DGS 232: From 0 to 60 Doors in a Difficult Market

Several property managers find themselves feeling alone in their difficult market. It might feel impossible to grow after being stagnant for so long.

In this episode, property management growth experts Jason and Sarah Hull sit down with DoorGrow client Brian Bean to talk about how he grew his property management business despite the challenges he faced.

You’ll Learn

[01:55] Getting started in property management

[06:20] Making business partnerships work

[09:47] Shifting from real estate to property management

[18:21] What’s next for your property management business?


“It’s really difficult for partnerships to be successful because for most people, the ego is getting in the way.”

“What you focus on is what you get.”

“Until we learn how to get and find people that we feel safe with, I don’t think we’re supposed to trust.”

“When you get really great people, it’s not hard to trust them.”


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[00:00:00] Brian: After 10 years of just being flat from 30 to 35 units. And then now literally doubled it last week. And that’s been from following your instruction, your philosophies and you know, focusing on building this business. 

[00:00:15] Jason: Welcome DoorGrowers to the DoorGrowShow. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors, make a difference, increase revenue, help others, impact lives, and you are interested in growing in business and life, and you’re open to doing things a bit differently then you are a DoorGrower. DoorGrower, property managers love the opportunities, daily variety, unique challenges, and freedom that property management brings. Many in real estate think you’re crazy for doing it. You think they’re crazy for not, because you realize that property management is the ultimate, high trust gateway to real estate deals, relationships, and residual income. At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to transform property management business owners and their businesses.

[00:00:58] We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, Build awareness, change perception, expand the market and help the best property management entrepreneurs win. I’m your host, property management growth expert, Jason Hull, the founder and CEO of DoorGrow, along with Sarah Hull, co owner and COO of DoorGrow. Now let’s get into the show. 

[00:01:18] So our guest today we’re hanging out with Brian Bean, who is one of our clients and Brian your company is Dream Big Property Management. 

[00:01:28] Brian: That’s right. We’re in Merced, California. 

[00:01:30] Jason: All right. In Merced, California. So Brian welcome to the show. Oh, Riverside. You said Riverside.

[00:01:37] Okay. Got it. I know this area. So yeah, I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga. So just a little bit near there. So Brian tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got into property management and then eventually how you stumbled across DoorGrow, I guess. 

[00:01:55] Brian: Right, so, I was a newspaper editor and reporter and I got a job, grew up in the Pacific Northwest, got a journalism degree, got a job in Palm Springs on the Daily Newspaper, and moved to California in the 80s.

[00:02:11] And so I did that for 13 or 14 years toward the end I, you know, coming from an entrepreneurial background, my uncle gave me my first, second, third job when I was a kid he owned a, like, old style service station. So I grew up in that small business atmosphere. And when I went to work in newspapers, you know, I had these lofty aspirations, these utopian ideas, you know, you’re getting your twenties about doing something to change the world or, you know, to have an impact. And I found out after about 10 years, that was just, it’s just another corporate job. And so I was looking around for something else and I looked at a lot of different businesses.

[00:02:55] And I ended up coming upon real estate and I was able to, while I was a newspaper editor, I was able to buy five, two five unit apartment buildings in Palm Spring. Nice. And that was my introduction to property management. I was pretty much doing that during the day. We were putting out newspapers in a, from like three in the afternoon to midnight, you know, the press would roll at midnight and and I did it all, you know, I, from everything from dealing with the tenants face to, you know, patch and drywall to whatever collecting rents, chasing rents, made all the mistakes.

[00:03:33] And I was, it was self education trial by fire. And then a few years later, I went into real estate full time and sales. I had a partner in the apartments who was actually the listing agent on those apartments at the time, but he invited me into real estate full time in 2001.

[00:03:49] And then we were off on a, and it was a run. And so I, I did property management for a while from on our own properties. And then I’ve just morphed into sales and we were pretty successful and very busy and then the market crashed, and you know, we just kind of moved with the market. 

[00:04:08] Jason: And when was that?

[00:04:09] Like 2006, 

[00:04:11] Brian: maybe, or? 

