Rohit Gera Managing Director, Gera Developments Pvt. Ltd
The challenges faced by every generation are very different to those faced by the previous generation. I have been fortunate to have been in a situation where both my father and grandfather realized this. As a result I have received tremendous support and guidance and absolutely no pressure. I believe what my father and grandfather have achieved in their time is far more significant than my achievements so far.
I grew up in a family that built the business on the principle of ‘trust’. This is amongst the most important values that was passed down the generations in our family. It has made decision making extremely easy. When faced with two options to make a decision clearly the one that erodes trust is rejected every time.
I did my schooling from The Doon School in Dehra Dun, followed by Bachelor of Science degree (double major in Building Construction and Project Management and Economics) from the University of Massachusetts. Later I completed the Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Amherst.
I joined the business in 1991 fresh out of college. The country was facing an economic crisis and this was reflected in all businesses including ours. Like many developers today we faced the situation of having assets but extremely low levels of liquidity in the 1991 downturn. This and the successive downturn in the mid-90s, led to the decision that regardless of the opportunities we would only follow a path of fiscal prudence and not get carried away and go after every single opportunity. As we have followed this policy of the last 20 years the fruits are visible today. We have amongst the highest credit ratings in the industry across the country and at a time when developer ratings are being lowered we have seen stable ratings at an A+ level with the amount of capital we can raise being increased substantially.
I recall our conversation I was having with my father when we brought out five year warranty way back in 2004, long over a decade ago before it became mandated by RERA. As we discussed the warranty he said if we cannot back our product for at least five years and are not confident of what we deliver, we should not be in this business.
Giving a warranty for 5 years had a lot of risk including that of misuse by customers. Over the years we have seen all kinds of scenarios but the final outcome was in line with our original expectation of an improvement in the overall product quality and a far greater level of awareness amongst our team to deliver a better product to our customer
Today, customer engagement and community building have become the hallmark of the ‘experience factor’ with the brand. I believe we do not just build housing societies but really have a responsibility in creating communities.
In today’s world which is increasingly mobile why people shift locations for jobs easily, have shifts at odd hours, are increasingly socially connected through social media there is a tremendous need to facilitate the creation of healthy communities of the residents. This is more of a belief system and is not used as a marketing tool. As a result when we do undertake community creation activities our customers are surprised and delighted. This has led to a tremendous outpouring of expressions of delight from our customers
Also, as the Vice President, CREDAI Pune-Metro, I am an active participant in the real estate industry, advocating various causes, like increasing transparency in the industry, filling the gap of the lack of market data by conducting primary market research and publishing the results, delivering product quality and training for construction workers.