Alistair Trippett's journey to client accounting confidence with PayProp

In 2019 Alistair Trippett, then a landlord with a small portfolio of buy-to-let properties, decided lettings could be done better. To prove it, he and his business partner, James Yates, set out to found their own agency.
How Alistair Trippett gained client accounting confidence with PayProp

Thanks to their business acumen, a great team and the power of PayProp, Alistair has been able to grow his business rapidly over the next four years, and even acquired a competitor.

Interview with

Alistair Trippett
Alistair Trippett
Managing Director Heywoods

But before he could grow his business with confidence, Alistair knew he needed a robust client accounting solution that he could rely on to make sure his landlords got paid error-free and on time.

"I first heard of PayProp as a landlord using another agent. So when the time came around for me to set up my own letting agency and client accounting, I had done my research." Alistair Trippett, Managing Director

At first, he opted for a traditional client account from a high street bank, combined with a CRM system. But Alistair quickly realized that he and his business partner were spending a lot of time on financial admin when they needed to be marketing, networking, and growing the business.

"We did use a CRM that had a finance element to it, but it was clunky and very, very, very time-consuming. We also encountered issues with designated client accounts which required us to fill out a three-page document for every landlord and post it to the bank, with a five-day turnaround. As you can imagine, that is not feasible for the way we wanted to grow the business."

But it wasn't just the need for a client account that sold Alistair on PayProp. "Bringing PayProp on board as a start-up gave us a lot of confidence to ensure that the finances were compliant and being done effectively."

"You’re spinning many, many plates as a start-up business, but the number one priority is to ensure that landlords are getting paid regularly and on time." Alistair Trippett, Managing Director

Separate and secure

After a bad previous experience combining finances and CRM systems, it became clear to Alistair that keeping the two separate brought big benefits to his business.

"On the surface, it may sound like you’re having to do duplication. There may be a small amount but being separate brings huge benefits." Alistair Trippett, Managing Director

One of those benefits was brought to the forefront when Alistair needed to switch CRM systems. “CRM providers are notoriously difficult in terms of support, and when we changed platform we were thanking our lucky stars that we’d taken the finance element away whilst we went through the difficult transfer process. Having the finances separate from the CRM platform gave us the peace of mind that the client monies were intact, being sorted and being processed as normal. As far as our clients are aware, it was business as usual.”

Alistair says while it’s common to want a platform that can do it all, that platform does not exist.

"Everyone is a specialist in different areas, and when it comes to your agency finances it’s not an area you want to make any compromises in." Alistair Trippett, Managing Director

Rapid growth

With the finances sorted and PayProp freeing up Alistair’s valuable time, growth came quickly for the new business. “We started out with just my buy-to-let properties. Neither of us had previous industry experience or a portfolio of clients. But after about eighteen months, we’d gone from managing just under 30 units to around 120.”

But there was more to come. “We acquired the 140-year-old Heywoods Estate Agency and merged our businesses, rebranding under the Heywoods name. This tripled our lettings portfolio.”

While adding such a significant number of properties might be a worry to a normal lettings business, Alistair was confident he had the right technology in place to make it a success.

"PayProp gave us complete confidence that if we had 50 new properties that had to be onboarded next week, we could do it and the finance side would not be an issue whatsoever." Alistair Trippett, Managing Director
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Taking care of the team

With a newly merged agency and team, Alistair went through a process of transitioning his new colleagues to PayProp – one of whom had been handling the accounts for the inherited portfolio for over 20 years.

“Managing the Heywoods rental portfolio was such a complex process, and only one person really knew how it fully worked. All the little nuances to paying different landlords, what was in a suspense account at any one time, etc. You pick up this information if you’re doing the books day in, day out, but no one else is going to understand it.”

Being solely responsible for the accounting process is a big ask, but Alistair had a responsibility to ensure he wasn’t asking too much of the accounts administration team.

"Change can be a challenge, but while transitioning to PayProp was a ginormous step for the original accounts team at Heywoods, within a few weeks, I was getting emails from them saying things like ‘I was scared at first, but PayProp has been an absolute game-changer.’ It allows them to feel empowered and in control of their work, but with the safety net of the PayProp support team if they need it." Alistair Trippett, Managing Director

Supported all the way

Unlike Alistair’s experience with previous CRM platforms, getting support to train new team members or onboard a new portfolio on PayProp has been easy.

"The transition was incredibly smooth, and if you need support, you’ve got the choice of a phone line or ticketing system, both of which are very good. You always come off the call with your question answered." Alistair Trippett, Managing Director

“But it’s more than that, it’s handholding and educating you. The PayProp support team will stay on the line and walk you through whatever you’re trying to do, reassuring you, ‘Yeah, you’ve done that right,’ and checking as you go along so you learn how the process works.”

Growth through tough times requires the right foundations and strategies

Since Alistair founded his business in 2019, the industry has been through a global pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis – yet Heywoods has kept growing. What does he put this success down to?

“In a typical estate agency, the lettings department is very much put in the back office of the building. It’s usually understaffed and gets the least investment.

"From day one, we really appreciated the value of lettings, so we’ve put it front and centre." Alistair Trippett, Managing Director

“Very much like our sales department, we deliver a much better standard of service than a typical agency. As a result, we’ve started to establish a name for ourselves as the premium choice to deliver an enhanced service for our clients. PayProp is one of the most fundamental things in our toolkit that allows us to deliver the best possible back-office rental payment processing service. But it’s not just that, the additional time PayProp frees up allows us to spend more time on our clients.”

And thanks to PayProp’s limitless scalability, Alistair sees plenty of options on the horizon for Heywoods to keep growing.

“We’re seeing more and more opportunities coming up to purchase portfolios, and having done it once myself, I kept getting approached by people looking to sell and get out of the industry.

"If we do decide to purchase another portfolio, with PayProp on board it’s not like we’d have to hire someone else in accounts!" Alistair Trippett, Managing Director
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