October/November, 2005 issue of RTO Magazine
Volume 1 issue 4
Ultimate Rent to Own Software
Feature comparison of leading RTO store
operating software packages
10 questions for RentCash Founder Gordon Reykdal
RTO Excellence Profile - Joe Burchfield - Right Choice Rental
Diversify - Find Rental Dollars In New Areas
Rent The Sizzle - Features and Benefits Key To Increasing BOR
Book Review - Bud Holladay Reviews Latest Activist Hit Piece
RTO magazine page: 1
From the publisher
As a born-again-geek, soware dominates my
life. A quick run through my programs reveals
I have more money invested in soware than I
spent on my ﬁrst house (It was a small house).
I use the term Invested because soware is an
investment, not an expense.
Like any investment, great care must be taken
in choosing soware that matches your long
term goals and unique operational needs. Each
operation has its quirks. Each set of quirks
require a diﬀerent approach. Diﬀerent approaches require diﬀerent soware applications. Our Soware Guide (p 12) oﬀers side
by side comparisons of over 80 features of the
major rental-purchase soware providers.
Thanks to High Touch, RSSS, RTO Pro, and
Ideal Soware for their participation. Agreeing
to a direct comparison with the competition,
in print, without ever having seen the competition’s data, demonstrates a tremendous faith
in the superiority of your product and explains
why these companies have risen to the top to
dominate the rent to own soware market.
RTO Filmstrip ©
: This months
RTO Filmstrip is from the Arkansas Rental
Dealers Fall Conference, the inaugural Heartland
of America RTO tradeshow organized by Missouri
Rental Dealers Association, and other recent events.
4862 Newberry Ct.
Jackson Mo., 63755
RTO Magazine is
by RTO Online, Inc.
4862 Newberry Ct.
Jackson, MO 63755.
All contents © RTO
Call 866-786-7547 to arrange for RTO Magazine coverage of
Reproduction in whole
or in part without
written permission is
Subscriptions are free
to anyone directly
involved in the rental
purchase industry. For
non-industry subscribers, the cost is $99 per
year (6 issues).
Sales and Marketing
Don’t Put All Your Eggs Into One
Diversify your RTO business to make it
through the lean times.
Rent The Sizzle
A firm grasp of features and benefits will
increase rentals and improve the customers
there is no armor
-Laurence J. Peter
the trade magazine for rent to own professionals
Right Choice Rental Owner Joe Burchfield
understands he’s got to think BIG to make
small-town RTO work.
10 Questions For Gordon
Reykdal, Founder and CEO of
Bud Holladay reviews the latest activist hit
piece and shows why being called a predator
by a socialist isn’t so bad.
Software Buying Guide
Side by side 80 point feature comparison of
the Rent to own industry’s leading software
RTO Photo Gallery
Photo Spread from; Heartland of America
Tradeshow and ARDA Fall Conference.
Adding Fixed Assets: By Lynnray Financial
Special Events Represent Opportunity For RTO Profit: By Mike Bertolani
How to Avoid Viruses and Worms: By Jay Nardone
RTO Success Stories; by Trooper Earle
We want to hear from you! Send all letters to the
editor and feedback to [email protected]
I N FO R M AT I O N A L I T E M F R OM LYN N R AY F I N A N C I A L C O R P O R AT I O N
Adding Fixed Assets ?
Lynnray Financial Corporation (LFC) not only offers
fixed assets, will take the pain out of upgrading.
long term (24 months) inventory financing, but
For example, a $10,000 package would cost about
also has a variety of programs available for the
$230.00 per month for 60 months.
acquisition of fixed assets. Point of sale systems,
computers (hardware and software), telephone
LFC has been providing financing to businesses for
systems, office furniture, copy machines, display
over twenty years with a focus on providing own-
racks and any other related business equipment
ers of rental stores dynamic financing solutions. If
are eligible for up to 60 month financing. We have
your RTO store is interested in expanding its
available Deferred Payment,
inventory, improving its cash
Seasonal Skip, and Software
flow, and realizing an immedi-
Only programs. We have the
ability to customize any program to meet the individual
need of the RTO business.
please contact LFC even if you
are new in business. A representative will respond immediately to answer any questions
It is hard to assign an actual
and process your application.
cost benefit to the addition of
Applications under $100,000.00
computer hardware and software assets. We all
do not require financial statements and typically
know that to run and manage our businesses
take forty-eight hours to approve. Additional infor-
properly, we need to stay on the cutting edge of
mation on the application process and credit crite-
technology. However, if cash flow is tight, we tend
ria is available upon request.
to neglect technology upgrades in favor of buying
inventory. Using LFC’s 24 month inventory financ-
Lynnray Financial Corporation: The Rent-To-Own
ing to ease your cash flow crunch, and setting up
Industry’s source for long-term financing. Please
a long-term program (up to 60 months) on the
call us at 1-800-535-4138.
