So says Brent Bowers in his third of three pieces on typical startups, this one about Jeff Takle and his “take your time” philosophy about starting a business. Takle and a friend officially formed RentingYourHome.com at the end of 2006. Since then they’ve been moving slowly, tinkering and making do with less than $50,000 of first-year revenue.

At the start, investors showed scant interest in their company, and potential customers were wary. Revenue for the year will be well below $50,000. But Mr. Takle says he has learned enough lessons in the last year to write a book. This coming year will be the real test of his product, he says.

The company’s software helps rental owners advertise and run credit checks, collect rents, find good plumbers, and so on.

Property management software has been around for 20 or 30 years, Mr. Takle says, and landlords have hundreds of programs to choose from. But until now, it has not been economically feasible to provide such a wide array of services to small-scale landlords at a profit, he says. Rapidly evolving technology has changed that, providing an opening for upstarts like himself.

“Millions of homes are not managed profitably or efficiently,â€? he said. If his software catches on, he said, he hopes to increase revenue to $10 million to $15 million within three to five years.

Mr. Takle acknowledges that that is brave talk.

A piece like this in The New York Times doesn’t hurt, either. That’s a lot of marketing. Think about that as you consider your own startup.

Perhaps their biggest challenge was their expansion from their home base of Boston to 35 states and many more cities. Suddenly, they faced a mind-boggling (and often shifting) jumble of regulations on tenant rights, rent limits, security deposits, lease clauses and eviction procedures.

His solution, he believes, is strategic alliances.

Bowers quotes some experts who aren’t convinced, but–as with the previous two of the three companies profiled–we’ll get to see.

For Start-Up, It’s a Tweak Here, an Experiment There – New York Times

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.