You might say the housing industry is in Chapin Hemphill’s blood. His grandfather and father built 200 to 400 luxury homes a year in the Chicago area under the moniker of Homes by Hemphill. If you’ve ever seen a film directed by John Hughes, you’ve likely seen a home that was built by the Hemphill family. Sixteen Candles, Home Alone, and other popular movies featured custom-built residences from Homes by Hemphill.
The company was forced to close its doors in 1993, after being devastated by the recession. Chapin made the difficult decision to move to New York and was eager to find a new career path.
“I had to get away from where I grew up and I didn’t want to be surrounded by the homes my family built,” Hemphill said. “So, I started managing my friend’s band in 1993, and that led to an eight-or-nine-year career in the music industry. I worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Billy Joel and Metallica. I was so lucky.”
While working in the music industry, Chapin, who always had an entrepreneurial spirit, started his first company after moving to Los Angeles. It was an early social networking site for bands. That was the late 90s and the website was taking off, but Chapin’s luck was about to change again. The dot-com bubble burst, taking Chapin’s business with it. It was time to start over again.
Feeling down and defeated, Chapin says he didn’t know what to do with his life. So, when a friend, who also was the property manager of the building where he lived, offered him a job he figured, why not?
“She told me, ‘I can only pay you 10 dollars an hour, but it will keep you busy.’” Says Chapin. “It was a complete accident. I had no idea that low-paying job would become my next career and lead me to where I am today, more than 20 years later.”
Chapin worked for his friend for the next four months. After learning the property management ropes, he was hired to manage an historic high-rise in downtown Los Angeles.
“That boss taught me a lot about business and making quick decisions. He was my first real mentor,” said Chapin. “The high rise we managed had great clients, but also had very problematic units that required a tough property manager. It was an awesome foundation for this stage in my career.”
After three more stops in the property management business industry, including Phoenix Realty Group and Greystar, Chapin was ready for another career change. This time it would be on his own terms, and Chapin was ready to return to his entrepreneurial roots. He looked at multiple franchise opportunities but ultimately decided to utilize his professional property management experience to build his next company.
“I picked Keyrenter because, with my experience, it would be a small learning curve,” said Chapin. “The thing that sold me on Keyrenter was [Keyrenter CEO] Aaron Marshall. Aaron shares a common vision. I felt he had a lot of integrity and was completely unlike the corporate people I had worked for in the past.”
“I also felt the startup costs were very reasonable,” continued Chapin. “I’m one of the first franchisees. At the end of the day, it was an obvious choice for me. I don’t regret it at all.”
Hemphill started Keyrenter Silicon Valley in 2015, which covers California cities San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Santa Clara. He also added a territory in New England earlier this year and will open his third Keyrenter office in Los Angeles in Spring 2020.
As a professional property manager, Hemphill has a physical office address, but still works from home a good amount of the time. It’s one of the main benefits of a property management franchise.
“You can start from home and then scale up,” he said. “I have a virtual office, a legit address, and receptionist for mail, and that’s my official business address. I take a few meetings there, but I’m usually in my car or working from home.”
As part of Keyrenter Silicon Valley, Chapin has eight employees, including Megan O’Leary, who partnered with Chapin in the New England territory.
“Megan used to be in multi-family corporate property management and managed real estate portfolios,” said Chapin. “She was one of the best managers I ever had. We worked together very well. When I started with Keyrenter, I needed someone that knew how my brain worked. She stepped in and took on a leadership role.”
“I wanted to open an office for her out east, Hemphill continued. “It was her dream to own a business, but she could not do it on her own, financially. I wanted to give back to Megan and help her build something that she might not be able to attain herself. It’s been seamless so far. I got lucky finding her early on in my career.”
After New England and Los Angeles, what’s next for Keyrenter Silicon Valley?
“Maybe Orange County, Fresno, down the coast to San Luis Obispo, and vacation locations,” Hemphill said. “California is a big state!”
Does a property management franchise opportunity with Keyrenter sound like it could be right for you? Learn more about franchise opportunities in the United States at https://keyrenter.com/franchise/.