SDL Surveying has enjoyed a record year of growth – c.8% year-on-year increase in revenue, c225,000 valuations conducted and an increase in market share from 14% to 20%. This is underpinned by winning lead panel manager contracts with HSBC and YBS, as well as securing increases in allocation from other lender clients as a reward for exceptional service delivery before and during the pandemic.
League tables which are published by several lenders on a monthly basis showcase SDL maintaining 1st position throughout the last 12 months with an average valuation turnaround of 4.07 days.
Speed isn’t at the expense of quality or consumer care – in 2020, 85% of the 627 reviews SDL received from consumers on Google were 5 stars. This gives an overall Google review score of 4.4 stars – streets ahead of all major competitors.
Market share growth has led to the number of surveyors employed by the business increase by c.15% in FY20 to a total of 91, with more added in recent months bringing the total to over 100 – a first for the firm. This is supplemented its national network of independent surveyors carrying out work distributed to them by SDL. The network has also grown by a staggering 278% within 18 months from 115 surveyors to 435.
The company’s impressive response to COVID-19 has been a significant achievement which reflects SDL team’s tireless hard work. Prior to the Government’s announcement of lockdown on 23rd March, SDL moved its entire operation to working from home, changing course with an ease, owed to its flexible tech-based model.
Shortly after, SDL updated its desktop valuation product to cope with the increased level of volume required by the business’ key lender clients. The updated product, which was PII wrapped and completed remotely by surveyors with local area knowledge, was immediately taken up by lenders.
The firm committed to providing weekly updates for to all its surveyors (staff and network) as well as holding regular video conferencing Q&As with senior staff to provide SDL’s views on the ever-changing situation and to keep them informed.
Forward-planning during lockdown enabled SDL to become the first major national firm to recommence physical inspections (13th May), sourcing PPE for all its surveyors ahead of time and adopting new inspection safety procedures, which were approved by SDL’s lender clients and briefed to all parties by online training and videos.
Alongside this, SDL continues to invest heavily in its people in order to retain and attract the best talent. In the last year, the firm has seen the launch of a management development scheme and a structured APC training programme, with the latter boasting an 83% pass rate. SDL also continues to offer employees the chance to become RICS qualified surveyors via its Sava scholarship scheme, which contributes to the 10% of all operational staff that are currently in surveyor training.
SDL’s ability to constantly evolve has not only benefitted the firm itself, but the industry as a whole and provides a blueprint for others to follow.