In the 12 months since Construction Industry News last caught up with Lee McCarren, Managing Director of Domis Property Group, the Manchester-based company, which was only created in the early part of 2017, has used its excellent first year of trading as the springboard to continue shaking up the industry within the north-west.
“It’s still relatively early days but we’ve already been able generate a strong order book of projects thanks to our our no-nonsense, non-adversarial and collaborative approach,” outlines Mr McCarren. “From the very start we’ve looked to be something of a disruptor within the marketplace, although we’ve been careful to not be different just for the sake of it. Instead we’ve focused on what we feel is important, such as quality, service and collaboration, before identifying where the weaknesses are within the wider marketplace and exploiting them.
“It’s all about developing a strong reputation within the industry and building and nurturing relationships with our sub-contractors that are based on high levels of trust, by offering improved payment terms, for example. We’re keen to grow together with like-minded companies. This is the central element of our ethos. It all boils down to getting the job done to everyone’s benefit and generating repeat business on the back of it.”
“For the time being we’re enjoying the projects that are out there and we’ve got four years of orders ahead of us to look forward to. We just want everything to hit the ground running and many of our contracts are pre-sold so there is very little risk involved. Everything is secure and the business model is working well.”
Lee McCarren, Managing Director of Domis Property Group
While this approach may not seem revolutionary, it has certainly served Domis Property Group well since its creation just under two years ago, as underlined by its portfolio of completed projects and its strong order book moving forward. “We have been really busy already and have plenty more projects in the pipeline,” adds Mr McCarren. “We have some developments that will be commencing in the Northern Quarter of Manchester soon, while further afield we also have a hotel project starting in Anglesey in Wales. In addition we are exploring some low rise, high spec housing schemes for ourselves, as well as looking at some joint venture opportunities with our partners Salboy.
“We’re very pleased with the progress we’re making. Having ended our first year with a turnover of around £30m, we’re on course to achieving between £80m and £90m turnover this year, which really demonstrates the rate of growth we’re seeing.
“As for the reasons behind our success, our ‘hands on’ approach has been key, along with the team we have been able to put together. Within the company we have a nice blend of experience and youthful exuberance. This gives us the necessary know-how along with bags of energy and a ‘can do’ attitude. On top of this we have a forensic attention to detail that ensures that nothing is missed. At the same time we remain nimble, which allows us to react quickly to the latest opportunities and make instant decisions.”
Domis Property Group’s meteoric start has certainly made the industry sit up and take notice, but it’s not been without its challenges, as a rapid period of growth can put a strain on any business. “The growth has been fantastic but we’ve also been careful to ensure that our infrastructure has expanded at the same time. We’ve therefore added a number of new staff to the team, particularly within the IT services and ‘back of house’ elements of the operation.
“We are continuing to use the same operating model that has served us so well so far, which is boutique in style and focuses on delivering a high quality end product for the client. As a very ‘hands on’ family run business it is essential we have the people to deliver this approach, which is why we concentrate so strongly on recruitment. This is vital because it can be difficult to get the right people in.
“We don’t just hire anybody to make up the numbers, preferring instead to go through a thorough interview process supported by in-depth references. We endeavour to make sure that the character of successful candidates fit with our ethos as business, so we take our time and we do it properly. As a consequence we tend to end up with the right people more often than not. It’s not just the professional credentials that we look at either, they have to have the right outlook on life too. Recruitment is certainly the biggest challenge we’re facing as a business but we’re working hard to get it right.”
As it looks to keep its momentum going by bolstering its team to support the growth it is seeing, Domis Property Group is continuing to explore the potential within the marketplace, whether it is brand new opportunities or projects similar to those it has completed already.
“There continues to be a gap in the market that we can capitalise on when it comes to delivering the large PRS and apartment schemes that we have already developed a reputation for,” highlights Mr McCarren. “In addition, we are looking at low rise housing and urban housing, while longer term we want to increasingly become a developer contractor working in conjunction with Salboy to develop our own stock. We envisage that this market will be around for a very long time so the more involved we are within it the better.
“For the time being we’re enjoying the projects that are out there and we’ve got four years of orders ahead of us to look forward to. We just want everything to hit the ground running and many of our contracts are pre-sold so there is very little risk involved. Everything is secure and the business model is working well.
“As we enter our third year of operation, moving forward we want to continue in the same manner by having a nice and sustainable flow of work coming through the business. At the same time we’ll be adding to the team to increase our levels of experience and expertise. Ultimately we want to keep doing what we’re doing, further enhancing our reputation with each passing project.”
Given the progress that it has made in its first two years, Domis Property Group looks on track for yet more growth and expansion, particularly as it continues to build its team and broaden the types of project that it takes on.