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Starting / Growing a Lettings Agency is a Herculean task

I was talking to a letting agent the other day who told me he was really down, as he had been going three or four months and was finding really hard to get off the ground. He started his lettings agency because he knew he could be different, he knew what landlords wanted. He said to himself he could create something great, to make something magical and he thought that to make it special and magical, he needed magical events to occur to get there. Cold starting a lettings agency is hard, a Herculean task and something I have a lot of experience with, helping open 26 cold start letting agencies in the last few years. It was quite obvious his intent was pure and his goal to create magic in his local letting market, by being the landlords champion, he in fact fell for the most common mistake cold starts make.

He believed that the towns landlords would agree with his good intent and support him. More specifically, that local newspaper would clearly, noisily and accurately tell his story, that this story would be heard by all those eager and interested landlords (who were indifferent to their existing letting agent and that landlords would take action and beat a path to his door. He even said he had spoken to some landlords who told him he was the best thing since sliced bread, so thought those landlords would tell other landlords and those other landlords would tell even more landlords. I said, ‘Get real, you've told your mates, met a few landlords who said you were good and they have told no one.

Changing agents is a big thing for landlords to make. Change is hard and change takes time. In the important things in life (relationships, money, investments, health BUT NOT gossip, not snide remarks, not spectator sports), people rarely tell dozens of other people about what they've discovered. No, if you are cold starting a lettings agency, in fact any business, you need to work hard to create something magical, and a big part of that hard work is relentlessly eliminating all magical thinking from your projections and your expectations of how the market will react.

Only count on things that have happened before, landlords aren’t easy go from agents, so they certainly aren’t easy come. Your job is to make landlords walk through your door, to meet you and consider you the best man or woman for the job. You get one chance at this, before the money runs out .... it is hard hard work getting a lettings agency off the ground. Expect no business, not one piece of business for 4 or 5 months whilst you set your foundations of growing the business and anything more than that is a nice bonus.

PS .. had a call from from one of my pupils (sorry clients). He has been sending out his monthly local property market newsletter via email for the last few months (example CLICK HERE - note this isn't his) but he decided to mail it out this month to a few people, using the Royal Mail. Over 36 landlords rang him and all of them saying thank you ... yep, 36 landlords rang him and said they looked forward to receiving his newsletter each month and they were chuffed to receive in paper form ... he had never spoken to these landlords before, just had some addresses from various sources (tenant referencing, land reg etc etc) ... all of them were happy to give their telephone number and some actually said they would be in contact when the tenant handed in their notice... this stuff works if you give it time and you put the effort in!