QualitySolicitors is set to launch a new expansion drive in a bid to double the number of offices in the network to 200 as it looks to capitalise on its national coverage.
It recently secured one national B2B contract with a well-known name – the details of which will be revealed soon – and is also working on improving the other benefits firms receive.
Ben Greco, who took over as chief executive in April, told Legal Futures this week that QS has been staying under the radar as he established a “pragmatic, sustainable business model”.
Mr Greco, who is not a lawyer, was previously managing director of property services firm Move with Us, a member of the Simplify Group, of which QS is also part. All are owned by private equity company Palamon Capital.
He said QS would develop into a “boring” story as the strategy took hold, eschewing ambitions under previous regimes for members in hundreds of towns and high-profile national TV advertising campaigns.
QS now has around 65 member firms – less than half of the number at its peak – who between them have 100 offices.
We have reported on some firms leaving over the last year or two, and Mr Greco said a couple more would also be going it alone shortly. “It’s all about ‘fit’,” he explained.
At the same time, one new firm has signed up, with more set to shortly, and in the new year QS will start actively seeking new members to broaden its coverage. “To win national B2B contracts, we have to be a national brand,” he said.
While new members would have to adopt a “minimum level of branding”, Mr Greco acknowledged that adopting the QS brand entirely was a costly exercise for firms.
He described QS’s website as its other “huge asset”, attracting 100,000 unique visitors a month and annually 60,000 leads to member firms.
This represented a 95% drop-off between online visitors and leads, and Mr Greco said that as well as trying to increase the number of leads, there would be more of a focus on conversion. QS has been recruiting to bring its digital activity in-house.
He also wanted to offer enough benefits from collective buying power to pay for firms’ membership fees on their own, before new work was put into the equation, he continued. Twenty firms used QS to buy their professional indemnity insurance this year, and saved an average of £10,000 each as a result.
Mr Greco stepped back from previous moves to introduce fixed fees across the network: “National fixed fee pricing is difficult. It’s about being competitive in your local marketplace.”
However, QS was pushing greater fee transparency and was rolling out a ‘quote tool’ on QS websites. He suggested that consumers are so used to seeing prices online that not having them “looks suspicious”.
Mr Greco said there was a new approach to decision making too – initiatives would not be pursued unless a majority of firms agreed to adopt them.