Rick Flay, who has topped many company records in the nine years since opening Belvoir Sheffield, has smashed yet another record, this time, selling his Belvoir business for a million pounds.
“I launched Belvoir Sheffield in May 2006 as a cold start in a serviced office,” says Rick. “The support I received from Central Office in the beginning was superb. The team there offered support and training in all areas of the business. Belvoir Sheffield grew phenomenally and I was thrilled to win Belvoir’s New Franchise of the Year just eight months after launching. Over the years several awards ensued, including winning Belvoir Franchise of the Year twice and we still hold the company record for highest turnover in a single month, which was over £100,000 in July 2014.
“The business is now in a great place, with very healthy profit margins and is ready to be taken onward into the next stages of its growth, this felt like the right time for me to sell. I’ve always known that buying a Belvoir franchise would end in me owning a business with a high asset value, but I am overjoyed that it has sold for a million pounds. Believe it or not, less than ten years ago I wasn’t even living in the UK, I was living in Australia! I am now very much looking forward to semi-retirement, where I can sit back, and come to a decision about what to do next.”
Rick, who has an impressive sales and marketing background, returned to the UK with his family in 2006 after spending 14 years in Australia. Whilst living in Australia, Rick ran his own property company and once back in the UK started looking for a new self-employed opportunity that would allow him to use his expertise of the property market.
Rick and his wife Val first encountered Belvoir in a franchise magazine and were drawn immediately to the success and achievement of the business model and the strength of the brand, they felt this represented the best opportunity for business growth.
“I’ve always had an interest in property,” says Rick. “I appreciated that franchising would give me the speed to market that would have been impossible to achieve if I’d started my business without a support team like Belvoir.
“In just five months I had made my first enquiry to Belvoir, I had completed my induction training and launched Belvoir Sheffield in a serviced office. Initially Val joined me to run the property management side of the business, but we soon outgrew our office and we moved to shop premises in the city centre. At any point, if I needed help in any areas of the business this was always available to me from various members of the franchise support team at Central Office. This aided the growth and development of Belvoir Sheffield.
“After a few months I employed Sarah Powell to take on the day to day running of the business. I offered Sarah an incentive of share options to encourage her to stay long-term. This was unquestionably one of the best decisions that I ever did. Sarah’s management skills as a business partner are second to none, and the processes she has put into place have allowed Belvoir Sheffield to deal with an extremely high volume of clients. We also have a fantastic team of staff and everyone is dedicated to upholding the levels of customer service that have given us such a strong reputation. Sarah is staying on with the business, which will offer great continuity and stability to the new buyer and also to customers during the transfer of ownership.
“When I bought the business I think I originally invested around £250,000 but a big chunk of that was in marketing because going back nearly 10 years the Internet was not as advanced, and a full page advert in a newspaper cost around £3000, these things cost much less now as so much marketing is available on-line. From the very start I had an exit strategy in mind and Dorian Gonsalves and the team at Belvoir’s Central Office have been incredible and very supportive in helping me achieve this.
“There is a surge of optimism flowing through the sector and I am confident that Belvoir is well placed to direct further business growth in a market in which we are highly regarded, highly proactive and well-informed. My experience with Belvoir has been tremendously positive and the franchise opportunity satisfied all of my expectations. I wish my incumbent and all other Belvoir franchise owners every success for the future. My advice for a new franchise owner would be to spend the first six months networking as much as possible, visiting other franchise owners in the Belvoir network and find out what they have done to be so successful. Being part of a franchise is such a great opportunity, get out there and make the most of the knowledge and expertise of those who have been where you are now.”
Dorian Gonsalves, Belvoir’s Director of Commercial and Franchising says: “Rick launched Belvoir Sheffield as a cold start and has just sold it for a million pounds. This is a fantastic accomplishment. He has also achieved extraordinary profit margins. Adding a sales service in 2014 to their offering was a milestone that supplemented a natural extension to this already thriving property lettings service.
“Rick has been a key supporter of Belvoir and a dynamic force behind several important initiatives. He chaired the Website Working Group National and our Belvoir Networking Group for many years and offered assistance on many other research and development projects. Rick has been a ‘guiding light’ for his fellow franchise owners and his influence to the development of brand Belvoir on a national level and to Belvoir Sheffield on a local level has been remarkable. It is clear to see how Rick has won so many awards over the years.
“Now is a very exciting time for anyone who is contemplating joining the Belvoir network, whether this is to launch a cold start business or to buy an existing one as a resale. Rick has demonstrated that the return on investment and profit margins are enormous for those individuals who have the commitment and dedication to follow Belvoir’s business model and are willing to fully embrace the ethos of franchising. Everyone in the network wishes Rick continued success for the future.”
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