LYNNRAY FINANCIAL CORPORATION
Equipment Leasing / Financing
c a l l b i l l 1 - 8 0 0 - 5 3 5 - 4 1 3 8 e x t 3 • w w w. ly n n r ay f i n a n c i a l . c o m
RTO magazine page: 5
For Gordon Reykdal
Gordon Reykdal founded not one, but 2 of North America’s largest Rent to Own companies; RTO
Enterprises (now easyhome), and RentCash. Rentcash now operates under three store banners:
The Cash Store, Instaloans and Insta-rent. The Cash Store and Instaloans act as brokers to facilitate payday advance services. Insta-rent rents furniture, appliances, electronics and computers.
The Company employs more than 1300 associates in nine provinces and two territories in Canada.
Among his many honors, Reykdal was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 executives,
Entrepreneur of the Year, and in 2005 he was named as one of the century’s 100 Entrepreneurs who built the province of Alberta.
Reykdal is on the Board of the University of Alberta Hospital Foundation, The Alberta Diabetes
Foundation and is the Honorary Counsel for the Republic of Iceland. He is also the very proud
grandfather of his first grandchild. Ella Reykdal.
Your Insta-rent locations are Kiosks inside The
Brick and United Furniture Warehouse
stores. What’s the advantage over stand alone
stores? The main advantages are; 1. The best
selection of brand name furniture, appliances
and electronics in the Canadian rent to own industry. 2. There is significant pre-existing traffic
within The Brick and United Furniture Warehouse
stores. Customers can rent-to-rent, or rent-toown if they don’t qualify for retail programs
being offered. 3. With no store build out,
operating-and capital-costs are reduced
significantly. 4. No display inventory
- purchases occur only after a confirmed
customer rental order. 5. The Brick and
UFW stores provide all required warranty
What is your target revenue per location?
Our target revenue for the Insta-rent stores
are $500,000 upon maturity and The Cash
Stores $600,000 upon maturity.
The Kiosk model has been tried in the
US with little success. What are you doing
differently that explains your rapid growth?
We have an employee training program that
is unparalleled in the industry along with our
extensive in-store marketing program and the
relationship we have cultivated with
our partners at The Brick and
United Furniture Warehouse.
What is the market saturation point in Canada? I
believe the Canadian payday
advance industry’s market
potential is approximately
10% of the American market.
It’s a fair estimate because the
profile of the U.S. and Canadian
customer is quite similar and
represents about the same percentage of our overall population.
There are currently 25,000 storefronts
in the U.S. allowing for 2,500 in Canada. There
are only 1,200 storefronts currently offering the
service in Canada. There is significant room for
With respect to the rental business, in my opinion the same percentages don’t apply. A ratio of
approximately 5-6% of that of the U.S. market is
probably more in line. With approximately 8,500
stores in the U.S. that would allow for approximately 500 Canadian storefronts and there are
fewer than 300 currently operating.
Will The Cash Store or Insta-rent ever move
south of the border? There is so much more to
accomplish in our home country that we have
made no plans for U.S. expansion. The competitors established there serve the market well.
You founded RTO Enterprises (now easyhome),
Canada’s largest rent to own company, what’s
it like competing with the company you
founded? Our business models are so different.
Our customers are primarily looking for retail
transactions and then are provided with a different option for obtaining ownership through the
You are a founding member of the Canadian
Payday Loan Association. What is the primary
mission of CPLA? The CPLA is a source of pride
for Rentcash and the pay day loan industry. The
Association’s goal is to unify the industry and improve business practices of members. All CPLA
members are committed to adhering to standards of conduct in disclosure of information,
business practices, and consumer education.
This is self-regulation at its best.
Is there value in creating alliances between
specialty finance associations (rent to own
and payday loan) and consumer groups? It’s
always good practice to know and understand
consumer groups and their concerns. A
consumer group that raises a legitimate issue
should have an industry point of contact. We
can all work together to come up with a resolution that protects consumers, companies and
What was the most challenging period in
your life? Every period has been
challenging; that’s what makes it
Are you really an Ambassador? I am the Honorary
Consul for The Republic of
Gordon Reykdal, CEO, RentCash, Inc
Iceland and the President
of the Icelandic Canadian
Chamber of Commerce
and enjoy my role and
contributing to Iceland.
I am Icelandic on both
sides and am proud of
my family’s country of
It don’t mean a thing
if it ain’t got that bling.
You wouldn’t want to settle for boring bedroom furniture. Why should your rental customers?
Sandberg Rental Express is known for up-to-the-minute, fashionable style. We’re famous for bringing
your customers the looks they want and the prices they’ll love, with no waiting! Unique features and
special touches sets Sandberg Rental Express head and shoulders above the competition.
