New From Missouri! - REO Property Preservation Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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New From Missouri!

Hello, My name is Zach and I live in the St. Louis, MO area. I've been researching the Property Preservation Business for about 4 months now and ran across this forum during a google search today.

I am 29 years old and have been working as a Service Advisor/Service Manager for about 4 years in the automotive industry, recently got married (2 weeks ago), and looking into small business opportunities where I could get a little freedom. I have a few good friends in the skilled trade industry that seem to enjoy their jobs though they are hard and at times stressful, one of which came from a customer service/sales environment similar to mine. To make a long story short, I don't see myself in the auto service industry for 20 years for a few reasons and found myself attracted to the physical service side of the preservation business.

I already started my property preservation business, I put it on hold for the month of August as I was busy remodeling my house and with our wedding. I have pretty much everything I need as far as equipment and legal docs go. The only thing I have not done yet is try to get work.

Thus far I am a little iffy as to whether this business idea will be my "out" for the automotive industry. I guess I can share with you some of my thoughts as I start up.

1. I currently make around $60,000 a year in my current position. I don't need to make that much but I do need an income close. My first fear is in time, however long it may take, is it possible for me to evolve this business to a point where I make what I do now or more? From what I have read and crunching numbers it seems like you can, but I'd be curious of the reality answer from a long term business owner on here that can tell me what that might take?

2. I also have the inevitable dilemma. I work 45 hours per week already and I cant be without a job long enough to quit and put my sole focus in my new business, so for now the challenge is making time to follow through with doing this. It is easy to lose momentum and give up when its a second job. The other side of this dilemma is the gamble of quitting my current job and diving in to this unknown job. It is a hard balance to have and I realize that if I'm serious that there will be a point where I'm all in or all out, unless a miracle happens and business takes off and I'm forced to quit (the desired goal that is probably fantasy).

3. I have purchased a book on this, watched you tube videos, read online, though through the reality of this business and it is still hard to see the light as to how job bidding and services will go as I have not performed any jobs in this field. I am as prepared as one could get mentally and understanding from my reading but that is different than the reality when jobs start fleshing out.

4. Being new I am a little unsure of myself so I know my first few experiences may actually cost me and not be as profitable as I learn. I'm ok with that as I have a stead income and savings for this possibility. There are however some gray areas. Being new I am limited on the services I can offer. I will only be able to offer some of the basics (lawn care, debris removal, painting, carpet removal, dry wall patching, etc). I can do basic electrical, plumbing, drywall, etc. I do not know anything on winterization, mold removal, and more specialty areas.

5. Lastly (Safety), being in St. Louis, MO there are some dangerous areas. And these areas of course are where the majority of work will be offered. My issue is that I don't think I am willing to work in these areas. I have a 50 mile radius west of these areas I will work, but I am going to have to avoid these areas for safety reasons at first. I have also read and heard by a couple "experienced people" that I should avoid changing locks. It is a supposed danger and even though its turning down money, it may not be worth it. My fear in the above is that I may lose customers as they want someone who will "do it all" and not be picky. On the other hand, in my experience with business I attract people and people generaly like to work with me, so I hope that in time that translates and keeps me busy.

thanks! and sorry for my lengthy intro..
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-24-2015, 03:37 PM
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I'll try to be honest without being harsh. I was an ASE Master Mechanic for 15 years. Burned out and tired of calculating my raises for the next decade and how I would manage to make ends meet. One day I just decided to put in my notice and quit. Cold. No leads on another job.
I called a buddy who did HVAC and worked for him as an apprentice for 6 months. Made enough to pay my bills and gain some experience. Jumped over to a city job and within a few months filled in for a city inspector. Got some training, moved into a job with HUD and started buying zero down property (that should reveal my age). Built up a portfolio of rentals and partnered up with another investor. Started doing carpentry and odd jobs on the side. The contracting business grew and I hired some subs. Started buying houses to rehab and flip. Never lost money on a house. The brokers we bought property from saw how well we cleaned them up and referred us to nationals in the preservation field. At that point we were being paid to clean out property we would later be buying. Business exploded and gave me more freedom to start picking and choosing how I would cut my path.
I haven't punched a clock or worked for another person in 20 years. We made a lot of money in foreclosures but that money thru Nationals no longer exists.
I also lost a lot of money.

The thumbnail version reads like this-
You are better off going to work for locals in your area ie drywallers, electricians, carpentry, etc as an apprentice and getting your feet wet with a guaranteed check every week. Learn the trade from the inside. You'll make contacts, gain leads, get in with suppliers, etc. Then you'll be able to make an informed decision as to whether you can do this and run a business for yourself. Otherwise, you are the poster boy for every recruiter between Florida and Ohio. They will sign you up, eat you up and you'll be listing all your equipment on CL for 40 cents on the dollar. You'll get orders in places like Ferguson. Try winterizing and securing a house full of squatters, crack dealers or black lives matter wannabees.

If you are concerned about starting out on your own, remember- Necessity is the mother of invention. If you are sincere in wanting to be your own boss and make it, you will. You won't have any choice. Godspeed my man.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 11:34 PM
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I remember going into a bad area of St Louis and as we walked in the front door to winterized a home the copper piping was running out the back door (literally).. We just watched this happen for the first 3 homes as the crooks ran out the back. We called the Service company and asked if they provided a list to these thieves since they were literally 1 house ahead of us!

I wouldn't touch St Louis even if they doubled pay.
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