After a successful career in the NFL, Thomas Smith Jr., a former first-round pick in the 1993 NFL draft, is experiencing continued success as the owner of PMI Elite Baltimore property management franchise in the Baltimore area. Smith played as a defensive back in Super Bowl XXVIII for the Buffalo Bills and went on to play for the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts before retiring in 2002.
NFL athletes are notorious for being ill-prepared for life outside of football. It is not uncommon for former players to fall into financial distress or bankruptcy soon after their athletic career ends. Sports Illustrated reported that 78% of NFL players are broke within three years of retirement, not the case for Smith. His preparations for a post-football career began before his time in the NFL. Growing up on a farm, Smith was familiar with hard work. “The farmer knows when he plants a seed, he doesn’t get a crop right away, but in the right season his hard work will be rewarded,” Smith said. As a walk-on at the University of North Carolina, he was able to secure a football scholarship and earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Management. After graduation, his reward was an NFL career lasting nearly ten years, three times longer than average.
Upon NFL retirement, Smith dove head-first into entrepreneurship and started a real estate investment firm. A few years later he opened a transportation company. When the opportunity arose, Smith sold his business and began looking for his next endeavor. He was looking for a business he enjoyed working in that would provide consistent and reliable revenue and allow him time with family. The real estate industry interested him, but its unpredictability made it seem unreliable. Smith considered opening a restaurant franchise, but that didn’t appeal to him. While looking at franchises, Smith found a property management franchise that caught his attention: Property Management Inc (PMI).
Smith knew PMI was the right business because it had just what he was looking for. Although it was in the real estate industry, property management is insulated from market ups and downs, allowing it to be a consistent revenue-generating business. Another plus was that PMI provided the systems and support needed so he wouldn’t be doing it alone. Smith purchased his franchise, PMI Elite Baltimore, in late 2015. “PMI not only gave me the training I needed to prepare for property management, but it also gave me all the software, business systems, and support I needed to give my clients the top-quality service. This wouldn’t have been possible had I started the business on my own,” said Smith.
Less than 18 months after opening PMI Elite Baltimore, Smith bought a second franchise, PMI Prince William, in Virginia. Through PMI’s acquisition program, Smith and another PMI franchise owner, Dave Peschio of PMI Richmond, partnered together to purchase a large association management company. The acquisition provided a hefty boost to his business.
Now, 15 years after retiring from professional football, Smith’s early preparations have paid off. Continually putting forth an effort to ensure his future, Smith is set to receive his MBA from Indiana University this year. Smith’s advice to others is, “If you want it you have to take action. You have to be willing to fail, to succeed. It’s up to you. Nobody’s going to bring it to you on a silver platter. You’ve got to make it happen.”
SOURCE Property Management Inc.