• Exclusive Ultra Gloss on most styles
• All merchandise in stock for immediate
• Master Bedroom, Youth Bedroom and
Entertainment Systems all from one source
and all delivered on one truck
• Replaceable tops
• Replacement parts shipped within 48 hours of
• Steel Mirror supports supplied with
Contact: Dave Humphrey, Matt or Wayne Harris
ph: 863-534-8915 fax: 863-534-3009
323.582.0711 • www.sandbergfurniture.com
RTO magazine page: 7
RTO magazine page: 8
RTO Magazine presents the
definitive guide to Rent
to Own Store Operating
the trade magazine for rent to own
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presents the first10101010101010101010101010
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RSSS (Rental and Sales Software
end result is an exhaustive
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pages 12-13: Feature Table Key
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pages 14-17 Survey Company Color Code Key
0 High Touch, RSSS, L.P.
Rent to Own
Software Feature Comparison
agazine for rent to own professionals
R e n Rental
t t feature
High Touch (PRO-Store)
Central File Interface
Check Cashing (Outside
Company-Wide Inventory Available
viewed at store level
Corporate Office Module
Credit Card Processing
Customer Club Programs Included
Data Export to Excel,
(Drivers License, Check,
General Ledger (Intergrated)
RTO magazine page: 14
The Ideal Rental Manager
High Touch (PRO-Store)
Mapping Interface (Map
Remote Data Backup
Rent-to-Rent Agreements Included
Voice Over IP
Wheels & Tires
Word Processor to create Included
John Rogers began his rent-toown sales career with High Touch in
1995. Currently he is the national
sales manager for High Touch, Inc.
John currently serves on the APRO
Vendor Advisory Committee and from
2001 to 2005 was a member of the
APRO Board of Directors.
Ellison Crider began his rentto-own career in 1979. In 1990 he
became VP of marketing for Rental
and Sales Software Systems (RSSS).
Currently general manager of RSSS,
Ellison is vice-chair of APRO’s Vendor
Advisory Committee and a member of
the APRO Board of Directors.
The Ideal Rental Manager
Ron Ganus has served as CEO of
Steve Lenhart has served as a
RTO Pro Software since its inception
in 1990. He first became involved in
the RTO Industry in 1983 with Curtis
Mathes. He was a Curtis Mathes
franchisee until 1996.
vendor to the Rent To Own Industry
since 1988. Since 2001 with Ideal
RTO magazine page: 15
feature comparison chart
PC, Linux, printer, receipt printer, modem or
RTO Company Users:
RTO User Locations:
Number of employees:
Approved Rent Direct
Support techs on
2020 N. Amidon, Wichita, KS 67203
High Touch, Inc
Any standard computer system.
Zortec, System Z
711 N. Carancahua, Ste. 1500
128MB Ram (512MB Ram with XP)
Windows 95 - XP
2503 Gables DR Eustis FL 32726
RTO Pro Software
Pentium 233MHz, 1 GB HD, 16 MB RAM,
Monitor, CD ROM, Zip Backup
XP Pro, Win2000, Win98, Win95
The Ideal Rental Manager (TIRM)
800-964-3325, ext 153
4909 Great River Dr., Meridian, MS 39303
Ideal Software Systems
“Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes
tu and weighs 30
tons, computers in the future
uture may have only 1,000 vaccuum tubes and perh
perhaps weigh 1.5
-Popular Mechanics, Marc
Rental Purchase Software
Name 5 of the programs outstanding
$495 per day.
N/A Lease only
$300/day plus travel
plus travel expenses.
$300/day plus travel
plus travel expenses.
90 days Free then
450.00/yr for first
or $250/year each
$40/incident with no
$299 receipt printer
Independently-operating stores push updates
nightly to Home Office via internet or modem;
Home Office return updates stores on
request. Cost: Lease $175/month or purchase
$3995 plus $75/mth support.
User Friendliness--Function keys allow users
to maneuver quickly and access a wealth of
information with limited key-strokes
Ease of use.
Most new users are coming off a system
that does not provide accurate real time data
and reporting. The RSSS system is uniquely
designed to provide accurate information on
a real-time basis, as it happens at the stores.
Industry- recognized higher product support
What is the primary
reason users choose
Corporate Office system via modem to
modem or via internet FTP. Purchase price is
$1000 for first 3 stores - $200 each additional
store. No lease.
Credit Method Agreement Tracking & Payment Mode Flexibility (accept daily, weekly,
monthly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly payments
Windows Based. Built in WYSIWYG Word
Processor for creating / editing contracts,
letters, invoices etc.
Ability to operate on-line in real-time, eliminating the need for nightly communications.
Ability to rent, sell, and take payments for
other stores out of the same database using
the same customer file.
100% agreement of data between store and
home office. Fewer crashes.
What are 2 features
that make this software unique?
Stores can operate online in real-time with
Home Office or remotely updating nightly to
the Home Office. Home Office Cost: Lease:
$2995 plus approximately $300/mth depending on # of locations and modules. Includes
24/7/365 support. Purchase not available.
