Boardwalk Property Co.

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Boardwalk Property Co.'s best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Boardwalk Property Co. is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.boardwalkpropertyco.com

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
48 | ABBOTSWOOD PROPERTIES
With increased red tape, we realised
the need to develop consultants,
engineers, ecologists, planning
consultants and barristers. All are
directly instructed by, and therefore
answerable to, Abbotswood, creating
efficiencies and economies in design
and construction. Some of our
subcontractors, who are reliable and
highly skilled, have been with us for
over 30 years.
Barriers to lending
Always supported by economical
high street banks, we are beginning
to see barriers to lending. Banks
have a much more short-term view
or are not able to fund development
costs at all during the build process.
Now fairly well placed with retained
profits, Abbotswood often self-fund
developments.
The UK Housebuilder Federation
believes correctly that delivery of
new homes can be increased by the
reappearance of SME housebuilders.
Much lip service is paid to the need
for government to interject with
schemes offering financial support
to housebuilders and purchasers.
This only deals with the symptoms,
rather than fundamental problems.
Decisions should be removed from the
political arena of planning committees.
Transferring the management of
many planning issues, such as climate
change, flooding, drainage, surface
water and construction management,
to building control rather than
planning officers, would assist SMEs.
Changing perception of the
industry
They will not re-emerge as robust
businesses until construction is
considered a positive career option
by school leavers and graduates and
respected by the public. The industry
needs to promote itself as an exciting
career choice. With the introduction
of all-rounder construction courses,
graduates could be sponsored by
contractors. Rather as GPs refer
patients to medical specialists,
these “jack of all trades” graduates
could then manage specialists
withconfidence.
Staffed by competent teams, SME
housebuilders would be better placed
to tackle the planning system, building
control challenges and so on. Lenders,
especially the high street banks, would
have the confidence to support all
scales of housing developments and
SMEs would make a very positive
contribution to the provision of
housing in the UK.
In the meantime, we continue to
survive by diversification. Future
projects will include co-living
microunits supported by co-working
spaces. Plans are being made for a
co-housing project where retirees
can live fulfilling lives supported
by other residents: a reflection on
Abbotswood’s core value of creating
homes as refuge.
Housebuilding
SMEs will not
re-emerge as
robust
businesses until
construction is
considered a
positive career
option by
school leavers
and graduates
Design and quality
49BOARDWALK PROPERTY CO. |
HOUSING
Directors Jack Head and
NickStopard
Boardwalk Property Co. was established in 2014 with the
aim of refashioning estate agency in Bristol. Founders
Jack Head and Nick Stopard say they recognised that the
days of buyers wandering the high street in search of their next
property were over. According to Jack and Nick, there had been
a shift in the way people were searching for property – with
many buyers turning instead to the internet. They identified that
an estate agency would have an enormous advantage if it could
deliver a high-quality service alongside an internet marketing
model, without the costs of operating from a high-street shop,
therefore passing savings onto clients by way of lower fees. Jack
explains Boardwalk’s approach in greater detail.
We wanted to refashion the estate agency industry in Bristol, with the overall goal
of raising standards and saving our vendors money. Through our own experiences
working with and for other estate agents, we identified an array of improvements
that could be made in order to improve the image of estate agencies and the way
in which the service is delivered.
When we first set up Boardwalk, we visited real estate agents in New York to learn
how they deliver their world-renowned customer service and to see how this could
be replicated in our own service. We recognise our industry is not simply about the
American-style customer service, and as such we have also added some “Bristol” to
our service delivery and company culture.
FACTS ABOUT
BOARDWALK PROPERTY CO.
»Directors: Jack Head and
NickStopard
»Founded in 2014
»Located in Bristol
»Services: Residential estate
agency
»No. of employees: 8
Boardwalk Property Co.
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
50 | BOARDWALK PROPERTY CO.
» “REFASHIONED” TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Boardwalk’s aim is to improve on a traditional estate agency offering.
Thisincludes:
»A significantly reduced sales fee
»Only a 30-day contract with our vendors
»Free professional photography, floor plan and Energy Performance Certificate
»No upfront fees
»Social media marketing, not printed press
»Virtual reality viewings and 3D virtual tours
»Drone aerial photography and videography
A key change in how we deliver our
service is the choice to work from
offices rather than from expensive
high-street shop fronts. There were
challenges surrounding this decision,
with initial awareness of our brand a
particular difficulty. We had to find
our own way to attract customers, as
our office location made us much less
visible to the public.
Our brand image was key to helping
us get noticed, with our logo,
website and for sale signs varying
from the more conventional estate
agency brand. We adopted an
online marketing strategy alongside
this, using the tools of Google
and Facebook together with more
traditional marketing techniques, in
targeted areas of the city.
The savings we make from working
from offices as opposed to shops are
passed on to our sellers. This means we
are able to offer very competitive sales
