Estate agent Andrew Beadnall is celebrating 40 years in the business
PUBLISHED: 20:00 28 December 2012 | UPDATED: 22:34 20 February 2013
Andrew Beadnall tells Jo Haywood why he's still buzzing after 40 years in the property businesshouse
Fathers often want their sons to follow them into the family business, but Andrew Beadnalls dad had other ideas. The hard-grafting rugby league club director wanted his son to be an estate agent.
One of his close friends in rugby league was John Smallwood, the founder of Dacre Son & Hartley, Andrew explained. From the day I was born, it was decided that I would join Johns business.
I was actually very interested in drama, but there was no way my father could envisage a life for me on stage in full make-up, so I joined Dacres and I can honestly say Ive loved every day since. Forty years on, I still get the same buzz from my job.
I think its partly because theres an element of performance in what I do. When I knock on a door and it opens, the performance begins. I know that sounds insincere, but its about giving clients the best service the best performance I can.
Andrew was born in Hunslet, Leeds, but his family moved to Boston Spa when he was 11. His parents who he describes as archetypal cornershop-keepers worked hard to have their son privately educated at Moorlands in Weetwood. They also paid for elocution lessons (at the headmasters request), which prompted his love of drama.
And it was with a certain dramatic flourish that John Smallwood welcomed him into the estate agency business on August 19th 1973 with a bit of pithy but memorable advice. Goodwill, he said, is the cornerstone of success.
When my son James joined my business on August 28th last year I told him the very same thing, said Andrew. I can honestly say my reputation is everything to me second only to my son.
He decided to branch out on his own 21 years ago, opening his first office in Albert Street, Harrogate and working seven days a week, every week.
We were in a recession then as we are now, but the business still took off, he said. We were so hungry and worked so hard, we sold houses when others found it impossible.
He now has three offices in Wetherby, Harrogate and Ripon and, more than two decades on, is as hungry as ever.
This is definitely a young persons game, but I have the huge advantage of experience, Andrew said. My experience in this particular area is unrivalled. Ive been in almost every house over the years and I know them all like old friends.
Im also completely neurotic when it comes to my work. Im a nightmare to work for because I insist on the very highest level of service. But that leads to repeat business, and thats the thing that gives me the biggest buzz of all.
The estate agency business, like businesses across the board, has changed dramatically in the last five years or so. The recession has hit everyone hard, but Andrew has chosen not to go down the redundancy route, choosing instead to work even harder, offer even higher levels of service and diversify into the rental sector.
As long as I have my health, Im going to be in here six days a week doing the job I love, he said. All my friends have retired or work part-time, but I have no desire to join them. Even when Im on holiday I phone the office three or four times a day and will often be talking to clients while walking on the beach.
If he did happen to win big on the lottery tomorrow and it would have to be very big to tempt him away from work he would spend more time raising awareness and funds for his favoured charities. He already works tirelessly for cancer charities his company sponsors Bramham Fun Run and hes chairman of Hunslet Trust, set up by his father and a group of like-minded friends to support young people in South Leeds by providing potentially life-changing sporting opportunities.
But, in all honesty, hes unlikely to be looking for ways of filling his time anytime soon. Work is still very much his passion.
I wanted to create a business that would live on beyond me, said Andrew. I didnt know James would come into the business, but I knew I wanted to build something that would stand the test of time.
Im proud of what Ive achieved, but I dont think my best days are behind me. I honestly believe the best is yet to come.