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The ‘barmy’ beginnings of 30 years in estate agency

The ‘barmy’ beginnings of 30 years in estate agency

As seen in this week’s Harrogate Advertiser, Ripon Gazette & Wetherby News, Beadnall Copley company founder Andrew Beadnall shares the story of setting up a local estate agency business in 1991 that just grew and grew and, the team that helped him make it a success.

On Andrew Beadnall’s first day in the property business, his boss gave him some advice he has never forgotten.  “He said, ‘Laddie, there’s only one thing you will ever have to offer doing this job: goodwill.  Never lose it”, Andrew recalls. “And I can honestly say, after all this time, every day of my working life, I remember that advice.”

It’s a pearl of wisdom that has been the cornerstone of a long career in property, capped this year by his firm’s 30th anniversary celebrations.

“Over the last three decades, we’ve had so much repeat business – and we’re now selling houses for the children and even grandchildren of some of our first clients – so we must be doing something right.  We’re as good today as we were 30 years ago”.

It was in 1991 that Andrew co-founded Beadnall Copley estate agency with David Copley, who retired 11 years ago. It was a bold move in a difficult market. “People thought I was barmy to open an estate agent in 1991, because of the state of the economy.  But we had the self-believe that it would succeed,” he says. “We had to work seven days a week, because we didn’t have any stock.”

Andrew’s approach was based on personal service and proactivity. “Within the first year we had grown from not existing to being one of the largest, if not the largest estate agent in Harrogate”.

Turning a rival’s slogan “tomorrow’s kind of estate agent” – on its head, Beadnall Copley marketed itself as “yesterday’s kind of estate agent”.  “We weren’t being old fashioned, we just wanted to offer the sort of service that had been hugely popular with people in that it was very personal.

That ethos has seen the agency grow to three branches – in Harrogate, Ripon and Wetherby – plus a lettings arm in the Harrogate office.

Along the way, Andrew has been well served by some very long-standing employees.  Managing director Daryll Digpal, for example has been with the firm for 17 years.  Bev Baldwin, who runs the Ripon office, Stacey Reynolds in the Wetherby office, and executive secretary Annette Davies all count as veterans.

But no-one has been with the firm quite as long as Wendy Hartley, who worked with Andrew before he even set up his agency. “If it wasn’t for Wendy, we would never have built the business to be as successful as it is today, her rapport with people is incredible.  She’s amazing.”

Andrew says he has no plans to open more offices, but that doesn’t mean the business is standing still.  It has invested in new in-house printing equipment and a re-designed website and is looking its fourth decade square in the eye, with a strong social media presence.

“Every single day of our working lives we’re looking at the very latest way to market a property, but never, ever losing that personal touch,” he says.  “That will never be lost as long as I’m around.”

Original story by John Grainger, JPI Media - Harrogate Advertiser Series