Conyeyancing firm with big ambitions to dominate the market
Since the recession I have noticed Land Registry application figures showing some firms gaining market share more quickly than others. Beaumont Legal in Wakefield is one such firm.
Recently Nick Masheder, Head of Conveyancing, Beaumont Legal, was quoted as saying that within the next three years his aspiration is for the firm to become the largest UK conveyancing firm by volume. I was curious, so went to meet Nick to find out more.
The corporate style of the business is apparent from its modern business park location on the edge of Wakefield, with personal plated cars and an attentive receptionist that Sir Alan Sugar would be proud of. The sharp image was soon followed by the big beaming smile of local man Nicholas Masheder bouncing down the stairs. Nick ushered me into a boardroom that would not have looked out of place in a large City of London solicitors practice.
The image of the firm was very different to the paper cluttered, run down, offices that many conveyancers still operate out of. But the warm personality of Nick showed that this business was still very people based.
Nick explained that he was really proud of how Beaumont Legal has been doing saying “we have been bobbing in and out of the top 5 of the Land Registry statistics for the last 12 months”.
Whilst he explained that a number of factors contributed to this, including being on the right panels at the right time, the main driver for growth was the staff culture within the firm.
Nick explained that Beaumont believes clients want to speak to their conveyancer, so they use a solicitor-led approach to conveyancing. In Nick’s opinion this results in a traditional service, delivered using modern technology. Solicitors are respected and given choices over the way in which they run their cases, rather than having overly prescriptive case management systems. The firm claims to enjoy a high level of repeat clients.
Nick said: “We are very particular about the quality of staff we recruit and once we have found the right people we make sure we look after them. “A Corona or Cava on a Friday is one of the many benefits we have in place to reward our team and a small gesture to say thank you for their hard work. “If we look after the team they will look after our clients and we will get repeat custom.”
With about 45 conveyancing staff and still growing, the firm is clearly winning work from a wide variety of sources.
When asked about his growth aspirations Nick said: “Everyone has to have targets and I can’t see any reason why we can’t have the aspiration to be the biggest in the market.”
With market conditions looking a lot more attractive, Nick explained that he thought everyone was “fed up about feeling fed up” and was now driving the business forward quickly as the recessionary gloom lifts.
One of his objectives over the coming months is to benefit from the relationship that has developed with the move at the Land Registry to build customer teams. Nick said: “We work well with Jamie Winch our customer team manager at the Land Registry. The development of the customer teams has worked really well for us.” In the coming months Beaumont Legal intends to automate its submission of their AP1s.
Nick’s biggest frustrations with other firms are those either not embracing the massive advances in the use of technology or not adopting a paperless attitude which will help speed up transactions as well as cut the amount of paper used. He said they will often email a firm a contract pack only to receive a letter a week later in the post asking for a hard copy of the documents. Other frustrations include the lack of consistency in the way information is dealt with by a variety of firms.
It will be interesting to see if Nick can achieve his desire to become the largest conveyancing firm in the country in due course. What will be more interesting will be to see if he can do it profitably, which he maintains has been the case even through some of the more recent dark days of conveyancing.