Established in 2007, Richardson Legal Services are a client friendly firm with experience in a range of specialist Legal Services and Estate Planning Services. We speak to David Richardson at his office in Falcon House, Langage Business Park to see how he got to where he is today.
Richardson’s Legal Services specialise in the needs of over 60’s and their wealth of experience means they offer services such as Wills and Probate, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Home Protection Trusts. David Richardson, the owner of Richardson’s Legal, tells us how he has been running his own business since he was 30 years old.
“I’ve had many businesses over the years, I can’t remember exactly how many! I became involved in law when I was young. I went to the College of Commerce in Bristol and studied a number of subjects- one of which was Civil Law”. David explains how he passed all of his exams but didn’t pursue any of his qualifications. “I became a salesman, selling postal franking machines. I used to meet quite a lot of lawyers through this, and always thought I would love that job!”
David kept this aspiration on the backburner whilst he opened up a small chain of coffee shops in Plymouth and Torquay. This was going well for him until the big corporate chains moved in and unfortunately, David’s business suffered as a result. “I decided I needed a change. I looked into Will writing, and thought it was a great way of getting a foot in the door of the law business”.
In 2007, David studied at the College of Will Writing, and upon passing his exams, immediately decided to start his own business
“I was living in East Devon at the time, in Honiton. Of course, business didn’t exactly boom there- the population wasn’t great. I became a little despondent about it and decided that myself and my partner, Alison should move to Spain”. David and Alison made the move, however, business didn’t grow as expected. The couple moved back to the UK in 2010, after just under a year of living abroad.
Once back in the UK, David decided to move to Plymouth. “I really wanted the business to do well and Plymouth has a population of 260,000- a lot more than little old Honiton!” David decided to advertise in a local magazine, and after the first month he received a lot of business as a result. “It was only £1000 turnover so I thought- this is okay. I gradually increased the advertising budget and placed my services in more magazines. I set myself a target for business of £2000 in the second quarter, £3000 in the third quarter and so on”.
“In East Devon I spent as much on marketing as I was taking. However, in Plymouth this was different. It could come out as a percentage because it was working so well for me”. David hit all of these advertising targets; however he explains that he was still working in a room from home, and the work load was starting to reach the point of being too much to handle on his own.
I took on an office at Falcon House in January 2012. I hired an assistant named Joe who was extremely good and so the business grew. It grows at 50% a year, almost every year
Richardson’s Legal Services has seen its share of trying times. In 2015, the company had six staff members, due to David anticipating large business growth. “Unfortunately when the Referendum came along and the decision was Brexit, this put the country in turmoil and the business was hit very badly”. So much so that David had to make 3 staff redundant and re-structure the business to survive.
“I came up with some lower budgets and achievable targets under the circumstances and got the business going again. This is the first full year we’ve completed since that time; and we’ve had record sales and net profits. We’re doing very well, and next year we are looking to continue our growth by 50%”.
Looking at the business structure now, Richardsons Legal Services consists of David himself, Monica who has recently been appointed Director, and Bev who has recently joined the firm as an administrator. David tells us that Monica, who was previously an Office Manager in Italy- has been with him since 2013.
“Monica used to be my personal assistant but she came to me last year asking to become a practitioner. She studied and went to the College of Will Writing- took her exams and passed”. Monica now oversees every client regarding Wills, Power of Attorney and Trust work. “She is brilliant!” David tells us.
We offer free consultations, and free advice for life. No obligation, no pressure. I find out peoples circumstances, what they want to achieve and advise them. It is completely up to them whether they want to carry on with us or not
David explains the importance of trusts and the fact that they are not necessarily well understood. “People are concerned that their children won’t inherit their estates. There are a lot of threats happening. Our average client is 73 years old and at that age, you start to worry about these things”.
David tells us that there are many good reasons for putting a property in Trust. “Lots of people can make a claim on a will after you’re gone- and succeed. But in a trust, this cannot be challenged. Children will get their inheritance, there’s no probate needed, it saves money and more importantly it saves stress. You’re automatically protected against any unforeseen eventualities”.
Richardsons Legal Services offer free consultations, and free advice for life. Monica tells us that if someone has a change of circumstance, they can just call up and someone will be there to help them. David explains that every client receives a customer survey, of which they score an impressive 95%. “The prominent results were friendliness. Answering peoples questions in an easy to understand language, that’s also very important”.
Monica elaborates on this; “If people come and see me, they usually come in very stressed. But when they leave, the best present they can give me is their smile”.
It can be very painful sometimes; I understand why- it’s a stressful situation. No one leaves without having a cup of tea, and if they leave with a smile- that means I’ve done a good job!
As a qualified practitioner, Monica oversees clients regarding Wills and Probate. She wants to stress the importance of young people thinking about making a will. “It is extremely important; especially if you have children. Your children will not necessarily go to the people you want if anything were to happen, so you have to appoint a guardian. It is very much the mentality of ‘I will do it tomorrow’ but you need to do it now. You can never be too early”.
In regards to a 5 year projection for the business, David tells us that he wants to continue the 50% growth each year. “I would love to get it to a stage where we have three practitioners- it’s definitely heading that way as me and Monica find ourselves extremely busy!”
We ask David what he thinks are the reasons behind the past year being more successful than others. “I think we are just getting more established. With a combination of the advertising and word of mouth, more people have heard of us. They may have even seen me on the back of a bus!”
David holds free seminars around Plymouth, which he has been offering for the past three years. “We put these seminars on so people can come along at their own accord and not feel isolated. They can learn about what we do in a friendly environment with other people”. If you are interested in attending a seminar see the website below for more details.