Fitness coach powers up his property business after Samuel Leeds training!

Property entrepreneur and fitness coach Danny Griffin’s rent-to-rent business is in excellent shape, thanks to his training on the Samuel Leeds Academy. Danny has ten serviced accommodation properties, including a seven-bedroom house in Birmingham, which alone makes a profit of around £5,000 a month. It all began for Danny when he attended the £1 crash course and turned his buy-to-let into an Airbnb.

Samuel Leeds

‘I was literally paying someone to live there’

Danny had heard about Airbnb and the possibility of making money from renting out furnished accommodation for short stays but had never explored it. As he puts it: “I didn't really know what it entailed and how to get into it.”

That was until he came to the crash course in November 2022 after seeing it advertised while searching for information about property.

He already owned an apartment in Birmingham which he was renting out. The returns on it, however, were very poor.

“I was getting about £650 in rent. The mortgage payments were about £475. After paying the service charges and the ground rent, and then paying the tax, it was like I was literally paying someone to live there.”

So, after listening to Samuel Leeds on the course describing the serviced accommodation strategy, he gave notice to his tenant and decided to try it out on his apartment.

“The tenant didn’t really use it that much. I thought let me just implement that strategy onto that one first and then I’ll get into the next one.

“As soon as I put it on, I started getting bookings. It was a good start for me. It gave me a lot of confidence just to continue doing it.”

It churns out money, even in the low season.

“In a bad month it'll probably bring in about £1,500. In a good month it can bring in up to £2,200. The profit I’d say is over £1,000 [per month] and now it's just on an interest only mortgage. I don't really pay out much for it.”

He adds: “I learned so much from turning that property into an Airbnb. Until you are taking action, you're not going to learn exactly what you need to learn.”

Six weeks later Danny got his next rent-to-rent opportunity and has never looked back since.

We got a booking worth £12,000 from a company in Spain’

Before coming to the crash course Danny had another property which he sold in 2022 after becoming disenchanted with the buy-to-let strategy.

His goal had been to purchase up to ten properties to build wealth. However, it became apparent to him that there were some serious drawbacks to this method. Every time a person moved out, he had to refurbish it to a certain standard and then find a new tenant. It was also never that profitable.

“I couldn't see myself having to save up the money, get a deposit, buy another property, rent it out, wait for it to go up in value and make money from it. So, it put me off.

“When I came to the crash course and heard how I could do different things to make money in property that reignited my fire to get back into it.”

Subsequently, he enrolled on the year-long academy programme to gain an in-depth knowledge of the various methods used by investors. It was while he was making calls to find a property deal, as students are encouraged to do, that he realised he already knew lots of people working in property.

So, he brought an estate agent on board who had been trying to get into the entrepreneurial side of the industry, but lacked the time to do it.

“We met up for a coffee and talked about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to take the business. Then he started showing me a few of the properties that he had. That’s when I came across the main house that I have,” explains Danny.

The seven-bedroom house, which is in the Stetchford area of Birmingham, became his first rent-to-serviced accommodation deal. He pays the landlord £2,300 a month and then rents it out on a nightly basis, charging a higher rate to make his cut.

After a slow start while learning about how to price it, Danny and his partner saw the money roll in.

“In November we turned over about £8,500; in December about £6,000 and in January about £5,000. February was fully booked again and March (2024).”

The property is advertised on Airbnb and and they also reach out to companies in need of accommodation for their employees.

“We've got a lot of reoccurring customers as well who have stayed there in the past. I always try to reach out to every guest, find out about the company and who's in charge of the accommodation and just keep in contact with them basically.”

That one deal alone makes a profit of £4,000 to £5,000 a month, depending on the time of year, says Danny.

The deposit was £2,400 and they also had to pay £2,300 for the first month’s rent, plus just under £7,000 to stage the property. The maintenance is their responsibility too, but they quickly recouped their outlay.

Straight away they received a three-month booking worth £12,000 from a company in Spain.

