My day typically starts when the alarm goes off at 6am and I pull my dog-walking clothes on to take our dog, Otto, out for his morning constitutional. My enthusiasm at this time very much depends on the weather, but in any event I spend the time walking, thinking about what the day ahead is going to bring.
There are usually too many things to do in one day so I am always juggling priorities.
After Otto and I have had breakfast, I am generally out of the door before the school run madness starts but I try to ensure I have at least seen the family!
I am fortunate to be able to manage my own diary so I do try and arrange the week so I have at least two or three days in the office.
One of the most enjoyable aspects about my job is that it is incredibly varied, which means I could be in the office or on the road, depending on commitments.
Office days require a train ride into Central London, where I have a desk at Christie & Co’s head office in Blackfriars.
I tend to focus on agency tasks which require continual attention to ensure deals progress. I can be on the phone to solicitors, vendors and purchasers for a good few hours. In a results and target-driven business, delivery of these deals is paramount to maintain reputation and, of course, earn fees!
While email is now by far the primary method of message delivery, I still believe personal contact provides clients with a more professional service. Buyers often become clients.
London days not only involve reporting duties that come with my role but I also try and tie in meetings with contacts such as Brian Madderson of the PRA.
But being out of the office is a great opportunity to think strategically, particularly during long car journeys. I am usually en route to a client meeting or property inspection, often with a colleague from one of our 15 regional offices. I can add experience and a wider perspective to local knowledge and experience, particularly where the property/business would be of interest to corporate operators. I find this particular aspect of the job extremely rewarding as I am a people person and love to talk!
Time between meetings out of the office is often spent in another office or perhaps at a coffee shop that has wi-fi access, where I can collate thoughts, crunch numbers, prepare recommendations or catch up on calls and emails! This obviously gives me the opportunity to test some of the roadside facilities out there and a particular favourite of mine, because of its central location, is Uttoxeter Services developed by Euro Garages, which has a Starbucks.
Quite often I will be required to sign off a forecourt valuation which requires ’quiet time’. So when I get home often just after the kids have gone to bed I will fire up my laptop and do another hour or so to keep on top of things.
One of the more pleasurable aspects of my position is attending industry events where I get to meet the great and the good of the forecourt industry.
As a relative newcomer to the industry, it has been really interesting to observe the similarities between the forecourt and the pub/hotel sectors where I spent my formative years buying, selling and valuing businesses. The ownership structures are very similar; the supply chain for fuel is similar to the brewing industry.
The great thing about being an agent acting independently is that we get to see a vast array of information on a huge variety of forecourt businesses. This alignment with the market enables us to draw on comparable situations across the UK to ensure that advice and recommendations provided to clients are robust and that the solutions we recommend are implementable. The sheer volume of forecourt businesses we see and the information we can process, I believe sets us apart from our competitors.
I really enjoy doing a good job and seeing clients’ reaction when a deal comes to fruition!
Company: Christie & CoJob title: Director and head of retail
Career history: A chartered surveyor with extensive hospitality sector experience. Has worked in the business property field since graduating with a degree in estate surveying in 1995. Joined Christie & Co at the beginning of 2008, originally recruited to the corporate hotels team
Greatest achievement: Getting to where I am now!Tips for business success: Honesty and integrityMost likely to say: "Sorry, I’m going to be late home again"
Least likely to say: "I can’t do that!"
Other interests: Family, canoe ball, Luton Town FC, heavy metal music, Sonisphere music festival