[00:04:11] Yeah. So 2006 at least in our area, it was August, 2006 when we peaked sales wise. And in 2007, we had, I don’t know, a dozen listings and nobody, you couldn’t buy a showing, you know? And so 2007, it was the real estate market was, you know, dead man walking. It was, there was nobody really knew what was happening? Well, the masses, right? Some people knew, right? There was stuff going on obviously on wall street, but, the masses didn’t know what was happening. Prices stayed up for awhile and they were, it was just like that, that hovering just before the, you know, you throw a ball in the air and it just kind of floats at the apex for a moment right before 2008 and then wow.

[00:04:54] Right. Who knew? Yeah. So, You we just kind of morphed with it. I’ve worked, I did a lot of, I helped a lot of people with short sales, we worked in foreclosures and. And then I met my current business partner in sales working in an REO house as a buyer’s agent. And we started our own company, Dream Big Real Estate, and that was 2008, 2009.

[00:05:15] So from there, a couple of years later I just happened to say to my partner, you know, even though we were very busy, I said, “I really think we should launch a property management division” because at that time, my mentality was, it’s a place where we can create sales listings, right?

[00:05:35] And so we did that for a few years. And, you know, the interesting thing about it was that we didn’t do any marketing. It was just really word of mouth, but. The day that I mentioned that to my partner, Tim, he just said, “yeah, cool, whatever.” Right. he knew I was going to probably be working on it because I had the background in it, but I didn’t tell anybody.

[00:05:55] And the next day the phone rang and our first property management client just was calling out of the blue. Still have them, still work with them.

[00:06:03] And then a week later, somebody else called. And it was the same thing, and that was our second client. Still working with them as well. And the, you know, I’m not into rubbing crystals or sleeping under pyramids, but you know, you ask the universe and the universe will provide.

[00:06:19] Jason: One of the things that you mentioned, Brian, that I think’s really interest is, it sounds like part of your journey, like there’s this importance you’ve probably realized in partnerships.

[00:06:28] because you’ve mentioned multiple times, you know, you partner with the listing agent and then eventually you partner with Tim. And so how is finding the right partners been instrumental in your growth and your progress?

[00:06:41] Brian: Well, I will say this is that later on more recently, this year, they have broken out the property management business that was running as part of our real estate sales business. I’ve broken that out separately, and I’m now solo doing that. Right. Have had partners in the past, and I have found working with partners to be that there’s advantages and disadvantages. Totally. It’s hard to find, it’s really difficult for partnerships to be successful because most people, the ego is getting in the way or, you know, there becomes a battle about, you know, who’s doing what, who deserves this, who deserves that.

[00:07:24] Yeah. Personality wise, I’m kind of roll with it person, you know? I’m more of a solution oriented person. Just what we need to get from point A to point B, what’s the best way to do that? What for the good of the company, not necessarily for what’s best for me personally. Yeah. So I’ve gone through a couple of partnerships with different people, I have been able to make that work from my point of view, because.

[00:07:49] Because of my personality type, I think, but it is not for the the weak hearted, you know, I mean, it is some days are a lot harder than others. 

[00:07:58] Jason: I’ve seen some of the most successful I’ve seen have really healthy partnerships in some of the worst situations I’ve seen where they couldn’t grow because one was like an anchor, not willing to move and they had just as much decision making power and until they were able to get that partner out of the business, they weren’t able to progress. So it can be a boost in the positive, but it’s really difficult to find a really good match.

[00:08:24] Brian: Yeah, and that’s the thing is like, I’m more of a behind the scenes person, just in general, I’m more like I can implement. I generally will have the ideas as well, but I’m the one that I’m kind of a control freak, quite frankly, and so one of my character flaws is right now that I’m trying to work on is feeling like I need to touch everything, you know, because that’s that is a throttle in the business.

