Working a 90 hour week in two jobs in the retail sector, with the recent arrival of his young son, Gary knew there had to be a better way to earn a good living and deliver a better quality of life.
So, along with his wife, he began researching different franchises available, before discovering Belvoir.
The rest is history...Gary Pemberton, 45, is now the director of Belvoir Warrington, which in 10 years has grown to become the largest lettings agent in Warrington with fantastic customer reviews.
But Gary wasn’t always in the property business.
Here’s how he describes his journey with Belvoir:
“I went from four years of college, studying Hospitality Management and decided to move into retail. I became a trainee manager at Morrisson’s. My dad had been a buyer and I knew that was the direction I wanted to go in too, so I quickly moved from trainee store manager in Kendal to trainee buyer. I worked at several big companies, including Co-op and Batleys, before working my way up to managing the buying team at the venture capitalist-backed Parisa group, with 440 Off Licences.”
Whilst Gary was managing the buying team, he started a side business buying and developing convenience stores. The first one he did, with his wife, was very successful, but when it came to buying more stores, they kept being gazumped by supermarket chains and larger developers.
It’s easy to see how he was working a 90 hour week with no work-life balance and no quality time with his young family.
Setting up a Belvoir franchise gave Gary the opportunity to be his own boss.
Gary explains, “I was good at what I did in the corporate world, but I could see senior management making bad decisions. I knew that I was meant to be someone who worked for themselves and Belvoir offered me that and gave me the toolkit and support I needed to grow a successful business.
“Looking back, a lot has changed. Today, I spend a lot more time with my family. It was never about the money, it was about spending time with my family. I have a really good team and a fantastic manager, which gives me the chance to have really good holidays. It also gives me the flexibility I was yearning for. If I want to go for a cycle on a sunny morning, I can and then work the afternoon and early evening. Running my own Belvoir business means I’m controlling my own destiny.”
Over the past 10 years, Gary has built up a highly successful business. Belvoir Warrington gets fantastic reviews from its customers with a 4.7 rating out of five on 80 Google reviews and 4.6 out of five on Facebook.
The secret of this success is Gary’s focus on customer service.
“I always say that we’re in a people business with a bit of bricks and mortar in the middle. We don’t do any advertising because all our business and growth comes from referrals and our reputation among landlords and people within the town. When you’ve done a great job, your customers are happy and then we get amazing reviews and that’s really motivating to do even better.”
Belvoir Warrington is the most positively reviewed lettings agent in the area, but Gary says it takes hard work and tenacity. His advice to anyone considering a Belvoir franchise begins with some words of wisdom from his dad.
“My dad always said to me ‘people always need food, water and shelter’. If you work on that premise, then you’re not going to go too far wrong. People will always demand rental property and want to buy and sell property. Because of that, if you get it right and you build a good business, like us, you’ll always be earning.
“It’s tough to build it up, but because of the nature of the lettings market, once you’re done created a firm foundation, you’ll end up with a business that’s profitable and one that has value. I’m really proud of my team and the business we’ve built up, but I couldn’t have done it without them.”