Ghetto to Goldmine !!!
My Fellow Compassionate Capitalists:
The second mobile home park I ever took over I did so out of sheer desperation. I will tell you the story of the first one another time. However, in order to stick with the theme of stereotype trailer park drama……I was fired from the first park because the “high maintenance” owner had an affair with her maintenance man and he wanted to be the manager.
He was completely incompetent and had no previous experience managing a mobile home park. Obviously competence was not one of the required qualifications and he ran the park into the ground….all the while embezzling rent money to pay for his gambling addiction.
I was a general contractor at the time and in order to hide his incompetence the manager would hire me to do park repairs. I was renting the ranch style home/office from him until I could find a better place to live. Many times I was just trading work for rent for that month as well as future rents. He wanted to gain some skills and so he would tag along as an extra hand on some of my other jobsites.
One of those jobsites was a mobile home park next-door. It had a history more sorted than the park that I was in. I’d been asked by the owner several times to manage that park but it was too dangerous of a ghetto for me to feel comfortable having my wife and kids live there. That park averaged over 300 calls for service a year from the police department.
I was doing some electrical repair in the ghetto park and I had my “manager/student“ digging a trench. I was videotaping the entire thing for the owner and I made some sort of dig on video about how my manager/student should come and run this park.
Much to my surprise I received a phone call shortly thereafter…….not asking about the manager… but asking if I would be willing to take over the park. My first thought was a hard “HELL NO“…………and so I made what I thought to be outrageous terms of my acceptance. Again… much to my surprise the owner accepted those terms in full after I satisfied the conditions of the trial period.
The park I was taking over had 55 spaces. 30 of those spaces were full and only 16 of those 30 we’re actually paying rent. The managers were tweakers and as you entered the park they had covered their patio with tarps. They spray painted Klan scenes on the tarps with words in neon orange that read “white is right“.
As I poked around the property I found a meth lab in one of the sheds.
In next week’s article I will tell you how the park went from over 300 calls for service to four calls for service in a matter of one year. I will also explain the cleanup process and how this park has for several years…. brought in over a 1000% return annually.
As for now though, I will tell you that I was on my way to have breakfast and get everything prepared to bring the police in at noon in order to evict the managers. It was a beautiful Tuesday morning in September. The weather was absolutely perfect and would be for at least another eight months. I was actually looking forward to starting this new adventure. I was going to be able to revamp and rebuild a park of my own. I was in charge of a little more than 5 acres of God‘s earth. I had a long-term contract. I was going to be able to build my own house. I was going to be able to forget about time and punching the clock. I was going to be able to work where I lived and live where I worked. I was going to be free!
As I was in the middle of ordering my breakfast I heard a gasp and the restaurant fell silent. I looked up on the TV and watched as the first plane hit the North Tower.
Of all days to declare war on a ghetto – of all the days to celebrate me being free – the first day was and always will be …..Tuesday……September 11, 2001.
Catherine Bell (President) + Steve Wahl (Mobile Home Park Mogul and All Around Good Guy)
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