[00:08:48] Jason: Well, I think we all start there. Every entrepreneur starts there, so everybody listening should be able to empathize with that because you know we want to do a good job because we care. We want to look good. We care about how we look right like whatever it is. The challenge with being a control freak is trust and until we learn how to get and find people that we feel safe with, I don’t think we’re supposed to trust, you know. We’re not supposed to just trust blindly. We need to find people that deserve to be trusted and know how to build that team. And that’s probably kind of the next level, right? Is for you maybe is to build that team of people that you trust because when you get really great people, it’s not hard to trust them.

[00:09:30] Yeah. But they need to match you. Like they need to be a good coach. And then it’s a lot easier to trust them. And so in this journey, you split out your business and then you have a property management business. It’s all yours. You’re still doing real estate stuff also? You still connected to that?

[00:09:47] Brian: I am, but my mentality has shifted. It’s probably been more than two years since the first time I talked to someone from your company and yet we didn’t start with your company until, when was it, March this year? It was a two year lag of wrapping my mind around the philosophy of, Just making the shift, right?

[00:10:06] Because property management always for us was a, just a holding place for future sales listings. And now, it’s the business. Property management’s the business and sales is ancillary benefit. 

[00:10:21] Jason: So what prompted that shift? How did your brain work that out eventually? 

[00:10:25] Brian: I think it’s a combination of a variety of things. Having now 20 plus years in the business, I’ve been through an up and a down and an up and a flat, right? Who knows what the next one looks like. Is it eighties, nineties, or is it two thousands downturn? Yeah. And where I am in life, right. And I mean, do I want to work forever? Just slinging, right? Do I want to be out there, you know, showing, opening doors at, you know, 68 years old?

[00:10:57] Jason: And chasing deals? Yeah. 

[00:10:59] Brian: So mailbox money, right. Building a business that’s sellable. Right now, or up until this point, I should say, it has been 100 percent every dollar that comes into our house is product of my labor, and that is a train coming down the track.

[00:11:19] Right. So I needed to make some changes now that would have dramatic impacts on my future. If I wanted to change what I was doing, you know.

[00:11:27] Jason: Yeah. Got it. Yeah. That switch from kind of recognizing you’re kind of trading time for dollars to realizing, “Hey maybe I want to build something.”

[00:11:36] I mean, it’s really tempting because you close one real estate deal, that can be a lot of money, but eventually I think there’s a lot of real estate agents that wake up to this, that they’re like, “Hey, if real estate kind of takes a nosedive or do I want to do this forever?” Maybe not.

[00:11:52] Property management might be a really great business model. 

[00:11:55] Brian: Like I said, we did our sales under under Better Homes and Gardens now, and I don’t know, did I say that? Maybe in my own head. So the property management is under my own brokerage. The sales that we do, we work under Better Homes and Gardens.

[00:12:10] I, you know, Tim and I as sales agents here until this year, we’ve been the number one agent, like since we came here. So seven, eight years, however long it’s been. I do see the changes. I have seen the changes come in and perhaps it’s a little bit of you just mental scar tissue from the crash of, you know, ‘8, ‘9, ’10, ‘ 11. Yeah. It’s just, you know, because the cracks have been forming in the foundation of this real estate sales market for a few years. Right. And it’s been propped up artificially by government policies. Yeah. For three, four years. Right. And so, I’ve been waiting for a shoe to drop quite frankly.

[00:12:51] And so two years ago a guy used to work for you, Jon. I called Jon back in like February this year. “Hey, Jon, you still working over at DoorGrow?” Jon was actually the one who said to me two years ago, two and a half years ago now, ” if you do this, our expectation is that you’re going to change your philosophy. You’re going to be a property manager who doesn’t do sales.” What? That took me a while to embrace. 

[00:13:17] Jason: Yeah. Yeah. Jon’s a good friend of mine. We just went out to lunch recently. He’s really sharp, dude. So, you know, I’m really curious, Brian, this journey from being a reporter for a while to real estate, to now shifting your identity into being a property manager, and that’s the focus. How do you feel the reporter in you helps the property manager? 

[00:13:44] Brian: Yeah, perfect proving ground. It’s who I am is based on education, information gathering, being an advocate for consumers, right?

