Today we have selected Dan Gardner to take his interview. He is the Owner/Broker at DMG Brokerage.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
We had a difficult 2020, but our business is starting to get back to pre-pandemic activity between pent-up demand for commercial real estate.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
I went to Lafayette College for my undergrad then completed my Master’s from Brandeis University. During my graduate school education, I worked as an apartment rental associate with a firm in Newton, MA. At the time, I was trying to pay the bills and obtain my master’s to work in the construction/project management field.
While renting apartments and attending grad school at night, I worked on several commercial real estate sales and leasing transactions. The commission on one of those deals ended up paying for all of my graduate school (several years later). Once I finished school, I decided to become a real estate broker. It was hard to make because I was 29 and just finished schooling; I would take a position with 0 salary and 0 benefits. I just got married, and I wanted to start a family, it was 2009, and the Great Recession just started; it was quite the risk!
So, before I began this endeavor, I sat down with my wife (girlfriend at the time), and I said I really wanted to work for myself and was really motivated to make money. She didn’t even argue with me and said, “if you don’t do it now, you’ll always regret it.” That’s my advice to anyone that wants to start a business. The conversation of, “Hey, I just spent the last 5 years of my life going to grad school at night, and now I want to be a real estate broker” lasted 5 minutes; she was in favor, we were broke and owed thousands of dollars in student loans, but we were off to the races.
I can remember, I had about $500 in my savings account; I couldn’t afford a wedding ring and had a newly mint master’s degree from Brandeis University, and for some reason, I took the risk instead of a stable job downtown.
Even though it was an economic disaster, we still made money selling commercial real estate. I had done so well that I wanted to go off on my own.
Four years later, I branched off and started my own business in 2013, which is still in business today, known as DMG Brokerage. The first year I started my business, I made 10% of the year before another massive setback. My wife had just given birth to twins, and my income was a fraction of what it used to be. I almost quit, but in 2015 (3rd child on the way), the company broke even, and we paid all of our debts.
How does your company innovate?
We try to follow the trends in real estate; last year, we had to pivot and do more residential, which is outside our model. Now we have been focusing on more commercial real estate.
How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
We complete transactions when businesses want to take risks. Last year the risk exposure was low, and people were putting off new investments, relocations, and downsizing. It wasn’t easy, but we were able to stay in business. I really like my job, and I enjoy being a commercial real estate broker; there were times last year when I thought I had to give up this lifestyle. I’m really blessed to have stayed in business, and some extraordinary people surround me. The pandemic helped me learn not to take things for granted, and life sometimes has a way of working out.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
There are no real tools that we use, just networking and reaching out to sellers and buyers. I love networking, and when that was taken away, it wasn’t easy to promote the business.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
It’s easy to say all the other real estate brokers and agents, but that’s not the case. We co-broke with other firms, so we don’t really have competition.
DMG Brokerage has survived the Great Recession and now COVID. It’s a safe bet for me that I’m in this for the long haul.
- Spokesperson: Dan Gardner
- Company: DMG Brokerage
- Website link: www.DMGBrokerage.com