Property Website on Dragons Den | Usforhomes
Q&A Session on our appearance on Dragon's Den Sept 2010
After we featured on Dragon's Den in September 2010 we were inundated with phone calls and emails from homeowners, and other For Sale By Owner websites asking us questions about the statements from the Dragon's.
To bring the 90 second viewing into context we wanted to share with you our answers to your questions.
Q) Why did you go on Dragon’s Den?
a) To show the nation (or at least the 9 million viewers) that there is an alternative way to sell your house without using a traditional estate agent, and to get our brand out there as we believe we will be the brand leader in this sector.
Q) Did you think you would get investment?
a) We knew it was highly unlikely as one of the dragons has a website that is funded by estate agents, so it was a risk for us, but one we felt worth taking if it meant we could reach 9 million viewers
Q) Are Justine and Paul ex estate agents?
a) No not at all, our background is sales, marketing, project management and commercial management, however, one of the directors is a qualified estate agent
Q) The introduction said ‘you thought there is an opportunity for people with property to market it themselves’, where did you get the idea from?
a) It would be great to say that we are the initiators behind this great concept but we can’t take the credit for this. It’s a huge proven concept in America and Canada, there are also other companies offering a similar service in the UK, but not with the same business model as Usforhomes. In fact in February this year the Office of Fair Trading released a report that supported our business model, stating:
…there is a clear gap in the market for a major portal to allow private sellers and online services to list their properties.
…that 27% of consumers (vendors) would use an alternative to estate agents if a suitable brand existed.
…estimated that UK homesellers are losing as much as £570 million a year collectively by paying too much commission
…current flat rate commission model was failing to adequately incentivize agents to achieve the best price on behalf of sellers, costing them an estimated £5.7 billion to £10.5 billion a year.
Q) What makes you different from some of your competitors?
a) Our business model is based on ‘advertise nationally, whilst servicing you locally’; we have local sales agents promoting the business with local marketing strategies
Q) Do you have the whole of the UK covered with sales agents?
a) No not yet, we have a phased role out plan; however, if anyone is interested in becoming a Sales Agent please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Q) Paul mentioned that the properties on your website reach 6 million viewers, how?
a) As well as attracting our own traffic on the website we also upload all our properties free of charge to our customers to Fish4, Home.co.uk to name but a few, plus we are in talks with 2 additional major property websites so watch this space…..
Q) On Dragon’s Den you mentioned it’s taken you 18 months to get this far, yet you haven’t got any traded revenue, why?
a) The company was set up 18 months ago, along with securing the domain names and patents on the company logo however; this was left dormant for a while as the 2 founders of the company had additional business ventures so it was never the plan to start trading straightaway. The 2 founders then enlisted a small management team of people to help drive the business forward. It then took us several months of intense research to completely understand the FSBO market (not just here in the UK but overseas where the market share is up to 25% in regions with local presence) and define our business model.
Q) James Caan stated ‘that you may make some money but the estate agency market will be in uproar, the agents will ban you from doing it, you are directly competing and they will blow you dead in the water’? Do you agree with this?
a) Not at all, selling your house privately won’t appeal to everyone and we totally appreciate this hence why it’s reflected in our business model. We also appreciate that people are becoming more savvy especially when it comes to saving time and money, not only will homeowners save £000’s by selling their house privately they will also feel empowered and tell all their friends and family about their exciting experience. Plus everyone has the right to an alternative service offering, a bit of healthy competition will only benefit homeowners!!
Q) Deborah mentioned ‘you will just waste your money’, what was she referring too?
a) We spoke to Deborah about our marketing plans, and this particular comment was in relation to the amount of money we were planning to spend on SEO (search engine optimisation).
Q) You were both nodding your heads, does this mean you agree with the dragon’s comments?
a) Most definitely not, we nodded our heads to acknowledge what they were saying; once they finished speaking to us we went back every time with our facts and figures
Q) Were you pleased with the outcome on TV?
a) Absolutely, at the end of the day it’s a TV program so we totally expected that parts would be edited. We achieved our objective of reaching 9 million viewers which has had an overwhelming impact on the number of viewers to our website and people registering. In fact, due to the unprecedented volumes of traffic we had to put a temporary holding page on our website!!
Q) Your holding page mentioned that since meeting the dragons Usforhomes have secured funding, is that correct?
a) It certainly is, exciting times ahead for us all as we start to shape the future not only for our business but for the property sector