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Old 04-06-2007, 07:05 PM
Location: Oregon
8 posts, read 31,471 times
Reputation: 12



We live in Oregon, near one of the most liberal, disgraceful cities in Oregon, Portland. I have owned my own company for the past 9 years cleaning windows, washing houses, restoring cedar decks, gutters, etc. I have a buddy that lives in Helena that said Bozeman may support that kind of business.

I am looking for specific information on the types of people who may live in areas that may support that work. Here in Oregon my clients are maybe a bit above middle class, but not rich. I do not market towards them as I cannot stand their attitude most of the time.

I live in Hillsboro, Oregon which has a population of about 90,000, while I work quite a bit there I also work the surround areas. What I am looking for is the usual months of good weather or months with snow. I have heard snow lasting 5 to 6 months in some areas. Here the season is about 7 months long with jobs here and there thoughout the slow season. Just wondering if I should start something else up geared towards that area or if a business like that could survive in Montana. If you get your windows cleaned, what is the price per window pane you pay? Is window cleaning something average people in montana think about?

I am also looking for land with a modest home between 300k-400k with about 20 to 60 acres if possible. How far out of town would I have to live to get that? For the locals, we are republicans, a member of ar15.com, lots of firearms and professional training just looking for our little spot on the map with family orientated atmosphere and some land for the children to play. We have 2 small boys who love the outdoors, and another on the way shortly.

And one last thing, if you could describe the atmosphere of the major cities, college town, liberal town, family town etc...

Thank you

If you care not to post on here but would like to respond please email me at taprackngo@comcast.net

Thanks for all your help.
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Old 04-07-2007, 09:41 AM
Location: Helena, MT
373 posts, read 1,705,403 times
Reputation: 285

I think Bozeman would support your business. Bozeman has a lot of new money and is a college town. It's family friendly. I have friends with kids there who are very pleased.

Helena and Butte are a little more conservative Democrat than Republican. They may or may not support your enterprise, but you could probably afford the land at your price range. Neither would be considered liberal at all, but they tend to vote Democrat.

The Missoula area is often characterized as liberal, although that area often votes Republican. Perhaps the college students don't vote as much. The culture is much more liberal though. It would probably bug you. Missoula did swing to the Democrat in the last election though.

Billings would also support your business and it's pretty conservative. It's bigger and has more of a business and industry feel.

Great Falls might be your best bet. The cost of living is less, it's still a fairly big town, and it's pretty conservative. However, it's doesn't have quite as many new people coming into town, so you won't see as many of your fellow transplants as you would in Bozeman.

I'd consider living outside of Billings or Great Falls if I were you.
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:09 AM
Location: Great Falls, Montana
529 posts, read 1,731,073 times
Reputation: 245
You could also arrange to base in Great Falls or even Helena...

There's good business for what you want in both and the two are only 71 miles apart.

As far as niche'?

Well, Mr. Green LawnCare here in Great Falls pulls double duty.
They do lawn care in the summer months and provide snowplow services in the winter to many large stores and service stations and doctors offices.

The Big Sky is the Limit around here as far as business, especially one such as yours.
Lots-o-dust around these parts..... you could window wash in the summer and de-ice in the winter....
There are tons of older homes in both Helena and Great Falls.

Places like Missoula and Kalispell are, well, lets just say that they "are too far above it all", so your business may not flourish in those parts. Bozeman??.. Well, you might not do so well there either.
Businesses such as the type you are describing usually don't do well in areas where there are o-ton-o-transplants.
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Old 04-07-2007, 12:28 PM
Location: Helena, MT
373 posts, read 1,705,403 times
Reputation: 285
To respond to Gift Shoppe Guy, if you are looking for a conservative area, then Helena probably is not for you. Helena has been called a blue pocket in a red state. We get a lot of drama during the legislative sessions, so we're not really open to people wearing their politics on their sleeves on an ongoing basis. By your tagline, it appears that you are more upfront about your politics. We kind of like to leave it alone and or you could easily get a headache living here with the constant politics all around (because it's the capital city). In a political town, political people tend to flock together and don't talk much about politics when they aren't with other people "in the business." I live in Helena and your description of yourselves seemed a little more intense than what is typical around here. However, that's not to say that you aren't welcome in Montana. It's just that we're mostly working-class Democrats here or non-conservative Republicans. We just aren't conservative, for the most part.

We also have a variety of established businesses in the industry you mention, so I'm not sure...

