setting up a conveyancing firm

What they don’t tell you about setting up a conveyancing firm…

I set up Aconveyancing in 2017, after many years of working with firms of all sizes. My intention was to take the best parts of all those previous companies and merge them into my own. Sounds logical, right?

Combine that with all the tips from experts, books and mentors and I’d have the recipe for the perfect business. As much as I’d like to tell you that was the case, there were hiccups and learnings along the way that I didn’t always anticipate. Five years in, we proudly have four offices and a new training academy, hopefully we are doing something right. But in the interest of sharing best practice with others in the industry, or if you’re thinking of setting up your own practice, here’s a few pieces of advice that I wish someone had given to me at the start…

  1. Don’t incur costs where there is an alternative. Budget as tightly where possible and research unexpected outgoings and taxes that you might not be aware of. A really good financial advisor and / or accountant will provide guidance on the best places to focus your finances as the business grows. Staff wages cannot be scrimped on, but there are many other ways to save money. Office space is a great example. Right now, with many people choosing to work from home, office space can be negotiated heavily on price, along with rates and parking. Don’t be afraid to haggle or sign up to longer contracts for lower rates.
  2. Find a wise and experienced mentor. The benefit of a great mentor is not a new concept and it’s true that finding the right person can help steer your vision and ambition in the right direction. But identifying that person isn’t easy. My advice is to seek out someone selfless and independent. I have found that the best mentors are ones indirectly connected to the job, people in the property industry but not conveyancers themselves. People that challenge your thinking. You’ll quickly get trapped in an echo chamber if you’re only surrounded with like-minded opinions. Experts from further afield, with different skill sets can offer a more impartial perspective and insight into the wider industry.
  3. Don’t stop writing lists. This might sound like the kind of thing you did at school, or in your first job, but there is something undeniably simple about writing a to-do list. Our profession is face paced and running a business comes with the risk of day-to-day chaos if not managed properly. A list can be beneficial for three reasons:
  • They dampen anxiety about the potential chaos of work
  • They provide structure and a plan you can stick to
  • And (most importantly) they become a record of what you achieved that day, week or month

For me, writing a to-do list every morning is the most effective way to refocus my priorities and avoid missing anything that might otherwise fall to the bottom of the pile.

Keeping things simple and streamlined, in whatever way works for you, is essential. Combine that with learning to delegate properly and removing yourself from the detail when appropriate and the rest will follow. Of course, there are so many rewards for setting up on your own. But those won’t come overnight and the graft is unavoidable, but watching a team grow and staff thrive professionally is a priceless payoff.

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