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Agencies expelled from TPO

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18 September 2019

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How loyal are your landlords?

Wednesday 27 March 2019

It's a question we, at Vouch, thought long and hard about and worried about (as it turned out unduly) for several months. We are going to need to replace circa 100k of lost income post 1 June and could we really push already stretched landlords even further?

As well as being a director of Vouch, Kevin Gaskell also still runs a busy letting agency in Sheffield along with the other directors of Vouch who happen to be his wife Lynsey, her sister Jaime and her husband Simon. A real family affair!

Let's look at some basic facts

I now happily pay £5 for a pint of Peroni on my Friday after work 'de-stress' hour or two. Throw in a large glass of White for Lynsey and I don't expect a massive amount of change from a twenty, and that's in Sheffield! I'm sure prices further South are even higher.

A litre of diesel is £1.35, a first-class stamp is 70p, house and car insurance go up every year...and don't even get me started on Rightmove!!

And yet, here we were, still charging the exact same price to our landlords that we were in 2007, despite exponential rises in the cost of just about everything. If you'd have told me in 2007 that I'd see £5 a pint in Sheffield I would have laughed out loud. But if the quality of the environment is right, the staff do a good job serving me and it's served in the right glass (nothing worse than a non-branded glass!!) I don't even blink.

So why is it that we apparently undervalue our service so much? Have we just become stuck in the mindset that we can't increase our prices even though everything else in the world has risen in price massively? Do we not think we are worth it?

Well the answer must have been a resounding yes! Despite giving what I think is a fantastic service, dealing with massive amounts of new legislation, facing massively increased costs in all areas we STILL had never gone to our landlords with Oliver bowl in hand and said "please Sir (or Madam!) .... can I have some more??"

To cut a long story short we bit the bullet in March. We wrote to all our landlords, along with their monthly statements saying that from April due to all of the reasons listed above that we were increasing our prices. We hoped they would understand and really hoped they would stick with us through this turbulent time for the industry, and do you know how many landlords said they weren't prepared to pay the increase?

One

And guess what, it was the very same one that we all predicted. Yes, that one, the one you will all have, the one you aren’t that bothered about losing. That one where when a local rival comes in to grab the keys and paperwork, you hand them over with a huge enthusiastic grin and their air of self-satisfaction instantly turns to a look of worry!

What was really fantastic was the number of positive messages we received. Landlords thankful that we hadn't done it sooner.

Loyalty

Something we hoped we'd garnered over the last 10 years of giving great service, but you never really know. Turns out we had it in spades.

You are worth it. Keep giving great service, you are already a cut above lots of your competition by being a member of Propertymark.

Circa 100k? The price hike won't find all of it but it's a start. We are not ready to roll over just yet despite the constant battering from the House of Commons!

Embrace new ways of working, cut costs, utilise new revenue streams. The fee ban doesn't need to be the end of the world. Yes, it is without a doubt the biggest challenge our industry has ever faced but I'm not willing to accept defeat any time soon.

Send the email. If you are giving industry leading service, you are probably worth more than you think.

For information on how Vouch could help to cut your costs and give you some additional revenue streams email or tel 0330 333 7272 at anytime: