Focusing on the Fundamentals
Starting a new business in the current economic climate – particularly one in the property sector – could be considered a daunting prospect. However, as new Dawlish estate agency, Fraser & Wheeler proves, a sound business plan and excellent customer service can help a business to prosper, whatever the market conditions.
Set up by directors Ian and Ben Fraser and Dawn Wheeler in October 2010, Fraser & Wheeler is a residential estate agency based in Dawlish, Devon, covering surrounding areas including Teignmouth and Holcombe to the south, Kenton and Starcross to the north, and Ashcombe to the west. With over 70 years’ combined experience at senior levels in large South West agencies, Ian, Ben and Dawn joined forces to create a business that specialises in the fundamentals of estate agency.
“The appeal to us when setting up Fraser & Wheeler was a love of good old-fashioned estate agency,” said Ian Fraser. “We wanted to focus on helping people buy and sell houses without being distracted by selling non-core business products. Everyone that comes through our door wants to either buy or sell a property and that’s our specialism.”
Having created a detailed business plan covering everything including the number of valuations, sales, exchanges and properties expected on the books, the team achieved their first three-month target within an impressive three weeks of opening. Dawn Wheeler attributes this success to excellent customer service and strong word of mouth recommendations.
“We call ourselves brand new estate agents with familiar faces,” said Dawn. “We’ve all lived in the area for a long time and have good relationships within the community, which is key to running a successful business in a small town like Dawlish.”
“Our customers will always get a warm welcome and receive the same high levels of service whether they’re buying a £60,000 flat or selling a £1 million pound mansion,” added Ben Fraser. “We’re open from 8.30am to 6.00pm but are always happy to arrange viewings out of hours to suit the client.”
Ian Fraser’s relationship with Simpkins Edwards stretches back to the early 1980s, but when he brought in tax manager Jason Shear and his team to provide tailored advice and practical support with the business plan and setting up of the company, he didn’t bank on a twist of fate that would get Fraser & Wheeler off to the perfect start.
“The first sale Fraser & Wheeler arranged actually came about as a referral from Simpkins Edwards,” said Ian Fraser. “The sister of a colleague of Jason’s was preparing to sell; Jason recommended us, we were instructed and we successfully arranged our first ever sale!”
As well as taking advantage of personal recommendations, the team at Fraser & Wheeler have also been proactive in marketing both themselves and their properties, citing internet property portals as key to maximising audience reach. They have an enhanced package on Rightmove.co.uk, which means that sellers can take advantage of extra pictures to show off their homes, attracting more enquiries.
When discussing the state of the housing market in Devon and the South West, Ian was clear that to successfully sell a house, a heavy dose of realism is needed:
“There’s no doubt that the market’s challenging, mainly because of tight lending criteria which means that first time buyers are struggling to secure mortgages,” continued Ian. “However, the success we’ve experienced over the past few months proves that if your property is sensibly priced and well marketed, it will sell. We’re focused on giving our clients good, sound advice. Even if they’re disappointed with the valuation we put on their home it’s our job to reassure them that n the current market an honest valuation is the only way to succeed. Our high sales numbers prove that.”
To get in touch with the Fraser & Wheeler team, visit www.fraserandwheeler.co.uk or call 01626 862379
Are you starting a business or planning an expansion? For practical, tailored support with creating business plans and maximising tax savings call Simpkins Edwards’ specialist team on 01392 211233.