The Letting Game

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Letting Game'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 The Letting Game 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, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.thelettinggame.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
52 | THE LETTING GAME
Founder and Managing Director
Jack Head
The team at
TheLetting Game
In 2009, shortly after the economic crash, Jack Head, founder
of The Letting Game, was made redundant from his job in
recruitment. At that time, he had little hope of finding a new
position quickly. However, it wasn’t long until he developed
an idea. It seemed to him that, although construction and new
housing were in for a long and slow decline, there would still be
strong demand for renting. Understanding that people were now
using the internet, rather than the high street, to find their next
property, he knew a company would have an enormous advantage
if it could deliver a high-quality service alongside an internet
marketing model, offering a traditional lettings service without
the costs of a high street shop. Jack elaborates on this idea here.
Our approach
Our aim was to win new customers, and then provide a high-quality service to
retain them. Our ultimate goal was to improve standards within the industry.
Our brand image was, and still is, very important to this strategy. We wanted
to move away from the look and feel of a traditional high street letting agent,
instead seeking to add some “Bristol” to our brand. We didn’t want to be viewed
as a clichéd estate agent, and I’m proud that our initial brand positioning flows
throughout the whole culture of the company to this day.
There were challenges surrounding operating from an office location, but
overcoming these challenges was key to how successful we’ve become. Our initial
brand awareness is a great example of one of these difficulties: we had to find our
FACTS ABOUT
THE LETTING GAME
»Founder and Managing
Director: Jack Head
»Established in 2009
»Based in Bristol
»No. of employees: 16
»Services: Residential lettings
and property management
»Over 450 managed properties
The Letting Game
53THE LETTING GAME |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
own way to attract customers as our
office location made us less visible to
the public.
A successful, low-cost sales and
marketing strategy was crucial. I
identified that if we had access to
high-quality corporate tenants that our
competitors couldn’t reach, it would
differentiate us and give landlords
a real reason to use our services. So
we went about creating partnerships
with relocation companies. These
companies are employed by large
businesses to manage their staff
relocations. Once set up, these often-
exclusive partnerships gave us access
to corporate tenants moving to Bristol.
With these corporate tenants in mind,
we then focused on prospecting
landlords. This approach to winning
business was very successful. This
was the foundation of the company’s
growth during the early years.
From the outset we recognised the
importance of online marketing and
were investing in our website’s SEO
(search engine optimisation) at a time
when many of our competitors were
either unaware of it or ignoring it.
By 2014, our strategy was showing a
high level of success and we became
much less reliant on prospecting, as
our high position in Google and other
search engine results was driving
traffic to our website and, ultimately,
customers to our door.
Working from an office rather than
a high street shop also bought with
it advantages and opportunities.
We had and continue to have lower
operating overheads compared to
many of our competitors. This gave us
the opportunity to offer a competitive
pricing strategy. We went about
mystery shopping our competitors and
soon realised the market was lacking
any pricing transparency, as many
agents charged additional fees on top
of their headline figure. Therefore, to
this day we offer a simple, transparent
and easy-to-understand fee structure,
with no hidden costs.
We also benefit logistically, as we offer
our services to the whole of Bristol
instead of operating within a set radius
around a high street shop front.
Service delivery
Clear and transparent communication
is integral to our service, and supports
our systems and processes. Getting
all three right is imperative if one is to
deliver a quality service. As a company
we have embraced technology,
and this has given us a competitive
advantage in an industry often viewed
as slow to adapt to innovation and
new tools. These include:
»iPads used by staff at viewings, with
4G link to office
»Cloud-based systems to support
operations including Google Drive,
Todoist and TextMagic
»Paper-free office
»Periodic property inspections by
video, hosted online
»E-signing for all terms of engagement,
contracts and tenancy agreements
Processes are vital for each stage of our
service. These 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.
The Letting Game’s
head office
Clear and
transparent
communication
is integral to
our service and
supports our
systems and
processes
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
54 | THE LETTING GAME
We have a prominent focus on client
retention and repeat business. We
realise the importance communication
plays in service delivery, and thus have
initiatives like “Feedback Friday” where
once a week every tenant and landlord
receives an update on how their let 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 and not email
each other.
Company culture
Our company culture is hugely
important to us. We understand our
staff are the lifeblood of our company,
so having people that fit our team and
our culture is vital. Our service is only
as good as the individuals delivering it.
We attract and retain our staff with
competitive salaries and incentives. We
invest in our employees with regular
professional training and we support
all staff through industry-recognised
awards. We have a low staff turnover
compared to the industry norm and are
proud that a member of staff has never
left us to join a competitor. We promote
from within, with all our managers
having joined us in more junior positions,
and we positively recognise the part
our senior staff play in our successes.
We have an open culture which
encourages staff to make suggestions
for improvements to our processes,
and we listen to their experiences
when they have worked at our
competitors. We also enjoy regular
staff team building and social events.
Looking forward
There are challenges ahead for the
private rented sector. The government
has decided to ban fees charged by
letting agents to tenants. This will
affect our business model in the short
term; however, we are viewing this
change in legislation as an opportunity.
The better agents will prosper – we are
well-placed to respond and succeed.
Bristol is a large and growing city and a
fabulous place to do business in, with a
thriving local economy. The local market
still has much to offer us, and we plan
to continue to be the market leader.
Currently we have no plans to expand
beyond Bristol and, crucially, we have
no plans to move from our office base.
Bristol is a
large and
growing city
and a fabulous
place to do
business in
Team summer party
2018

www.thelettinggame.co.uk

The Parliamentary Review Publication, in which this article originally appeared, contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister