our team. The existing team is great, and apart from the outgoing directors, customers will not notice any changes and it will be very much business as usual, although as the portfolio is so large, we are already recruiting for new team members to introduce even more expertise and skills”
Belvoir Group Franchise Acquisitions Programme
For people that want to run a franchise, the Belvoir Group Acquisitions Programme offers them unlimited growth potential as a dedicated team can help franchisees find the right business to add to their portfolio, help with the negotiation of the acquisition & help the franchisee arrange finance (The Belvoir Group own a number of estate and letting agents brands including Newton Fallowell).
Matt Holland cites the Belvoir Group Acquisitions Programme as being their secret weapon in being able to grow their franchise business: “The acquisitions programme is very good. Ben I I would not have been approached to buy that business had we not been part of the Belvoir Group & on the acquisitions programme”.
The support of the wider Newton Fallowell & Belvoir Group has given Ben & Matt many benefits. It enabled the pair to be seriously considered as potential purchasers of the new business & it gave the sellers confidence that Ben & Matt would have the resources to purchase their business. “You have that support of a wider group & they were able to provide us with funding” says Matt.
“For anyone looking to have their own business it’s definitely worth looking at the Acquisitions Programme. Without the team including Martin, Deborah & Grace, I don’t think we’d’ve completed this acquisition as it was an established business and the process took two years. We couldn’t get better people to deal with”.
Being a Belvoir Group Franchisee
Matt is pleased with being a Belvoir Group franchisee. “We’re just estate agents” he says. “We happen to own 4 offices but we enjoy being estate agents. We want to continue to enjoy doing it &, by being a franchisee, we can do what we enjoy knowing that we have the support of specialists who can help”.
Being a franchisee helps Ben & Matt to focus on what they are best at without sleepless nights whenever something happens outside of their core competence in the business. “I feel confident that if something changes in the world of lettings, I’ll get an email from head office saying ‘this has happened & this is what you need to do” says Holland. “In addition, we get audits every year. It’s a bit stressful but it does help to free us up to concentrate on the stuff we want to”
Both are fans of the franchise model that has enabled them to run their own business & expand to four offices. “If you utilise the group in the right way you do get a lot out of it”, says Holland who cites the support that the group offers as well as the opportunities to learn from others and the regional meetings which enables him to learn & to get what he needs from his business development team.
Still in their 30s, Ben & Matt have come a long way quickly. They are taking time to integrate the new business into their existing business. The pair’s longer-term goal is to increase their lettings portfolio to 1,000 properties. Watch this space.