We sat down with Will Mallard to discuss Landlord Studio's plans for the future, and the changing property investment market in the UK.
Interview with Logan Ransley from Landlord Studio on My Property Podcast hosted by Will Mallard.
In this interview, Logan Ransley Co-founder of Landlord Studio sat down with Will Mallard to discuss the business so far, plans for the future, and how Landlord Studio aims to help landlords tackle the ever-changing landscape of UK regulations.
We’re joined today by one of the cofounders of Landlord Studio. Landlord Studio is a New Zealand startup serving the UK and US markets with property management software designed to make landlord businesses a little bit easier. Landlord Studios is a tool to help you automate your rental property business, both from the financial tracking but also the actual property management itself.
I came across Logan and Landlord Studio through Kate Faulkner, one of the previous guests on the podcast, she’s one of the founding directors of the Lettings Industry Council of the UK, well known throughout UK property circles, and from my point of view and endorsement from here, is good enough basically.
What’s the quick story about Landlord Studio so far Logan?
My business partner, Charles, decided to invest in rental properties back home in New Zealand while he was actually living in London. He looked for a property management solution that would work, one with an app, and couldn’t find one. Being an IT contractor, and an app developer he decided he would just build one for himself.
Then he popped it on the App Store, not really thinking anything of it, but the app actually started getting a lot of downloads. Customers would ask him for new features and additional support and before he knew it, it turned into a full-time business.
After that we got investment, put together a team, and started scaling the product.
There’s a great Kiwi – UK story going on here. I’m from New Zealand, but I’ve chosen to live in the UK, and Charles, also Kiwi-born lived in London and got the basic concept together here before heading back down to New Zealand again. There are some quite high profile software success stories coming out of there. In recent years, for example, Xero has become a huge success and is a New Zealand founded company. Hopefully, you’re following in similar footsteps as you expand Landlord Studio?
Yes, that’s what we’re hoping for. We’re currently managing over 30,000 properties on the system. So we’re heading in the right direction, and we’ve got a very well defined product which is really focused on the UK and US markets.
What would be your typical customer or user profile?
Typically, landlords will start by managing their properties on a spreadsheet. Maybe that’s just one buy to let property to start with. As they scale their portfolio, the requirement for software tools and automation grow in order to make sure everything’s compliant, everything runs well and stays organised. When they reach that stage, that’s where they start to need tools such as Landlord Studio, to essentially streamline those parts of the business.
But there are also upcoming changes in the industry like the making tax digital changes that will be coming into play for landlords in April 2024. This will require even some of the smaller landlords to use tools like these in order to stay compliant.
Can you tell us a bit more about how it actually works?
The platform itself is cloud-based so you can access your account through the mobile app or via the desktop portal. The software was built around financial tracking, so inputting and tracking income and expenses, digitising receipts and making sure that they’re all stored on file for tax time, and our dashboard and financial reporting all of which can be done from any device.
It’s a bookkeeping tool to keep everything organised in one place. We’ve got a few more advanced features like bank reconciliation, as well as property management features like document storage, automated rent reminders, and recently we launched our rental listings feature.
So, this basically makes it easier to run the business side of your property venture when you’re a smaller or aspiring landlord?
Exactly. The software does two main things that allow you to stay tax compliant. When you do come to the end of the tax season, if you’re working with an accountant or filing your taxes independently, all the information is there in one place, consolidated so that you can essentially do that process much easier.
And the second part is as you start to scale your portfolio you can accurately create projections and financial insights of your business as a whole. That’s what we provide to our users. We make sure they have all the tools they need in order to know those numbers inside out so that they can operate an efficient business and scale over time.
I did a bit of background research prior to the show, and one of the things that stood out was the product reviews on independent software review platforms. I found one site that has 73 reviews with a five-star average across value functionality, ease of use, and quality of support. Why do you think people are rating you so highly?
We have a very user-centric approach. What we mean by that is both with a strong focus on support and also by collecting and listening to feedback. It’s this user feedback more than anything else that directs our future product enhancements and development.
we shift into the future and more products come out. We pride ourselves on making our software as easy to use as possible, particularly with a mobile-first experience in mind. So that even the most complex tasks around tax and bookkeeping are as simple as tapping a few buttons.
New Zealand’s on the other side of the world to the UK, down at the bottom of the South Pacific. You’re operating a business that covers US time zones and UK time zones from New Zealand, which I believe is 11, 12, 13 hours time difference. How do you guys keep that running?
We are actually based in the UK as an entity as well as the US, so we do have staff across those time zones which makes that process a little bit easier. But yeah, you’re right. We are dealing with multiple time zones.
The most important thing for us is that we have created a support system that doesn’t require a huge amount of human input. We’ve got a lot of content, educational material, help articles and videos, and all sorts of resources that people can consume in order to allow them to learn how to use the software without the need of a lot of handholding, and of course we’ve created our software to be as easy to use as possible.
You’ve got over 30,000 properties, which is a fantastic start. There’s obviously untapped markets within the UK, what type of growth strategies are you considering over the course of 2022?
We know education is a really big and important aspect for both existing landlords to upskill and better themselves over time and be able to scale their property businesses but also for those new real estate investors getting into the game. So, now we focus on providing a massive amount of education on our website and by partnering with educational thought leaders like Kate Faulkner, to get their insights and their perspective on how the industry is changing.
That leads into the second part where we are partnering with thought leaders and organisations that serve the same market in order to provide value to their customers as well. We will do that by using our product and our expertise in the space.
Those are the two main areas we are really focusing on for the UK, and particularly around some of these upcoming changes that you’ll see over the next few years like making tax digital, EPC changes, and capital gains.
Landlord Studio is a cloud-based property management and accounting system designed by landlords for landlords. Digitize receipts, connect your bank accounts, instantly generate accountant approved reports, and more.
You can also find it in the app store, just search for Landlord Studio. Landlord Studio offers a free plan with PRO pricing after that starting from just £15 per month which includes your first 4 properties.