fees with zero risk attached, as our
vendors only pay on completion ofsale.
To this day we offer a simple,
transparent and easy-to-understand
fee structure, with no hidden costs.
We are also able to offer our services
to the whole of Bristol instead of
operating within a smaller radius
around a high-street shop.
Delivering high-quality service
is the backbone of our business
model and we thrive off customers
leaving positive online reviews of
their experiences of working with
us. For the past two years we have
been given the Gold Award for
customer service in both Bristol and
the South West by the UK’s largest
estate agency customer review
siteAllAgents.
Service delivery
Clear and transparent communication
is integral to our service and supports
our systems and our processes.
Getting this right is imperative in
delivering a quality service. We
have used innovations in marketing
and technology to improve on the
traditional estate agency service.
Boardwalk’s own gin
Virtual reality property
viewing in the
Boardwalk office
The savings
we make from
working from
offices as
opposed to
shops are
passed on to
our sellers
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
50 | BOARDWALK PROPERTY CO.
» “REFASHIONED” TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Boardwalk’s aim is to improve on a traditional estate agency offering.
Thisincludes:
»A significantly reduced sales fee
»Only a 30-day contract with our vendors
»Free professional photography, floor plan and Energy Performance Certificate
»No upfront fees
»Social media marketing, not printed press
»Virtual reality viewings and 3D virtual tours
»Drone aerial photography and videography
A key change in how we deliver our
service is the choice to work from
offices rather than from expensive
high-street shop fronts. There were
challenges surrounding this decision,
with initial awareness of our brand a
particular difficulty. We had to find
our own way to attract customers, as
our office location made us much less
visible to the public.
Our brand image was key to helping
us get noticed, with our logo,
website and for sale signs varying
from the more conventional estate
agency brand. We adopted an
online marketing strategy alongside
this, using the tools of Google
and Facebook together with more
traditional marketing techniques, in
targeted areas of the city.
The savings we make from working
from offices as opposed to shops are
passed on to our sellers. This means we
are able to offer very competitive sales
fees with zero risk attached, as our
vendors only pay on completion ofsale.
To this day we offer a simple,
transparent and easy-to-understand
fee structure, with no hidden costs.
We are also able to offer our services
to the whole of Bristol instead of
operating within a smaller radius
around a high-street shop.
Delivering high-quality service
is the backbone of our business
model and we thrive off customers
leaving positive online reviews of
their experiences of working with
us. For the past two years we have
been given the Gold Award for
customer service in both Bristol and
the South West by the UK’s largest
estate agency customer review
siteAllAgents.
Service delivery
Clear and transparent communication
is integral to our service and supports
our systems and our processes.
Getting this right is imperative in
delivering a quality service. We
have used innovations in marketing
and technology to improve on the
traditional estate agency service.
Boardwalk’s own gin
Virtual reality property
viewing in the
Boardwalk office
The savings
we make from
working from
offices as
opposed to
shops are
passed on to
our sellers
51BOARDWALK PROPERTY CO. |
HOUSING
Theseinclude:
»An online platform for our vendors
to log in and view updates
»Cloud-based systems to support
operations including Google Drive,
Todoist and TextMagic
»iPads used by staff at viewings, with
a 4G link to office
»E-signing for all contractual documents,
alongside a paper-free office
Processes like these are vital for each stage
of our service and are followed precisely
by our staff to ensure smooth delivery.
The staff’s performance is audited, and
we run a monthly staff league table,
with the winner receiving a prize.
We focus on client retention, repeat
business and recommendations.
We realise the importance of
communication in service delivery, and
thus have initiatives like “Feedback
Friday” where once a week every
vendor receives an update on how
their property sale is progressing.
We also understand the importance of
internal communication, choosing to
work from an open-plan office with
all departments together, encouraging
staff to talk each other as opposed to
communicating via email.
Looking forward
With the business recently celebrating
its fifth anniversary, we continue to
develop new and innovativeideas. We
have recently launched “BoardwalkX”,
a premium-level service offered to our
vendors. This includes, among other
things, drone-shot aerial video and
photos of their property, additional
marketing via Rightmove and Facebook
and exclusive discounts through
partnerships with local Bristol businesses,
with our vendors receiving an enhanced
service throughout the process. We also
plant five trees in Bristol on behalf of our
client with every “Boardwalk X” sale.
Bristol is a growing city with a thriving
local economy. There are housing
market pressures brought on by the
unstable political environment, but
Bristol’s market is robust, so we continue
to see high levels of activity while we
also continue to gain more market share.
The local market still has much to offer
us, and as such we have no plans to
expand beyond Bristol. Crucially, we
have no plans to move from our office-
based model.
Delivering high-
quality service is
the backbone of
our business
model and we
thrive off
customers
leaving positive
online reviews of
their experiences
of working
withus
The Boardwalk team
The Boardwalk head
office

www.boardwalkpropertyco.com

This article was sponsored by Boardwalk Property Co.. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development