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Interview of Richard Price
Written by the Letting Agent Today team
Richard Price, Sales Director at Glide Utilities

Who are you?

Richard Price

What does it say on your business card?

We don't have our roles on our business cards. I do have a rather interesting caricature of myself though (below). It works as a talking point! 

Who are Glide?

Richard Price, Sales Director at Glide Utilities

Glide is specialist student utilities and service provider for shared households and was the first company in the UK to offer multi-tenant billing. Our mantra is bills made simple, life made simple. We exist to take the pain and stress out of utility bills, so our customers have more time to do the things they love.

How do you help letting agents?

Increasingly tenants want inclusive bills in their second year accommodation. Historically, agents have been reluctant to do this due to the administration involved and the fear that tenants will use too much energy.

We take the admin out of utilities for letting agents, by making the billing process streamlined across a letting agent’s entire portfolio. Quite simply we’re able to issue one bill for all services and all properties. We also offer ways to mitigate against the risk of a large bill at the end of the year.

What is Browzer?

Browzer is part of our new broadband product. In a nutshell Browzer is a bespoke webpage that provides an innovative solution for letting agents to engage with tenants. Each letting agent gets a fully customisable homepage, which can be used as a communications tool to connect with their student tenants. It features magazine style articles, written by student content experts and is presented to tenants the first time they log on to the Internet each morning. Letting agents can also write their own content to get their own messages across.

How does it work?

The great news about Browzer is that it’s already proven to work. It’s been operating effectively in many Halls of Residence across the UK giving Universities the opportunity to successfully communicate with their students, as well as private providers such as Unite. We’ve just taken the platform to fine tune and offer out to off-campus private housing.

Why do you feel that it’s important for letting agents and landlords to communicate with student tenants?

Our annual report on student living, What Students Seek, found that students living in private rented accommodation were twice as likely to report problems regarding communication than those living in student halls. Keeping in touch with your tenants is an increasing challenge for letting agents, which was a key driver for Glide to develop this broadband product and take Browzer to the private rental market.

How will Browzer benefit letting agents?

Not only will it increase the agents’ presence in the property. We will also be able to help them safeguard against rental arrears. They will have the ability to restrict an individual’s broadband usage if they fall behind on rent.  What’s more, no other tenants will be affected, which we believe to be a first in the market. 

Can you tell us more about Glide’s broadband product?

Last year Glide was acquired by Cablecom, the specialists in student broadband, TV and telephony. As a result, Glide now has its own national network, which has resulted in greater control over connectivity and speeds. Glide can now promise its customers superfast broadband that won’t slow down during peak times, and its packages are very competitively priced. In addition, Glide offers 24/7 support for all tenants, regardless of who holds the contract. This means that students can call the special student focussed call centre direct, without having to go through their letting agent, if issues arise.

How important is broadband access and speed to the average student tenant?

85% of students won’t even look at a property if it doesn’t have a strong broadband connection. In fact, connectivity is the primary feature for students when choosing accommodation. Pretty much broadband rules the roost when it comes to student accommodation today.

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What is the most satisfying part of your job?

Bringing on your new young people and seeing them develop in their careers. Whether that is within Glide or in a career elsewhere.

One of our 6 company values is: We are proud to play a key role in assisting our customers and employees to fully reach their potential, this is both in their careers and lives in general.

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing letting agents at the moment?

The obvious challenge is the potential ban of Letting Agent fees. If administered correctly, I see including other services within the rent as a potential replacement for this income.

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