“Miss, I’ve got a new property for you that Brett and I are super excited about. You have to check it out.” That was the call I got from Brian a little over a month ago after I had planted a seed that Ben and I may be up for a flip, someday. I had very few details; but I knew if these guys were excited a rehab property, it had to be good.
Ben and I had never considered flipping anything other than gently used furniture and sweet outlet purchases for stellar deals until now. We were so busy with kids, work and residential projects we didn’t even know where to begin. We didn’t have a network and we certainly didn’t have the time to find one. We didn’t work with contractors and we definitely didn’t have the liquid cash. But when opportunity finds you and your name is Melissa Asbury, you turn up the hustle factor and make magic happen.
In just three weeks, we’ve worked to network with a tight little group of private investors, contractors, painters, insurance companies, a legal source and a couple of new friends that aren’t afraid of sweat equity. And then it hit me, this may actually happen. We are seriously doing this. And we don’t know what we don’t know… So, there’s only one way to find out. Jump in. Head first. And pray hard.
And so I turned to my number one. My partner in crime that will always shoot me straight. I said, “Ben, if we do this, can you…” And he stopped me right there.
“Listen, do I help you with your Novo job?” I knew the answer to this. It was clearly, “no.” And then he said, “If you really want to do this, you’ve got to figure this out yourself. Consider me a bonus. I’ll do trim and detail work – but, that’s it. “
Ugh, he was serious. I was not going smooth talk myself into this one. He was right. If I wanted to do this, then I had to put the pieces in place. And that’s exactly what I did. Truth. Tough love really works.
With one week prior to closing, I got on the phone, fast. I owe this to my never take no for an answer, German gene. So, I called Herminio.
Let me give you a little background story. I met this guy in a little town an hour north of Indy. He was handing out business cards and wanted any type of work one could give. I just had a feeling about him. And, I knew I wanted to give him an opportunity. So, we hired him to do some painting, yard work, you name it. He always came, without fail. He laid stone in the rain, did masonry in the snow and sweat it out, outside, with a beer in hand with the heat index at 105. This guy was committed. He was my “it factor.” And I knew there was a reason that God crossed our paths that day nearly six months ago.
So, I called him. “Herminio, como esta mi amigo!” Our relationship reminded me of my days in Cancun. Without the giant plastic glasses, hot sun and alcohol… Everything about this guy was just, authentic and fun. He knew I spoke espan-english but still laughed at me every time. “Herminio, I have a job for you. Are you interested?”
His answer was always, a grateful, “Yes! Meleeesah, you tell me where to be and I’ll be there.”
So, I met him there that night. I gave him the tour of the house and told him exactly what needed to be done. And then I asked, “Herminio, can you cut down trees?”
“Yes! Yes, Meleeesah. I cut down trees, do mulch, edge and cut weeds. You tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I will come and I bring my guys.” I couldn’t believe this was happening. This may work! God is so good.
And then the next day happened. I was checked into reality by a wise, good friend. Who’s clearly been there and done that. He said, “Miss, you can’t have guys on your property without insurance. You need to make sure these guys are licensed and bonded. Do you know if he has insurance?” I didn’t have a clue.
Crap! I knew it wasn’t going to be this easy. So, I picked up the phone and called my friend. “Herminio, quick question for you, buddy. Do you have insurance on your business?”
“Yes, yes Meleeesah! I have insurance. I’m covered at work and outside of work.” He was so excited about it, it had to be true. Right? I don’t know!
“Okay, Herminio, are you sure? I need to make sure you have insurance… I can’t have you scaling trees in my yard without knowing you and your guys are covered. Does this make sense? You promise me, you’re covered. I’m talking about business insurance…. It’s covered?”
“Yes, yes Meleesah… I covered! I’ll send you my insurance papers now. It’s in my car.”
This is awesome… He’s prepared. I love it. Dodged that bullet. And then I got the text. It was a picture of his health insurance card. This was definitely not business insurance. This was health insurance. All this guy wanted was a chance and I wanted to give him one. But, this was going to be a gamble. Not sure what to do, I slept on it. He was my plan A, B and C all rolled into one. Every other contractor was at least 6-8 weeks out and we closed on this thing in three days.
Later that next day, I worked up the courage to reach out to him to give him the bad news. I just couldn’t risk the liability. And so he picked up the phone out of breath… “Hola Meleessahh!!
“Hola Herminio! How are you?”
“Good! Good, my friend. What’s going on?”
“Herminio, I have bad news… We can’t have you work on our house without insurance. I’m so sorry. But I can’t have you getting hurt on our property with your guys. I really don’t know what to do.”
“Meleessah, you don’t worry… I already cut down two dead trees!! One more to go. Mi bueno!! I be careful!”
My jaw hit the floor. Right now, I have a guy scaling 40 foot trees on a home I don’t own that I don’t have insurance on. I seriously can’t even comprehend what’s happening… Who is this guy? I don’t even know. But, he’s just what I need – whitty mixed with a bit of risky whiskey in part with a drive that’s unstoppable. It’s like looking in the mirror at myself. But, with much better skin complexion.
And at that moment, I realized, I’m no longer in the driver’s seat, I just need to trust and enjoy the ride. Herminio came my way for a reason and God’s got this. I just need to keep praying that the right people come our way, perform our checks and balances, do what I do best and give it to God. One hundred percent of the time.
That next night, a day before closing, I went onsite to check on Herminio and his crew. And since he was there, Ben ordered mulch to be delivered so he could wrap the job this week. He saw me and lit up. He was so excited… I had no idea why. The place looked amazing. He gave me the tour of everything he had done. He ripped down four trees, cut branches, edged the entire yard, and replanted hostas in perfect form. It was beautiful.
And then he says, “Melissaah, I’ll show you the best part. I have a vision. You tell me to do something, but it doesn’t look good. You need to trust me. I know what looks good. So I cut down more trees and plant more plants.” I was almost offended he didn’t follow direction; but he clearly knew what he was doing. He was seriously making me nervous. Still leading me around the side of the house he says, “This is my favorite… Do you see?…”
Herminio edged a giant heart in the side yard with new plants inside. He had found a stone in the shape of a heart that inspired him to this for us. I didn’t even know what to say. Here I had this guy that just wanted a chance. And Ben and I gave that to him. Because, at the end of the day, we all just deserve a chance to be our best. Just like Brian and Brett gave us a chance on this house. It’s our responsibility to pass on the gift of grace to give others and give them that shot too. It’s not simply a responsibility, it’s a calling.
So, that’s what we’re going to do. Here’s to passing it on. Here’s to believing in someone more than they deserve and always, always, always trusting God to craft your story in His perfect time.