Multiple-Agreement Payment Screen; Company-wide inventory (with Corporate Office
system); Model File, Rate Code, and Reduced
Term Pricing; Advanced Retail Sales, Installment Financing and Collections; Enhanced
Undo Flexibility (easily undo stock & agreement charge-offs)
Built in WYSIWYG Word Processor for
creating / editing contracts, letters, invoices
etc. End-user editable laser-printed agreements. Retail sales, Cash Advance and Check
Cashing functions included at no additional
charge. Ability to download updates via internet. Integrated credit and debit processing
included at no additional charge.
Accurate inventory control and depreciation
calculation. On-screen collections. All locations combined in one database. Integrated
purchase order and accounting systems.
Exclusive buyer’s and min/max reporting.
Fully integrated from store to home office to
accounting, accurate system-wide reporting, scalability, multiple application platform,
programming techniques that provide greater
support for the program.
Do you have a Corpo- Home Office available via vpn connection
rate Office System & or modem from remote stores. Cost: Lease
how do stores communicate with it?
$650 per day + travel. $650 per day + travel.
$650 per day + travel. $650 per day + travel.
$60 per month per
Upgrades and support included
$160 per month
Lease - Included / Purchase No
Lease - $150.00 / Purchase - $899.00
$300/day plus travel
plus travel expenses.
$300/day plus travel
plus travel expenses.
Support included in
$299 receipt printer
$75 per month
$750 software. $3500 hardware.
Average initial order
$495 to $595/day
installation & training
are bundled at $495
Support included in
$ 22.50/qtr hour
$175 per month
Required length of
$950 One Time Fee
N/A Lease only
$495 per day.
$159 per month
Cost per store
feature comparison chart
Yes RSSS sells and services the hardware.
RSSS also supplies software to the music
products industry - companies that rent and
sell musical instruments.
Custom development is available at $90/hour.
34 in all divisions.
Yes High Touch sells and services the
Financial Services & Web Services.
Do you offer custom
development and at
How many developers on staff?
Do you sell Hardware?
Do you develop/support software for any
RSSS offers custom development at the cost
of $95 per hour.
Ideal Solutions Inc., builds to order, stocks,
repairs and warrantees the required hardware
to provide turn-key solutions for all Ideal
Retail Furniture, Payday Advance, Check
Cashing, Pawn, Title Pawn, Family Entertainment POS/Redemption.
Cash Advance and Check Cashing.
Ideal has an extremely active development department, receptive to customizing
everything from basic program functionality,
to enhanced company-specific features and
management reports. General user requests
are often accommodated in future releases
at no charge. User-specific development is
billed at $150/hr.
Yes. Receipt printers and other peripherals
RTO Pro offers custom programming quoted
on a per-job basis.
Onsite Installation & Training: $650/weekdays plus travel expenses. $750/day plus
travel weekends. Telephone Training: $75/hr.
Regularly-Scheduled Training Classes at Ideal
Headquarters: $495/person/2 day class.
Free by phone. On site available at $300/day
plus expenses, although RTOPro is so easy to
use no one has ever taken us up on the offer.
What types of Installation & Training do you
offer and at what cost? We have support
techs for on-site for installation and training.
On-line training, which saves the cost of
travel, is also available at a reduced cost.
Onsite installation & training is bundled together for start up or conversion at $495/day.
Online installation & training available at
$22.50 per quarter hour.
What types of Installation & Training do
you offer and at what
24/7 Telephone Support. 96% of calls
answered live. Lease or monthly support
plan includes upgrades and unlimited software support 8am-5pm. Monthly Support
Plan available with purchase (Single-User:
$60/mth/store; Multi-user: /$80/mth/store).
After-hours Critical Support $37.50/ ½ hour.
Networking & hardware support billed at
$62.50/ half hour.
24/7 Unlimited support and upgrades are included with lease. With purchase first 90 days
support is Free; After 90 days $50.00/month
or 450.00/yr for first store; $25/month or
$250/year each additional store. If no support
plan then $40/incident.
Email support (no fee); phone support $22.50 RSSS offers 24/7/365 software application
per quarter hour. All support is available
support to all our clients. This support is in24/7.
cluded at no additional charge in the monthly
lease rate. Support comes as part of the
package with RSSS.
Technical Support is
available and at what
Ideal Software Systems
RTO Pro Software
High Touch, Inc
“Einstein argued that there must be simpliﬁed explanations of nature, because God is not
capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer. “
-Fred Brooks, Jr.
Rental Purchase Software
testimonials from 3
Mitch Kimble, President, 1st Choice Home
We have really enjoyed our new system. Next
month will mark one year that we have been
on RSSS. Switching was a tough decision for
us but the progress we have made through
RSSS is incredible. This system enables us
to run our seven stores more efficiently not
only on a store level but also through the
home office. The reports that are generated
also give us a much better picture of our
business and we feel our numbers are more
accurate. I have been in the RTO business
for 12 years and I just want everyone to know
that this company knows the RTO business.
