Biz Autonomy
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Biz Autonomy (by Deanna [TX]) Apr 18, 2019 6:43 AM
       Biz Autonomy (by WMH [NC]) Apr 18, 2019 7:15 AM
       Biz Autonomy (by S i d [MO]) Apr 18, 2019 7:24 AM
       Biz Autonomy (by WMH [NC]) Apr 18, 2019 7:49 AM
       Biz Autonomy (by JB [OR]) Apr 18, 2019 9:55 AM

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Biz Autonomy (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2019 6:43 AM

I was just feeling grateful about how much autonomy we have in our chosen biz.

Yesterday, I caught up with DH to go over some information about things, and we did lunch together. I picked a little place downtown which always seemed to be empty, because I wanted to give them the extra business. It's a good location, on the main highway going through town, and near all the commercial/offices of downtown, but most of the restaurants are about a mile or two further down the road, so most people don't seem to think about it when the question comes up "Where should we go eat?"

The owner should have had someone working in the kitchen... but he was doing the cooking. The owner should have had a couple of kids as waitstaff... but everyone flaked, and he was waiting tables himself. It came up in conversation that the last day of the restaurant was the 29th-- he just couldn't make it work. So I was sad for him, because even though, what, 60% of restaurants fail within the first year, and 80% don't make it to their fifth anniversary... or whatever the numbers are... I had wanted him to succeed.

It made me very grateful for our chosen biz. Unless we deliberately run our real estate into the ground, there's always going to be someone who wants to live in our houses. (Whether they're the same people we want to rent to is another question! :P) We don't depend as much on other people to deliberately choose to eat at our place, or buy our widget, or choose us over 100 other different options. (Unless you're in the vacation rentals field, perhaps...) We rely on other people to help our biz run smoothly (plumbers, heat and air guys, yard guys, cleaning ladies, handyguys) but those people generally tend to have their own biz to run, and even though you may run into difficulties, they're more reliable than druggy high school kids, or people who continue to live their college lifestyle into their adult years. ;)

We have our risk, fer sure. We have our frustrations. But if we ever have an out-and-out failure... it's usually traceable to our own decisions, rather than circumstances beyond our control. We may not have the degree of success we fantasize about-- not all of us are destined to end up with tens of thousands of class-A units that our underlings manage for us while we relax in Aruba-- but with basic focus/discipline/research/planning/effort, we generally do pretty well for ourselves.

I'm grateful for the opportunity.

Biz Autonomy (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2019 7:15 AM

Totally agree! Locally we have to import Russian students to work the restaurants, the cash registers at Walmart, to be lifeguards at the Water Park...our plumbers can't find workers, our yard guys can't find people who can drive to work sites.

We have a tough time finding good tenants, but we only need ONE good one, once a year or more. Imagine sifting through the dredges of humanity we see to try and find reliable employees...

Biz Autonomy (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2019 7:24 AM

Well said!

My hometown is known for a few things: one of which is Bass Pro Shops and another of which is restaurants. Someone did a survey (who knows how accurate?) and said we have more restaurants per capita than any other mid-sized US city. I believe it, though. TONS of them all over the place. I think our failure rate is in the 70-80% range within the first 2 years, though, due to oversupply and everyone thinking "sure I can cook!" It's so much more than that.

LLs can pop up overnight. There is no city or professional licensing required. Someone may just move to a bigger house and choose to rent their old house out. Or inherit a place from dear old departed granny, or whatever. They rarely set out to run it like a business: it's just something that brings in extra income. Those are the ones who have the highest failure rate, but then again it's not as quick or as spectacular as a restaurant that has employees, rent/lease payment, etc. They'll just stick a shingle on the yard and hand the keys to the first person who shows up with a wad of money, then pray they don't tear the place up and pay. It's really that simple to get in...

So I agree that with a little dedication, time, and talent, this is probably about the easiest business to get into and succeed in. The competition for the most part in residential single-family/2-4 family unit housing is pretty easy to beat out, since they rarely are business people. I can see why the IRS chooses to label it as "passive" income, even though we might donate a lot of free time to manage and maintain. That's one reason why I started paying myself a "salary" about 3 years ago: to ensure that if I get hit by a bus today, my wife can hire a PM to take over. It's not in her blood to deal with tenants and contractors. Then she can sell or keep while the ship sails on.

A wise person once said real estate investing has made more people wealthy than any other business opportunity. I don't know if there are stats to back that up, but it sure seems likely. Owning 4 paid-off Class C units in my cheapie market will generate net income of $1200 or so per month, which is a nice side-income. Won't turn you into Grant Cardone overnight, but added to the typical social security income for a single person is a nice boost and requires minimal effort to keep going.

Biz Autonomy (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2019 7:49 AM

We fell into it ourselves. And we've stayed in our lane: SFH, 2-4 unit buildings. I think competition in apartment complexes in some areas must be horrendous - I know Richmond VA where my son lives seems very overbuilt with luxury apartments.

3000 vacancies listed on Craigslist alone. 45 in my area, drops to 19 if dogs ok, and to 13 if cats ok!

Biz Autonomy (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Apr 18, 2019 9:55 AM

With a little determination, self-discipline and a bit of common sense it is amazing how easy and straightforward our business really is.

And of course spending our time learning and trying to continually improve ourselves and our business all but guarantees our success. We are truly lucky.

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