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Written by rosalind renshaw

JKM, the property company set up by the former owners of Burchell Edwards estate agents and chaired by former Countrywide boss Harry Hill, is set to close after clearing its existing business.

Callers to JKM Property Solutions are being told that the company is winding down, while its website says it is the subject of change and development.

Harry Hill himself said in a post on EAT on Wednesday this week that the company had not been successful. It had, he said, been a ‘brilliant concept’, and it was a ‘terrible, terrible shame’ to see it go.

In his post, he wrote: “JKM was and is a brilliant concept into which friends and I invested materially and I became non-exec chairman.

“As with all businesses, success or failure depends on a variety of factors including amongst other things, management skills, cost control, product, state of the market, debtor management and sometimes luck.

“I visited the operation regularly, and have no doubt that many people within the business worked very hard and long hours – but, as you know, without much success and the whole thing has, for now at least, been scaled back to a very small team who are initially overseeing the completion of all deals in the pipeline.

“Had all PD’s achieved a reasonable volume of sales each month, JKM would have been an outstanding success – but sadly many achieved very little despite good sustained financial support over an extended period, and I don’t believe that anyone other than investors (and we are big and ugly enough to know that all new business investments carry a high degree of risk) suffered any financial loss.

“Do I think it is a shame? Yes absolutely– a terrible, terrible shame.”

The concept always appeared hard to sell, involving buyers putting in firm offers for run-down properties, and JKM doing work such as installing Magnet kitchens and new bathrooms between exchange and completion.

Last November, Michael and Kenny Bruce sold Burchell Edwards for an undisclosed sum to Connells, three years after the brothers bought it out of administration.

At the time, they said that they would be concentrating on JKM. Persistent rumours that the firm was in trouble – along with allegations of poor workmanship – were denied by Harry Hill, who personally poured £1.5m into the venture.

Another loser may have been Gerry Fitzjohn, a director of JKM at the time but who is understood to have since stepped aside. He is now chief operating officer of the company that runs The Property Ombudsman scheme.

Comments

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    i worked for Burchell Edwards before and after Michael & Kenny Bruce bought it, they were the most energetic and exciting people to work for, I learnt so much from them, and thank them for that, I only ever found them to be professiona, and proud of their business, they were full of determination, and actively looked to help staff suceed
    I didnt work for JKM and have not seen or spoke to them in a few years but I find the negative comments sad , I wish the brothers all the best for the future

    • 02 March 2013 14:05 PM
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    About time JKM were found to be what they truly were. A bunch of Cowboys

    • 23 May 2012 22:40 PM
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    Essentially no surprise at all. I had first hand experience at JKM and whilst the period was highly interesting professionally, the organisation (I mean that in its loosest sense) and total lack of accountability and management was remarkable Without any clearly defined leadership or direction, the only prognosis in my opinion for this organisation has been realised. In the interest of a balanced opinion however I do concur with Mr Hill that there were a certain few individuals who appeared to try hard but given that they lacked any significant previous experience in their respective roles, one could accuse them of being busy fools and that they were destined to fail without any significant support from "senior management"

    On a more practical note, I personally witnessed some of the most appauling workmanship I have come across in my career to date, mostly due to the apparent lack of any meaningful site supervision. Again though there was one exception to the rule which I saw. Had this been the general standard of installation I think the business model stood a chance.

    Funny how the blame game seems to be played. If it was indeed a result of the PD's not achieveing the sales, I would ask who was managing the situation?

    In summary, a great principle, ruined in pratice by misguided, inexperienced and ineffectual management and a generally undirected sales force.

    I dare say that there will be certain individuals that will argue that my experience was not representative of what was actually happening but my counter argument would be that its academic, the above is of course my perspective on events but nevertheless the outcome for JKM remains unaltered.

    • 05 February 2012 12:17 PM
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    Delboy with no sense of humor springs to mind. It was a joke.

    • 01 February 2012 23:51 PM
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    The Bruce brothers are completely incompetent. What a set of W#nkers!!

    • 27 January 2012 14:34 PM
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    Michael Bruce did not have a grip on the reality of what was happening.

    When you have national agreements with the big corporates it should have been easy...... only we were continually told to push them and push them to the point of self destruct. The corporates were always worried about sales completing (and who could blame them) so did not allow business to come our way.
    Michael should have listened to the sales professionals who could have made this company work.

    • 24 January 2012 18:24 PM
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    Nick, “opportunity?” , opportunity to lose money, you can bet as in most of these clever accounting practices someone, Mr Hill no doubt made money. It won’t be the suppliers that’s for sure

    • 20 January 2012 14:33 PM
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    The Bruce brothers , bought Burchell Edwards originally in 2006. It was very much a thriving and well respected business. 3 years after purchase they ran into financial difficulties , pre-packed it and " bought " it out of administration with the financial aid of others. This action left many suppliers well out of pocket. 3 years after this the company was sold again to Connells with the Bruce brothers stepping down immediately . This allowed them to concentrate on running JKM....... 3 months later , this business is being wound up.... Not a great track record and a real shame for all past employees and clients.

    • 20 January 2012 11:45 AM
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    What a bunch of gloating wallies. At least they had the guts to try to start a business and create employment at a time when investors and startups are thin on the ground. They could have all banked their money and gone on a cruise, (that should give you some oportunities) but instead these guys gave it a go. Grow up you lot and stop crowing.
    Nick.

    • 20 January 2012 09:27 AM
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    Dear EAT, I would love to read articles which don't include Harry 'Chopper' Hill. He's been there, done it, got the T shirt, all off the back of the likes of me and all those other Countrywide boys and girls - and now started to close his other 'brilliant concept' ideas down. - shame !!
    Lets wait and see how 'in-deed ' perform because lets face it CPL is a much loved, proffessional and 'brilliant concept' as well !!

    Good luck Chopper !!

    • 20 January 2012 09:20 AM
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    "the company that runs The Property Ombudsman." says all you need to know

    • 20 January 2012 09:19 AM
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    Dear Mr Hill actually believes he has the Midas touch as being successful once or perhaps just in the right place at the right time. His arrogance is shocking, believing agents are rubbish as are solicitors, “investors” who believe his propaganda will find out the hard way, as this lot have.

    • 20 January 2012 08:36 AM
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    And I am sure I speak on behalf of everybody that has had the misfortune of knowing them? RIP numpties!

    • 20 January 2012 08:18 AM
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    Mr Hill stick to your Burp on a saturday nigh!!!

    • 20 January 2012 07:43 AM
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