Welcome to our Little Black Book, an inspirational series of business stories and insights from our brilliant members.

Dan Green

Dan Green on a balanced rate of business

By Dan Green

Director, DG Rating Limited

Dan Green is one of only a handful of business rates specialists on the South Coast, an underrated field that can make significant savings for companies with overrated business rates.

Dan garnered his niche expertise from working at the Valuation Office Agency at HMRC where he qualified as a chartered surveyor; followed by three years at CBRE, the biggest surveying firm in the world; and five years at Flude Property Consultants.

With kudos to his name in the business rates realm, earlier this year, Dan became an independent business rates consultant, helping companies to make the complexities of business rates less taxing.

Connect on LinkedIn

What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

Business rates do seem from the outside, and can be, quite uninteresting – but when I can negotiate significant refunds for businesses on their property taxes, it becomes exciting and rewarding.

When I was at CBRE in London, my clients were all big firms with bigger properties, bigger numbers – you would get them £500,000 back and they’d just move on. Now my clients are smaller business that are much more appreciative, a £50,000 saving for a small business can make a big difference to them.

I enjoy looking for the best deal for the best possible outcome. A rateable value, upon which tax is paid, is a valuation. I look at it and evaluate if there is anything wrong with it, I inspect the property, I measure it, and look at all the rental evidence to try and find any angle where I think that published rateable value can be reduced to make the client savings. I leave no stone unturned in trying to generate a saving for them.

Can you give us some examples of where you have made a difference for businesses?

The biggest job I've had in the last couple of years is London South Bank University – I’ve just negotiated a £742,000 refund for them which they’re very happy about.

Conversely, I'm helping a canine hydrotherapy centre near Chichester to reduce their rateable value from £18,000 to a level where they don't have to pay any rates which will make a big difference to the business.

A lot of my clients are small property developers – when they buy a property to redevelop, they must pay business rates and that's where I can come up with some strategies to minimise those payments.

I also help a lot of local businesses because many companies occupy a commercial property and have a business rates liability.

It isn’t always possible to reduce the rateable value but it’s useful to know that you’re not paying too much, and the fees I charge are a percentage to de-risk my service for the ratepayer.

Do you want more articles like this in your inbox? If so then register below...

How do you maintain your high level of niche knowledge and insight?

I speak to former colleagues at bigger firms all the time to keep in touch with what’s happening, many of them are friends of mine and we chat about these things.

There are also a few networking groups and there is a small network of other rating surveyors. The field is extremely niche, on the South Coast there are less than ten of us specialising in business rates; we meet regularly to catch up and we always contact each other about scenarios that we haven’t come across before.

There’s also the Rating Surveyors Association which puts on good professional development seminars. Things do change all the time, particularly with case law – a new decision at the upper tribunal Supreme Court can change things and you really don’t want to fall behind.

What are some common misconceptions about business rates?

The most prominent misconception is that you don’t have a bill you don’t have to pay the business rates, but you will eventually receive a backdated bill and there’s nothing I can do to help retrospectively with that – you need to be proactive.

Another misconception is that many people think the rates are fixed and you can’t do anything about them, but the rateable value can be wrong. It’s definitely something you should check once you’re in a property, by speaking to a reputable rating surveyor to understand if you’re paying too much or not.

"Business rates do seem from the outside, and can be, quite uninteresting – but when I can negotiate significant refunds for businesses on their property taxes, it becomes exciting and rewarding."

What are some of the ways that you can make savings on business rates?

It always depends on the scenario.

If you’re an occupier of a shop or an office, then the rateable value is an estimate of the rental value. So, it’s a rental valuation you need to undertake by measuring the property and knowing what rent someone would pay if it was empty and to let.

One of the biggest indicators is if the rent you’ve negotiated with your landlord is out of kilter with your return – check how your rent stacks up against your reasonable value.

I use specialist rating software to interrogate the data in the rating list, which can be an advantage in compiling the evidence I need to support my arguments.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter, and we’ve got a three-year-old cockapoo called Zelda, so we enjoy walking together on the seafront where we live in Southsea.

I’m a squash player and I’m getting into running – I’ve just completed a half marathon, and I’m doing a full marathon next year in Vilnius the capital city of Lithuania where my wife comes from.

"A misconception is that many people think the rates are fixed and you can't do anything about it, but the rateable value can be wrong."

Dan Green - Director, DG Rating Limited