Building a monopoly

by Adam Smith22 Oct 2013

Paul GiezekampPaul Giezekamp started early in the property business, trouncing his sister at Monopoly

Paul Giezekamp is what you might call an all-rounder. His company, Property Secrets, consists of nine separate divisions, including finance, property coaching, renovations, development and insurance, to name a few, and Giezekamp considers himself “100% an expert” in each area. However, he admits it’s taken a while to get there.
“It started with Monopoly when I was six. I would buy houses and hotels and my sister would buy King’s Cross Station, which couldn’t have houses and hotels, and I would beat her all the time. I would say to my parents, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to do this in real life’,” he laughs.
When he got a bit older, Giezekamp bought a security business overseeing bars and clubs, which he grew from two staff to 120 and from two venues to 30 in the space of several years. However, he was soon frustrated by a lack of control when it came to his high-turnover clients.
“What would happen was I would get two or three pubs, I’d lose one; I’d get four, I’d lose two. I had no control, because I didn’t own the pubs or clubs. But when I was buying properties, I never lost one – I had all the control.
“So I decided to sell the security business. I sold it to a guy who tripled it. (I should have made him manager!) I started Property Secrets, but I wanted to make sure that I had a one-stop shop. The frustration I had when I was buying property was that Aussie Home Loans did my loan, a buyer’s agent did the property searches – I was cherrypicking services – and each company didn’t know what the other one was doing. So I thought,‘Wouldn’t it be good if you actually had a company
that did everything?’”
It’s taken him since 2006, but Giezekamp says he’s now fully organised and thoroughly educated in each of his nine divisions.
“I’m 100% an expert in each of these areas. I actually believe I’m the best at every single division – I can’t think of anyone better. The interesting thing is that there are people now copying what we do, but the problem is, when you’re copying, compared to when you create, it’s never the same. It’s kind of like Hyundai trying to build a BMW.”
Property Secrets has 12 staff members, though Giezekamp says many of the company’s positions are outsourced.
“We outsource a lot of jobs. We outsource property management, we outsource insurance, we outsource conveyancing, we outsource the building work… There’s power in outsourcing because, if I have a builder, for instance, and I’m going to give them 20 granny-flat builds per month, then I would normally get discounts for my clients because of the volume.”
In the end, he says, offering a full range of services has helped make clients more ‘sticky’, though he doesn’t recommend the service proposition to everyone.
“My advice for brokers looking to diversify and add more income stream is … a lot of [people] are trying to recreate the wheel. They’re better off finding property companies like mine – definitely having a referral agreement in place so that the client’s protected – who they can refer to and get a referral fee, instead of trying to start up a whole division from scratch. It’s better to outsource these jobs and take a commission than try and start up a whole division.”