In the past months after the initial lockdown there have been many stories of businesses struggling and having to drastically alter the way they function simply to survive. For one Altrincham-based business the opposite has been the case. GM Business Connect caught up with managing director Paul Naylor from Trafford Surveyors to find out more about the ongoing success story of their business.
Can you briefly describe how Trafford Surveyors came about and have developed over the years?
“We have been steadily building our reputation now for 20 years. Previously I used to work with Longden and Cook. My old boss John Monkhouse FRICS was well known and respected in the area, and when the company folded I took over his business and client base. I had to change the name so chose something that represented what we do and where we come from – and Trafford Surveyors was created!
“From the start we wanted to be known as the local choice for property valuers and independent surveyors. We strongly believe in offering no nonsense professional straight talking advice for a sensible fee. We’ve grown over the years and broadened our horizons, picking up new clients from a range of sectors. One in particular has a distinctly religious theme with clients like the Salvation Army, The British Muslim Society (valuing their headquarters and mosques throughout the UK). Other holy orders from the Catholic Church (convents) and Jewish institutions – it is surprising to me how we get this work as we don’t advertise!
“We do however sponsor Altrincham FC – who have been recently promoted, and Bowdon Rugby Club. We’re also sponsoring a local singing group and other local groups of interest.”
You seem to have grown as a business in spite of the pandemic – can you go into detail why this has been the case?
“Surprisingly the pandemic has seemed to have increased our workload. I put this down to the fact we are a small business. We simply couldn’t switch off, and no one was going to pay me to sit about as furlough did not apply to me as a director. Other larger firms either shut the doors or operated on a skeleton staff, so once the local property sector, including estate agents and solicitors, realised we were open and could keep their deals rolling, we became inundated. This is where it is so important to build local relationships as a business and keep the dialogue going with key individuals across the property sector.”
Can you describe the size of your business – have you got offices in any other parts of the UK?
“Over the years we did have plans for a national expansion. We used to have offices in Glasgow, Caernarfon and Cambridge, however we now focus on local bespoke clients who prefer a timely independent professional service – and it’s better for us and our customers to concentrate on that 100%.”
I know you’ve been on TV helping Dom Littlewood with his Cowboy Builder programme – can you describe the experience and what your role was?
“The media experience with Dom was amazing. We got 15 minutes of primetime TV exposure – where I was hailed as the RICS expert. The programme has been repeated many times and lots of people still ask me about the experience. The producers asked me to view a property and produce a report focusing on the roof – which simply needed patch repairs totalling £750. The ‘householder’ (an actress) then called the dodgy roofer out to inspect and quote on the work. He was of course already known to trading standards with the programme exposing his nefarious business practices!
“He was filmed with hidden cameras effecting poor repairs in a shoddy manner – myself and Dom were in the garage at the property watching this on hidden cameras, and my role was to talk through the quality of the repairs to Dom and the TV audience. Once the ‘Tradesman’ presented his inflated bill for the shoddy work – myself, Dom and the cameras rushed out and confronted him – scary times and not my usual modus operandi! Needless to say the guy denied everything, got in his van and skedaddled.
“It was a fantastic experience being involved in a TV programme, particularly explaining technical processes and terms to the layman and Dom of course was great fun – a typical cockney geeza!”
What are your plans for future growth for the Business?
“Future plans? Definitely more of same. We have seemed to find a perfect niche as local experts offering a trustworthy service for realistic rates. We’re thinking about possibly recruiting a trainee chartered surveyor – my son Timothy who will be coming out of University next year could fit that role as he will no doubt be looking for a job! He has been shadowing me for years – learning the basics – so he would make a great assistant and turn the company into a true family business.”
Trafford Surveyors is an independent firm of RICS Accredited and Certified staff. They are committed to the guidelines specified in RICS Red Book which details mandatory practices for their members undertaking professional surveys and valuation services.