In Honor of Small Business: Mullens Home Interview
In honor of Small Business Saturday, November 28th, 2015, Liz Watkins Media & Designs has interviewed 18 business owners. These interviews will be featured on Liz Watkins Media & Designs' blog. The goal is to shine a light on small businesses. Beginning the Small Business Interview series is Mullens Home. This is the 1st interview.
Owned by: Matt and Brooke Mullens
Location: Kansas City, MO (rental homes)
What does the business do?
In summary, we are rental property owners, landlords, old house refurbishers, and DIY renovation bloggers at www.mullenshome.com. We buy fixer upper houses and transform them to be a high quality product (tiling, flooring, roofing, plumbing, electrical, networking, changing layout, etc). We only believe in land lording homes that we would be willing to live in ourselves. Included in this is all the maintenance, contracts, and customer relations of being a property management company for ourselves.
When did you start the business?
What did it take to get the business started?
A lot of determination, hard work, and long nights of renovating.
How long did it take to make profits and why?
Whenever we purchase a fixer upper property, our goal is to recoup the costs of the renovation money in a year. The cost of the property itself is over the lifetime we own it.
Why did you choose to start your own business?
We both enjoy and are very knowledgeable in all things involving home renovations. The goal is to take our skills and make our money work for us in the long run.
What are you responsibilities?
Renovating, land-lording, and maintenance.
What are some of the problems/risks you're faced while running your business?
Most of our problems occur when we are renovating a property. Whether it’s replacing a wax ring on a leaky toilet or replacing the plumbing in an entire house, we tackle our projects head on. We make sure our homes are in pristine condition so our renters incur the least amount of problems as possible while living in the home. The worst problem we have had with a house while renters were occupying the house was a dishwasher breakdown. We installed a new dishwasher the second we realized the old one could not be repaired, so no one was put out. Our renters are our number one priority.
What are some of the benefits of owning your own business and running it?
Doing something that we love doesn’t feel like work and is extremely rewarding.
What are some recommendations you would give to someone who was trying to start their own business?
Find something that you are passionate about and make a business out of it.
Do you enjoy what you do? Why?
Yes! We are both engineers who have a true passion for home renovations – whether it’s tearing down walls or re-purposing furniture. We thrive on being active, don't mind getting dirty, love to see the beautifully finished product of our hard work and understand what it takes to get there (including the occasional fight from frustration when things don’t go exactly the way they should). It’s all worth it in the end!
Do you also support other small businesses? If so who? If not why?
Of course! We try to support small businesses whenever we can. Whether it’s going to our local hardware store or supporting Etsy shops. My favorite small business shop owner is Tia Berg with The Crafty Engineer who hand makes personalized gifts & apparel (www.thecraftyengineer.com).
Anything else you would like to add about your experience as a business owner?
Many people believe they can be a landlord with the attitude “If I just buy a property I just get people to live there,” which can get themselves into trouble. There’s much more to it than that. Many people also think they can do what we do. We renovate to rent our properties so that they can be as high end and maintenance free as possible while keeping a budget by us performing the renovations. The difference between us doing our repairs/renovations would be about 3-5 years of our profits if we had to pay for contractors.
Anything else you would like to add about your experience with your business?
Having the right tools makes any project go smoother.
By: Liz Watkins
Date: Novemeber 14th, 2015