“Falling in love with Cambodia, the first time I visited in 2006, I came back in 2009 with a vague idea of doing business. After a few weeks of my arrival, I was using agents to find a house or apartment and found the whole process unsatisfying.” After this whole experience, David Murphy created Independent Property Services (IPS) in Cambodia. As the Founder and Managing Director, David saw the need to have a more professional, straightforward approach in helping people to find the right property in this growing market. Cambodia has been experiencing a booming construction of infrastructures for the past five years. David’s foresight and experience have led IPS, despite its small company team, to become one of the most credible in the real estate and property management industry in the country.
IPS and Cambodia. Diamond in the rough
“Success happens when opportunity meets preparation.” -Zig Ziglar
Cambodia, with its rich history, is an economy just progressing since the arrival of UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia) in 1992. Cambodia has had foreign direct investments or FDIs driving its economy. Although it’s not as big as that of other countries in the ASEAN region, Cambodia’s growth has mostly relied on investments attributed to different multinational sectors coming in the country, especially in real estate, both in commercial and residential properties.
When David started IPS Cambodia, the economy was still on the process of recovering from the global financial crisis. It wasn’t the most favorable of all circumstances. As a result, David was crushed by the crisis in the country itself. But that didn’t stop him from pursuing IPS since he already fell in love with Cambodia even before the economy declined. It seemed a bad idea to form a business under these circumstances.
When David went back in 2009, he wanted to prospect for about 6 months to about a year and maybe build a business. He created IPS out of his own necessity to experience a better real estate service. Little did he know, Cambodia was just starting to recover. Foreign investments then started pouring the next few years. This environment has led the growth of the real estate industry and the influx of multinationals, mostly in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap—the top tourist and business destinations in the country. David, with his newly built IPS, has developed his brand of professionalism and integrity in a realty industry that is growing rapidly. The credibility of David and the growing team of IPS grew simultaneously with the nation’s blossoming economy.
“As a business leader in a fast-moving sector…we are constantly working on educating our clients and sellers to help increase their level of sophistication.” David believes, at the onset, that it is not just about the results but the way we get the results that have separated and made IPS distinct amongst its competitors. “I need to manage and lead with integrity, fairness, and engagement…” These attitudes have permeated throughout the entire IPS and have produced steady growth in their business.
IPS has offices in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, plus a division solely dedicated to commercial properties and businesses. The company also gives valuation and property management services to the owners of properties. It is positioning itself to create invaluable services not just to its clients but to the real estate industry as a whole.
Unique Brand Positioning
IPS has a unique brand positioning in the market. Its approach is to develop its marketing capabilities to better serve all of its clients. With high competition in the real estate industry, IPS ensures that it has unique strategies and strong teams, composed of qualified and skilled individuals, to better market the properties and businesses. “The better a property is marketed, the more likely that the agents responsible will receive the inquiry.” It has invested comparatively heavier on its marketing capability than its closest competitor. This approach has given IPS the success it needs and continues to do so.
“We want to optimize opportunities at hand [and be] focused on the future direction of the business. This will entail our continued investment in our ability to further our knowledge, grow our staff, and be innovators in the industry.” David, who has worked in Project Management roles before establishing IPS, believes that he should lead his team by creating a culture of reliability and expertise.
With a young dynamic team consisting of Cambodian nationals and a few ex-pats from Australia and the Philippines, the possibilities are endless. IPS boasts a high retention rate amongst its manpower. “Our internal culture embraces change and hires from within whenever the opportunity presents itself.” From that, it has resulted in a stable and very capable workforce with a continuous passion to grow.
Operating for over a decade in the industry, that coincided with its 10th anniversary, IPS is not slowing down. IPS is looking to capture a wider chunk of the market and look towards strengthening its capability to adapt to the challenges ahead.
“The year 2020 is about building on our successes and expanding our market even more”. David realizes there is still untapped potential for businesses and different properties. “The commercial property sector has been under-served from an agent perspective…and so is the Borey resale market.”
Having these underserved sectors in mind IPS launched two new business components:
Good marketing is essential for the expansion of the market. So, IPS came up with a newly created market division to present new and existing commercial properties to the market. The team has observed that the commercial real estate sector has been under-serviced from an agent perspective. The sector comprises an unexplored potential as more and more businesses look to expand the operation in the kingdom.
Historically Borey’s have been purchased directly from the developer, however, the resale market has been underserviced. IPS is focused on the delivery of a Borey re-sale division throughout 2020. Borey is a resale market and a very popular home choice for middle and emerging Cambodians. The last decade has witnessed a huge spike in the number of Borey’s being built throughout Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Employer of Choice in Cambodia
In all of these, David hopes to develop IPS as the “Employer of Choice” in the Cambodian property industry.
“As our business grows, talent acquisition is very important…due to our standing in the market, we are able to attract high caliber staff both from within the industry and the market at large.”
As any company would attest, the success of the company relies mainly on the strength of its people. IPS, in the last five years, continues to grow the number of teams it has and the skills it develops. It sees no limit to what IPS can do as it initiates a lot of innovations in the Cambodian real estate industry.
Starting its new decade, David and IPS-Cambodia are keen on performing better, moving forward and blazing new trails. “In my own experience, the combination of working harder and smarter has paid the ultimate dividend; a healthy, sustainable and exciting business to be a key driver of.”
IPS Cambodia, engaging the future, today.