Belvoir ‘hot on acquisition trail’

The UK's largest property franchise is not just surviving the on-going economic crisis, but actually thriving in these uncertain times.

Belvoir ‘hot on acquisition trail’

The last four or five months have been tough for most UK companies in many different sectors of the business world. Yet one business which has not only weathered the storm, but is positively flourishing during the economic meltdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, is leading property franchise Belvoir.

The Lincolnshire-based franchisor, which operates more than 300 outlets across the country, was delighted to report that not a single one of their offices was forced to cease trading during lockdown. More than that, they remain keen to expand their current network of businesses and there was even time for celebrations in Milton Keynes, Swansea and Luton where personal milestones were reached.

Discussing the economic fallout from the on-going Covid-19 crisis, Belvoir‘s CEO Dorian Gonsalves said: “I am very proud that we didn’t lose a single office as a result of the lockdown. This proves that a Belvoir franchise represents a great opportunity for anyone who may be looking for a new challenge. Feedback from franchisees across the network has been very positive regarding levels of support they received from our central office staff during lockdown. And I have to thank the franchise support team for their commitment and hard work, particularly through those early weeks of lockdown when everyone worked extremely long hours to ensure the success of our franchisees.

“We were presented with an extremely fast changing situation, and although it was a challenge to ensure that our franchisees were kept informed, everyone rose to this challenge. I’m proud of both my central office team and our franchisees too – in the way they all responded to the difficult situation.”

However, Dorian explained that Belvoir are also on the lookout to grow their network: “We are currently hot on the acquisition trail, and have a dedicated acquisition team that is actively seeking independent agents who may now want to sell their businesses. Within our own ranks we have a large number of franchisees who are looking to expand through acquisition, during the remainder of 2020 and beyond.

“Whilst there is still some uncertainty as to how the housing market will be affected during the remainder of the year, I am confident Belvoir will meet its pre-Covid expectations for the 12-month period through to the end of 2020.”

Belvoir, which was founded in February 1995, has its central office in Grantham where Michael Stoop is company chairman. The business is recognised as the largest property franchise group on the high street, and was listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2012.

On a more local level, a number of Belvoir
recently celebrated anniversaries. These included Steve Tunney in Milton Keynes, Ben and Daisy Davies from Swansea, and Adrian Mason at Luton.

Steve has completed 20 years with the franchise and he admitted that the past few months have been some of the toughest he has ever faced: “This pandemic has been the most challenging experience of my career. But the help we received from Belvoir’s support team during lockdown was excellent.

“As soon as any new government guidance was issued, we would receive further information from central office within 24 hours, and this proved to be invaluable. As a business owner, it definitely made my life easier knowing that central office was working on our behalf. The development of new products to introduce new income streams was also extremely helpful. I turned 60 this year, but I’ve signed up for another five years. These may be uncertain times, but being part of the Belvoir franchise certainly makes life easier.”

While Steve has notched up two decades with Belvoir, and is one of their longest-serving franchisees, the Swansea and Luton branches celebrated their 10-year milestones in July. To mark the occasion, Ben and Daisy Davies from south Wales, and Adrian Mason from Bedfordshire, each signed up for a further five years.

Ben from Swansea says: “The last decade has definitely exceeded our expectations. I have always been very ambitious and knew that we would ultimately be able to dominate the market in this area. This September, Daisy and I are going to open a third Belvoir office in a brand new marina at Sketty.

“At the moment demand is like nothing we have ever experienced before. During the last four weeks we have received over 2,500 telephone calls and 2,200 lettings enquiries by email. We have come out of lockdown at a naturally busy time. One property we listed had 250 enquiries, and Swansea is a real hot spot for investors – both in lettings and sales.”

And regarding the overall health of the company, CEO Dorian Gonsalves concluded by saying: “Belvoir released a trading update on 30th July, in which the board was delighted to report that trading during the first half of 2020 had delivered continued growth despite the UK-wide lockdown.”

Andy Swales
Andy Swales