Louise Robinson has recently joined the PSA team at SearchFlow as Personal Searches Operations Manager.
SearchFlow is the only search provider with an in-house nationwide personal search agency. In the last year, PSA has experienced significant growth and the popularity of personal searches shows no signs of slowing.
Louise discusses the increasing take-up of personal searches and how her team is scaled for future growth:
Q: Personal search volumes are continuing to increase – can you talk us through the trends you are seeing?
A: “PSA is going through a massive growth curve. In fact, my team experienced a 32% uplift in order volumes in the last 12-months alone and I’m enjoying supporting the team in managing further expansion.
“Since I joined PSA SearchFlow just over six months ago, I’ve already increased capacity both with the internal team and those working out in the field at the local authorities. We’ve just had an extra seven people join, plus more recruitment is underway. It’s an exciting time for our business.”
Q: What do you think is driving the growth in personal searches?
A: “I think there are a number of factors: we have a nationwide team of personal search agents meaning our extensive coverage allows us to offer excellent turnaround times on our orders – without compromising high standards, consistency or accuracy of search content.
“Our customers like the speed of delivery and also the standardisation of pricing, which makes it easier for them to provide quotations to their own clients.
“Our personal searches also come with the protection of insurance that will cover clients for any errors or omissions, which extends up to £5 million per single claim.”
Q: What services are available through PSA SearchFlow?
A: “We access a wide range of searches including the Local Authority search, Local Land Charges Register, Planning Register, Highways Register and Local Plan. We also supply full Building Control information associated with a property, and answer all the enquiries on the CON29R form.
I encourage all agents to be as inquisitive and thorough as possible – as if it were for their own home!”
Q: What does a typical day look like for a PSA SearchFlow agent?
A: “Every council works differently and so our agents have to be flexible, inquisitive and be able to work on their own initiative. All of our agents bring something different in terms of experience and skills, but one key thread is that they all care about what they are doing and take the time to consider what they would want to know if they were the buyer.
“The volumes are high – we undertake thousands of searches every month across the country – and with it comes a great deal of responsibility, yet they all have a great opportunity to shape their role. I’m instilling a one-team approach to ensure the team feels empowered and able to contribute to the growth of the business.”
Q: How does technology fit with the PSA SearchFlow offering?
A: “The search process is being modernised in many areas. SearchFlow’s clients now have access to a sophisticated online ordering system. It uses AI to automatically determine the best option for a search, and if a personal search is quicker, it will advise the client accordingly, so they can make a decision on how to proceed with their order.
“We’ve also just launched a refreshed version of the PSA app, which includes more dynamic features to make it easier to use, view and track orders.”
Q: What do you enjoy about working at PSA SearchFlow?
A: “PSA has a great heritage, having been the first organisation of its type back in 1984. I like working for a business that broke new ground, and continues to grow some 30 years later. Much of this success is down to the team – they are great and make an impact every day, completing personal searches up and down the country.”