Bill Freeman and Jimmy Webb have known each other for over 35 years. Their property management and real estate investment company has over 450 employees and manages over 15,000 apartment units.
They met at Nashville's Junior Chamber of Commerce, where both were members each being actively involved in that organization. Their involvement in community service gave opportunity for them to observe each others' commitment levels, work ethics, etc., that ultimately became the catalyst for a business partnership that was formed in 1979 and continues today as one of the area's most successful full-service real estate companies.
The two men borrowed the initial seed money to start the business, a small amount in comparison to today's investment requirements, and worried how they would pay it back.
"We had a plan from day one, and have since been doing the same thing," Freeman said. "That includes apartment and property management, commercial and residential real estate."
"We keep our eye on the ball and strive to become as good as we can," Freeman said. Those efforts brought national attention to the company recently when Freeman Webb was named Property Management Company of the Year.
Webb accredits the strength of employees' dedication to the company's continuing success. Many employees have been with the company 15, 20 and 25 years. Freeman Webb has been recognized for two consecutive years as a Best Place to Work.
"We try to develop a family atmosphere and great environment for all our employees," Webb stated. "We take great pleasure seeing our employees grow in the business. We support them educationally and offer attractive awards and incentives for their services."
The Freeman Webb partnership, likened to a marriage, has proven successful because of the strengths each brings to the table.
"You have to work at it like a marriage," Webb said. "Bill has this creed that the harder you work, the luckier you get. Then you're able to ride the storms for better days."
Freeman said Webb brings the organizational skills to the table. "We both have responsibilities and freedom to do our job, but are respectful when the other makes comments and recommendations."
"We are very similar but so different, so when we come together we can provide all perspectives of a situation," Freeman added.
In offering advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, Webb recommends adhering to the philosophy that your word is your bond and you do what you say you will do. Freeman said "integrity is of utmost importance. If you don't have integrity, its negative impact will spread throughout an organization."