This month’s member interview is with Linda and Richard Barrie from Property and Maintenance Company “Total Developments”. Richard and Linda are a very positive and extremely friendly, outgoing and pleasant couple so we are sure this is what makes people respond so well to them.
We have been trying to arrange a coffee and catch up with Linda for months and at last we have made it.
LBRA. Hi Linda and Richard thanks for making the time to meet us as always can we firstly ask how long you have been here and why Lanzarote?
LB. We have actually lived here for 12 years but had been holidaying here for 22 years. We visited in March and October every year and it got to the point that we did not want to go home. We had talked a lot about retiring here but the pull was so strong so we thought why not consider moving before retiring. It was an idea that grew, the company Richard was working for were threatening redundancies and the company I worked for was going through a merger so we thought maybe now is the time.
We decided to put our house on the market; we had done so two years previously and had no interest so we were not really expecting it to sell quickly. As luck would have it or typically when you are still making decisions it went on the market on the Friday and by Monday we had a firm offer, so that was it, decision time, and we decided to go with it. The whole process moved quickly from the sale in March till August when we were installed in our new Lanzarote home.
LBRA. Did you have the business and property before you moved here?
L&RB. No we decided to make the move, settle and then see what would happen, initially we thought about early retirement, but changed our minds. We were fortunate that Richards daughter Claire was already living on the island and had been for many years. She was able to source us an apartment for us to move into and help us with numerous moving over tasks.
Once we were settled we started to think about business ideas and as the island is touristic decided to work in that field. We considered bars and restaurants but as both our previous backgrounds had involved working with the public and customer service we decided to go with Property Management. Sadly for us after about 18 months of us being here Claire relocated to the UK where she is happily settled, but her initial support was great and we are thankful for that.
LBRA. You work together and run Total Developments can you tell us more about the business and how it works?
L&RB. Well as you know its property management and maintenance and we cover the full spectrum. Ensuring properties are ready for clients, meet and greet, being on call 24/7 for problems or emergences as well as decorating, gardening, maintenance and pool repairs, and full refurbishments etc; really whatever a property needs we can deal with it. It is a very family oriented business with our daughter Andrea assisting.
Linda explains that she tends to deal with the management and administration and overseeing the cleaning with the assistance of Andrea, although they maintain a very hands on approach and stress that team work is the key to their success. Richard takes care of the maintenance side of the business and is also involved with the meet and greets as they like to ensure clients are happy and know that they have the support of a team on the island should any problems occur. Linda’s brother Ken and sister in law Jackie moved to the island about 18 months ago and they also work alongside the team, although Ken is in the process of buying his own business but still hopes to be able to help out occasionally.
LBRA. Has Lanzarote met your expectations?
L&RB. Definitely and more; we found the friendliness of people to be amazing, something that we noticed when we came on holiday here, and one of the factors that made Lanzarote our destination choice. We have found people very amiable and always willing to help with advice or assistance.
LBRA. How easy/difficult have you found setting up a business in Lanzaote and any advice you could offer to others?
L&RB. We have to say we found the process fairly easy; of course we were lucky that Claire was already established on the island and could point us in the right directions. We were also lucky that the Asesoria we chose guided us through all the paperwork (and still does they joke.) So our main recommendation would be to get a good Asesoria. We started with a small number of apartments and gradually our reputation and portfolio of properties grew and we now look after a considerable amount of apartments and villas. We concentrate on the Puerto del Carmen area as we feel it would be difficult to maintain our high level of personal service if we spread ourselves too far across the island.
LBRA. What if any changes would you like to see in Lanzarote?
L&RB. Well the amount of “red tape” one has to go through can be annoying and off putting and of course the problem with the private holiday rental law has been very detrimental, and we all hope it can be resolved soon.
LBRA. Best things about living in Lanzarote?
L&RB. Sunshine, the way of life, it’s so family oriented. We just love seeing families out enjoying themselves, on the beach, in restaurants, it reminds us of what England used to be like in the 50s and 60s. The people are so welcoming and of course there is no high rise, its less commercial than other islands and just very relaxing.
LBRA. Is there anything you miss from your previous lifestyle in the UK?
LB. Of course family and friends, it’s funny though we often remark that we see more of them now that when living in the UK, as they mostly visit us at least twice a year and we all talk regularly on Skype etc. There used to be the odd item but with all the new stores I think we have everything we need. (We have a little joke about Marks and Spencer and underwear, ladies you know what we mean)
LBRA. How do you like to relax, sports, hobbies etc?
L&RB. Haha that’s a funny one, we don’t have a lot of free time, but that is our choice and we are happy with that. We like to socialise with family and friends and as most of our free time is after work we tend to have lots of evening barbeques at our villa, sitting around the pool with a little music and just enjoying life.
LBRA. I expect you have had lots of family and friends visiting you where do you like to take them?
L&RB. We like to visit less touristy places, most of our visitors have done the main attractions over the years and like to get a flavour of the real Lanzarote and it values. A pleasant stroll around the villages and then lunch at Arrieta or Famara would be perfect. We do also like to have a drink or lunch in Puerto Calero which we find very relaxing.
LBRA. 5 words to describe Lanzarote?
LB. Stunning, friendly, relaxing, scenic, and home.
LBRA. And your plans for the future?
L&RB. Well for the moment we are very happy and hope to continue as we are, maintaining our business and offering a dedicated, personal service to our clients. Our long term aim is to retire here (one day they laugh) and spend time together and with the family enjoying life and Lanzarote.
LBRA. Linda and Richard thank you so much it’s been a delight to meet up with you both and we wish you every success for your future and for your “eventual retirement”. If you would like to contact Linda or Richard, details are below
Property management & maintenance
Tel (0034) 928 51 50 20
Mob (0034) 628 354 887