The founder of a Barnsley based lettings and property management company is celebrating transforming his business - and winning an award recognising his business success.
Craig Phillips from G8 Property, which specialises in houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) has grown his turnover by £500,000 and was awarded Agent Rainmaker of the Year at Agent Rainmaker Live 2022.
He explains: “Only a few years ago, I would say I was struggling. The business was going nowhere, and I was spending too much time involved in the day-to-day running of the company, I didn’t have any time to focus on improving it. It was a very lonely place, and there was no one to turn to for help.
“We were doing everything, literally everything, for landlords. I’d regularly get calls on a Saturday evening requesting that I go round to change a lightbulb. And I’d go. I was too fearful that they would make a complaint or leave a negative review, that I was bending over backwards, doing all the leg work, anything and everything that was asked of me.
“One day my daughter Laura approached me about an industry bootcamp she’d seen on social media to enhance procedures, structures, processes and accountability. I wasn’t interested – it seemed too good to be true, and I was happy with my spreadsheets, but I told her she could attend.
“When she came back, she was full of ideas, proposing to overhaul our policies, procedures, and infrastructure. So, I realised I needed to come on board, too. I quickly understood how wrong I’d been at first – suddenly, we were surrounded by like-minded people in similar positions, all sharing ideas and experiences, and being given the tools to implement positive change.
“After weeks of persuasion, Laura convinced me to change our fees. ‘What have we got to lose?’, she said. ‘All our landlords’, I replied.
“But, one Friday evening I sent out a letter stating that we were doubling our landlord fees. I was petrified come Monday morning. But, much to my surprise, we only had one response. One.
“After this, I was adamant to implement new procedures, and really progress the business. In turn, it freed up my time, so I could seek new landlords, new business, and new investors. I employed more staff, and we moved into a bigger office with a town centre location. Things were really positive – for the first time in a long time.
“Then, I realised that the services I used to do for free, I could be offering in addition. So, over time, I established a refurbishment business, then a sourcing business, and finally founded a furniture company, which supplied the HMOs under management.
“Now, I’m able to take a backseat. I’m excited to be able to spend more time with my family, and am looking to pursue my passion of helping veterans.
“One day I came into work, and saw a man sleeping rough when I pulled into the car park. As usual, I walked to the office, made a coffee, and put the heating on. But, then I made another coffee and took it to the man outside, and invited him inside to warm up for a while. We got chatting – turns out, I served with him in Bosnia when I was in the Armed Forces. This struck a chord in me.
“John had been unlucky – he was homeless and suffering from mental health issues. I supported him through his rehabilitation process, and set him up in one of my HMOs, paying his rent for eight weeks. Now, 12 months later, he’s married, has a child, and is in a stable job.
“Agent Rainmaker has given me new and exciting opportunities within my business, allowing it to be successful – to the point that I no longer need to be involved continuously. So, now I’m dedicating my time to serving others.
“And, I’m completely shocked to have been awarded the Agent Rainmaker of the Year award at AR Live 2022. I wasn’t expecting it. At all. I’m incredibly grateful for the enhanced business mentality, and increased confidence that Agent Rainmaker has given me. Growing and thriving alongside other agents is just amazing. Being able to share ideas and insights, and form friendships in this otherwise lonely industry, is incredibly helpful, and has completely changed my life forever”.
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