[00:13:56] That’s what I was trained to be as a reporter and editor, as a journalist, and that just morphs perfectly into what I do now, which is to look after my client’s financial well being, right? And it doesn’t hurt that I tend to over explain things, right? Because that’s what I do, right? Is my job is to go out and gather information and then provide it in an objective way so that people can then make the best decisions for them and their family, right? So that’s being a reporter, right? It is to shine a light on the facts so that people can decide. I mean, sometimes you got to take them by the hand and lead them down the path, right, educating them along the way. Yeah, for sure. 

[00:14:37] Sarah: So what was the thing that made you go, “all right, I’m finally going to do this. Like I’m going to jump on board, get involved with DoorGrow and start really focusing on this property management thing?

[00:14:49] Brian: Yeah. So earlier this year I had been kicking around, you know, you’re looking at numbers, right? Kicking around the idea of “how much more time do I want to do this?”

[00:14:59] And there were some personal things that got into it too, because you start looking at relationships and your family and looking at the things that are most important in your life. And priority wise, where have they been on your list? And so I decided I wanted to make some changes and then I lost some friends and family members just in the past year.

[00:15:25] And so, one of the things that I picked up in the newspaper was Spending too much time in the office and and spending the less time seeing family and, you know, coming out of COVID and just, it’s just like a combination of a lot of things all crashing together at one time. 

[00:15:41] Sarah: We are under attack in our house right now.

[00:15:43] We have groceries being delivered. 

[00:15:45] Jason: Dogs are going nuts.

[00:15:49] Our professional podcast, everybody, so. 

[00:15:53] Brian: Anyway, so that was you know, some personal stuff came up and I decided to reevaluate. Now, in the past 10 plus years, I’ve been doing property management.

[00:16:04] providing a supply of say two to six listings a year and making that shift. I don’t know, it was a conversation with my wife and you know, running numbers and trying to figure out like, is it even possible? And there’s a transition period because what you focus on is what you get. Right. So if I start focusing a hundred percent on property management, and how is that going to affect my income for people? You know, because what I do today in sales, that’s not income for 90 days. Right. So at some point you have to be able to make that transition. And so, you know, it was a bit of a leap of faith.

[00:16:42] And so, like I said, when I called Jon to ask if he was still working with you guys, then he said, no. He called me back though, but he said no, but he then referred me over to somebody. So, but making that switch, it wasn’t an overnight decision by any means.

[00:16:58] I agonized over it. It was sleepless nights, some nights. But I knew that I had to do something. 

[00:17:04] Jason: So, well, you took a big risk then this leap of faith and then jumped on board with DoorGrow, decided to focus on property management. You feel like you made a good choice?

[00:17:14] Brian: Yes. You don’t know what you don’t know. And so, I’ve been on a journey of learning what other people are doing, best practices, ancillary services to go along, you know, support type pieces of everything from other streams of income that are related that are, you know, not just management fees and placement fees, right?

[00:17:37] I mean, there’s a variety, but it’s crazy what I’ve implemented just in the past six months, it’s just been an insane pace and now I’m like eight days away from moving to a new, property management portal, and that will be the cherry on top, really. Most of the footwork of putting the foundation together will be mostly done, and then it’s digging into processes.

[00:18:02] Jason: Awesome. Yeah. So. Yeah. So you’ve made a lot of changes to your business and you said you’ve been learning it at an insane pace. So hopefully we’re not making you bored with all this stuff. We’ve got plenty of stuff, right? It can be a bit overwhelming. We give the feedback on. So Brian, well, what’s what’s next for you in the future?

[00:18:25] Brian: Right now I’m just trying to continue to learn from you and I’m just focusing on growing the number of doors that we manage and creating a business that will have sustainable and continuous growth and then part of the process has been, yes, putting the tools in place and doing the things that you know, I’ve been advised to do to create this and grow this business.

[00:18:53] But when you start, you don’t necessarily believe it, right? It truly is that leap of faith. And over time, my belief is starting to catch up with my activity. And so, you know, to go like when last week we literally hit the doubling point of when we started with you and after 10 years of just being flat from 30 to 35 units. And then now literally doubled it last week. And that’s been from following your instruction, your philosophies and you know, focusing on building this business. 

