How to kill an entrepreneur

In 1999 a father and son were so frustrated with the delays from local councils in providing local searches to enable them to buy a house they went to the council and searched the records to produce their own search. Realising there was a business potential there the father and son contact a couple of solicitor friends and with their help started a personal search company.

With hard work and a good service the company rapidly grew until they were asked continually to provide searches all over the country. They now have over thirty offices in England and Wales. During this time the Tory party were trying to develop a new method of providing the documents required in conveyancing at an early stage in the transaction to speed things up and limit the number of failed transactions. I wonder what they would have called it?

Suffice to say like most government ideas before they could finalise it the voters chucked them out and ushered in another bunch of chancers. They also thought the early production of information would be a good idea and if it included a survey it would be a winner. It took them over ten years to get it together but in 2007 they rolled out the Home Information Pack.

Pali LtdBy this time our father and son had been joined by another son and their lovely daughter. The company was Pali. Suddenly all the hard work in getting solicitors to use their services was out of the window. The new clients were going to be HIP providers, estate agents and Home inspectors who were going to provide the surveys. The team at Pali were dismayed but threw themselves into the task of developing a HIP company whilst still providing a service to their existing clients. Hipview was born and forty-five thousand pounds was invested in training five home inspectors to cover the promised work.

One of the first customer was Yvette Cooper, the then Housing Minister responsible for introducing HIP’s. This was provided by Pali. If only they had cocked it up she may have had second thoughts. Never mind. Shortly after spending all that money on HI training the Government buckled under pressure from RICS and other vested interests and made the home inspection optional. Result? Five thousand unemployed and skint Home inspectors.

To mitigate this disaster, which was a vehicle for the EU required Energy Performance Certificate, a new and less onerous qualification was introduced Domestic Energy Assessor. The promises of riches seduced around seventeen thousand poor souls to spend their hard earned cash, redundancy money and in many cases forces demob funds on this wonderful new career. Unfortunately the market could sustain around four thousand five hundred DEA’s so the riches were fools gold. If you noticed the heading of this piece you will see where this is going.

Up to now there are probably twenty thousand entrepreneur involved in the Hip industry. Most one and two man bands. This does not count the in-house employees of the major chains of estate agents mortgage and conveyancing factories and HIP companies. Many found it was not as easy as they thought and not as profitable as they hoped. The property crash saw the demise of many of them leaving public and business without a product or payment for services rendered.

The councils were also feeling the chill wind of competition for the local searches so they had two choices. Up their game or make it more difficult for the competition. No brainer they, through the office of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) added a few extra questions to the search and then restricted access to the search companies, brilliant. Under pressure the CLG realised that they could be seen to be restricting competition so they told the councils they should give access but they could charge for it. Another master stroke so good bye all you search companies.

Hang on these guys are entrepreneurs and don’t give up so easily so the search industry developed an insurance policy which covered absolutely every one interested in the transaction for missing or incorrect information. Wow, what are the councils and the CLG to do now? In another stroke of brilliance the Hip Regs were changed to make insurance illegal. These boys are good. But our entrepreneurs are made of stern stuff.

We are all hanging in by our toe nails. Making a living, just. Then when they thought it was safe to go back in the water we have an election. The Tory’s and Grant Shapps think these bounders have pinched our idea as soon as we get into power we will abolish the Hip. Na Na Nana Na. We will take a hundred day consultation to give these guys chance to sort themselves out then the Hips are toast. Suddenly on Thursday 20/05/2010 they pull the plug. Die you pesky entrepreneurs.

Pali Ltd are still there providing a service to their original customers and welcome new clients. More information can be found by visiting their website.

Written by Nick D Small

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