They solve any questions or problems that
occur promptly and professionally. Thanks
for taking such good care of us the past year
as we look forward to the future.
John Johnson, Computer Service Manager,
“We installed a VPN initially to not only speed
up the process of gathering data, but to also
allow multiple users to communication to
our store(s) and not tie up a phone line while
doing so. Since the installation however, the
greatest advantage has been the contentfiltering and anti-virus services we added for
protection. These two services seem to have
eliminated all virus problems experienced in
the past and it also prevents our employees
from surfing the net.”
“In my experience, what sets High Touch
apart from the competition are the security
controls and the integrated accounting package. The secured functions allow flexibility
and control over what each individual employee can do in the system. The integrated
accounting system allows us to account for
all of the aspects of our business without any
redundant entries. This makes for a significant time savings as well as a definite confidence in the integrity of the information.”
Jet Griffin, President, Griffin Rent To Own,
Yazoo City, MS.
“Over the years, we tried two other RTO
software companies to help us run our business. They both seemed to lack features and
benefits that we needed to run our company
in most optimal and efficient way. We then
switched to RSSS and have not looked
back since. RSSS software gives us all of
the features we need while still being very
user-friendly. We recommend RSSS software
to anyone who needs software they can rely
on. Their technical staff really takes care of
us and our needs, and takes the time to make
sure that we understand our software and
hardware. We consider RSSS as a business
partner and friend to our family business.”
Terry Beville, Vice President and CFO, Buddy’s
We’ve been on the RSSS system for 10-years
and it has taken us from 20-stores to over
60-stores. Ten years ago we decided we
had to make a change because our current
software was not going to get us where we
wanted to go. We had plans to expand and we
needed software that could help us get there.
We looked at all the major rental-purchase
software packages and RSSS was the best
fit for us. The support we have received from
RSSS has been excellent and as our business
has grown we’ve been able to customize the
Enos Barger, Controller, Furniture & Appliance
RSSS system to help us manage our busiNow
Larry Goad, President, Zion’s Rental-Purchase
“Because of the severe reliability problems
with the software company that we had been
using, I made the switch to High Touch.
Many of my friends in the rental business
recommended them to me, and I’m glad that
they did. I no longer have reliability issues,
on a scale of 1 to 10 I’d have to give them a
Judy Pickens, E-Z Pick’ins Furniture, Hot
Thanks! Your software is great! Everyday we
discover it will do more. Our business took
off so fast we couldn’t have kept up with it
without your software, and it’s easy!
Stuart Fahlbeck, Challenger Rentals, Elkhart
Keep up the good work! You all should be
commended on the great product and tool
you’ve created for the industry. Keep the
great updates coming....love to see you pass
the competition sometime.
Danny Miller, Bargain Center Inc., Grove OK
We’ve been using RTO Pro for over 6 years.
Your software provides a stable, easy to use
software platform for our rental business.
Feature update are timely and predictable.
Technical support has been outstanding. You
seem very interested in our business. I like
the fact that when I call, I get a live person.
Almost all of the suggestions we have suggested have been adopted by RTO Pro. I like
the fact you listen to your customers and
change with them.
Trooper Earle, Premier Rental Purchase (18
“The Ideal Rental Manager has been a
great change for Premier Rental Purchase.
Because Premier dealers are all seasoned
RTO professionals from different RTO
backgrounds, it was extremely difficult to
find software that would satisfy everyone’s
needs. Eventually, we loaded the top industry
software programs on different computers at
one of the Premier dealer retreats, and every
dealer got an opportunity to get an in-depth
comparison of program. After 2 days, it
was a unanimous decision to go with Ideal.
Ideal’s TIRM program is extremely flexible
and is capable of satisfying the needs of any
RTO store. Ideal was clearly the right choice
Kathy Windsor, National TV Sales & Rental
“The scariest thing about switching to a new
computer program is the data conversion and
training. When we chose Ideal, they made
me feel comfortable by listening to how we
ran our business and through training at their
location before our conversion. Then they
trained our managers on site while converting the stores’ information...so that within 24
hours we were up and running. I’m not going
to tell you it was painless, but almost. Since
that date we have purchased & converted 2
more companies to Ideal, and it was almost
as easy as turning on a switch. I feel I have
everything needed at the Home office and at
the store level, but if there is something special we need, they get it done. I am confident
in their product and recommend it.”
Edwin Baird, FOG/EZ Rentals (47 locations)
“Ideal Software Systems has allowed our
company to concentrate on management and
focus on new growth by providing extensive
standard reports, custom reports, consumer
data, and inventory management tools at both
the store and corporate office level.”
RTO magazine page: 20
RTO magazine page: 21
To Avoid When Purchasing Software
Blindly following the pack
Just because your buddy at XYZ Rentals chooses
to install a particular software package, doesn’t
mean it’s your stores’ best option. This assumes your friend
did thorough research. Also every company has different
operational challenges. Not every company has employees
with similar expertise or the same IT budget.
