Congratulations to Belvoir Harrogate

Belvoir would like to congratulate Bill Smith of Belvoir Harrogate on reaching his 20th anniversary in the lettings industry.

Recently voted the happiest place to live, it’s smiles all round in Harrogate for Belvoir franchise owner Bill Smith who has celebrated 20 years in business this year

Belvoir would like to congratulate Bill Smith of Belvoir Harrogate on reaching his 20th anniversary in the lettings industry.

Originally a franchise owner with Copleys, Bill’s business became part of the successful Belvoir group when the network bought out Copleys in 1999.

“I first opened the doors to my Copleys office in 1994,” recalls Bill. “I was an accountant previously but was looking for a new direction when I saw a feature in The Sunday Times about Copleys. I opened an office in Harrogate and later became part of Belvoir when they bought out the franchise in the ’90s.

“During my time in the industry I’ve seen many changes. Many rules and regulations have been introduced and everything has tightened up significantly, plus the market has grown considerably. In fact, my business has delivered year-on-year growth every year for the last two decades, despite increased competition from new agents in the area.”

Voted as the happiest place to live in the UK for the second year running in a recent ‘happiness survey’, it’s not surprising that the property market in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate is so strong.

“Harrogate is a vibrant place with a very lively town centre packed with restaurants and bars, plus it’s very pretty too,” says Bill. “It has a thriving rental market and many people who work in nearby cities, such as York and Leeds, commute to their jobs and choose to live here.”

Family business

Eleven years ago Bill was joined at Belvoir Harrogate by his son, Barrie, making Bill’s business very much a family affair.

“Barrie joined me in September 2003 and is now the Lettings Manager,” says Bill. “He’s very instrumental to the business and has made a significant contribution to its continued growth over the 11 years that he’s been here.

“When he first came on board my wife was concerned about how we’d get on and we recognised the potential risks of working with family. But it’s actually worked out very well and we very much enjoy working together.

“Having Barrie on board has allowed me to think about taking a step back too, while knowing Belvoir Harrogate will remain in good hands,” continues Bill. “I’m definitely hoping to hand the reins over to him sooner rather than later if possible.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time playing golf and travelling, comfortable in the knowledge that the business I’ve spent so many years building will be kept in the family.”

Stability and growth

Bill is one of several franchise owners who have been with Belvoir for more than 15 years, proving that lettings is a stable industry with long-term potential for new franchise owners and their families.

Belvoir Director of Commercial and Franchising Dorian Gonsalves says, "It gives me enormous pleasure to see a business like Belvoir Harrogate grow so considerably and continue to expand.

“On one hand this is testament to the commitment of our franchise owners who have developed into very skilled business people, and on the other hand it is very pleasing that franchise owners, such as Bill, find the rewards from both franchising and the lettings industry to be satisfying enough for them to remain in business for two decades.

"A Belvoir franchise, such as Harrogate, can become a long-term, profitable family business and I think it is sensible of Bill to want to hand his asset on to his son Barrie, who will hopefully continue to develop and evolve the business for a further two decades. Everyone at Belvoir wishes Bill and Barrie the very best of luck for the future."

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