An Interview with Bill Shipton: Managing Director of Bold & Reeves

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Bill ShiptonBold & Reeves was established in 2012 by Bill Shipton, who was responsible for managing 15 super-prime properties in London but couldn’t find a suitably proactive property management company, so he created his own. Five years later the Company has significantly evolved, is miles ahead of the property industry in terms of innovation and prop tech and now manages over 500,000 square feet of prime central London property. Luxury Topping interviews Bill to learn more about what sets Bold & Reeves apart.

Tell us about how you got involved in Bold & Reeves?

It was about five years ago that I was grappling with how best to manage the 15 super-prime properties of a Middle Eastern family that I looked after. We were looking for Bold & Reeves but it didn’t exist which came as quite a surprise as we had a need and so did others. I did a mystery shop of about four of five businesses that purported to serve the luxury end of the market and it became very clear that they weren’t up to what I was looking for. I had no property background at all, which I think was an advantage, my own background being in management and technology.

At Bold & Reeves we pride ourselves in managing London’s finest properties. We currently manage 70 of London’s super premium properties and help them with everything from boiler repairs to building a new conservatory. Working in the super high end has led us to develop an innovative and completely unique method of managing each of our properties by using our online system. We are proactive rather than reactive and have developed an online system to manage each of our properties.

There are two fundamental principles behind everything we do; the first is pro-activity – preventative maintenance will in the long term reduce the cost of running a house. The second is around continuity of knowledge – by recording everything we do , we build up a valuable log of what has happened to the property and how it has been maintained.Bold & ReevesYou’ve come from a successful career in the British Army, how do you think this has helped you with your role at Bold & Reeves? 

It was a sort of combination of the military mind set and the passion I have for using technology to improve process.

Technology is coincidental. I happened to get into computers at a very early stage in my military career. Thirty five years later, I was able to create the prototype of the Bold & Reeves platform. The Army helped by understanding the process of methodology and procedure, that then led to realising you can only really do what we have done with the support of technology.

What is the worst situation you have had to deal with?

We had a client with a very significant fire and there was smoke damage throughout their 16,000 sq. ft. house. As part of our service, within five days we had found them a similar property to rent at £25,000 a week. This property will be their home for the next two and a half years, until their house is ready for them to return to it.

Tell us something not many people know about your service?

When we take on a property, we conduct an audit. There are five parts to the audit and it’s fundamentally different to the survey that you have done when you purchase a property. The most important thing that a survey doesn’t tell you is; what is it going to cost for you to run your property?

The purpose of our audit is twofold a) it gives the client an overview of the current states of their property and b) it sets up their online property logbook.

The five parts to our audit include; floor plans – we do mechanical and electrical floor plans, an audit of all of the serviced maintenance agreements ie: who’s currently servicing the relevant elements of the property, and we will advise on their capability and recommend one of our partners if necessary. The third part is to create a schedule of all the electrical and electronic items in the property; each item and serial number is recorded in the property’s log book. The fourth part is an audit of the fabric of the property, for example there might be a crack in the wall and fracture in the window, we’ll create a room by room snagging list supported with photographs.

The final part is where we have identified all the items that require regular servicing; we then come up with a suggested service plan and recommended budget.Bold & ReevesYou look after some of the most expensive properties in London, how does Bold & Reeves differ from other property managers?

 We are a service business supported by the latest technology. Bold & Reeves is about delivering extraordinary customer experience: we are not just a tech business per se. We run Bold & Reeves with the help of the revolutionary software that underpins the business. That is key to how it all stacks up, it enables us to manage very quickly and effectively across a wide portfolio – often anticipating issues before they arise. 

Having such a good reputation must stand you in good stead with your customers. Do you have anything particularly exciting coming up in the near future?

Our latest innovation will enable us to remotely monitor client properties. We are fitting sensors on all their key assets, the boiler, air conditioning, water flow, water pressure, the pool, alarms etc. Every three minutes it measures what is going on, sending us the data to monitor. Over time, we see a pattern of daily usage and what the norm looks like. If things deviate from the norm, there is a graduated alert setting, so that our team can react depending on the severity of the issue. We will know before our clients, who might be in the house at the time, if there is a problem.

The combination of real time monitoring and predictive maintenance is truly revolutionary – no one else is doing this. The implications in terms of peace of mind and reduced house insurance costs are only just beginning to be understood.

Where would you like to see Bold & Reeves in five years time?

There are three key components to this answer. Bold & Reeves’ superior service, combined with remote monitoring and the implications for insurance premiums. My vision is that there should be an end-to-end service that marries all three of these.

The combination of management, maintenance and monitoring enables greater risk management. That is the blue sky vision. In addition, there is also the geographical opportunity – there should be a Bold & Reeves in New York, Berlin, Paris and Hong Kong . . .
Bold & Reeves
All images courtesy Bold & Reeves.