Rayhan’s Proptech Column: The dad helping house hunters with up to date information on school catchment areas

We often encounter problems that generate a light bulb moment for a solution.

While not a huge problem, buying a home in the ‘right’ school catchment can make a huge difference to a family’s quality of life.

There are tools like Rightmove’s school checker. But these don’t account for the changing catchment areas over time – for example, there’s no guarantee the catchment of a school will be the same this year as last year.

Step up Mike Thompson – a father who took it upon himself to build a solution in the form of website AdmissionsDay.co.uk

In Mike’s own words the site is a “catchment area checker to take the guesswork out of school admissions”.

Beyond checking school catchment areas, the site also displays data on how much competition there is for places – including how many places get taken up by siblings (who often get priority over new students, regardless of catchment).

He tried selling the site as a plugin to estate agents, but after this didn’t work out he decided to market the website directly to parents like himself in the hope of making the site financially self-sufficient.

Speaking to Mike, he said: “For a while I had a 24-hour free trial and lots of people signed up and no one paid – they were getting the value they needed in the time.”

Currently covering Kent, Hampshire, Gloucestershire and south-east London, Mike now charges a one-off £4.99 for 12 months worth of access – an amount he refers to as “small beer”.

His plan is to increase traffic through content marketing and experiment with improving conversion to paying customers of those parents who land on the website.

As a day job Mike consults on website user experience, or UX to use the web industry jargon.

Working for charities and large financial institutions, he helps research user behaviour to design the best UX.

With a son just starting school, AdmissionsDay.co.uk really was about solving his own personal need to find a home near the right school.

Any feedback on the website would be welcomed at mike@admissionsday.co.uk – especially from agents who would like to link to or integrate AdmissionsDay on their own websites.

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