Ranch 58 sells and other thoughts
The last thing I want to do is compare my life or events in my life to a country song, but if the proverbial shoe fits, what can you do. The song I’m thinking of “Lucille”, song by that country great Kenny Rogers.
“"You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
With four hungry children and a crop in the field
I've had some bad times, lived through some sad times
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille"
Of course, growing up, when you had to hope and pray for the song to play on the radio, with no replay or Spotify or googling the lyrics, I always wondered about the ‘400 children’ line, but I was young.
But what I’m speaking of is when our lead home designer and client consigliere left, we had a lot going on, I mean a lot. We had 5 houses that were more than 90% done (and another 2 more than 75% done), which may seem like ‘oh you’re in the homestretch’ but oh contraire (sorry for all the fancy foreign words and phrases) when a job is 90% done there is a lot to do, and all the information from the whole project is knowledge that person took with them, so picking up the pieces (as well as the primary client relationship and trust) and figuring out what was going on was a heavy lift. It wasn’t like the transition was a smooth textbook baton handoff - this was a serious fire drill of details, deliveries, returns, certificates of occupancy, paperwork, client meetings. And we got it done.
With the sale and closing of another house, Ranch 58, at the Crest, we proved it, and then with Ranch 59 and 55 coming up next week and the next, we are set to prove it again. 2 custom builds, Barn 49 in Stone Ridge and Barn 48 at the Crest, are well around the final stretch and are a length or two from the finish line. A serious effort from the whole team, new members and existing members, stepping up and taking care of business.
I really got to flex as a manager - in the style of Billy Martin, Dusty Baker or Joe Torre - changing up the lineup, bringing in pitch hitters and relief pitchers, trading and maxing the salary cap. I’m good at what I do, better than ever, best I’ve ever been, which makes sense, you hope not to get ‘worse’, but at the same time skills and muscles atrophy, and my lane for the last several years was very important, very engaged but different than this rescue required.
Looking back to Jan 15 or whenever it was that I got notice of change, my business could have suffered a mortal wound it was that serious. But then as I have done over and over for 20 years, I stepped up, correctly identified the issues, rated them by seriousness and priority, broke them down into micro - texts, and began to execute, leading from the front.
My old friend, the 13 hour a day is back, 7 days a week (weekends less than 13 hrs but definitely working). I know this friend well, having begun to cultivate the relationship back in 2002 with the start of the business journey. It really ebbed in 2018-early 2020, with a good team and manageable workload, and I was taking Monday Mental Health Days and Friday’s off But then the pandemic hit and that changed. And then the pandemic ebbed, and just about when I was ready to take a break, this hit.
But that’s the story of small business - at least one run with an entrepreneurial streak - if you push, something is always going to stress and break. The only way to avoid that is to stop getting better, stop pushing people to get better, and frankly, that ain’t me babe.
It’s weird to be able to build 4 spec homes (homes without buyers lined up) and have those homes not sell right away, and be able to sleep at night; it just wasn’t a big deal, in fact it was desired (loving to flex with the proper use of a semicolon, harkening back to my english major days at the U of Pittsburgh).
As I mentioned up top, Ranch 58 just sold. Just a collaboration with me and Amanda, as was Ranch 59 and the lakefront house we are just finishing. I guess in a weird way, that was a great way to end, collaborating with Amanda on $2m of real estate that people just love. We built a lot of fine homes together, communicated with shorthand and half sentences, thoughts finished by the other, Radar of Mash, like. It’s something that’s hard to replace and probably never will be. Even if more successful, it won’t be the same, and I really liked how it was. I enjoyed working with her, and I can’t speak for all small businesspeople, but there are a lot of people I have to work with for the sake of the business that I rather wouldn’t, so to enjoy it, that’s a plus.
It sold for $640k, which was a fair price for all involved.
Ranch 58, a real beauty -
Crazy developments in the banking front - where banks with contagion risk are being insured for all deposits regardless of amount, but smaller community banks aren't, forcing their larger depositors to consider moving their deposits to larger banks that are being made whole - unintended consequences from the Fed actions, that seem so elite-focused they don't even realize it, which just perpetuates the angst of middle America that they aren't really being considered in the grand scheme of things and gave a lane to Trump and similar to exploit it.