“I’d just taken over the property, so we had five days to get it ready. We were working with the team till about three in the morning and it was being booked out the next day.”

He teamed up with another joint venture partner and took on more apartments in the Hockley district of Birmingham.They now have five flats in a large complex.

On top of his rent-to-rent portfolio, Danny owns the property he lives in, plus another one in Walsall which is tenanted. He regrets selling the property he had in 2022 because it would have worked as self-accommodation, he believes.

‘We had one guest from California’

Danny agrees with his property guru Samuel that it is important to think about who is under your nose. The fitness trainer describes this as low hanging fruit, or in other words looking within your own circle of friends, family members and business contacts for opportunities.

The entrepreneur says he has had a lot of business come to him through his gym. He still does some coaching, but now spends more time on his property operation.

“I’ll still do some one-on-one coaching in the gym just because it gets me out there talking to people.”

He also does some online coaching but has changed the format so that it doesn’t take up as much of his time as it used to.

In addition to his own rentals, the businessman manages properties owned by investors. Whilst he prefers the serviced accommodation model to acquiring a buy-to-let because it is much more profitable, there are logistical challenges.

Systemisation is key to maximising the revenue when guests are coming in and out. Using the right software and automated messages reduces his workload. Having good cleaners is also paramount, as well as a system for handling the laundry, he points out,

“We have a company that does all our laundry and our bedlinen. So, we have a system where we bring all the dirty laundry and the bedding to our main hub once a week. The company fetches that and leaves all the new bedding and linen. Then that gets dispatched to all the other properties.”

If he had just one flat, the cleaners would be able to deal with the laundry, but with so many properties in the portfolio there had to be a centralised operation in place.

“We had to change it because obviously on one weekend we could have 40 beds that are being slept in that need to be changed by 3pm.”

He also has a virtual assistant. “She used to work for me for the fitness, but she's come along and started to get involved with this as well.”

One of his business partners looks after quality control to ensure they compete with the best Airbnbs in what some view as a saturated market in Birmingham.

Danny is unfazed by that. “Birmingham is a tough cookie to crack but if it's saturated that means there's a lot of business there.”

People come to the city from all over the country, as well as Europe and beyond.

“What you don't realise is there is a lot of tourism in Birmingham. We had one guest from California. It’s just because we live there, we don't expect it.”

Originally from Walsall, Danny is now keen to try the buy, refurbish, refinance strategy as he has contacts who could help him with the renovation side.

“Now I know exactly what kind of property I want and where I want it and how I'm going to run it. It's exciting.”

The academy enriched Danny in more ways than one. “I speak to at least somebody every day from the academy. I probably speak to them more than I speak to my own friends.

“It's been a been a great experience. I've had mentorship before, but it's been nothing like with the academy. With all the education, the Mastermind (Monday night mentoring calls via Zoom with Samuel Leeds), the meals and the Inner Circle meetings there's just so much.”

He has also seen it evolve over a period of a year with more features being added, such as apps and the Property Investors Mediation Service, PIMS.

In conclusion, Danny feels he now has a long-term goal and a clear direction of how to grow his wealth.

“With property I’m in control of my own destiny.”

Danny’s tips

  • If you’re looking to get into business, get educated in what you want to do. Don’t overthink and have a lot of belief. You’ve also got to be willing to take that risk and have some kind of skin in the game. Having skin in the game is like coming to the academy and investing in yourself. That way you’re going to really put it into action.
  • When you’re trying to secure a rent-to-rent deal and approaching agents/landlords, speak to as many people as you can and refine your skills. Be confident in yourself.
  • Everybody started from somewhere. Nobody is going to expect you to know everything straight away. But people do need to see your passion for property and that you’re serious about it.

Samuel Leeds verdict

“It’s exciting times for Danny and he’s a great entrepreneur. He looked at what he already owned and who he knew and thought he would try serviced accommodation on his buy-to-let property. Now he has multiple properties and is making far more money. It’s a lesson to other investors that they could revolutionise their existing property business just by being a bit more creative.”

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