2016 Global Excellence Awards UK award recipient is Quinton Edwards, specialist property and business surveyors based in Newbury, West Berkshire. We interviewed expert Simon Quinton Smith to discover more about the firm’s specialist property and business offerings.
Quinton Edwards is part of Quintons (Commercial) Limited who trade as Quinton Edwards and Quintons, the latter who are commercial property surveyors with both trading entities being based in Newbury, West Berkshire with Quinton Edwards being the leading advisers providing property and business advice to the garden centre, horticultural and farm shop market throughout the United Kingdom and sometimes into Ireland and Europe.
They buy, sell and let garden centres, plant centres, farm shops, horticultural properties and businesses and other associated businesses. They also provide valuations – and the undersigned is an RICS accredited valuer and business valuer – who also provides consultancy in regard to concessions. In addition, they undertake rating appeals and Simon Quinton Smith is an accredited expert witness. He then shares further thoughts on the company and his role within in it.
“The company was formed in October 1989 and we are based in Newbury, Berkshire as it is a good springboard to drive throughout the United Kingdom. I had been specialising in the garden centre and horticultural industry for three years prior to setting up the company.
“What sets my business apart from others is that it is very much a niche business. There is no other firm of chartered surveyors who offer the same services and who have the combined knowledge of garden centres, horticultural and farm shops.
“The reasons that our valuations are sought after is that they are detailed and authoritative and are backed up by comparable evidence all of which I have personally transacted. We regularly receive telephone calls from my peers in the industry asking for assistance for valuations that they are doing. However, under strict RICS guidelines they should not be doing these valuations because they are not transacting these properties or businesses and thus do not really have the detailed knowledge required.”
Simon then proceeds to share his reflections on winning the 2016 Global Excellence Awards UK accolade, stressing that he feels delighted and proud to have won this and his notable achievements concerning the firm.
“I think this award perhaps means more for my colleagues than it does for me. I am told by my clients that I am very good at what I do – and I often get more satisfaction from helping people solve their problems for perhaps quite a small fee than doing larger agency deals – which are much better remunerated. Hopefully, this award will enable a wider audience to appreciate the skills and experience that I have to offer.
“I think my list of notable achievements shows how our business is succeeding. Most of the firm’s members of staff have been with us for many years, one member Mandy over 25 years, so they are also very experienced. We consistently show good turnover and profitability year on year with a lot of our business being repeat business or referrals.
The firm’s client base is from the large to the small – indeed they do not differentiate Simon stresses, a point he goes on to expand in his own words.
“We offer the same service to all – from advising Terra Firma in 2012 on their acquisition of Wyevale Garden Centres for £256 million – to saving an old lady’s house when her son had put it up to the bank as security. We have a lot of repeat business and many of the firm’s clients are very complimentary about the service that we offer and our expertise.”
In addition, the firm has two teams – Quinton Edwards and Quintons – and both are very important because both Simon and his co-director Shane Prater are out 80%-90% of the time. Simon then explains this in more detail
“The Quinton Edwards team comprises Gordon Perry who drives me around so I can work, undertakes measuring of all the properties, does research, puts the reports together and is generally invaluable. Rachel McMordie is my marketing coordinator and sales negotiator – she is based in the office and handles all the day-to-day specialist properties and businesses that we are selling, for example Conwy Water Gardens. Clare Hyde is my personal assistant – she types up all the reports, proof reads and generally helps me to make sure no mistakes are made.
“Shane Prater has a team of two others and we have a part-time accounts lady who does not only our accounts but those of all the properties that we manage. The firm could not function as a successful business without the dedication and expertise of our teams.”
The firm’s hopes and plans are to continue to provide an excellent service and first class advice to all of their clients, now and into the future as Simon tells us.
“The challenges relate to the Institution’s preference for larger non-specialist practices rather than smaller niche practices when undertaking valuations or providing advice. There is also the attack on commercial and residential agencies from on-line companies. However, as a niche practice with great knowledge and experience, we will be able to continue successfully for a long time into the future.
“Although the firm has been trading for over 25 years, there are still a lot of people out there who we could help but who still don’t seem to know about us, even those in the industry where we advertise regularly in all the industry publications on-line, etc. “Our firm really is the best at what we do – no-one has the knowledge or experience of the industry that I have but still many companies, firms and lawyers, individuals and banks prefer to go to the larger companies without the specialist knowledge but they really should try us.”
The wide experience and industry knowledge that Simon Quinton Smith brought to the valuation of our business and the subsequent negotiations with the Wyevale Garden Centre Group enabled shareholders to maximise their expectations while illustrating the potential still locked within the company. Selling any business is an emotional rollercoaster and Simon proved to be both a wise counsellor and a pragmatic dealmaker.
Ray Kennedy, Director, Wych Cross Nursery Ltd Quinton Edwards has acted for our business for many years undertaking valuations and letting our Chilton Cantelo Nursery. Simon Quinton Smith and his team have unparalleled property knowledge for our industry and I would not hesitate to recommend him for all forms of property related work. Tom Jones, Chilton Cantel