Can you give us a brief description of your business?
Property Maintenance Guys (PMG) is a real estate contracting company specialized in carpentry, maintenance and repair. Our customers are property management companies, real estate firms, and individual renters. We pride ourselves on building relationships not just doing one time work with clients. We currently are focused in northern New Jersey, with the bulk of our work in Jersey City.
What were you doing before you started this business?
Before starting Property Maintenance Guys I was both a contractor and a truck driver. When the economy tanked in 2008 there was less need for my trucking services for several years. I saw an opportunity to go fulltime in construction in 2012 – and I went for it.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I am motivated every day because I love to build, fix, solve problems and do quality work for people. There are not many contractors out there doing what we do – being honest and doing quality work. Knowing that we are one of the few out there doing quality work motivates me.
When was your first encounter with GNEC?
I first encountered GNEC at a Rising Tide Capital networking event. I met Steve Gomez, now GNEC’s Executive Director, and we spoke about my business. He told me to let him know if we ever needed financing. Several years later in 2015 I was at an event at Hudson Community College and I saw Steve and went up to him and said “I think I’m ready for a loan.” That’s how I ended up getting a loan with GNEC.
How was the process of working with GNEC to get the loan?
I’ll tell you about the process of working with GNEC to obtain my loan by giving you a comparison. When I first started Property Maintenance Guys, I got a small loan from a different organization. They said “how much money do you need?” I said X amount. They said “we can’t do that but we can give you this.” I said fine, and they cut me a check. The process at GNEC was better because it was eye opening. I sat down with GNEC team member Kevin Chu on many occasions and we went over my numbers, and then we went over more numbers. These meetings taught me more about the finance part of my business. GNEC stays involved with you throughout the process. I didn’t get that from the other place. I think the GNEC process which included the loan, counseling, and a long-term relationship is great.
Were there any challenges that brought you to GNEC?
I first came to GNEC because I didn’t know if I was making or losing money, and in business you want to know that – especially how much you are losing. I needed to know, can I be profitable? And what do I need to do to be profitable?
How did GNEC work with you to resolve those challenges?
Kevin was able to help me answer those questions. He made a spreadsheet that showed me the monthly profit and loss statement. It really gave me an understanding of how I was doing. In short, Kevin was extremely helpful. I then knew how best to allocate the money I received from GNEC and I put it towards working capital.
How would you say business is doing now compared to back then?
Compared to when I started my business is booming. Last year we doubled the revenue, and this year we are looking to double revenue again. We can’t complain.
What would be your advice for someone just starting a business today?
My advice for someone just starting a business today is: Make sure you understand what it means to be in business and what you need to do to be in business. The easy part is starting a business – the hard part is running and maintaining a business. Understand what you are getting into, and the amount of time and dedication you need to put in. This is not an 8-hour job like most people think. My second piece of advice, get an accountant and/or a bookkeeper, and a lawyer – no matter how much you are making.
Last, would you recommend GNEC services to friends and family?
I would 100% recommend GNEC services to friends and family. Yes. Yes. Yes. The good part about being with GNEC and Rising Tide Capital is that the network is unlimited – you can talk to anybody.
What words come to mind when you hear GNEC?
When I think of GNEC I think of “Support.” Their team is there to support.