How We Started
Freeman Miller, (my dad) was building portable buildings ever since I was 12 years old. Afternoons I’d come home from school and try to stay out of dad’s sight or he’d put me to work building storage buildings.
I remember helping Dad loading a storage building onto a little trailer with a come-along winch and handy-man jacks. We worked hard and I thought Dad was overworking me, but I am now very thankful for all that he’s taught me.
After I graduated from school, I went to work as a bricklayer for several years till I just got so tired of it. I begged my dad and Milan, my brother-in-law who had bought into the business by then, to let me work for them.
I have memories of carrying lumber several hundred yards to build buildings on site. There were times we built 2 and 3 sheds a day, all the while timing ourselves to beat our own records. The fastest we ever built a 12×16 building was 1 hour and 45 minutes with only 3 men.
In September of 2003, I, my wife Abigail, and baby daughter moved from Salem, IN, to Salem, MO, with very little money but a whole lot of determination to start our very own business.
Prior to moving to MO, I worked for my Dad and brother in law building portable buildings. But I had itchy feet and sometimes wanted to change and improve things for them but they did not always like my propositions. I had big ideas and thought that if I could only start my own business I could do things better, bigger and faster.
In October of 2003 we ran a little ad in the local newspaper and managed to sell 3 storage buildings to local folks in Salem that fall. I’ll never forget the first building I sold, as I didn’t even have a truck yet and had to pile all my tools in the back of our minivan, which was our only vehicle. I’d had a lot of experience working with my dad in previous years, so I went to work and built it in one day from start to finish, paint and all with my wife Abigail’s help to set up the walls.
Toward the last part of October, with my Dad and little brother Dale’s help, we built 2 display models beside HWY 19 south of Salem on 1 acre of land that God had blessed us with. My sister Carolyn painted a 4’x8’ sign that we set up on two 6’x6’s right beside the highway. Woo Hoo! We were off to a grand start; or at least so I thought. There was still a lot of work to be done and a tremendous amount of things I needed to learn.
In January of 2004, I got tired of working in the cold and with the help of my Dad and brothers, I built a little 30’x 40’ shop. Believe me, it was a cheap little shop and my brothers gave me a hard time, telling me I was tight and all but it served its purpose and I was out of the cold.
I was so happy to be on my way to growing the business with my newly acquired shop; I was now able to build the buildings entirely inside the shop. All I needed now was a trailer with which to haul the buildings. I started looking for something I could afford and ended up putting rollers on a conventional goose-neck trailer to convert it into something that I could haul sheds on. That trailer was quite a jalopy, but it worked just fine. Until one fine day when I was on HWY 63 heading north out of Rolla; approximately half way down a hill my truck lurched forward as if it got an extra surge of power out of nowhere. I instantly looked in my rear-view mirror and (surprise!) the building was rolling off the back of the trailer! I tried hitting the brakes to keep it on the trailer, but alas, I was too late. That building so smoothly slid off the back of that trailer and just gracefully sat down on HWY 63. My mind started spinning. Not 5 minutes later 2 DOT officers came on the scene and so kindly helped me out of my predicament. I inspected the building and it was only slightly cracked, which was very easily fixed. I was able to deliver the building to the customer a few days later, this time I used better straps!
To be continued…