Ching Tang founded Metro Village in 2011 with two staff. Today she has a team of 10 and the winner in the Employer category at The Wharf Innovation In Business Awards 2016, has plans to grow bigger yet.
Part of her estate agency’s success , according to Ching, is down its ability to combine elements of traditional business with fresh ideas.
“Many in our sector haven’t quite grasped the concept of dealing with new-builds,” she said.
“We sell for the developers as well as handling the letting and management of properties.”
The making of Metro Village was the Maple Quays contract, a Barratt Homes development in Canada Water.
Metro Village’s office is built beneath one of its first phases.
On the back of this deal, Metro Village was able to pitch its services to other national builders such as Galliard Homes and the Berkeley Group.
And the source of much of the company’s success can be found 5,000 miles away in the Far East, thanks to Metro Village’s track record of attracting buyers from this key area.
“We have very strong ties with buyers from the Far East, Hong Kong and Singapore, who see property investment in London as a worthy investment,” said Ching, who believes investors listen to Metro Village because of her employees’ extensive local knowledge.
Rather than straightforward buy-to-let purchases in places such as Canada Water – home to a large population of Chinese students – wealthy overseas parents will frequently buy a property for the duration of their child’s studies.
Then they sell it for a couple of hundred thousand pounds profit – money typically used to support their offspring’s progression into professional life wherever they decide to settle.
As for her approach to employment, which won her firm the award on September 29, Ching said profile – as with marketing new homes – was key.
“We don’t just look at people’s CVs, we look at who they are and how they would fit in with our team,” she said.
“Our employees are given a degree of autonomy and this enables them to make the most of themselves, with less supervision than elsewhere.
“When people join Metro Village, they do so knowing they fit the profile of the company and that the company will be the best environment in which they can succeed.
“It means they are in control of their own destiny and we work hard to ensure they are able to work to their full potential.”
When a position becomes available at Metro Village, Ching reaches out to the local community with information about the position.
She said: “We do this via our own social media and we use a number of local channels such as SE16 hour, a huge part of the local community in Surrey Quays and Canada Water.”
She said Metro Village also encouraged local work experience programmes and its latest was in conjunction with Ian Mikado School.
“Winning the award was a real honour,” said Ching. “I must confess we do have blinkers on and don’t compare ourselves with others.
“We’re not corporate, we’re very independent. We look after our staff and try to treat every one as an individual.
"They are selected with a fit in mind and follow their own route, rather than the traditional corporate process. The end goal is the same, but the journey is much more enjoyable.”
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