Mandeep Poonian of Opal Homes tells us about his inspiration for becoming a property developer, how he has scaled his business and how Brickflow helps.
What we discuss with Mandeep
What did you do before becoming a property developer?
'I used to work for a large, national house builder as a Project Manager. I’m very grateful for that experience as I learned a huge amount. I was regularly managing sites of over 100 units, but I always harboured ambitions to go it alone.
I met my business partner Roger, who was able to help provide the financial backing that complimented the technical skills I already had.'
Why did you become a property developer?
'he built a street called Poonian Street after our family home'
'It started when I was about 12. My Grandad’s Brother was a property developer in Canada. I heard stories through the family of what they were doing, and that he had built a street called Poonian Street after our family name.
To me at the time that was (and still is) amazing and I wanted to create the same legacy myself in the UK.'
What do you enjoy most about being a developer?
'My biggest driver is to leave a legacy for communities to enjoy'
'My biggest driver is to leave a legacy for communities to enjoy. I love the project planning stage (not so much the planning process!). Having a vision, and bringing it all together, piece by piece. I love celebrating the milestones through the project and the memories that it creates. I like the freedom that it affords me and that I am free to make my own decisions.'
What are your business aims over the next 5 years?
'As a business we want to be able to scale our projects from our current level and aim to be termed as a regional housebuilder. Three years ago we were working on a 4 unit scheme. We are now just about to start work on a 42 unit scheme, and we have a 102 unit scheme in planning.
It’s been a strong start, but we know that as a business we need to build a pipeline of schemes, so we can run multiple schemes at the same time. Allowing us to spread our equity and our risk further.'
How does Brickflow help?
'The Brickflow software is now part of our due diligence process on every project. It’s almost the first thing we do.'
'Each week we’ll probably receive 10 or more projects to look at via our network and agents. I found it was very easy as a developer to get carried away and get excited about schemes that weren’t financially viable.
As an SME property developer, we know our time and our own equity are our two most precious assets. By running each new site through Brickflow, we can instantly dismiss any sites that require larger deposits or deliver too small a profit.
I’d estimate this saves us anywhere between 30 and 40 hours per month, allowing us to concentrate on projects that will help us scale our business faster.
On our latest project, the Brickflow platform reduced our lending costs by £ 254k. That’s more profit than we earned in 15 months on our first project.'
If you'd like to know how much you could save on your development finance, compare loans on Brickflow and we will connect you with a broker who can secure your deal.