Please understand that I think you should move to Montana. It sounds like you bring a wealth of skill. I think you'd be very happy in many areas of Montana. I just don't think Butte, Helena, or Missoula would be a good fit for you.
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Old 04-07-2007, 12:54 PM
Location: Oregon
8 posts, read 31,471 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks for all the responses, standing by for more...
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:07 PM
Location: Nashville, Tn
7,916 posts, read 16,799,963 times
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We live in Oregon, near one of the most liberal, disgraceful cities in Oregon, Portland.
That's an interesting point of view. I've spent alot of time in Portland and most people consider it to be one of the most progressive and beautiful cities in the country, but to each his own. I don't think your particular business would be impacted one way or the other by the political leanings of any particular city. Afterall, it's a business that provides a service and that service has nothing to do with politics as far as I can see. However, if you don't want to be in a liberal city I would avoid Missoula since it's the most liberal city in Montana. I think you'd probably want a good sized town for your business which is just a handful of places. Bozeman, Billings, Kalispell, Helena, Great Falls or Butte are the only other fairly large towns so I think it would be a good idea to check them out very throughly. Good luck to you.
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Old 04-08-2007, 12:19 AM
Location: Oregon
8 posts, read 31,471 times
Reputation: 12

Money is money, I never bring politics into a work atmosphere. If you ever see the real portland, drug addicts, bums, gays, etc you might have a different perspective. Ever been to a Saturday market in Downtown Portland, you will see people smoking crack on the street, the smell of mary jane and (sp)pitchule(sp) heavy in the air. Lots of dread locks, tyedye and same sex couples making out in public, its a great family atmosphere.

By disgraceful I was speaking of the protests on the streets of downtown where they burned puppets in soldiers uniforms, held up signs that said F U George Bush, F the Troops, it made national news.
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Old 04-08-2007, 10:33 AM
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
1,154 posts, read 3,965,725 times
Reputation: 702

Most of Montana is conservative/libertarian, but the Republican party has been slipping. A lot of that is due to the Southern Religious Right's takeover of the party. Remember, Montana just legalized medical marijuana. Also remember that Montana was the first state to officially denounce the Patriot Act and doesn't plan on cooperating with Bush's "Real-ID" plan. I think if the Republicans were to return to their Goldwater-esque small-government philosophy they'd be able to recoup in Montana easily.

Also, remember that Butte elected a socialist mayor at one point. Butte and Anaconda are traditional union-towns and very leftist, economically. A lot of people think Missoula is the only liberal place in the state, and that is incorrect.
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Old 04-08-2007, 11:56 AM
495 posts, read 366,905 times
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Is Portland the only city in Oregon or the northwest for that matter ? I'm not sure,. but there must be lots of cites out that way that need your services and are affordable and family friendly.
If I lived there I'd just move out a bit and don't go to all those 'non-family' type places, with the gay's and crack sniffers. Why should you have to up and move your whole business and take a chance, especially with a new one on the way....If you're making a buck there, make some improvemnts in what you don't like, rather than taking a blind leap of faith and moving here, to Montana of all places.
It's been said and joked about many times and in different ways on this board about people moving here, spend everything they have and then being forced to leave after it doesn't work out. I'm sure others would agree with me when I say that, Montana has somewhat of a reputation for economically eating up people and then spitting them out....."How do you leave Montana with a million dollars?.............come here with two".................old montana joke.
Unfortunatly for some, Montana has this "last best place" alure on people, and people tend to move here thinking from their heart rather than their head.
All that being said, people do live and have businesses here, but it's certainly not the "last best place" to start one, it's more like the "first worst place".....
Another sad commentary on Monatana is that, you live, you work, you do your thing, you raise a family and then you kids do finally grow up and if they have any kind of career or professional ambition, they most likely will have to move away. It's not always the case of course, but it is another one of those Montana phenomena.
Sorry if I don't paint such a promising picture as others, one would be alot less than honest to not tell you that Montana is one of the tougher places to move to and make a go of it. Unless of course you are rich, which most people are that move here now, so you get to compete with their money, like when it comes to buying realestate, but that's a whole 'nother topic.
Anyway if nothing else maybe a good dose of skeptisim will better prepare you and make you think twice and be more prepared should you do decide to move here.

Last edited by JoeJoeMan; 04-08-2007 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:09 PM
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
1,154 posts, read 3,965,725 times
Reputation: 702
Yes, if you're planning on moving to Montana, MAKE SURE you have a job lined up first. It's not like a big city where you can just sort of show up and expect jobs to be growing on trees, ripe for your picking.

My maternal grandparents spent decades all alone in Montana with their children spread out around the country, simply because after college all their children had to move on to big cities for employment. My mother was stuck in New York and spent eight years looking for a job to open up in Montana (she's a social worker for the VA) that paid well. Every so often a job would open up, but she'd have to take a gigantic pay cut. Took her 8 years to land a job where she could maintain her standard of living. Her brother and sister have both wanted to move back to Montana for ages, but neither can do it because there are no white-collar jobs.

Since there are no white-collar jobs, Montana is still one of the poorest states in America. Several years ago it was 2nd poorest, now I've heard it's moved up to the 11th poorest. Things are getting better but still bad. Bozeman or Missoula MIGHT be able to support your business (they're fairly wealthy), but they're small towns that can't sustain much competition between like businesses. So you'd really have to scope out the situation, I think.
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