After nine years with Platinum Property Partners, you could have been forgiven for thinking Andy Bedwell had the property game well and truly nailed.

Especially when you consider he built a portfolio of nine Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in just five years – and now has 10 to his name.

With his HMO portfolio up and running and requiring less and less of his time, however, Andy was looking for a new challenge.

Commercial property stood out, but when it came to that particular beast, Andy knew he would need some further education.

“I was already running down the track when I signed up to the first intake of the Commercial Mastermind, because I got itchy feet about two years before that and started looking into different property strategies,” says Andy.

“I had a chat to Platinum’s CEO Richard Davies about the commercial investments their sister company Bourne Asset Management had done in Bournemouth and also eliminated some things that weren’t going to work for me.

“The thing that appealed to me about the Commercial Mastermind was that it offered a great overview of quite a few areas of commercial investment and a deeper dive into a few more.

“It’s like a sorting hat – it gives you enough information to sort which area you want to work in going forwards.”

Andy had already completed a weekend course in commercial investment but hadn’t progressed to pushing what he’d learned into any investments.

That changed after the Commercial Mastermind, though.

“My expectation with the Commercial Mastermind was that I was going to get decent exposure to a number of commercial investment strategies,” adds Andy.

“I was already interested in the serviced offices approach because that was what Bourne Asset Management had done so well down in Bournemouth, so content-wise the programme was a great fit for me.

“But the second thing about the programme that really stood out was the people in the cohort – they were all active in property and doing deals, or at least keen to do them, so that was great, too.

“The major thing though was the deep dives that included site visits and case studies around the specific strategies as that really made the programme come to life. We were also able to chat to all the key people behind each case study, including solicitors and property agents and you don’t usually get to talk to ‘real’ people on these kinds of courses.”
Since completing the Commercial Mastermind, Andy has built his commercial portfolio up to six sites across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

“We’ve got Perch Co-Working and Perch Studios in Bicester, Market House in Aylesbury, The Old Bakery in Bicester, Guardian House in Banbury and St Edburg’s Hall in Bicester, which is opening in the spring of 2021.”

The Old Bakery is the one that pleases Andy the most – after the whole project was completed in the uncertainty and upheaval of Covid-19 in 2020.

“It was an old Victorian bakery and we agreed to take it before the first lockdown,” recalls Andy.

“Once the restrictions started, we were thinking, ‘do we pull out’? But in the end, we had the confidence to go ahead and by the beginning of September 2020, it was complete and full.

“It was amazing and it’s a really, really beautiful building with so much character, so I’m chuffed we were able to do something with it – and to do it during such a difficult time makes it extra special.”

So, what’s next for Andy on his commercial journey?

“I’m going to press pause for a little bit,” he laughs.

“Other than Covid, one of the biggest challenges in commercial investment is keeping your refurbishment costs manageable.

“My wife describes commercial property as HMOs on steroids and she’s not wrong – you basically add a zero to everything, which means if you’re 10% or 20% over on your refurbishment costs, you’re looking at a lot of money.

“One of the people in my cohort of Commercial Mastermind actually became an investor of ours and we also have some great links with the second cohort.

“And the support from Platinum is always there – Richard’s always made himself available and been there to answer my questions, so that’s a massive thing for me, alongside all the other people who have been through the programme.

“I’ve made some great connections.”

Franchise partner stories

Our Franchise Partners come from all walks of life. Some have a lot of property experience and others have very little, or none. But all of them are now enjoying the income and freedom that come from partnering with Platinum.