BALLSTON SPA — For many people who have lived in the Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs area, the name Maxwell Property Management is a familiar one. The company’s owner, Thompson Herrick, is spending this year celebrating 25 years of managing properties in and around the region.
Although Herrick says he is proud of the business he has created, his first love was the sea. As a young man, he joined the U.S. Merchant Marines, sailing the deep seas on large ships from 1978 to 1992.
Herrick started out as a deck hand and, by the time he retired from his post, he was the ship’s Cargo Officer and held a Second Mate’s License, equivalent in the Navy to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During time, he became the ship’s “Unrep Specialist,” lingo for “underway replenishment.” The big ships he sailed hauled the fuel for other large cargo ships, and it was his job to refuel them at sea.
After 14 years, Herrick left his life on the open seas, marrying and becoming a father in 1990. Unsure of his next career move, Herrick attended a real estate investment seminar soon after getting his “land legs” back. The idea of real estate investment and management peaked his interest and shortly after, he opened Maxwell Property Management as a one-man operation. His first property was a two-family home in Greenfield.
“I did everything from repairing broken toilets to mowing lawns,” Herrick said.
By 1998, Herrick had obtained his broker’s license and began making a name for himself in Saratoga County and the surrounding region.
Today, Maxwell Property Management writes more than 100 leases per year. He now uses outside contractors to repair plumbing and do the lawn maintenance.
Most of Herrick’s business comes from people who are relocating out of the area and have been unable to sell their home. Herrick said this was typical during the recent recession and he seized the opportunity to “make lemonade out of lemons” by helping clients find tenants for the property while it remained on the market.
Other clients may move from the area, with the intentions of returning at some point. While they are absent, they may want to use their home as a rental property, but they do not want the headaches of being absentee landlords. Maxwell Property Management handles the lease arrangements and makes sure the properties are being properly maintained.
The company also handles estate management.
“We have a lot of baby boomers who acquire properties through inheritance and want to turn them into investment properties,” Herrick said.
Maxwell Property also manages multi-unit properties and turns distressed units into attractive rentals.
“I act as the firewall between the landlord and the tenant,” he said. “I represent the landlord’s interests and I care for his property as if it were my own.”
Herrick views his 25th year in business as a major milestone and considers self-employment one of the most challenging, rewarding things he has ever done — although he does joke there have been times when his wife has threatened to send him back to sea.
As part of the 25-year anniversary celebration, Maxwell Property Management will donate a percentage of all monthly broker’s commissions to Shelters of Saratoga (SOS). Herrick is particularly interested in helping SOS’ Code Blue program, which gives the homeless a place to stay when temperatures dip below 32 degrees.
Herrick says he has no plans to retire any time soon. His strategic plan for the next ten years is to double the size of Maxwell Property Management before selling the company and sailing off into the sunset with his wife.
Until then, Herrick will continue to run his successful business on dry land.
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