Thursday 9 October 2014

Everything I think I need to sort out before opening

228 After a whirlwind and scattergun start to my plans for opening an estate agency next year, I have decided that the next best step is to gather together all the aspects that I think I need to cover before the grand opening.

Here goes (in no particular order)-

  • A new computer or laptop. My current one is fine for family use but I need a separate workstation with more memory.
  • A dedicated telephone line for the business.  Either an extra landline at home or a dedicated mobile phone and number.
  • Sorting out the 2nd garage at the rear of the house that I will convert into an office space.
  • Furniture for this home office, including a desk, lockable filing cabinets, chairs and stationery.  I have an old dining room table, dining chairs, an office chair, a sideboard, a wardrobe, a chest of drawers and some other smaller pieces of furniture in the garage already, so some of these will be re-used or upcycled.
  • A cashflow forecast and business plan for the first year of trading.
  • I need a website designed and built.  The design and content are still to be decided, and will take the form of a complete blog of it's own.
  • I need to source a provider of for sale boards, design what my boards will look like and have them produced.
  • I need to get a grip on what advertising I will use, how it will look, where it will appear, etc.  This is a massive subject and will be it's own blog subject in the future.
  • I'm looking at links to the local community to run alongside my advertising and other marketing.  I'm thinking about links to a local school, a local sports club and some other community projects.  I will provide them with support and financial help, maybe with a twist.
  • I will need a solicitor for 2 reasons.  Firstly for advice for setting up my business as a legal entitiy, then a reliable referral point for any conveyancing business that I come across.
  • An accountant, for the setting up of the business as well.  I will need advice regarding how to set up the business, whether a sole tradership, a partnership or a limited company will best serve my needs.
  • I will need to open a business bank account, with online access, but also a local branch for paying in any rent money taken in cash or by cheque.
  • A final decision on whether I open with sales and lettings.  If I have lettings as well then I will need contacts for the management of the properties, such as electricians, plumbers, glaziers and central heating engineers.
  • I will be looking into the availability of business grants in my area to help with the set-up costs.  As I type this, I have now put this to the top of my mental list.
  • I have an idea about becoming a "hybrid" of online and offline state agents by using the window of a High Street business to display my properties and contact details.  I'll need to look into this and start to speak to local businesses about the possibility of this.
  • I will need to register with the ombudsman service for estate agency, look at membership of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and, if relevant, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
  • I will need to look at contacting, and forging a working relationship with a local mortgage adviser that will be able to assist my clients with their financial needs.
  • Likewise with a local surveyor, especially for clients that are buying without arranging finance.
  • I have spoken to several companies in the past that supply a software tool for managing an estate agency.  A sort of client and property database, with the ability to upload properties to portals, match clients with properties, email property details to clients and other daily functions.
  • On that note, I will need to look at which property portals I am considering and from there, look at costs and fit this into my marketing plan.
  • I will need to look at several levels of insurance - any changes to my car insurance, any changes to my home insurance from having a business operate from home and any business insurance I need for operating in clients homes.
  • I will most probably set up a charitable foundation where any fundraising will go.  I also intend to donate a percentage of my profits to this charitable foundation.  In the early stages of my thought process, I want some of this money to go to a local charity and some to go to a charity related to housing, maybe Shelter.
I know that this won't be a comprehensive list, and other things will pop up as time goes by.  If anyone has any ideas, suggestions or can see any glaring ommissions then please let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment