BUSINESS is booming for an Inverclyde entrepreneur since she ditched the office to work from home.
Cathie Scott, managing director and founder of Cathie Scott Properties, has had an office in West Stewart Street in Greenock for the past eight years.
When lockdown hit, Cathie and her team moved out of their base and like many other businesses started working remotely.
Now the company has seen almost a 50 per cent increase in the number of appointments booked each week.
According to Cathie, lettings customers are happy to conduct their business online, meaning that the team can work remotely – and that’s the way the business is going to operate going forward.
Cathie admits that she was worried when coronavirus arrived in Inverclyde but says she was confident her team would weather the storm.
She said: “When the pandemic hit I was concerned about the safety aspects in the office for staff and for customers.
“Fortunately for us, we had installed new lettings software and communications systems at the beginning of March and this has worked really well for us.
“We literally picked up our computers and moved to a desk at home.
“The software we use is specifically designed for letting agents and allows us to log in and work independently of each other.
“Selling property may still require a shop front but with lettings we have discovered that it is not a necessity.”
Cathie, who lives locally, has been in the business for 20 years.
After living abroad for many years she started working in property sales for a corporate estate agency both locally and across Glasgow.
She also worked for a GSPC agent in Byers Road and Milngavie, and progressed into lettings when property sales started to take a dip.
The property expert says people move into lettings for a range of reasons.
Cathie said: “Over the years people have decided to keep their money in property.
“Interest rates are low and therefore to make the most of their savings they move to ‘buy to let’.
“For a lot of people, if they are unable to sell and they want to move, they opt to let out their property.
“Most of our business comes through recommendations and many of our customers are individual investors buying to let.”
Cathie and the team – Jenna Kane, Ashleigh Kennedy and two other part-time members of staff – have had daily virtual meetings during lockdown.
As the business has been doing so well, Cathie is also planning to take on a property manager within the next six months.
Cathie recognises that 2020 has been a very difficult year for Inverclyde businesses overall and says she’s determined to help local companies deal with the challenges they face.
The managing director gets local businesses involved in her letting projects and believes that working together in this way is the secret to success.
She added: “It’s so important to keep the business in the town.
“If you are earning a living from the town, you should give a bit back to it.
“I feel very fortunate that in such hard times we’ve managed to build on our existing business and to bring in even more customers.”