Peter Grieve might be a three-agency-strong franchise owner, but he still knows who is in charge
"I was like Rani's Saturday boy," he jokes, referring to wife and business partner Rani, who took the couple's first steps into the world of the Property Franchise Group (TPFG) while husband Peter continued to work in pub company recruitment. But having broken even within two years of becoming franchise owners, it wasn't long before Peter was able to give up the day job and join Rani full-time in building an envious property portfolio.
"We both previously worked in recruitment, training and customer service," says Peter, "but wanted to take on a new challenge in property. Running our first Martin & Co branch was fast-paced and dynamic, which we both loved and it wasn't long before we took on a second branch."
Having come on board with the Worcester branch of Martin & Co in 2008, just two years later the Grieves purchased the Gloucester Martin & Co office. They then acquired independent agency Cox & Company in 2013 – a deal which included 200 managed properties and in turn grew their Gloucester portfolio.
Both Martin & Co franchises scooped awards early in the duo's reign, with the Worcester branch claiming the ESTAS Gold Award in 2009 and both offices taking home the prestigious Small Lettings Agency of the Year gong at the Sunday Times Awards in London in 2011.
The Grieves weren't done there, however: In 2015, with their businesses already well-established in both Worcester and Gloucester, the duo increased their market share by opening a CJ Hole office in Worcester, adding a sales focus to their expertise in the lettings sector.
And earlier this year the pair completed the acquisition of RMC Hardcastles in Gloucester – next door to their Martin & Co branch, which has now moved into the former home of the independent agency and their overall managed portfolio is now well over 800 properties.
"The acquisition of RMC Hardcastles has given us the opportunity to add to our portfolio across Gloucester, as well as boosting Martin & Co's presence in the city with a larger, up-to-date office," added Peter.
"Being able to brand up our agencies with the Martin & Co name, as well as our office in Worcester with the established CJ Hole brand, unquestionably helps us when growing the businesses. Martin & Co is the name in lettings, while Property Franchise Group's Xperience brands carry huge weight in the sales market. Without these established brands and the support of Property Franchise Group, our offices would just be 'Peter and Rani's Letting Agency' which would blend in with any other independent agency. Having the influence of these brands behind us makes all the difference when it comes to building our businesses.
"Without these established brands and the support of Property Franchise Group, our offices would just be 'Peter and Rani's Letting Agency' which would blend in with any other independent agency. Having the influence of these brands behind us makes all the difference when it comes to building our businesses."
And the Group support didn't end there. With Peter and Rani's Gloucester acquisition being subject to new Gloucester City Council shop front and conservation regulations, as well as being a listed building, TPFG's Network Planning Manager Clare Keating was on hand to take the strain.
Clare, who led the negotiations with the local authority, said: "Peter and Rani's rebranding wasn't an easy task as not only did we have conservation area restrictions to overcome, but the acquisition was also a listed building.
"The first shop sets a precedent for the street and we were tied to strict guidelines while ensuring we also retained the integrity of our corporate branding.
"As a result, the signage incorporates old style panel fascia with modern halo lit lighting, enabling the shop to stand out from its competitors."
So, settled in to their new office, what is next for the hugely successful husband and wife team?
"We wouldn't rule out further acquisitions – never say never," laughs Peter. "But certainly, at the moment we're placing our focus on continuing to build Martin & Co in Gloucester, alongside our other offices in the South West."