In December 1998, Beth Callans Management Corp. consisted of just Callans and one assistant working out of the Northern Trust Bank building, on Longboat Key. After 10 years of working for other local property-management firms, Callans had decided to start her own business. The early days were quiet, and Callans spent her time writing letters to let people know about the new venture. Eventually, she landed her first client, Portobello Condominium Association.
Eleven-and-a-half years later, Beth Callans Management Corp. is still managing Portobello — that and another 85 residential homeowner associations, condominiums, resorts and commercial properties, most of which are on Longboat Key. She has nearly 200 employees and total revenues of $8.4 million in 2009.
“It’s been 11 years of building,” Callans says.
Looking back on the early days of the business, Callans admits that she tended to micromanage. But in 2007, with the help of a management consultant, she began to delegate responsibilities to top employees and created a detailed manual of policies and procedures for employees to consult. As a result, she learned to take advantage of her greatest resource.
“My employees are my greatest asset,” Callans says.
Callans’ employees have helped their clients weather the recession by controlling costs for the associations. Staff members have worked together to control inventory so that they don’t pass on costs to clients, and the only cost increases the company has passed on to clients have been from tax increases. A “Green Team,” consisting of staff members, helps communities reduce trash and recycling costs by using environmentally friendly products. And the company isn’t just succeeding in spite of the recession, but also, in part, because of it. Callans used the economic downturn to hire talented property managers and contractors who were out of work.
In the next year, Beth Callans Management will continue to expand its green projects and its new resort-and- project-management services that help with older buildings in need of capital repairs.
As for Callans, she plans to continue her increased community involvement, something that trusting in her employees has allowed her to do. She is involved in non-profit organizations, such as the Wellness Community of Southwest Florida Inc. and the New College Foundation and was recently elected to the board of trustees for the YMCA Foundation of Sarasota.
Another recent development: After years of making a 45-minute drive to work each day, Callans has moved to Longboat Key.
Location: 595 Bay Isles Road
Start date: December 1998
Number of employees when started: One
Number of employees today: Nearly 200
Advice: Empower your employees.
Biggest challenge: Trying to control costs for the associations. The company didn’t pass on any management costs to associations over the past year that didn’t come from taxes, so staff members looked for ways to reduce overhead.
Where do you see the business one year from now? Expanding the company’s green projects and its new resort-and- project-management services that help with older buildings in need of capital repairs.