10:10 AM, 24th July 2015, About 6 years ago
I spoke to Chris Sheldon at LettingSupermarket.com this morning to get an update on progress since the completion of their successful crowd funding campaign earlier this year.
Chris was delighted to report that the business is ahead of target in terms of cash at bank, turnover, profit and properties under management.
He advised me that he has taken a commercial decision to postpone all further TV advertising until after Christmas due to the amount of new business via Property118 literally swamping them. He predicts this will enable him to reduce the target for taking on new properties by 300 over the period and to utilise additional savings from the budget to recruit additional staff so the business is ready to re-launch it’s marketing in the new year. Chris explained they had taken on the letting and management of an additional 100 properties from Property118 members last week alone!
When LettingSupermarket.com launched their ARLA regulated letting agency nearly three years ago many critics said their hybrid model of a centralised online letting agency providing High Street agency levels of service via a network of inventory clerks would not be viable with a charging rate of just 4% of rent for a full letting and management service. It seems the critics are going to have to eat their words!
Chris asked what we had done to the Property118 website to increase the volume to such a high level. My answer to that was that we haven’t promoted LettingSupermarket.com to any greater level than usual but the Budget proposals have attracted far higher numbers of readers. We have also invested recently into optimising Property118.com for small devices (e.g. smart phones) and we have also simplified our navigation. The new tenanted property portal we have launched has also resulted in significantly higher user traffic to the website and the marketing our own crowd funding pitch to raise money for a TV advertising campaign for the portal, by selling shares in the new portal company, will no doubt have had an impact too – details of the Property118 Portal crowd funding here.
It was always our intention for Property118 to follow the shopping mall business model, i.e. all retailers benefit from the footfall (user traffic in our case) attracted by the variety of outlets. We are delighted we chose to back LettingSupermarket.com as one of our anchor tenants and acquire a stake in their business. This strategy looks like it will pay off big time and I’m sure those who invested into LettingSupermarket.com via their crowd funding campaign earlier this year will be equally delighted at this news.
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