With the need to gain financial freedom at the forefront of his mind, Andy Bedwell started to look at opportunities that would allow him to escape the corporate life and stop working completely by the time he was 60.
That gave him 18 years to find something suitable, but he had no idea what that was.
On seeing an online advert about running your own business, he decided to enquire and subsequently signed up with a franchise consultancy.
“After a two hour interview, I was recommended four franchises, including a care home provider and Platinum Property Partners (PPP),” said Andy. “But the main thing I was trying to avoid was trading my time for money. And PPP was the only one that could help me achieve the level of income I wanted without breaking my back for 80 hours a week.”
It also ticked two other boxes for Andy – it was a business he could build and run with his wife, Vashti, and involved property, something they both had an interest in since investing in a buy-to-let property three years earlier.
After conducting thorough due diligence, Andy joined some of the PPP management team and existing Partners at one of the lifestyle events they were holding at Ascot. He was inspired by the other Partners’ experiences and the company’s philosophy to Be More, Do More, Have More and Give More.
“We liked the values, we knew we wanted to be in property and we knew we wanted a hands-off investment for the future but with support. There weren’t many other shows in town that matched that criteria,” added Andy.
Following the Discovery Day that he attended with Vashti, they were almost ready to go. But there was just one problem – the franchise fee.
Andy commented: “Our big sticking point was the fee. We only had enough money to purchase and refurbish two properties and that wouldn’t give us the income we needed. But when we were put in touch with an accountant on the PPP Power Team, our eyes were opened as to how we could structure our business and make our money go further. That changed everything.”
Vashti added: “We knew that if we looked at it as a cost rather than an investment in our future, then we would never do it. As I had been a stay-at-home mum and out of the business environment for a while, I also saw it as a training cost for me.”
In September 2011, Andy and Vashti joined the franchise and began to build their property portfolio.
Andy took the lead on the new business alongside his job. However, with their youngest son now at junior school, Vashti became more and more involved, to the point where she took over.
“It started out very much Andy’s show. We’d do all of the property searches together and things like that, but when we started doing all of the refurbishment, I’d often hide behind Andy while he dealt with the builders,” added Vashti. “But as Andy’s consulting work took him away, I found myself really getting into it until I eventually built up my confidence and took on most of the day-to-day work.”
Andy added: “I always joke that I got to the final stages of the job interview with PPP and then Vashti stole the job off me.”
Within 12 months, they had three HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) in Bicester. However, it was critical to get passive investment to help Andy and Vashti continue to grow their portfolio. And that’s where they believe PPP has added tremendous value and justified their fee.
“People were offering us money confidently without us having to do any selling,” said Vashti. “They could see that the model worked and it enabled us to get to our goal of 10 properties in half the time.”
Their buy-to-let properties are now generating an annual six figure gross profit and the couple are financially free, enjoying two big family holidays a year without worrying about the cost.
Andy stopped working in the corporate world two years ago aged 46 and while he immersed himself in the maintenance and development side of the business with Vashti managing the tenanting, his lifestyle has dramatically changed.
Andy said: “It’s the little things like, at 8am, I am walking the dog on the field having had breakfast with the kids and then I might feel like a run. I’m feeling better too while looking at the commuter train going past thankful that I don’t have to do it anymore. I might then have to fix a toilet seat or sort out a wifi problem, but then I quite enjoy it. I love what I’m doing but if I stop enjoying it I can get someone else to do it. I know the revenue is secure, it’s fun and we get to meet great people through both our tenants and the PPP network.”
For Vashti, it’s been a journey of great personal development and achievement: “I’ve really built my confidence in areas that I never would have expected. I’m running a business and I’m helping to teach other people how to do the same. It’s been amazing.”