Cook out - Posted by Darrel F. Smith

Posted by Lin (NC) on August 02, 2010 at 09:15:38:

Sounds like a worthwhile experiment.

Now is the time to follow up one-on-one with a more business-y conversation even if you did it at the cookout. Remind them that you’re always happy to get referrals for buying and selling, that you pay referral fees, which parks you work in, and what kind of buyers you’re looking for.


Cook out - Posted by Darrel F. Smith

Posted by Darrel F. Smith on July 19, 2010 at 22:01:12:

Two years and two months ago I stumbled into (I knew nothing) what is now my favorite park and was a little concerned for my safety. There were a large number of empty trailers in various stages of disrepair and plenty of trash. The park owner “gave” me (I over paid) a 14 x 70 that was into it’s 4th year of sitting empty after a fire (some believe deliberately set).

My wife and I have now bought 7 of the empty trailers and turned them into very serviceable, affordable and profitable homes. We have also bought 7 other units in the park with the same results. The 54 lot park now has only two empty lots and three empty trailers that seem to be beyond salvage. We now write the park owner a VERY nice monthly check which he cashes diligently. We have effectively turned his park around but he has never uttered the words “thank you”-----Oh Well!!

We are now often mistaken as the park owners----they, the residents, come to us when there is a problem. We try to help while explaining that it should not be our problem------we are NOT the park owners.

Enough background! This Sunday, July 25, we are sponsoring a community cook out. We are going to finance and serve (chef hats and all) hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and soft drinks for anyone who shows up until the food runs out. We hope to promote the idea that we ARE (like it or not) a community. Therefore, we need to look out for each other and make this a place in which we can take pride.

OK, now I can’t remember why I started this posting. The Scotch sometimes has that effect. What would be the best approach when meeting the park occupants? What message should I attempt to promote?

I don’t know-----is this a good idea? We do now know and befriend a number of the residents. Have any of you had good results from this type endeavor??

My limited experience may say to those who are on the fence------Do it like Lonnie says and you can change your life. I am 70 years old and will continue to pursue the basic principles laid out in Lonnie’s book “Deals on Wheels”.

Thanks for your attention or lack of.


Re: Cook out - Posted by Darrel F. Smith

Posted by Darrel F. Smith on July 29, 2010 at 22:43:05:

The cook out happened as scheduled and about 50 people showed up. It’s harder than we thought to feed that many folks. We did enjoy watching the whole show. We provided soft drinks only but many furnished their own “soft drinks”— the conversations got “louder” as time passed. One lady made three passes at the food line—#1–hot dog and burger—#2–hot dog and burger–#3–only a burger. No problem–just interesting to see. One 11 year old boy was observed taking arm loads of soft drinks & many burgers to his family trailer. We had to tell him the food & drinks were for consumption at the party only. We had a few folks who showed up from a nearby park.

The total tab was $300 not counting the many hours shopping, setting up and cleaning up. We still have not decided why we went to the effort and if the results were worthwhile.

We enjoyed meeting and visiting with new people. We now get more friendly waves as they come and go. There were a few who expressed their appreciation for our efforts. We feel that there were a few that bonded and will continue to be friends.

The park owner did not show.

Would we do it again? Remains to be determined. We are still trying to assess the results. I know it’s selfish but so far I can’t see that there has been any help for our buy, rent and hold business.


Re: Cook out - Posted by Shawn Sisco

Posted by Shawn Sisco on July 20, 2010 at 10:34:20:

It sounds like a goodwill, leads to referals kind of thing, and I believe that is wise. Make it a point to get enough help so that you have time to talk.

Re: Cook out - Posted by Brenda (OH)

Posted by Brenda (OH) on July 20, 2010 at 10:05:11:


I was thinking about ethics and this business last weekend.

I realize that I am so much more informed about finance, business, building safety, repairs, and life in general than a lot of the applicants I talk to for my mobile homes. And a lot of the residents in the park…

I also am able to communicate calmly and easily with the park manager and the park maintenance staff. Which sometimes gets me extra leeway, like when it took me a while to get the new skirting installed on a home I moved.

I have to constantly be on my guard not to take advantage of my knowledge when dealing with my buyers, people that want to do small jobs for me at the park etc.

If I hire someone to cut the grass, they tell me, oh just pay me the next time you are in the park… I have a million things on my mind, but I have to be sure I remember to get them their money because that $10 to $20 means a lot more to them than it does to me…

I guess I am saying all of this to say, whatever you do with the park residents and your buyers, do not make or imply any promises you cannot fulfill…

For most of them, someone has taken financial advantage of them in their lives, we don’t need to be like that…

There are always going to be limits on what you can do, as you keep reminding yourself, you do not own the park… And if push comes to shove, you will have to go by the park owners policies even if they do something that is confusing to the residents.

Example: if the park changes the parking policies, and begin to charge for extra vehicles, the residents are going to complain to you, because you listen to them and understand their viewpoint… Not that you can change anything, but you listen to them… you are available because you are on the spot among them…

I know as Lonnie dealers, we improve a park steadily, and at the least maintain conditions when our units are vacant… but we always are “playing on someone else’s playground”.

enjoy the cookout…

Brenda (OH)