Lettings & Property
Go Direct Lettings is a property lettings and management business which aims to deliver top-class professional services to landlords and tenants.
The driving force behind the company is Donald Holmes, a one-time driving instructor who bought out the driving school he worked for and concentrating the business on driver training for the MOD.
After starting to deal in property in 1985, Holmes sold the driving company three years later in order to concentrate on property. He subsequently launched Property Link, a property management company, which he sold in 2006.
Holmes spent five years in Portugal, working in hotel and town house construction, before founding Go Direct Lettings franchise group in 2011. Holmes says his goal is to develop Go Direct Lettings into a nationally recognized brand through offering franchises to dynamic entrepreneurs who want to improve their financial future in a growing market place.
Go Direct Lettings has its headquarters in Birkenhead, Merseyside, and serves Liverpool and the Wirral, with branches in Manchester, Warrington and Glasgow.
Go Direct’s Lettings agency franchise offers a larger than average exclusive territory of up to 40,000 properties, carefully appraised by a mapping company who study the household make up — PRS, private and social housing — and pass the results back to Go Direct Lettings who assess the potential opportunity of the territory for maximum market penetration and return on investment. Not all areas chosen by franchisees are suitable, as they may be quite rural, although Go Direct Lettings will discuss and advise on the area of choice.
The Go Direct Lettings fee for this franchise — known as the ‘High Street’ option — is £17,500 (plus VAT). Payment is made in a number of steps, with an initial reservation fee of £1,500 payable when the franchisee is invited to sign a letter of intent. This secures the franchisees chosen territory while Go Direct Lettings develops a tailored franchise agreement for you. The remainder of the fee is paid shortly before training begins.
There is some additional overhead investment required as Go Direct Lettings assists in organising a premises for the franchise business once your location has been agreed. Overheads for the first year would be around £25,000, increasing to £40,000 in year two, as it would be expected that the franchisee would by then be employing staff. However, Go Direct Lettings says that its projections for new businesses show that a Go Direct Lettings franchise should be seeing a return on investment by the end of the first year of trading.
Although experience in the world of property would be an advantage, Go Direct Lettings offers a comprehensive training and support package. In the early days of the franchisee’s business, Go Direct Lettings offers 24/7 support, usually on a one-to-one basis, and will be on hand to assist in all legal requirements of the lettings business, site fit-out, hiring and recruiting staff, finding appropriate insurances, systems training and aid with the launch campaign and marketing.
The initial 10-day training, undertaken in-house at the Go Direct Lettings head office in Birkenhead, Merseyside, covers all aspects of Go Direct Lettings’ business operation, including a fully comprehensive training and guidance manual. In addition the franchisee will have the opportunity to work in a branch of a Go Direct Lettings franchise for a day and franchisees will receive five days in-territory training at their new office.
The franchisor will also supply branding and stationery pack, including shop signage, window and wall LCD (liquid crystal display) plates; ‘To Let’ boards; various legal documents, including Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) forms and notices; and a branded leather folder.
Go Direct Lettings also uses market-leading software, which the franchisee will be fully trained in, and will set up a dedicated business website for the franchisee as well as branded social media accounts.
A Go Direct Lettings franchisee does not have to rely solely on the franchisor as there is a wealth of knowledge to be learned from fellow franchisees — who will understand your problems based on their own experiences — and members of the Go Direct team. Go Direct also holds regular meetings to allow franchisees the opportunity to swap stories, and introduce each other to good practices and to different development and learning opportunities.
The ‘Home Start’ franchise offered by Go Direct Letting is an opportunity to open your own home-based estate agency franchise. The advantages, besides working from home, the franchise can be up and running within weeks.
It is possible through Go Direct Letting’s franchise to open your own property lettings business without having the financial burden of locating, leasing and running a high street office. It is the perfect stepping stone business to help you build up your property letting franchise and your landlord and tenant database to a sustainable level before expanding to take on the responsibility of a high street branch.