Not properly recognizing your
company’s unique characteristics
Not defining minimal operating
requirements vs. discretionary perks
Basing a pivotal business decision like software
on a spec sheet, price, or particular salesperson
can lead to disaster. It is to the dealer’s, as well as the software
vendor’s best interest, to insist on a step-by step demo in an
effort make an educated, operational decision.
Little things which make your company
successful in the competitive RTO marketplace often require
specialized functionality. Identifying these unique requirements in advance often leads you to select a program that
works particularly well in a specific situation or software
vendor dedicated to custom development. For example:
a company with a single showroom might want access to
customer accounts in multiple payment locations all over
town therefore requiring a web-based central database.
What functionality do you absolutely need to
be successful? Are you willing to pay extra for “play value”?
All software sales departments are guilty of working into
development “technology-rage” selling features, which
end-users seldom use. Portable Palm-Pilot bar-code
scanners, fingerprint recognition, RFD devices…are useful
features in the proper environment, but may not increase
efficiency enough to justify the expense.
Buying store-level software more
complex than you need
Companies tend to over-buy store-level software;
quickly reaching a point of diminishing returns as overcomplex software designed to increase productivity, accuracy,
and profitability becomes frustrating and time-consuming
for employees to complete everyday tasks. Better is to provide
time-crunched operators quick access to accurate, practical,
and easy-to-understand information to meet everyday
operational needs. Let corporate get bogged down in
volumes of consolidated data.
Stephen Lenhart is the RTO Sales Manager for Ideal Software Systems, Inc. Ideal Software
Systems has been established as a leading software provider to the Rent to Own industry since 1983 and
continues development and support to over 472 users of The Ideal Rental Manager, as well as 2300
other locations in the Payday Advance, Retail Furniture, Pawn, and Family Entertainment industries.
Ignoring the company
behind the software
Skimping on training
Not purchasing recommended
hardware from your software vendor
Viewing monthly support as an
expense, rather than an investment
A visit to a potential software provider’s headquarters is crucial. You are entering into a long-term, not
easily terminated, partnership with a vendor in which you
must be able to put the highest level of confidence.
Important factors affecting your decision should include
the vendor’s: industry knowledge; leadership vision; stability
& profitability; momentum, direction, & business focus;
tech-support quality; employee morale, attitude & turn-over
rate; installation & training available; ability to deliver new
product and updates; and the development staff’s ability
& willingness to customize the program.
Even the best manuals are no substitute for
hands-on training. Day-to-day tasks are usually
simple enough to learn “on-the-fly”, but advanced training
maximizes your investment with benefits including:
■ Hands-on instruction to complicated, most valuable
■ A broader understanding of the program’s underlying
■ Less user-errors minimizing frustration, down time,
and money spent correcting them with tech-support.
■ Invaluable relationships built with your tech-support
reps, resulting in better future service.
Most software vendors also sell recommended
hardware, at or near competitive prices. Purchasing from
them not only guarantees the systems are configured
correctly up front, but places responsibility solely in their
hands and avoids a “blame game” when inevitable problems
arise. Operating as a “one-stop-shop”, your systems partner
will be most familiar with possible solutions to get your
system running smoothly again with minimal down time.
Monthly support is invaluable insurance, but
it also pays for the development of the new upgrades and
features you desperately need and want. With the legal status
of the RTO industry ever-changing, the longevity of your
software requires continued development and monthly
support is an important investment.
Assuming this is a “1-time
and done with purchase”
As the requirements to your management
software change, your software vendor needs your continued
“hands-on” feedback. Active participation at your annual
users’ conference, and throughout the year, needs to be top
priority for owners, district managers and store managers.
If you operate an independent RTO store, or plan to, you
can now leverage the unmatched strength and full marketing
support capabilities of the nation’s leading buying and selling
group of electronics, appliances and furniture products.
Rent Direct is a division of Nationwide Marketing Group,
America’s largest buying organization.
How large? Over 2400 members, 6000 store-fronts,
and more than $9 billion in sales.
Rent Direct now brings the same strengths to
independent RTO dealers across the country.
Where Independent RTOs
Join Forces To Succeed!
• Group Centralized Purchasing System - gain enormous buying
power from our extensive list of top-name vendors.
• Huge Cost-Savings on Products & Shipping - order as few as
6 to 11 pieces, get your shipment delivered within 48 hours.
• Store Fixtures & Displays - professionally designed custom displays
to help you showcase your products and increase sales.
• High Impact Advertising and Promotions - roll out proven,
powerful marketing programs ready to implement.
• On-Line Training Programs - take part in and grow
through focused learning opportunities.
• Member Web Site - your direct link to all resources through
our Member communications website.
• PrimeTime!™ Conventions - meet the industry’s leading vendors
and other RTO dealers to trade tips and gain knowledge.
