Franchising · 17 August 2015

Franchise profile: Property sales and lettings chain Belvoir

Belvoir is growing its national footprint
Belvoir is growing its national footprint
Belvoir is one of the UK’s largest property sales and lettings chains with highly visible, branded high street offices. It specialises in the management of residential properties on behalf of small to medium sized landlords. Franchisees source, let, manage and sell residential properties within their exclusive territory. A typical territory is a town or a city with some larger cities being sub-divided into multiple territories.

Q&A subject: Dorian Gonsalves, director of commercial and franchising at Belvoir

Factfile

Franchised since: 1996
Number of franchisees: 193 31 new offices acquired in July 2015
Network turnover: 37m
Growth last year: 11 per cent increase in turnover, ten per cent increase in profits

(1) What’s the history of the business and its current standing in the marketplace?

Our very first franchise was launched in Elgin, Scotland, exactly 20 years ago. The first franchise owner took a leap of faith after leaving the forces and he believed in the business model and the integrity of the founder, Mike Goddard, who had also recently retired from his position as a wing commander in the RAF.

it’s fantastic that after that length of time our first franchisee is still going, and trading successfully with consistent growth each year. Our brand and system is based on three core principles: customer service, professionalism and specialism. Since our inception the business has grown from a standing start to a network of just short of 200 offices.

(2) How have you been able to establish Belvoir’s expertise in the wider property sector?

In housing, we are subject to around 100 pieces of legislation and it’s a complex industry. Our franchisees become property experts in their local areas and likewise our management team is composed of industry experts in their own right. Where possible, we raise standards and get involved with influencing policies which may affect our client base.

It was a real honour to be invited to join The Property Ombudsman and Im now serving my third year as a director of TPO. Around 95 per cent of all estate and letting agencies in the UK use TPO as their preferred consumer redress scheme.

(3) you’re now a listed company, how has that impacted Belvoir?

We were the first lettings franchise to list on AIM. Our market capitalisation in 2012 at the time of the floatation was less than 20m it’s now 35m and our shareholders and franchisees, some of whom are also shareholders, have benefitted from the IPO in a number of ways.

Firstly, we have paid a consistent dividend and our share price has increased from 75p to 128p. Secondly, we have deployed around 5m directly into franchisees? businesses in the shape of short-term loans to help franchisees acquire competitors in local towns and cities.

To give an example, a franchise owner acquired an independent business in November 2014 which was subsequently brought under the Belvoir banner and fully rebranded by the franchisee. The business was purchased for 1.4m and we assisted with funding to make this life-changing deal happen.

Dorian Gonsalves has been with Belvoir since 2005
Dorian Gonsalves has been with Belvoir since 2005
(4) As well as Belvoir’s milestone anniversary this year, one of your franchisees has also set a new watermark for the network?

Terry Lucking is our most consistent and top-performing franchisee, and reached a turnover of over 1m from his outlet in Peterborough. Now operating in both Peterborough and Cambridge, his combined business is valued at over 1.5m.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Paul Stafford is the British Franchise Association's PR manager, which allows him ample opportunity to indulge in two of his passions: writing and business. A background in various SMEs led Stafford to the franchise sector in 2012 and a role which sees him work closely with businesses of all sizes and sectors, from international giants to kitchen table startups.

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