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Key Idea: Put Your House On The Line

Eddie and Darlene took a risk and used their house as collateral for a loan they needed to purchase new trucks.

Key Question:


Provide collateral. Banks don't take risks.  They will loan you money if they can see clearly how you will pay them back. 

Q:  Why do owners have to take all the risk?

A:  That's the way the game is played.  If you want to own it and grow it and make all the profits when the business succeeds, you are the one who assumes the risk.

John Hawkins, owner of Cloud 9 Shuttle, sold his home and moved in with his sister to raise the money he needed to  buy a failing Super Shuttle franchise.  Cathy and Frank Jao lived in a tiny apartment while they grew their commercial real estate business until they could afford to buy a house.

Business owners have the ability to delay gratification.  We can look out on the horizon and work toward a long-term goal.

Think about it

Are you willing to lose your house to grow your business?

Clip from: Jet-a-way

Host-producer, Hattie Bryant, with Jesse Jeter, the son of the founders

Boston: In this episode of the show we take you inside Jet-A-Way, a recycling company for construction and demolition waste, commercial waste, and recycled paper. They are also a transportation company to pick it all up and, then when it is all sorted, to bring it to refinement centers and sanitary landfills.  You'll meet Darlene Jeter and her family. 

Darlene and her husband have been recognized by their community and by the nation for their achievements.

With over $10 million in sales and 50 employees, this business has been in  operation since 1969.  Darlene has endured enormous setbacks -- the death of the love of her life,  her husband and business partner -- and major swings in the construction business in Boston. It is a dusty, tough industry. There is a lot of heavy metal -- trucks, tractors, and front-end loaders. Darlene not only survives, she thrives with grace and dignity.

Darlene Jeter has tenacity. No moaning, blubbering, sniveling, whimpering or whining; she gets the job done and then gives back to her community.

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Jet-A-Way, Inc.

Darlene Jeter, CEO

47 Kemble Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
transportation, waste management, recycling

Year Founded: 1968

Put Your House On The Line

HATTIE: So maybe the bank wouldn't just give it to you based on your current financials, based on your current activity, but a promise and I know--yeah, I know this is a hazy line or a fuzzy area for banking because it's scary for them to loan money on a promise.

But if Ben said to you and if Ben had a good reputation in town and he said to you, `I will give you my business,' then you walked into the bank with a little bit of confidence and assurance.

DARLENE: It's a little bit more than that, too. We had the letters, but we also had a home, and we had collateral in the home. So we pledged the home to the bank.

HATTIE: All right. So...

DARLENE: There's a lien there against the...

HATTIE: So it was a personal loan then.

DARLENE: Yeah. But it was really a business loan. If you want to say the bank was investing in the Jeters, you can say that. Yeah.

HATTIE: But what I'm getting at is, some folks will say, `Well, I'll incorporate; therefore, if my business goes bankrupt, they can't take my house or my Mercedes.'

DARLENE: Well, shortsighted, shortsighted.

HATTIE: But that's what I'm getting at.

DARLENE: Yeah. Shortsighted. Again, if you're not willing to invest in yourself, why should anyone else? And why should you put your money up to invest in me and I'm not willing to put what I have up to invest in myself? I don't think so.

HATTIE: So you were willing to put a lien on your home in order to buy your first roll-off.

DARLENE: Yeah. Exactly.

HATTIE: So it's another risk level another, `OK, suck it up and we'll try it.'

DARLENE: Right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

HATTIE: OK. So in '72, that added a new dimension to your business.

DARLENE: Yes, it did. And so we bought the roll-off with the loan from First National Bank, SBA guaranteed. That was one of many. The first loan was one of many. Over the years, we probably borrowed from SBA, oh, almost $1 million at different times, and we paid that back many, many years ago. But it did get us to the point that we could earn money with the first two roll-offs, and then we moved on.

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