'All the hard work has already been done!'

As the housing market shows signs of recovery, many Bairstow Eves franchise owners are expanding in preparation for an uplift in sales. In anticipation of this Colin and Gemma Anderson have opened their second office

October 2009 saw the opening of the new Bairstow Eves estate agency & lettings branch in Roundhay, Leeds. The opening represents the latest exciting phase of expansion for franchise owners Colin and Gemma Anderson, who have also operated the Headingley franchise since 2007. The new office is managed by Maureen Cook who has over 25 years of experience within the industry.

Colin is a graduate of business studies at Leeds University and their first venture was a coffee bar and cafe. Their connection with the world of estate agency and lettings started back in 2000 when Colin was employed by the Halifax banking group, initially as a mortgage consultant in Manchester and latterly as an Estate Agency Manager in the Kippax and Adel areas around Leeds. During his time spent in Manchester he became very aware of the professional and consistent approach to estate agency practised by the Countrywide network of branches in the city.

Further investigation by Colin revealed that many of the Bairstow Eves Countrywide branches were in fact franchised businesses operated by their owners with the full support of Bairstow Eves Franchising and the Countrywide plc group. Following a successful franchise application Colin and Gemma opened their first branch in Headingley in the summer of 2007.

"Starting any business is tough; developing your own brand and systems are tougher still and could take many years of effort and considerable expense," says Colin. "Bairstow Eves on the other hand is a very well established national brand and all the hard work has already been done. They offer a nationally recognised brand, established agency and lettings systems, an effective back office lettings management service, IT and marketing support."

"The alternative was to go it alone as an independent brand owner with the mammoth task of developing all of the above in addition to building a new business and taking sufficient market share. There was no competition." The effects of the Northern Rock debacle and the banking crisis that followed have provided a challenge for the couple. With the robust Bairstow Eves franchise model and the support of their franchisor they have built their business into a multi-site operation.

Colin and Gemma have a particular interest in the lettings market and regularly offer advice to landlords who operate in the Leeds rental market. Their plan for the future is to own and develop at least four Bairstow Eves offices, each providing estate agency and lettings services to their customers, while also finding time to follow their other passions; hill walking and Yorkshire cricket.

Reported by Regional Franchise Manager Tony Murray