Darus Trutna went from high school to directly joining the US Army. He was soon deployed overseas, including a year in Egypt. Upon returning back to the US, he enrolled at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where he began studying business. While at Humboldt, he began exploring investment property options, and along with a partner, he bought his first investment property and fixed it up. However, rather than selling the revived property, he and his partner decided instead to put a renter in the house. Additionally, Darus decided to manage the property by himself, and acquired tools and other items needed for a single unit. He later purchased a second investment property and repeated the process.
Darus soon realized that property management could be a business for him. He knew about other companies’ poor reputations and saw an opportunity to compete. He started as an independent property manager, and soon started growing, and then reached a point of needing employees and better structure. As such, he started exploring franchising, which led him to RPM.
In June 2012, Darus started his Real Property Management Humboldt franchise with 35 units and by November 2013, had grown to 135 units, along with two full-time employees.
Then in November 2013, he began the acquisition of a significantly larger competing property management company, the owner of which wanted to retire.
The acquisition has presented a number of challenges. In particular, Darus needed to know how the previous owner had done things to continue servicing existing customers. He could not simply stop the previous owner’s machinery and immediately shift to his own process. At the same time, though, he built out new methods and trained staff, so that he could then replace the previous methods with his own for a smoother transition.
Darus is now at 1,585 total properties, about 1,300 are residential, along with some mixed use and commercial properties. He has a team of 17 in the office and six full-time maintenance technicians. How did he achieve such an undertaking? Darus says that he focuses on empowering his team to manage day-to-day operations. Rather than solving all the problems himself, he focuses on empowering the team and removing the obstacles for them to serve clients.
Darus says he looks forward to the bright future ahead for his team and his RPM family. One of his favorite quotes is “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”