Friday 13 December 2013
Legal Brokers Ltd started life approximately 6 years ago as an online conveyancing referrer.
Jon Hilton, LBL Director, agreed a £500 overdraft with the bank and four weeks later www.conveyancingbrokers.co.uk was born. It's had a face lift or two since it's inception. At it's peak the site was generating 20 cases a day.
From that sprung the current www.legalbrokers.co.uk which is essentially our workhorse site. Initially we simply used it as a mechanism to gain Conveyancing enquiries which we passed on to lawyers.
At the same time we started work on PI work, in the days before the Ministry of Justice existed, via www.make-a-claim.com & www.accidentsolicitors.org.uk. Both sites look a tad tired these days. Although if you type "accident solicitors" into Google our site is still there on the first page.
With the volume of conveyancing work we were generating (and it became a struggle getting lawyers to pay out on accepted claims) we "parked" the PI marketing in favour of property work. We were only doing 15 or so cases a month.
We also experimented with a video website, www.funkytv.com, in the hope we'd sell out to Google for billions. That hope hasn't materialised. Very sad.
With the introduction of Home Information Packs we invested in all the case tracking automated software "stuff" and whilst HIPs were alive they became 50% of our turnover.
At the point we saw their demise appear on the horison we began working on Property Searches. It was a natural progression. We've done over 10,000 searches to this point.
In the Northwest we generally carry out those searches ourselves. Outside that area we instruct third party firms. We wanted to share that work with Legal Brokers Ltd franchisees hence the word "franchise" entered our vocabulary.
Additionally we registered with the Ministry of Justice to be able to take on Payment Protection and Personal Injury claims. The turnover from PPI cases fell flat during the 2010 / 2011 Judicial Review but matters are back on track, now.
Whilst everything we've done has been predominantly "online" we're gaining PPI, and to a lesser extent PI, through our "offline" activities. Why ? Because if you pay to advertise online it's very easy to get into a bidding war.... and then the only folk that win are Google themselves. ie. you fight to stand still.
At the same time we've spent tens of thousands of pounds on Search Engine Optimisation. With very little reward. In short we've learnt a lot of very costly lessons.
Our online experiences have led us to work, in an MOJ approved manner, with Call Centres. We can now target specific postcodes to get various messages accross. Whether that be simply promoting firms to the general public or as a mechanism to pick up alsorts of legal work.
As an incidental point the "buying and selling" of law firms has been a growing source of activity for us. The company name seems to lead us in that direction.
In terms of turnover, in our last but one accounts and including HIPs, we were just over the million mark. That was approximately 18 months ago. It's slipped back since due to the governments removal of the accursed HIPs.
Ironically whilst turnover has fallen, as shown in the last set of accounts, profitability has increased.
In terms of the future we're developing our National Solicitors brand (www.nationalsolicitors.com) with the intention to compete against Quality Solicitors.
Jon leads the team. He's a former tunnel engineer, estate agent, mortgage broker, IFA, sales manager for a house building firm, salesman for two law firms and marketing manager for a firm turning over £20 million pa.
He's ran various, worldwide, marathons and triathlons. Finished the Ironman. Ran the Bulls at Pamplona. Completed a relay swim across the Channel. Been a Black Belt in Ju Jitzu. Had his hang gliding licence and currently flies a vaguely posh microlight.
He's also helped put searchlights on the Eiffel Tower. Long story. www.funkytv.com/video/view/475
Jon flies people around for charity hence if you want to make a donation to our Cancer charity, and fly for an hour above the northwest, please check out www.justgiving.com/jon-hilton. There's two pic's of Jon, there.
From a family perspective the bags under his eyes serve to emphasise that he has a lovely daughter.... who's still teething.
Back to Legal Brokers again and, as a final comment, the office staff had a chat and decided that due to the ups & downs we've been through, as every firm does, our company motto should be, "never give up, never surrender" !
If something in the above has sparked your curiousity and you're interested in discussing how we can work together please get in touch.
Legal Brokers Ltd