Andy Vasey is a people person; he gets a buzz out of helping others in different aspects of their lives. Andy has spent most of his adult life working as a letting agent, serving Stratford upon Avon and the surrounding area, and in 2013 he signed up to give some of his free time as a Special Constable. He served five years with Warwickshire Police in that voluntary, part-time role and another year as a regular full-time police officer, before he decided that business ownership was the right route for him.
Cribs Residential Lettings was founded in February 2020, as a partnership with Liz Lowe, a fellow letting professional whom Andy has known since he began working in property. The duo are similarly experienced and, combined, they offer over 30 years of experience in letting properties in Stratford.
“I loved the practical role of being a Special Constable, I felt like I made a difference in my community, it was fun, and it worked to combine those extra shifts alongside my day job in lettings. I had imagined that regular policing would have been similar, but it was the bureaucracy that overtook the enjoyment. It wasn’t for me, and I missed property. Rather than return to employment, I decided to take the plunge and start my own lettings business. I developed a great respect for Liz’s work over the years, we were on the same page and had a good match of skills, so I let her know my idea and was thrilled when she agreed to join me on this journey.”
Individually, Andy and Liz were well known but they recognised that it would take some work and money to establish their brand new agency. It was important in this sector to have office premises, but the deposit and advance rent meant that Andy and Liz had to seek finance. They had been turned down by a number of banks before they were referred to X-Emergency Services (XES), who were able to facilitate a government-backed Start Up Loan for the vital start-up finance they needed. XES mentored the applicants to develop a business plan, cash flow forecast and stayed with them for guidance during the twelve months post-launch.
“We couldn’t have done it without the Start-Up Loan. The banks were not at all approachable and we were turned down repeatedly, which was a surprise and terribly disappointing as we knew that our business plan was sound. We are grateful to have found X-ES and Dax, our Business Advisor, who has been so helpful, and even introduced us to our accountant, who is a fellow ex-service entrepreneur.”
Almost as soon as Andy and Liz had found their premises, the pandemic hit the UK, but thankfully they were able to delay occupation while they reviewed the operational landscape. Like many businesses, everything they knew about the lettings process was upturned and the pair had to work hard to adapt around government restrictions.
Steadily, Cribs Residential Lettings acquired new listings, which were quickly snapped up by tenants, and they established long-term management contracts with landlords. They have found demand to be high for rental properties, as it is nationwide, and have a list of people waiting to find a let. Almost as soon as they’ve taken the photos and written the particulars, the property can be let, well before it is uploaded to their own website or third-party portals. Furthermore, Andy and Liz have a more modern approach to marketing than their competitors, using social media and YouTube to introduce properties and reinforce their expertise and local knowledge.
“We couldn’t have been happier with the first two years of the business, despite the pandemic. I think it is our experience that is valuable to customers, they can rely us to be on top of legislation, safety, and landlord obligations. There are major fines at stake, but we are well known and well trusted to look after both sides of the arrangement.
We are both active in our community and ensure we take an interest in all that’s going on in Stratford. We really pride ourselves on what we do and are starting to receive recommendations, which is a great reward.”
Andy has no regrets about his move into business ownership; he still gets to serve the community he is so passionate about and, by being in partnership with Liz, the duo support each other and share this exciting, albeit sometimes daunting, chapter in their lives.
“There are no regrets at all. We look forward to coming into work in the morning and wish we could have more time in the day. The sense of reward that our own success brings is unbeatable, after having given so much for our employers in the past. We are the strength of the business, and we are working for our own future.”
– – – –
For more information about Andy and Liz’s business, visit: