By age 17, Richie Gill, Plan II and economics junior, knew he did not want to work under a boss for the rest of his life.
So while still in high school, Gill earned his real estate license and started an online advertising business. After successfully running the business for two years, he sold it to improve his college GPA, but could not resist the urge to run his own business and earn money once again.
Gill started Mr. West Campus, a real estate agency for students looking to live close to campus in late 2010.
“My parents always motivated me to make money,” Gill said. “I had a job at Walgreens and I just said ‘Screw this. I’m not going to listen to my boss anymore. I want to do what I want. I don’t want to make only $7 an hour selling cigarettes all day,’ and I didn’t want to wait six years to have a good job, so I started my own business.”
Mr. West Campus now has seven employees, helps hundreds of students find apartments every year and includes longhornleasing.com, which focuses on helping students sub-lease. The service provided is free for students because Gill said the company makes money through the apartment complexes willing to work with him. He said he wants the company to encompass as many local apartment complexes as possible to give students multiple options to suit their needs.
Gill said he works 60 hours a week and very late nights while remaining a full-time student. He said the work is worth it because he loves the business and he loves the students.
“Students are great to work with,” Gill said. “They’re smart. They’re quick. They’re easy to work with and they need the help because many are freshmen and first-time apartment shoppers,” Gill said. “We want to be there for them to be sure they don’t get scammed and to be with them every step of the way. I love to bring real estate experience and student experience together.”
Bobby Cave, 1984 UT alumnus and supervising salesperson and office manager, said at their first meeting, at Starbucks, he immediately saw the potential of the young man and wanted to help on his journey as a business owner.
“I don’t mean to sound like I love the guy, but I love the guy,” Cave said. “He did not go to Padre over spring break. He was probably working. He is so passionate and I’ll do anything for that guy to be successful. He won’t toot his own horn, but he is so honest and really wants to help people. It’s so rare to see a 22-year-old who has his life together the way Richie does.”
Gill’s girlfriend, history junior Morgan Caridi, said Gill is the hardest worker she knows and is proud of him for his accomplishments.
“It’s honorable for someone to balance school and work and do so well in both,” she said. “A lot of his time is spent on his computer. Us hanging out is us watching a movie, but he is always on his computer. Always working. It’s amazing.”
Printed on Monday, April 23, 2012 as: Student starts West Campus real estate business