• PrimeTime!™ “Instant Cash Back Now” - aggressive show specials that
put BIG money in your pocket before you leave PrimeTime!™.
• Independent Thinking Magazine - learn what industry experts have
to say about the RTO route to success.
For More Information Please Contact James MacAlpine At 336-714-8802
or by email: [email protected]
Rent Direct Nationwide - 110 Oakwood Dr., Suite 200, Winston-Salem NC 27103
Photos taken by RTO Magazine at recent industry events.
Lynn Clark, Executive Director of the Texas Association of
Rental Agencies, said goodbye
to colleagues during a retirement party held in her honor
at the Driskill Hotel in Austin,
Texas on September 29th.
Arkansas Rental Dealers Association 2005 Fall
Conference at Petit Jean
State Park near Morrilton
RTO magazine page: 26
Ben Lewis, DSI Systems, accepts the team trophy at the
inaugural Heartland of America
Gave up playoff
tickets to attend
ARDA Past Big Cheese
Find thousands of pics from RTO industry events at
Contact [email protected] to arrange coverage for your company or organization event.
Statuettes presented to
award winners at the APRO
show in Las Vegas.
Wanda Kopsas, wife of National TV
Sales and Rental District Manager
for the paparazzi at APRO’s Tonight Show.
in Salt Lake City, Utah
the 2005 Heartland of America Tradeshow In Lake Ozark, MO.
ARDA Exec Director of Cheese
ARDA Big Cheese
Power Behind ARDA‛s Big Cheese.
RTO magazine page: 27
Don’t put all your
eggs in one RTO Basket
By Mamie Harper
hese are challenging and changing times
for rent to own professionals. As a store
owner or manager, it is your responsibility to become the company’s visionary. It
is no longer enough to open the store, manage
employees, deal with customers and make the
daily deposit. Diversification is the key to long
privacy of their homes. In less than 30 days, I
had not only re-rented the 100 BOR that had
been abruptly returned to me, I had gained
units by renting televisions of all sizes. The war
dragged on for two years and these customers
acquired ownership of the products. What could
have been a catastrophic event for my business,
ended in growth.
True Case File: As a one-store owner in a
military town, the Gulf War began and I watched
my store lose 100 BOR in less than two weeks.
Soldiers were rapidly deploying and returning
rented merchandise. No one knew how long
the war would last. My livelihood and that of
my employees was at stake. I quickly mobilized
my crew and began marketing to the wives of
deploying soldiers. We advertised the fact that
their husbands would be receiving additional
compensation for combat pay and that we would
deliver products to improve the quality of their
lives during these difficult times. I ordered
truckloads of big screen televisions and we
encouraged the military and civilian communities to watch the events of the war unfold in the
I learned a very important lesson from this
experience. Do not keep all of your eggs in the
RTO basket! I diversified my business so that
I would never be adversely affected by outside
forces again. From that day forward, I looked for
business under every rock. Over the years, my
strategic plan of insuring my long term business
survival has grown so large that I have spun off
two separate commercial divisions. How did I
As a store manager and then as a store
owner, I had always hated the months of January and June. Customers would return product
after the holidays and I would have to endure a
dismal rental month. June was the same story.
Children would get out of school, families would
go on vacation and the traffic in the store would
dwindle. These two slow rental months became
my priority. What ancillary business could I
develop to enhance the standard rent
to own cycle? Answer: Temporary corporate housing!
January and June
are ideal months
their families to
homes and living arrangements. I created a program that I marketed to apartment complexes,
Fortune 100 companies, human resource companies and visiting nurses’ associations. We began
renting furniture packages, appliances, electronics, computers, accessories and even household
amenities like pots and pans, and sheets and
towels. Currently, we offer a turn key corporate
housing program that includes apartment rent,
all utilities and services such as broadband internet, phone and cable. Our clients include national
and regional relocation companies, insurance
companies, institutions of higher learning, local,
state and federal government.
We developed more commercial business
by renting furniture to decorate lobbies and
offices for a variety of businesses. We offered
them a rent to rent agreement, whereby on a
regular basis, generally every quarter, we would
switch out their furniture and give them a new
fresh look! Once we had built up a large commercial rent to rent clientele, our delivery trucks
would rotate the furniture and accessories from
business to business. It offered a great value
to these businesses that could deduct furniture
rental payments as a normal business expense
and prevent them from having to make a capital
We provided rental furniture, appliances,
electronics and computers for political campaign offices, schools, courtrooms, convention
centers, hotels and a variety of other businesses.
The best part of the deal, according to my employees, is that there are no collections with this
type of business.
As a store owner, it did take some getting
used to in regards to offering the thirty day
billing. But I decided the diversification I was
seeking was well worth the effort.
