News 10.08.20

We recently spoke with Steve Dawson, Managing Director of Principled Offsite Logistics, on his experiences over the past six months

1. Can you tell me a little about Principled Offsite Logistics and when and how it was started?

It actually all started at my kitchen table in December 2008 (going live in 2009) when my friend and I had an idea that just kept growing. Within 6 months we realised we had something very special indeed. We have had challenges in the past (thankfully all resolved!), but we’ve gotten through it and were the first company within our field to go national – we now have four regional hubs set up.

2. What services does Principled offer and how does Vigilance compliment your offering?

Principled mitigates business rates and we also have a related business which is secure document storage – Vigilance look after empty properties and specialise in vacant protection services, so we have complimentary suites of risk and cost mitigation services that combine perfectly for customers. 

3. How has COVID-19 affected Principled as a company, both directly and indirectly?

Thankfully, we haven’t had to close during COVID-19 as what we mainly do is look after empty buildings – however, we have had to implement certain protocols. We no longer use temporary workers, we ensure each team uses the same van each day, we provide PPE to all our logistics staff and have special procedures in place for situations when security guards or property agents need access to a property. It’s not ‘money at all costs’ – we have to look after our people.

4. Are there any opportunities that have arisen as a result of the current outbreak?

For us personally, COVID-19 has been a challenge but we have also seen some positive outcomes. As a result of the situation, we are looking to take on a lot more properties in the coming months, but of course it is an awful position for various of these companies and customers to find themselves in.

5.     In broad terms, can you explain Rates Mitigation? 

Rates Mitigation works this way – if someone were letting a building and served notice to end a lease, at the point of the tenant departing, the government would give the landlord a 6-month rate free holiday to find a new tenant. Of course, the landlord is incentivised to secure someone as after 6 months business rates would become payable from the landlord. With rates mitigation what happens is that if a tenant can’t be found, Principled takes out a lease for 47 days, enters the property and fills it with goods. At the end of that period, Principled leaves and thus starts the 6 months rate free period to the landlord again. It’s a repeatable cycle and it creates significant rates savings for businesses in a time when they are struggling to let space to long term tenants.

6.    What are the main benefits of Rates Mitigation services you provide for commercial property owners and how are these services helping businesses during COVID-19?  

Substantial cost saving is the main benefit of Rates Mitigation and we’ve managed to save clients in excess of £200m during COVID-19 so far. We’re helping businesses by holding onto their buildings during this time until they can afford to come back to them and avoiding the properties going into liquidation. It is an extraordinary (and difficult) time for property owners and no one can predict when this crisis is going to level out.

7.    Is there an advantage in choosing Principled over other rival services?

Principled is a leader in the field and we focus on the quality of what we do, and do it right. We were the first professional firm to go national with regional bases, our system is tried and tested, and we are able to supply value added additional services to customers by partnering with high quality service providers, like Vigilance.

8.    What is Principled’s relationship with Vigilance?

We enjoy working with Vigilance a great deal – we have a strong relationship with the guys and they are honest, decent, all-round good people and are very easy to deal with. We’re fans of the product, the people they use and the way they work. 

9.    You have a longstanding collaboration that Vigilance and Principled have enjoyed on behalf of a major supermarket chain – could you tell us some more about that?

This has been one of our main collaborations which gives us the case studies and evidence that this works very well indeed. We’re forecasting that in the current climate, big properties really do need to be looked after and this is only going to become more important - there is a clear, natural join between us and we’re very excited about the future.

10.    Is there any advice you would give to someone in your industry about how security should best be implemented and why?

I think there are a lot of companies out there that are offering the world but delivering it poorly, purely because they don’t offer the right wages to their staff to get the quality of service they are assuring the client. Vigilance do it correctly by paying good rates for good people and as a result of that, the product is excellent. You get exactly what you pay for and we wouldn’t look anywhere else. 

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