Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Being part of the team

When David Phillips launched in 1998, we identified a need for a supplier that could provide a complete and fast furnishings solution for landlords. Previously, landlords had to go to high street stores – select the items they wanted – and usually wait around three weeks for those items to be delivered. Not only would furniture, appliances and homewares arrive on different days, but after waiting around all day, deliveries were then dropped off at the front door without being unpackaged and installed in the correct place. And if something wasn’t quite right, landlords would have to arrange for the item to be collected and wait again for a replacement. This is a lot of hassle for anyone to go through and it also delayed tenancies.

Since those dark days, as a pioneer of Next Day furniture delivery, David Phillips has become the leading furniture supplier to the UK’s private rented sector, with our role evolving to the point where letting agents now consider us an integral part of their property management team. With a delivery fleet of 55 vehicles, in-house installation teams and interior designers, and over 3,500 items at our disposal, we can manage everything relating to the furnishing of a property. Our products and services include investor furniture packages, kitchen packs providing essential homeware, furniture rental for short-term lets, and next day furniture and appliances replenishment, which we can now do same day for anyone within the M25. And we also offer a bespoke interior design service for landlords renting high-end properties.

In recent years, it has become widely recognised that over 50 percent of the private rented sector (PRS) is now furnished – and in London, between 80 and 90 percent. These days, people are more mobile, moving home every two to three years for job or lifestyle reasons, so there is a massive cost in terms of removals as well as the prospect of furniture not fitting their new property. And with the squeeze on living standards, young people in particular are finding it more difficult to furnish a property themselves. It’s all added hassle that most tenants would happily do without if the option of a furnished property is available to them. Because of this, in many cases agents now know that offering a property unfurnished will not only rule out a large segment of the market but will also make properties less desirable than their furnished counterparts.

Recognising the impact that it has on rental values and void periods, agents are increasingly promoting furniture as part of the overall investment – and to assist them we have been compiling research to highlight the benefits. Through the increase in rent and reduction in voids achieved by furnishing a property, our research shows that the cost of a David Phillips furniture package can be paid off in only 1 ½ years meaning, thereafter, the landlord is increasing their return on investment.

So – why are we considered part of the team? The first point is that we want to be part of the team. We produce bespoke brochures for large new-build developments and are happy to create branded marketing material for agents wishing to offer our furnishing solutions a as part of their service. Indeed, we recently formed a partnership with Hamptons International, becoming the furniture provider for their Interior Solutions department. Integral to this is the fact that we are extremely hands on. If you ask the agents we work with, they will tell you that all they have to do is call or email us – and we do the rest. We’re one of the only companies that provide three-hour delivery slots, we offer a key collection and drop-off service, and we update our customers throughout so they’re kept in the loop and don’t need to chase us. We also test all electrical appliances that we install before leaving, even putting washing machines on a full-cycle to make sure they work.

Having our own delivery fleet and installation teams is a huge benefit. It means that issues can be reported directly to our sales team, enabling us to rectify them as soon as possible, and it also means we can offer a same day replenishment service so agents can replace a missing or damaged item last minute. In my previous life as a lettings manager, starting the tenancy on a bad foot usually paved the way for future complaints. Tenants that are impressed by how well their property is managed want to
stay longer and often stick with the same agent when they do decide to move, which means happier clients and more commission.

Richard Beltrán,
Director of Sales
At David Phillips, everything we do is built around the people that use our service. We are not perfect – far from it – but we do try and take the time to listen to their feedback and use it to better our service. Often, asking customers what they want isn’t the best way to create a great product. Put them on the spot and they just don’t know. We believe in listening to the problems that customers inevitably experience and trying to solve them. Only then can you create an award winning service.

If you are interested in using us or would like to find out more about our service, please contact the team on 08451 088 088 or email me at richard.beltran@davidphillips.com.

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