Dan Jackson, Proptech expert

272: Dan Jackson is using proptech to take his business’s customer service to the next level

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Property podcast, Mike and Victoria Stenhouse

Dan Jackson wants to use proptech to fulfil a simple mission: to  deliver exceptional customer service at an affordable price. Having acquired his first property in March 2017, his portfolio now consists of 61 beautiful units across 15 houses in South West London. He chats to us about how he is utilising technology to optimise the service his UrbanShared brand offers.

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Background

Prior to diving into property full-time, Dan spent two decades working in banks and IT. ‘[I] started off as a software developer, realised I wasn’t quite as good as some of the people who were doing that so became a business analyst, then a project manager,’ he says. For a number of years, he rented out a simple buy-to-let in the flat below where he lived, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he decided to make a serious go at property. ‘I decided that I was going to go and do something completely different and follow a path that was more meaningful,’ he says.

Researching strategies

Having decided to take the plunge into property, Dan needed to work out which strategy was the best fit for him. I spent time looking at HMOs in Manchester. I looked at a development opportunity in North Yorkshire. I went to Coventry. I went to Birmingham: all sorts of different places in the Midlands and beyond,’ he says. ‘I slowly realised that I needed to find a way of making something close to me work. Purely and simply because things like travel and time etcetera were very valuable commodities.’

It was only after a meeting with a company that did rent-to-rent in South West London that he felt he’d landed on a strategy that could work for him. He says the attractiveness of rent-to-rent lies in its ability to provide a solution for landlords who own properties they don’t have the time to manage themselves. ‘Essentially we’re long leasing assets,’ he says.

Optimising customer service through tech

With his background in tech, Dan is interested in finding ways to incorporate technology in his business in order to offer additional products and services. When trying to make his properties user-friendly, he says he tried to imagine what his daughter would like in a house. ‘The things that people probably find a slight annoyance or don’t want to do, we help them do it,’ he says. Like recent podcast guest Mike Bristow, Dan is a big advocate of using proptech to make processes more efficient, retain customers for longer and reduce void periods. ‘Property as an asset class is significantly bigger than all others combined, yet implementation technology-wise still remains in its infancy,’ he says.

Making a service business work

Aside from technology, Dan says excellent communication is essential for the smooth running of any service oriented business. ‘Each house has got a communications channel, which enables [tenants] to report issues,’ he says. He also has Whatsapp groups set up so tenants can contact him directly, which he admits remains a controversial option. He says setting expectations helps ensure these communication channels function well, aiming himself to respond to issues raised by tenants in 24 hours and fix things within a week.

Future of proptech

Dan still thinks there is room for significant and widespread adoption of technology in property. ‘Imagine a referencing process that could be done in the app, [during] the viewing so that by the end of the viewing the customer knows they could move into the room,’ he says. ‘In our lifetime people will be buying hoses and completing and exchanging in days rather than months […] It’s all about gathering knowledge.’

Further information

UrbanShared.com – for more information about the homes Dan creates.

UrbanShared – keep abreast of UrbanShared’s latest news via Facebook.

Dan@urbanshared.com – contact Dan via email.

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