What was your background prior to becoming a Belvoir franchisee?
My wife, Daisy and I opened Belvoir Swansea in October 2010 as a cold start. My background was in property. I’d worked for Foxtons in London and an estate agency in Swansea as well. Daisy’s background was working in radio. We were only 29 and 25 at the time, so pretty young and green behind the ears!
What attracted you to Belvoir?
Belvoir wasn’t known in Swansea at the time, but I did my research and just liked the look of the brand. I’d pick up the phone and spoke to the people at Central Office, who really impressed me. I liked the fact that Belvoir provided a month’s training in Grantham, which was so much better than other franchise models at the time, who were putting people out there after only a few days of training.
Daisy and I are both from Swansea and we felt there was a gap in the market for a true lettings specialist, which is what Belvoir was at the time. It has worked really well for us.
How did you finance your business?
We self-funded, releasing money out of our BTL portfolio. I think we managed to get our hands on about £70-80K, which went a lot further then than it does now, but self-financing was definitely the best route for us.
How have you found the level of franchise support you receive?
The advice and support we received in the early days was invaluable especially as we were so young and relatively inexperienced. The support doesn’t stop, but as you get more experienced you don’t need to lean on as much as you do in the early days. However, if you want to check on something and get advice on an important issue, it is always good to be able to get feedback from this.
How has the business progressed?
We now have three offices. We opened Belvoir Mumbles in 2015 and Belvoir Sketty in 2020 – in fact we signed the keys for it a week before lockdown! We started offering a residential sales service in 2018, and it is now a real staple of the business and some months our sales department is outperforming our lettings department. In 2022 we won the prestigious title of Belvoir Franchise of the Year, which was amazing.
We have a total of 22 staff now, including myself and Daisy. We have a management team of four people across the three offices, with myself and Daisy running the business and our team doing the day to day stuff. It’s important to realise that you cannot grow your business
if you are solely working in the business.
What advice would you give to someone considering a Belvoir franchise?
Do your research into your local area. Potential franchisees need to go into the business with their eyes wide open. It is a tough industry, but so rewarding. Make sure your own values are aligned with the Belvoir brand and Group. Utilise the support as much as possible, especially in the early days.
If you want to be completely independent then open your own letting agency and see how you fare, but it is a really competitive market. The ability to network with other franchisees is very strong. I am in regular contact on Whatsapp with lots of difference franchisees and it is invaluable. Ultimately, we all live and work in different areas and it is great to be able to share our ideas and experiences. There are franchisees I can talk to at any time, and they can do the same with me. You will not get that with an independent agency.
What three words would you use to describe being a franchisee?
Authenticity – Be true to your values and that will help you build your business and relationships with your clients. This is important, as people are really looking for authenticity.
Drive – You need to be quite driven and determined to succeed. The Belvoir brand was completely unknown in Swansea when we started, and we had to go out the promote the business and the brand to make it work for us.
Tenacity – There will always be highs and lows when running a business, but with a tenacious mindset you will come through everything.
If you are interested in finding out what it’s like to be a Newton Fallowell franchisee then read our interview with Richard Morris or if you’re interested in what daily life is like as a Northwood franchisee then read our interview with Deryck Highet.