This type of franchise is designed for those who prefer to establish their business from home, to gather knowledge of the local area and build a client base within that region, allowing the franchisee to maximise the impact of opening an expanded branch.
The ‘Home Start’ franchise costs £7,500, which gives the franchisee access to a territory of 25,000 households; the same full training as the high street franchise; a laptop with market-leading software already loaded (with the license for the first year paid); all required legal documentation; a full management accounts package; branded stationery (including headed paper, compliment slips, branded folder and business cards); and five ‘To Let’ boards.
Go Direct Lettings will also help its franchisees with a marketing campaign to give the business a high profile launch, and on-going marketing support once the business is open.
Should a franchisee achieve the targets that the company recommends, a Go Direct Lettings franchise should be in profit within nine months and a franchisee will have their initial franchise investment covered within 18 months. Go Franchise Lettings anticipate that net profits of £300,000 per year are achievable by the end of year five.
Go Direct Lettings works with many high street banks and will be able to introduce a franchisee to one which may consider an application for funding, subject to suitability. Go Direct Lettings can supply potential franchisees with a business plan template, which includes cash flow forecasts and projected profit and loss accounts based on target projections. The brand’s finance team will help you to make any final preparations needed before these projections are presented to the bank.
Go Direct Lettings is also associated with Franchise Finance, who have over 30 years experience in helping businesses secure finance. They will help you develop a specific business plan for use in any funding application, for which they charge £750 + VAT. However, if the franchisee’s application is successful, Go Direct Lettings will refund the cost of the charge.
What Go Direct Lettings franchises are currently available for sale in the UK?
Some seeking the perfect franchise might prefer to take on an already established business and avoid the problems of finding a suitable location and the costs of setting up. To find a Go Direct Lettings franchise for resale in your area, you can contact Go Direct’s franchise team to get the most up-to-date information.
When franchisees buy a Go Direct Lettings franchise, they are entering a tried and tested business. Systems have been proven to work and any problems that the franchisee may have faced have already been ironed out. Buying a franchise considerably reduces the risk of entering a business as you will be backed by a franchisor who has years of experience.
Finding the ideal location for your business is one of the biggest contributors to making a success of your business. Go Direct Lettings will assist you with the selection of your franchise site, using their knowledge of which demographic locations work best for franchisees. As a widely known and respected high street business, Go Direct Lettings can help you negotiate a better rate of rent and lease agreement.
It is recommended that the franchisee joins the various professional associations associated with the industry, but this is good practise rather than a legal requirement. You will, however, need to sign up to one of the three Property Redress Schemes.
The Go Direct Lettings franchise runs for five years, but is renewable after that period. The ‘Home Start’ package offers franchisees a three year license, renewable after that period. At the end of this period you are also free to sell the business to a third party.
The Private Rented Sector (PRS) has grown dramatically over the past decade and the number of landlords rose to 2.5 million in 2016 according to a Ludlowthompson survey, increasing by 25 per cent in five years. The total amount of rent paid by tenants rose to more than £50bn in 2017 - more than double the level of a decade earlier.
Go Direct Lettings believes it is one of the few recession-proof markets and figures for the PRS, compiled by the English Housing Survey, show that the sector is growing, accounting for some 4.7 million households in 2016-17. Under-35s have driven the growth, with 46 per cent of 25-34-year-olds living in the private rented sector, up from 27 per cent in 2006-07. There has been a similar rise in the number of 35-44-year-olds, up from 11 per cent to 29 per cent in the same period.
A Knight Frank study of the sector’s outlook estimates that the proportion of households in the PRS will rise to 24 per cent by 2021 and the build-to-rent sector, currently worth £25bn will rise to £70bn by 2022.
To take up a Go Direct Lettings franchise, you will need to obtain a brochure and discuss the options available, leading to a 10-day course at the company’s head office. To find out more, or to request further information on franchising with Go Direct Lettings, click on the ‘Send Enquiry’ button now.
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