Paul and Sharon Collins, owners of Belvoir Lincoln, are this week celebrating 25 years in the business.
They plan to mark the occasion in the New Year with a special anniversary event at their office on 450 High Street, Lincoln, which is a far cry from the early days of Paul Collins working from home in his dining room.
“In December 1996, I was an army warrant officer based at RAF Digby and I was coming up to finishing my military career,” he recalled. “One day I spotted an article in a magazine about Belvoir, and the more I read the more I thought I could do property management. I’d let my own house whilst I was in the forces, and knew first-hand that most agents were not doing a great job.
“I arranged to meet the founder of Belvoir, and soon became the fourth franchisee to sign up to the network, which now has over 300 offices nationwide. Working from my dining room was challenging, and I later converted the garage into an office. We then moved to a new house, and I worked in an office at the bottom of the garden. In 1999 we moved to Belvoir Lincoln’s current location. Originally, we only had the downstairs office, but I later managed to acquire the upstairs flat, and the shop next door.
“Those early days were quite challenging but nevertheless, we did well and by the end of the first year, had 50+ rental properties on our books. This increased to 160 by the end of our second year and just continued to rise.
“I think being ex-military has definitely helped, as people felt they could trust me. I’ve always had a reputation for saying things as they are and won’t take on rental properties that aren’t up to our standards. We’ve lost properties as a result, but equally we’ve had landlords return to us months later, saying they’d regretted going elsewhere.”
Collins reports that the lettings market in Lincoln is currently very busy.
He added: “As soon as we list a property it is generally let out very quickly, often with several applicants for every property. We always try to ensure that properties are clean and tidy and we do all our own inventories because we’ve not found a company that will do it to our standards.
“Over the years Belvoir Lincoln has won many awards, and I’ve done my best to give back to the franchise and the wider industry. I also managed to win a Lifetime Achievement Award twice!
“Sharon and I plan to celebrate our 25-year business anniversary in the New Year with a small gathering at the office to thank various people who have helped us along the way, including the local press. I’ve enjoyed my time as a franchisee, and all the benefits and support that comes with being part of the Belvoir network. Belvoir Lincoln is now in a very strong position to continue trading for another 25 years!”
Belvoir CEO Dorian Gonsalves said: “I would like to offer sincere congratulations to Paul and Sharon on this fantastic achievement. I am fortunate to have maintained a great relationship with these wonderful people for almost two decades and can honestly say that they are two of the best people I have ever met in any business circle.
“Over the years Paul has been one of the very best ambassadors of the Belvoir brand, consistently offering a very high level of lettings and property management services. To do this consistently and at such an outstanding level for 25 years really is a remarkable achievement. I wish Paul and Sharon every success for the future.”