My Adventures: Rotimi George-Taylor Shares Experiences On How He Became Successful As A Realtor and A Security Director

My Adventures: Rotimi George-Taylor Shares Experiences On How He Became Successful As A Realtor and A Security Director

By: The  Tochlight Africa News

 

 


The Managing Director and CEO of Gotham Property Construction and Development Limited as well as Gotham Securities Limited, Mr. Rotimi George-Taylor, shared his life experiences. In a conventional interview with the Tochlight Africa News Paper, he narrated how he made ends meet and how he found himself in two professional jobs without one contradicting the other.

According to the realtor, the best business to invest in is the Real Estate business since it is the only one that has a guarantee that, depending on whatever political or economic change occurs, it will always be secure, have the lowest risk, and give you the highest income.

The interview goes thus

Can we meet you, sir?

My Name is Mr. Rotimi George-Taylor, and I am the MD and CEO of Gotham Construction and Development Limited as well as Gotham Securities Limited.

Sir, can you share with us how you find yourself in these two different professions and how you have been able to manage them together?

It goes far back to my childhood, first of all in terms of security. My grandpa from my mother’s side was a General in the Nigerian Army, and he eventually became the governor of the former Bendel State, which was Edo State and Delta State then, but now the states are separated. So, in the army, Manisha, at that point in time, I wanted to join the army as I was growing up. You know, I saw a lot of things related to security. Me and him (grandpa) had long talks, and security was something that I was very interested in, and that’s how I got to know the interests of the security group gradually.


In terms of Real Estate, my father was a businessman, and he did several types of businesses, and from my experience and from what I saw, real estate was the only business I saw that guaranteed, depending on whatever political or economic change occurred, that it would always be secure, have the lowest risk, and give you the highest income, so that’s how the passion for both security and real estate came up.

*How did you acquire knowledge of Real Estate and security together?*

I’m of the belief that no man is an island of knowledge, and I’m not afraid to consult with certain professionals if help is needed or if I need opinions on how to deal with a certain aspect. I’ll give an example of how I went into development in real estate. I am not a civil engineer or an architect, but I love real estate, and I went into it. So what I did was eventually register with a couple of people who were into building construction. I started as an assistant site engineer. I’ll follow the site engineer, look at his process, see how he handles everything, and after that, I’ll also look at all the people involved in it. With that knowledge. I took certain courses just to have a broad general idea of how to go about it, and with that idea, I now hire professionals.

I have an architect on my team, I have a civil engineer, and I even have a state political lobbyist, and what this lobby does, which I realized is important, is that there are certain times when the ministry of environment calls the physical planning commissioner of lands with one issue or another, and these people were to hear if there’s any new change in the policy to a building code, and if we had already started the construction project, the political lobbyist assisted us in line with the government so that we don’t get her side slugs and we are always up-to-date with the government standard.

Another thing that made me really go into securities was because I wanted to help people. The main goal of the security company that I have is not actually to protect people but to employ Nigerians. It is actually to try my possible best to reduce the rate of unemployment as much as possible. Sometimes, as I’m driving around the streets of Lagos, I see some people who are either hurricanes or, you know, asking for money, and I ask them, Do you want a job? I always have my card handy or my business flyer, and I say, If you want a job, just call this number.

How do you recruit and train your guards?

We have a very strict process for recruiting people. We have the initial ads everywhere in the newspapers and websites, all of that, and then once that happens, we filter them, we do general training, and those who pass the general training then go to another stage again, in which we do extra training. Now, the people in my team that handle this training are two people who are in the force: one is a retired SP of police and one is currently in the force, so both of them assist me in training and also do research on up-to-date training that these guys need to perform their duties.

 

At the same time, a major thing that we focus on that the majority of other security companies do not focus on is background checks. That’s one thing that we stand by, and we are 100% sure of it. I can guarantee that, At least since I’ve been running this company, I don’t think I’ve had any issue with any of our employees stealing, but if the case were to present itself, we definitely know how to trace them back to their families and their guarantors, so it’s not a thing that somebody can disappear into thin air, as you hear from several other security companies.

How do you determine the type of structure to erect on a piece of land considering the recent collapse cases of buildings in Lagos?

At times in Lagos, buildings collapse due to developers trying to cut corners. For us at Gotham Construction, regardless of whether we hear something about the general nature of the area, a geologist is meant to do a soil test. That’s why your destination is going to tell you the kind of Foundation you’re going to use, how many floors you can build on that soil, and the type of materials you’re supposed to use to build it.

 

Most developers don’t do this because somebody said, This is how I built mine, and in an effort to avoid paying a geologist money, they will just go with “This is what they are using to build in this area”, so let’s go with that. “We don’t do that at Gotham Construction;” we have a geologist that works with us. He would do a soil test on the entire plot or plots that we were to work on, and then he’d give us a formal report. His report determines whether we have to do a nopal-independent type of foundation and also knows the type of materials to use.

It also determines the type of paint that we use on the building. Another thing is that aside from buildings collapsing, there are lots of things that people miss out on. A lot of developers miss out on leaking pipes that eventually lead to water leaking into the walls. Most people that buy houses from the majority of all these developers always have these problems, but that’s why they always stand by names that they can trust, and I’m glad to say that so far none of our clients have complained about any of the buildings.

Do you go through any training or organize training for your employees as an Estate Developer?

I have a 100% real estate training program where I train young individuals on everything that they need to know because one thing I noticed is that 90% of people in the real estate industry do not have an idea of real estate; their own idea is just let me come and I have this property for sale. They don’t even understand that Lagos State now has a body where each realtor developer is meant to register with them before they conduct any real estate transaction. Aside from that, when clients ask them follow-up questions, What kind of title is it? What is the potential role if I make this investment? What is the property type like? They won’t be able to provide reasonable answers to such questions.

For example, if somebody buys land for residential use, commercial use, mixed-use agriculture, etc., all these things come into play. If land is allocated to someone for agricultural use and then used for residential use, the government has every right to knock the building down because that is not what that land was allocated for. Every state has its own master plan and areas for where and how to build, even down to building codes.

 

For example, nobody can go to Eko Atlantic and say he wants to go and build a normal duplex, a regular duplex, or a bungalow because there are still building codes for the area, and Eko Atlantic is strictly for skyscrapers. I’ll use Lagos as an example. Lagos has its own building code, and it has its own policies and things that people need to follow, so a lot of half-baked realtors are going to the market. From my experience, this is due to ignorance on the part of the buyer and the realtor.

What is your advice to realtors and those in Security industries like you, sir?

Having a mentality is extremely important to guide you in how to go about the industries so that you won’t make certain mistakes and automatically give you a competitive advantage as a surveyor. At the same time, do your research. Things are changing. Master your craft so that you know you’re a professional and you know every single thing about it. My own selling point for closing deals is that there’s no question you can ask me that I will not be able to answer.

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