While much attention and emphasis have been given to the role and value of advisory groups in social science research, less has been published on the experiences of those involved in such collaborative efforts. This article reflects on the experiences of academics, collaborators and self-advocacy experts who formed an advisory group for a research project focused on people with learning disabilities’ experiences of renting their own homes. Our paper describes the collaboration, how it changed because of Covid and because of changing relationships, and what worked well and what was challenging. This is in part because these more transparent accounts of working together are sometimes missing from research. We discuss issues relating to bureaucratic research systems which are largely inaccessible to people with learning disabilities and how we approached these. We also highlight the joys and benefits of the research approach that we adopted as well as the challenging and more difficult aspects.