[00:19:30] Jason: Yeah. Well, I’m glad that the next 30 doors didn’t take 10 years. That’s awesome. Doubling in four months and I think things will speed up from here. So, well, I think that’s a good place to end on. I think that’s really awesome. So we appreciate you as a client. It’s been great seeing your progress. You know, I think there’s a lot of property managers out there that are like you, they come from the real estate industry. They want to get out of the hunt and the chase. Maybe they’ve been doing property management for even a decade, but you know, they haven’t really made progress in their growth significantly in the last year or two or three or 10, you know, and and now maybe it’s time, maybe it’s time.

[00:20:10] So maybe some parting words, Brian, what would you say to those that like they’ve been watching DoorGrow for a while? What would you say to them? 

[00:20:17] Brian: Don’t wait. You know, where would I be if I’d started two years ago? . I think about that occasionally, and then I have to stop myself because that just takes me off track.

[00:20:26] And you get into that regret, you know, loop in your head. Like, no, I don’t have time for that. I am where I’m now. And everybody is where they are now, right? And so you can either take action today or not, your results will reflect that. Yeah. 

[00:20:42] Sarah: And you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be in that moment. I can do that to myself too. I can go back and go, “Oh, what if I did this sooner? It could be so much farther.” Right. But I think that things just tend to work out the way that they’re supposed to work out and things kind of line up. And I think you were prepped, right?

[00:20:59] You knew about DoorGrow. You were kind of checking it out. You weren’t sure if you were going to make that jump and you did when you were ready and it paid off. 

[00:21:06] Jason: Yeah. So, there’s a cool book called the gap and the gain. And the idea is that it’s so easy for us as entrepreneurs to focus on the gap between where we should be by now. Where our dream or what we could have done. And that’s not really an effective comparison psychologically. Like that, like doesn’t make us feel super great about ourselves. But what is effective though, is to look at the gain. How far have we come? And I mean, four months. You’ve come a long way.

[00:21:34] And so the next year, I think it’s going to be really awesome for you. So I’m excited to see what you do, Brian. So thank you. All right. Thanks for coming on the DoorGrow show. 

[00:21:44] Brian: Glad to be here. Thanks. 

[00:21:46] Jason: Thanks again. All right. If you are a property management entrepreneur, you’re wanting to grow your business.

[00:21:51] Maybe you’ve been sitting stagnant for a while. You haven’t had significant progress in the last year, maybe the year before that you might even be a really large company and you’re not making progress. I’ve talked to several with thousands of doors in just the last week. We just got one of them on as a client and they’ve been struggling to figure out how to grow and they cannot even spend any more money on ads to get any more clients. 

[00:22:13] It’s not working. If you want to figure out how to start moving your business forward significantly, we can easily help you add 100, 200, maybe even 300 doors in a year. And it’s without wasting money or spending money on advertising. And that might sound ridiculous, but Brian’s going to do it.

[00:22:29] Like we’re seeing people do it all the time. So reach out, you can check us out at doorgrow. com. We would love to help you grow your business. Talk to you soon. Bye everyone.

[00:22:39] you just listened to the #DoorGrowShow. We are building a community of the savviest property management entrepreneurs on the planet in the DoorGrowClub. Join your fellow DoorGrow Hackers at doorgrowclub.com. Listen, everyone is doing the same stuff. SEO, PPC, pay-per-lead content, social direct mail, and they still struggle to grow! 

[00:23:06] At DoorGrow, we solve your biggest challenge: getting deals and growing your business. Find out more at doorgrow.com. Find any show notes or links from today’s episode on our blog doorgrow.com, and to get notified of future events and news subscribe to our newsletter at doorgrow.com/subscribe. Until next time, take what you learn and start DoorGrow Hacking your business and your life.

Jason Hull

Jason's mission is "to inspire others to love true principles." This means he enjoys digging up gold nuggets of wisdom & sharing them with property managers to help them improve their business. He founded OpenPotion, DoorGrow, & GatherKudos.

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