Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

A Chance Partnership

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

A Chance Partnership

Article excerpt

J.R. Spence, president of The Worx Co. Web site designers, and Todd Hawkins, a home mortgage provider, at first might seem to be unlikely business partners.

After all, Spence's company develops Web sites and provides hosting services to more than 150 companies in 18 states. Hawkins is an eight-year veteran of the mortgage industry.

The two, however, say they think they've spotted an opportunity to capitalize on both their businesses. They recently formed Worx Mortgage, a partnership between the two in which Spence's company provides free Internet advertising to area home builders, real estate agents and home-improvement companies in exchange for referrals of potential mortgage business back to Worx. The two share the profits.

"The response has been incredible," Spence said from his office. "We knew this would be good. But I don't think we forecasted it to be as good as it is."

The two entrepreneurs said their partnership formed largely by chance. Spence opened his Web site design company more than six years ago at the height of the technology boom. Today, he said, the company represents more than 150 clients, who contract for Web site and hosting services as well as database development and custom intranets.

When Hawkins needed office space to grow his own mortgage business, Spence offered to share office space.

The two entrepreneurs said they only later started talking about a business partnership.

The two formed Worx Mortgage this year and launched a new Web site, Through the Web site, the new company offers enticements to area home builders and real estate agents, such as free advertising on their Web site, in exchange for an agreement by the advertisers to refer some mortgage-lending business to the company.

Having launched Worx Mortgage three months ago and the Web site only three weeks ago, the two said business is already growing.

"This month is our third month in business, and in this month, we'll probably do $45,000 to $50,000 in revenue," Spence said of Worx Mortgage. "I wouldn't see any reason in six months that we shouldn't be seeing $100,000 a month in revenue."

The company said that so far it has 10 home-improvement dealers, six Realtors and about 10 builders participating in the Web site service. …

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