Family success with Bairstow Eves Countrywide

Bairstow Eves Countrywide trades from over 250 locations and is part of Countrywide, the UK’s largest property services group with over 1,300 branches. Tiffany Brooking spoke to three of its leading franchise owners to see whether their original decision to go into business with other family members had been the right one

Father and son open in Skipton

A house builder in the Skipton area for 30 years, Andrew Procter (pictured above with his son Rory) felt it was ti me for a new challenge and the downturn in the new homes market provided just the catalyst. Opening his first Bairstow Eves franchise in Skipton last year, Andrew was thrilled to have his son Rory on board, who had previously worked in the estate agency sector.

Andrew comments: ”I graduated from the Bairstow Eves Training Academy with disti ncti on in July 2010. The training experience was made even more interesting in that Rory and I sat some of the exams at the same ti me so there was definately that father and son rivalry going on. When we were given the results we were having side bets as to who had got the highest percentage!” Rory now also manages the residential lettings side of the business.

Father and son are very pleased with the progress they have made so far and both are looking forward to growing the family business.

It’s a family affair – father, mother and son team open their fourth franchised branch

In late 2001, Tomas and Barbara Marteinsson (both pictured right) made a significant decision to sell their family run business, based in Scandinavia, and moved to the UK to live nearer their son.

Having spent the last 10 years running their own wholesale gift ware company, the Marteinssons were looking for something completely diff erent – a fresh challenge and new type of business, something with the potential to grow and develop. Theydecided to investi gate the estate agency and lettings business on the suggesti on of their son, Robin, who was himself employed in the industry at the ti me.

They looked at a number of opti ons and fi nally decided on the Bairstow Eves franchise, launching their first business in 2002 in Redhill, Surrey. According to Tomas, Baristow Eves off ered a number of key benefits.

“It’s a well known and respected brand, which has a large nati onal network and an excellent reputati on among its customers,” he says. “The franchise also off ered an established and well tested sales and lettings operating system, established marketi ngs ideas, IT systems and Countrywide’s market leading sales training.”

Shortly after opening in Redhill, the family opened a second branch in Merstham in 2004, followed soon after by the acquisiti on of a neighbouring franchise in Epsom. With their fourth branch opening in Kingston Upon Thames last month, dad, mum and son are now planning for up to 10 offices over the next decade.

£1 million turnover target for Yorkshire cousins

In 2008, business partners and cousins Ian Preston and James Baker (both pictured right, bottom) went from working for a leading estate agency to running their own estate agency and lettings business in York with a Bairstow Eves franchise

Although Ian and James were already familiar with many aspects of agency practise and legislation, the franchisor provided additional information and training via classroom-based courses to fill their knowledge gaps. This was particularly true with lettings and property management in which the pair had little experience.

Ian comments: “As we had no experience whatsoever in the lettings aspect of the business, we attended a comprehensive training programme that focused on all aspects of lettings, property management, legislation and the comprehensive client services offered by the franchisor’s back office support unit.”

With their maiden branch successfully established, they opened a second in Selby. These businesses soon surpassed their first milestone target of £500,000 combined turnover.

The cousins are now focussed on their next major milestone – £1 million turnover. “At the end of 2010 we acquired two more established Bairstow Eves franchised branches in Leeds and also secured franchise licences to open a further three new branches,” says Ian.