Chris Perkins looks a very satisfied and contented man as me, him and Rockett Home Rentals’ Bill Rockett sit down for lunch in a pub in the Staffordshire countryside.
And why wouldn’t he be, as he’s just started up his own business after a number of successful years of management at a world-famous company based in Staffordshire, he has a loving family, and his beloved Liverpool FC were recently crowned European champions - a landmark he marked with his first ever book.
And part of the Perkins portfolio is a property that he holds dear to his heart. But more about that later……
Tall, dressed smartly, and extremely chatty, Chris Perkins is excellent company. Be it business, property or football, he has an engaging manner that makes you feel instantly comfortable - and that’s also apparent in his book, based on a momentous year for Liverpool FC and for him.
Chris was named in 2019 The Sentinel Most Inspirational and Influential People in North Staffordshire, but left the globally famous World of Wedgwood earlier this year to, in his words, “go it alone”. Now self-employed, he has set up One Objective, to “help SME’s to achieve growth through effective, objective planning and marketing management”. It’s clear that he doesn’t settle for a quiet life nor comfort zones. Because if he did, he didn’t really need to become self-employed or write a book. And that tells you about the driven psyche of the Warrington-based business owner.
So, what is One Objective all about…..
“From what I have seen, many businesses don’t really have an effective business plan”, Chris states, before adding, “….so what I offer is strategic business planning and marketing management services, from specific project work through to consultancy work. It’s started well, and I’m looking forward to it progressing at pace in 2020……”
It’s a bold move, but one that he started after giving himself the time to remove one item off his personal bucket list - writing a book.
Let’s Talk About Six: A life in the Season of a Liverpool Fan is far more than a labour of love. It’s something that seemingly not only Perkins wanted to do, but something he had to do. It’s a very personal account of Liverpool FC’s Champions League winning season, culminating in the final in Madrid. Indeed, so personal, that the front cover photograph was taken by a friend of his rather than using a professional. The book ensures that the reader shares the full range of Chris’ experiences and emotions: so much so that I almost felt that I was in the car, pub or at the match with him. And whilst not a Liverpool fan, his tone and style ensures that you are nodding your head whilst reading it.
After all, isn’t football about the journey and not the destination?
“Yes, I agree”, concurs Chris, “we are all time-served fans who have our own stories and our own takes on things. I hope non-Liverpool fans enjoy it as much as Reds…..it’s about recognition and a labour of love rather than making money.”
Money. An area that Chris admits “isn’t my thing really. I leave that to others!”. But he does receive an income from being a landlord. Indeed, he calls himself “an accidental landlord”. But like his book, when talking about property, it’s very personal to him…..
“Yeah, I am the landlord of my mum’s house. She had to downsize and went into a pretty ramshackle house in Warrington quite a while back. Later, she had a fall and some other health issues, too. She ended up in hospital for 6 months, despite being told it would only be for 3 months, so I decided to renovate her house myself whilst she was in there.”
Chris admits that when it comes to DIY, he’s not that way inclined at all, and saw it as a massive challenge. He stripped the house to its bare bones and put in new carpets, furniture, redecorated it, got rid of damp etc, so it was like a new house for when his mum returned.
“When she came out of hospital the house had been totally renovated, and afterwards she had five years in there. Looking back, it was one of the hardest but best things that I ever did. She was amazed – I suppose it was a bit like Homes under the Hammer for her, ha ha! It was great for her psychologically too, as she was expecting it to be the same as before.
I finished the work before I spent a year touring around the world. It put mum in a better frame of mind.”
Sadly, Chris’ mum passed away in 2009, but she left the house to him and told him that it was up to him what he did with the house in the future. He still is the landlord to this day…..
“Whilst I’m the accidental landlord, it’s a great fall back and a potential nest egg for me. It’s a two bedroom, semi-detached in Warrington. And the great thing about it is that it only occupies 13% of the plot it’s on, it has a massive double drive and has real scope for improvement.”
The house’s estimated value is around £160K, and this is partly because of not only the work carried out by Chris and its location, but the size of the plot it lies on, too. An architect put together a plan to extend it from 2 to 4 bed extension, and it is something that Chris is seriously thinking about, but hasn’t got around to doing yet….
“Yes, I’ve been thinking of converting it, but I recently started-up my own company and so haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet. But the plans are still there and what it does is add real value to the house because I got planning permission for it. It could be a really nice 4 bedroom family property….one day I will probably get around to it…..”
A local agent manages the property, whilst Chris only lives a mile or so away from it, and it has been rented for over a decade now. As Bill Rockett noted “Chris has had a ten-year income from it so far. It’s a really good regular income or something to fall back on if the property was to be sold at a later date. It’s literally a savings scheme that someone else is funding.”
Chris concurs. “Yes, it chips into our household income, and has allowed my wife to spend more time to look after our two kids. In the back of my mind, it’s a really good income to fall back on. For example, to help with university fees and things like that. It also gives me a little added security now I’m self-employed too, and I see it as helping to give me the potential to elevate my families’ life, too.
But it’s my mum’s legacy, and so will always be special and personal to me…..”
So, is Chris a big fan of investing in property?
“Yes, but I wish I had done so at a far younger age, ha, ha. I only really see the value of property acquisition now - I wish I had in the 90’s instead of enjoying myself so much!
The Warrington property market seems pretty buoyant, and my property is close to new Omega site which houses companies such as Royal Mail, United Utilities, The Hut Group, and Amazon - so it holds its value well.”