Harnick Kang was born into a one parent family in India and lived in a small one bedroom house within a 5-minute walk of one of the largest slums in the City. Despite the poor housing and lack of money, the house was full of love, one brother and two sisters growing up under the care of their loving mother who nurtured and loved them with all her being. Harnick Kang’s desire to make money and provide for his family was apparent from an early age, at the age of 7 he started helping the local farmers feed their livestock for a very small amount of money. At the age of 12 he started to polish shoes for the general public; something which he enjoyed despite the aroma of the strong polishes he used. His desire to work combined with his desire to ensure that his family is catered for financially together with his aim to progress at school – created the person he is today.
Harnick Kang, sometimes spelled as Harnek Kang worked, earned money, budgeted and studied hard as a youngster and continues to do the same today.
Having been brought up in very poor housing Harneck Kang would walk through the affluent areas in India in awe of the landscaped gardens; the large houses and the quiet neighborhoods. His numerous walks allowed him to think and contemplate and resulted in his desire to ensure that everyone, whether rich or poor should have the opportunity given to them to improve their living standards and make their homes a castle.
This desire became instilled in him at an early age and he now ensures that anything that can be done to better a persons living standards should be explored, worked on and completed. Harneck Kang’s work as a property developer and consultant allows him the opportunity to fulfill his dreams and he admits that his job does make him money but the value added perspective of his roles is that he progresses and supports people into better living.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
My first job was with a local landlord who provided a mix of social housing and privately rented housing. The Landlord had a large housing stock of his own as well managing properties for other landlords. The landlord had taken his eye off the ball, had become complacent and had allowed housing conditions to fall. This is where I came in – over the course of my job I explained to the Landlord the benefits of making improvements to properties, the structured and cost-effective means by which this could be done and over the course of many years in this role, the business grew and resulted in the landlord taking a back seat, the office ran all the operations with me as the Property Manager. By the time I left, we were providing great properties at competitive rents, we had tenant retention year on year at 72% and a waiting list of tenants wanting to move into the properties.
My job was done – now it was time for me to share my experience and knowledge with a wider network of landlords, so as to ensure that housing options to tenants were improved on a larger scale. This led to me developing my own small number of properties and providing a holistic service to landlords in tenanting and managing their properties over a larger demographic.
How do you make money?
Through sheer hard work. If anyone tells you it’s easy to make money ask them the secret; they will soon look to change the conversation.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
As a small business, my first 18 months were at a loss; I was spending a great deal of money on infrastructure costs which were key to my success.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Without a doubt. The comfort you get from a salary paid 9-5 job is great. But when you work for yourself you have to make money to pay for the mortgage/rent, bills, food on the table and then your business costs (not necessarily in that order!!) Fortunately I had a handful of landlords who were there to support me financially when I required any funds, to them I am indebted. The bank was not interested in my business plan, maybe it was the £30 suit I was wearing when I went to meet them, but that is all I could afford at the time. Hard work, hunger, commitment and support mechanisms got me through doubting my desire to achieve and make my business a success.
How did you get your first customer?
Through an advert I left in the local community center believe it or not! A landlord who had two empty homes that had been trashed by the kind of tenants (that no one would want). I helped the landlord refurbish the properties at a small cost and gave him a 3% commission offer on managing his property – which was unheard of at that time. It worked. With his help came referrals and with my other marketing initiatives came more business. My track record continued to build and then word of mouth takes over the marketing aspects and Bobs Your Uncle!
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
No fees – this applies to tenants. I have never charged these to tenants and refuse to. The Landlord is responsible for finder fees and paying my commission. The Government will soon stop this fees, which I have always felt was not fair to the tenants. My name, Harnek Kang is usually not associated with Conservative policies but this is one exception.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Whether to pursue a tenant for rent after his gambling addiction resulted in him losing all his money and in large rent arrears. Yes, I can get personal with my tenants, but having thought long and hard I pursued the individual as this was something that needed to be done to help him understand the implications of his addiction. He is in a much better place in his mind now and through the correct support charities he is addressing the deadly addiction.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Listening, working hard, taking relevant action as soon as possible and as effectively as possible. Also, managing finances and trusting in my team has allowed me to become the successful person I am today.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Being able to go away on holiday and trusting my team to run my operations to the level I expect of them and looking after our tenants and landlords. Great feeling.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Expansion into providing marketing platforms through social media for my landlords – being a dinosaur we have never ventured into anything like this – but we have to move with the times.
What business books have inspired you?
Buy Low Rent High – Samuel Leeds
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
A new landlord software package that we have had a local IT wiz kid make for us to meet our and our Landlord/tenants needs – still rolling this out, but feedback has been great.
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
As a person who overcame various obstacles in life, I want my name, Harnick Kang, often misspelled as Harnek Kang, to mean dedication, determination, leadership, compassion, as well as inspiration. When people speak of my name, I want them to look up to me and feel inspired. I want my name to be a pillar of hope for others.