Bill Pulte – The Day It All Began

For Bill’s first house, he secured a 50 x 120–foot lot from his Aunt Marcella, promising to pay her $2,000 when he sold the house for $10,000. The next step was finding a plumber to tap the sewer and water lines and run pipe into the basement. But first, he needed the plumber to pull the permit so he could build the house.

The plumber’s office closed at 4:30 p.m. Bill had little time to spare. He tore through the city in his ’39 Plymouth, but on the way there, he got caught in a funeral line and decided to take matters into his own hands.

In Bill’s words, “I had to get out. So, I’m over the yellow line, the center line, and traffic is coming at me. I have to duck around; I clip a car. And I realized I had caused an accident. No one was hurt, but I pulled over to the curb.”

The policeman wrote Bill six tickets: Reckless driving, obstructing a funeral line, driving on the wrong side of the street, and causing an accident – those are the four Bill remembered.

He got to the plumber’s in time but imagine how the traffic violations clipped his profits on that first $10,000 home. In that race across the city, Bill made it happen. Six citations and a funeral later, he left the plumber’s office with a $650 deal and the knowledge that his subcontractor would soon get him started. Now, his money – though on loan from Aunt Marcella – was in. “Unless you’ve got your own money in, you’re not an entrepreneur, “Bill said.

Picture the smile on his face in June 1950, even with those tickets stuffed in his pocket.  At 18, that day, he became William J. Pulte, BUILDER.

P.S.  Bill never paid his aunt back the two thousand; instead, he paid her a handsome annual stipend until the day she died. And he never got any other tickets during his life.

P.S. Thank you for checking in these past five “Foundation Fridays” in March to learn more about our founder, the Master Builder.