Electronic local search provider OneSearch Direct has completed a record 350,000 local searches over the last year, as it celebrates the first birthday of its nationwide service in England.
Backed by 3i and HBOS, OneSearch Direct says it is now the largest private supplier of local searches in the UK and the company is anticipating a turnover in excess of £11m this year.
Richard Megson, sales and marketing director of OneSearch Direct, says: "We have now been active in England for two and a half years, where we are the fastest growing private search company. We have modelled our business on 13 years' experience in Scotland, where we enjoy a 40% market share and operate under the name SPH Limited.
“Solicitors and conveyancers are increasingly turning to private search companies, now widely accepted by mortgage lenders, for their faster and more cost effective services. The percentage using private firms almost doubled from 16% in 2002 to 30% in 2003 and this growth is set to continue in 2004 and beyond.”
Research undertaken by OneSearch Direct reveals that in England local authorities, who traditionally undertake searches, can take up to 20 days to return search results through the post. On average they charge £150 for search results and it can be as much as £250.
Megson adds: "Solicitors and conveyancers need to know they're going to receive accurate search results on time and for a uniform cost. We provide search results in a standard five days for a flat fee of £100 including VAT.
"Our data is backed by £5m protection and indemnity cover and an information accuracy warranty. Half of our results are now supplied online by email, suggesting that the paper search will soon be a thing of the past."