I came out of University with a degree in Maths and always thought that I would follow that path of analyst/trader for my whole career. I fell on hard times during the recession in 2005/6 and quite simply took a job locally as a property manager. Having gone from an American bank in Canary Wharf to a provincial managing agent there was definitely a culture shock and I really felt that the property management industry could do so much more to engage with their leaseholders. That really was the inspiration to start Warwick Estates. I think to be successful with starting a business yourself you really do need to feel that you can do better than the rest.
I like buildings so it’s rewarding to take on a building that has been neglected for years and make it nicer, safer and more valuable. I’m constantly telling my staff that we do not manage buildings – we manage people’s homes. There’s a big difference.
It’s the single greatest thing that we ever did. I don’t understand how you can be different from your competition if you all use the same software. Our platform is tailor-made to how we run our business and how we interact with our customers. It’s won us so much new business over the years – it’s just a shame it seems like we will never stop improving it.
I saw a demonstration 3 years ago about smart buildings and how in the future property managers will be able to sit at their desks and be informed when things go wrong with their buildings, and how they could simply order a replacement part or material immediately. This type of tech would definitely improve standards of management.
Our core product was very comprehensive from the outset and for our smaller buildings it was actually more than our leaseholders required. Our Lite product started about 5 years ago and we now have nearly 500 buildings enjoying this level of service.
Having a Lite product obviously gave us the idea of an enhanced service level and so Premier was started. After a slow start we decided to push this side of our business recently and it’s led to an insane amount of instructions
Our industry is very fragmented with even the largest player only having around 2% market share. There are only about 20 companies of any size and hundreds of smaller regional or family run competitors. Our buy and build strategy is very straight forward; we are acquiring businesses with turnover between £0.5million and £2million where we can offer leaseholders many of the services they require internally. This generates extra revenue for the small business (by not sending it all to external suppliers) and also means the leaseholders should see savings in their service charge.
The Academy is my way of giving something back to an industry that’s been very kind to me. The lack of training offered to property managers in England and Wales is absolutely shocking. If we were called Asset Managers (which we are) and we didn’t list the number of flats we managed but rather the value of the buildings then Warwick Asset Management would advertise £7billion of assets under management. You would expect that company to have staff that were extremely highly trained I’m sure.
The academy will produce the best trained people in our industry year after year and the whole industry will benefit from this as the graduates move around to other companies in the years ahead.
When I finally realised that I’d rather Warwick Estates were considered the best at what they do ahead of making more profit. Over the years we have done so many things that are counterintuitive to increasing profits so that we can stay ahead of the crowd (just last month we introduced an 0800 number even though we take over a thousand calls a day) and yet every year our profit goes up and our margin slightly increases. It’s as if being conscientious really works!
Being told I should marry my wife
My favourite app is Curve. It’s an amazing improvement to my life and I can finally carry just one payment card. I still think Shazam is the most amazing app ever though.
My favourite book is Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I love its ethos of committing to something that you are not sure you can achieve because you damn well have to once committed.
My favourite holiday destination is Ibiza. That island has changed my life – it’s the place that instantly relaxes me and keeps me sane. It’s an island of beautiful beaches and coves, equally as enjoyable with my wife and children as it is with a group of friends looking to party.