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Success Stories - Mark Watson & Mark Smith

Martin & Co Staines

From Boating Buddies to Franchise Partners…

With a wealth of combined commercial experience behind them, business partners Mark Watson and Mark Smith purchased the existing Martin & Co Staines office in September 2017.

How did this expertise within the corporate world result in them becoming business owners?

“As an ex-accountant with a number of sales and marketing roles under my belt, I’d been working within large technology firms helping them to grow from £0 turnover businesses to £multi-million organisations. Mark (Smith) also has extensive experience developing and growing profitable businesses, and so we decided that if we could do it so successfully for other business owners – why not do it for ourselves!”

We decided that if we could do it so successfully for other business owners – why not do it for ourselves!

So, why a property business?

“I’ve always had an interest in property, and personally own a portfolio of around 15-20 managed let properties across the length and breadth of the UK – from south west England to Scotland. Property is a fantastic investment if done properly, but through my years as a property owner, I’ve recognised that there are some great, as well as not-so-great, agents out there who aren’t supporting their clients to reap the rewards!”

Having known each other for many years through their involvement in Staines Boat Club, Mark and Mark decided to take the leap into business ownership together and identified an opportunity to acquire the Martin & Co Staines branch – a business which had been located in the Surrey town for the past eight years.

“It really was down to being in the right place at the right time.  A local franchise business came up for sale just as we agreed to go forward with our plans to purchase an agency – so timings couldn’t have been better.  We’d also had previous dealings with another Martin & Co agent who spoke extremely highly of the brand, so it really was an opportunity to be grabbed with both hands.  And we did!”

We’d had previous dealings with another Martin & Co agent who spoke extremely highly of the brand

How did the process start for the pair?

“We initially financed the purchase of the business with our own cash, and then immediately embarked on a full training programme through The Property Franchise Group which gave us all of the knowledge and tools to hit the ground running. The ongoing support we have access to, both from Head Office and the wider Group network, has been invaluable in helping us to get to where we are now.”

So, what are the immediate goals for the business owners?

“Having officially launched the business and successfully integrated the existing team of staff into the new structure is something we’re already extremely proud to have achieved. Going forwards, we’re naturally eager to grow the business, both from a team and a turnover perspective, and to then look at purchasing a second Martin & Co branch.  We’re certainly not here to stand still!”

And, long-term?

“Ultimately, we’re looking to own a whole network of successful offices in and around the local area and to have secured a solid reputation for outstanding customer care and the delivery of a leading-edge, professional service.  Whilst the digital commerce world is ever-expanding, as a business we believe that estate agency can absolutely differentiate itself through embracing all of the technological tools available, whilst ensuring the highest quality personal service at all times.”


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