Groundbreaking real estate firm Re/Max launched in a recession and has survived debt, management challenges, and a plane crash

(Source: Fortune Small Business)

When Dave Liniger opened a real estate company in Denver, his first hire was Gail Main, a former Ralston Purina customer service supervisor, to serve as the firms vice president of administration. As Dave recruited real estate agents and Gail managed the office, the two forged a professional partnership, fell in love, got married — and changed their industry with a new revenue-sharing model.

The Linigers still run Re/Max International, the world’s largest real estate brand, with more than 6,000 offices in 74 countries. In 2008, Re/Max — short for Real Estate Maximums — generated approximately $300 billion in transactions worldwide. Thirty-six years after hiring their first agent, the 64-year-olds talked to Fortune Small Business about surviving financial woes, health setbacks and their early days as co-owners of the privately held firm.

Read Dinah Eng’s full article “Surviving recession #5: The Re/Max startup story” in (August 17, 2009).

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