60 second interview:  Harpal Singh

What does it say on your business card?
Managing Director, Conveyancing Alliance

Where are you based? Everywhere – we are an online distributor of conveyancing, although our own offices are in Surrey.

What does your business do? We help agents increase revenue and reduce cost through an online conveyancing solution.

How many people do you employ? Seven.

How has the recession been for you? A lesson and an opportunity. I bought out the business after the credit crunch had begun. The first business plan was easy – cut cost, get efficient and don’t lose money. The focus for 2009 has been to target clients rather than operating a scattergun approach. From our low cost base, we have been able to grow our distribution very successfully through estate agents, something we have never done before. The recession has helped us get our message across as agents strive for better value.

What lessons have you learnt from it? How unacceptable it is to have waste and inefficiency in any business. This applies as much in the good times – if not more.

How do you see your business in five years’ time? I believe the old outsourced conveyancing referral system has had its day. It is well known that many of the players in that arena have been struggling for some time. With our low cost base, I believe that we are ideally positioned to provide agents with a better way – one that is more profitable, has better conversion rates and adds more value. So the five-year plan is easy – world domination!

What do you think about Home Information Packs? I struggle to get off the fence on this one. I think the theory was a good one, but the timing and execution was awful.

What do you think the housing market will do for the rest of this year? Not a lot. The lending bottleneck is unlikely to be significantly relaxed until well into next year. There is insufficient competition in the lending sector. Until that changes with new / foreign lenders entering our market, lending criteria will remain tight.

Who is your property hero and why? Every single estate agent who has managed to keep their head above water.

Favourite night out? Beer and a curry

Last holiday? South of France

Strictly or X Factor? X Factor without a doubt. It is no coincidence that Simon Cowell is one of the most successful people in the entertainment industry.