How Did John Wayne Gacy Get So Rich? His Net Worth Explored

John Wayne Gacy’s net worth was estimated to be between $1 million and $5 million. Before his death, he owned PDM Contractors; a construction company that he started in 1971, and from which he made the bulk of his money. He also managed three KFC outlets in Waterloo, Iowa, which he had a substantial stake in.

However, aside from his enviable wealth, Gacy had a less admirable part of his life. He is a sex offender and serial killer who was very popular for raping, torturing, and killing at least 33 boys and young men in Norwood Park Township in Illinois. Keep reading to find out more about how John Wayne Gacy made his money. 

How did John Wayne make His Money?

John Wayne made the most of his money from owning PMD Contractors, a construction company that he started in early 1971 with a specialty in painting, maintenance, and decoration. At the time that it was founded, Gacy used PMD Contractors as a side hustle in the evening while he worked as a cook in a local restaurant; morning to afternoon. Aside from his restaurant job, John also worked as a clown who visited children’s hospitals and performed there.

But away from cooking and entertainment, John was a good businessman. With his business acumen, he managed his construction business so well that two years after he founded it, he knew that he had good prospects in the construction industry and thought it best he resigned from his restaurant job. With this resignation, John fully invested himself in growing his company and thus is credited for the success of his construction company.

How Much was John Wayne Gacy’s Company Worth?

John Wayne Gacy’s company, PDM Contractors, was worth at least $200,000 at a time back in the 70s. In the year 1978, just before Gacy was arrested, John Wayne’s company had built up massive revenue, raking in as much as $200,000 (about $980,500 in today’s valuation) a year. The actual worth of his construction company at that time is not known now.

However, looking at it from an entrepreneurial viewpoint, Gacy, who worked as a cook and clown, managed his construction business so well that it is one of the few remaining good legacies left to his name today. The business PMD Contractors, which he started primarily to offer painting, decoration, and maintenance services (PDM, as the name suggests), later expanded into an interior design, remodeling, installation, assembly, and landscaping company of good repute.

John Wayne Gacy Aso Earned Income as a KFC Manager

In 1968, just after he and his first wife got married, John moved to Waterloo, Iowa. According to Terry Sullivan in Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders, the newlyweds had decided to move because John’s father-in-law had bought three Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants for him to manage. 

For young Gacy, this must have been an impossible offer to turn down. Mostly because, in addition to getting a promised portion of the three restaurants’ income and $15,000 each year (worth about $144,000 now), he and his young wife would get to live rent-free in a house that was previously owned by her parents.

Later on, Gacy turned the restaurant basement into a club where his employees could chill. Thus presenting a fake, trustworthy image of himself to others. 

How Did John Wayne Gacy Get So Rich? His Net Worth Explored
image source – Gacy and his second ex-wife Carole

Was John Wayne Gacy a Rich man?

Although the numbers seem to support this, a closer look at the facts would prove that John Wayne was not as rich as people believed him to be. Even though the money he made from his construction company was a lot, he had a lot of responsibilities then, which might have left him with close to nothing at the end of the year.

Alimony and Child Support

Before he died, John was divorced from his first wife, Marilyn Myers, with whom he had two children. Because his first wife had full custody of their children, it is expected that John must have had to pay a large sum to his ex-wife as child support and, quite possibly, alimony. Now, being that these bills (alimony) are usually high, it is not out of place to assume that they must have left a large dent in the rich serial rapist and killer’s pocket.

John Wayne Gacy’s children are one male child named Michael Gacy and his older sister named Christine Gacy. However, he hardly had any fatherly influence on his children as he was sentenced to prison when they were still very young, and his wife, who immediately filed for divorce, had full custody of their two children.

Mortgage Payments

Gacy was also burdened with paying the mortgage for the house he lived in with his second wife (Carole Hoff) and maintaining her expenses. The house was a ranch house located at 8213 West Summerdale Avenue in unincorporated Norwood Park Township, Illinois, part of metropolitan Chicago. Although it is not clear how much he had to pay as a mortgage, the house is estimated to have cost a fortune at the time they acquired it.

Although it was valued at about $537,300 by Zillow, Gacy’s house was later leveled and sold for $395,000 in April 2021. A value that was likely affected by the history of the previous owner. Gacy admitted to having committed all his murders in that house.

Personal Expenses

John Gacy had a lot of personal expenses to settle while he was alive. As a very social man, he was quite fond of hosting several social events for his acquaintances. For example, it’s reported that when he was a member of Jaycees Waterloo chapter, he often provided chickens for his fellow members during meetings and insisted they called him “Colonel.”

Similarly, he spent a lot of time trying to entertain and impress guests, especially when he opened a club in his basement for his friends and employees to drink and make merry. He is also known to have freely offered alcohol to his teen employees before he tried seducing them. Apparently, he was spending to impress people for insidious purposes.

Upon subtracting these expenses, it is likely that Gacy was not nearly as wealthy in reality as he appeared to be on paper.

John Wayne Gacy’s Net Worth at Death

There have been several disparities concerning John Wayne Gacy’s net worth at the time of his death. However, a lot of sources have placed his net worth at the time to be at about $1-5 million. While this was in line with the sum he quoted in court, John Wayne Gacy was a very good liar, and many people believe that his quoted net worth was probably another one of his lies.

In the Netflix show Conversation With a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes, Mike Albrecht, one of the investigators, purported that Gacy was a major braggart who was always boasting about himself and how rich he was to others.


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