Dot Surveying Ltd becomes Scotland’s first employee-owned surveying consultancy 

Staff at the Dot Surveying office

DOT Surveying has become the latest business to move to employee ownership.   Believed to be the first employee-owned company in its field, the company transferred a majority shareholding to an Employee Ownership Trust as a means to continue to provide a professional, expert service to clients and to maintain the company’s unique company culture.  The company works across the UK, including remote islands, and is headquartered in Edinburgh. 

Dot Surveying is a multi-disciplinary property surveying company specialising in the Telecoms sector, and also working across land acquisition and development, renewables, dispute resolution and town and country planning.  The 21 employees comprise chartered surveyors, property managers, town & country planners and support staff.  There are also a number of free-lance consultants who support the company’s operations. The consultancy was founded in 2020 by Tom Gallivan who was the sole shareholder until the EOT was implemented. Tom has sold a majority of his stake to the EOT, retaining a minority shareholding to demonstrate his continuing commitment to the business. 

Tom said: “The business has performed so extremely well over the years, surpassing my expectations on what could be achieved in a relatively short time.  This success can be attributed to the fantastic employees we have in place and it felt right that they should own the future of the company.  I also have to thank our loyal clients who have supported us over the years.  I believe that employee ownership will reinforce our partnership approach to doing business and allow us to continue to provide the expert service our customers are used to.”

The news was embraced enthusiastically by staff at the company.  Commercial Director, Catherine McKerrigan is delighted by the move, saying: “This is a generous and visionary gesture by Tom, he’s showing tremendous confidence in us, that the company will be safe in our hands.” 

Operations Director Christopher Searle commented: “It’s up to us to take Dot Surveying to a new level.  It’s an exciting prospect and with the fantastic team we have at Dot Surveying – I’m convinced we’ll continue to grow and flourish.”

Henderson Loggie provided corporate finance and taxation advice to the company. Rod Mathers, Partner of Henderson Loggie, said: “The EOT was a very good fit for Dot Surveying as a business and for Tom Gallivan as the business owner. We were delighted to have led them through the EOT transaction.” 

Anderson Strathern provided legal advice.  Ewan Regan, Director, has completed a large number of EOT transactions.  He commented: “We are seeing a continuing interest in EOTs as a succession option for successful businesses.  Working with Dot Surveying Ltd has been a particularly rewarding transaction as this is a relatively young business moving to employee ownership to reinforce all that was already good in the company.”

Specialist lender Thincats has supported a number of EOT transactions and worked with Dot Surveying Ltd on their funding requirements. Ben Kimball, Director Business Development, ThinCats says, “It’s always a pleasure working on collaborative deals such as EOTs.  All stakeholders share the same aim; to enable the business to continue to flourish in the long-term.  We wish Dot Surveying well in this new chapter in their story.

Carole Leslie of employee ownership specialists Ownership Associates, supported stakeholder communications for the transaction and has been appointed as Independent Trustee.  She says,  “Working with Tom and the leadership team has been a privilege.  It’s such a joy to work with business owners who recognise that success is most often a team effort, and have the courage of their convictions and hand over the reins to the employees.” 

Employee ownership has cross party support in both the Westminster and Holyrood governments. It is believed there are now more than 1000 employee-owned companies in the UK, with around 170 head quartered in Scotland.  Research demonstrates that companies owned by their employees tend to outperform conventionally structured firms, with higher levels of productivity, customer satisfaction and employee engagement. 

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