So, it is not too late to put together your
2006 strategic plan to diversify your core rent to
own business with ancillary and complementary
business. Don’t sit and wait in the store for customers to come to you. Get out in the community
and generate your own new business. Join
chambers of commerce and business organizations so that you can network with a large group
of people. You have the power to diversify and
insure your long term. Do it today!
RTO magazine page: 28
the largest, most respected musical
instrument company in the world
and many of our products are now
available for RTO vendors with
• One of the best-known brand names
• Popular acoustic and electric guitars,
digital pianos, portable keyboards
and digital drums available
• Buy direct from the manufacturer
• Yamaha will ship one unit anywhere
in the U.S. via prepaid freight
• Customized merchandise programs
• One year warranty from first date
Get started with Yamaha today by
calling Thomas Murphy of Motivated
Marketing at (800) 386-8774 or
(813) 220-1115, or by e-mailing
©2005 Yamaha Corporation of America. www.yamaha.com
RTO magazine page: 30
Wireless in a barn?
I know it sounds
strange, but several barns
had a server setup with either
a computer or a notebook
that you could look up
prospective horses to buy.
The registration booth areas
were setup with Dell computers and Lynksys wireless in
which they had 4 locations
all running into one main
server. As luck would have
it they had signage for who
they rented the product from
and people were commenting
how nice it would be if they
could have the same setup
at home. Wireless is a hot
category for the holiday.
Special events offer
RTOs opportunity for
by Mike Bertolani
’m writing this article from the Morgan
Horse Grand National and World Title
show. “What do horse shows and rent to
own have in common?”. Like all special events,
the exhibitor area and the barn are packed with
items rented from local RTO dealers. I myself
rent video equipment for our barn display from
ColorTyme franchisee Willie Cole in Oklahoma
City (Lucas and his staff do a great job on service
by the way). The “talk in the barn” this year was
the use of LCD panels and wireless connections
for customer lounges, and that my friends is one
LCD panels make a great presentation
for displaying products in action. Many of the
RTO magazine page: 31
show vendors used the Viewsonic 15” and 17”
monitor with a DVD video showing how saddles
looked on a horse, buggies road behind a horse
or even how things are made. In the barn area,
breeders ran DVD movies created in Windows
Movie Maker that showed the yearlings or horses
they were trying to sell. I saw several barns with
ACER 17’ LCD monitors and even one with a
19” unit. The reception area had rented video
equipment, and even the judges rent Dell 15”
screens every year. A farm owner and trainer I
spoke to stated that they were renting them from
a local dealer. One was paying $1,000.00 each
for 10 day rentals of two 42” units, all from local
companies that delivered/ installed/ and will pick
up the merchandise.
So you are still wondering how this all fits into your
model, right? Well, people
like to see things in action;
what it looks like in everyday
use. Try setting up a wireless network in your store.
Have several computers and
or notebooks around your
location running through one
router on the same internet
connection. Market a Linksys
4 port wireless router and an
ACER wireless notebook as a
package along with an Ogio
bag, all for under $39.00 a
Like the Morgan Horse Grand Nationals,
every town has perennial functions. By getting
involved in these events you begin to brand
yourself to a whole new market. Don’t be afraid
of short term rentals. $100.00 a week on a short
term rental for a 32” TV is not so bad.
Special event short term rentals can make
a big deference in your store’s bottom line,
especially during slow summer
months. If you are
interested in more
ideas contact me at
com and I would be
happy to fill you in. www.sedintl.com
Free service loaner. If anything should go
wrong, we will bring you a free loaner to use
while yours is being repaired.
Free set-up. We’ll set it up for you at no extra
Early payout option. You can save money and
buy it out at any time.
90-days same as cash. You can split the retail
price into three payments and avoid paying
By Pam Leach
Rent to term and own. You don’t have to pay
it off early. Maximize the amount of time for
free service by renting for the full rental term.
othing rents better than sizzle. As rent to own
pros, we sell a product and a service. Explaining
only services will not get the sale, nor will only
explaining every last detail of the order form. No
one is going to be inspired to rent that stainless-steel 24cubic-foot side-by-side refrigerator with ice and water in the
door by being told they need four references. To get the sale,
the prospect must be sold on the product AND the service.
Make weekly or monthly payments, whichever is most convenient for you. (To have this
also count as a close, ask something like,
“Would you prefer weekly or monthly payments?”)
Product features are the “bells and
whistles”-the PIP, the glass shelves, the extra
software-whatever it is that makes that particular
product stand out or that differentiates it from
If product features are the bells and
whistles, product benefits are the “sizzle.”
Benefits demonstrate how a product feature will
make life easier or better or just plain more fun
for the rental consumer. That big-screen comes
with PIP, “so you can watch two channels at the
same time.” The refrigerator has glass shelves,
“so if there is a spill, it will be contained and
make it easier to clean up.” Here are a few more
Large-capacity so you can wash larger loadsthis model will hold king-size comforter.
Multiple temperature settings so you can set
just the right temperature for the type of fabric
Three different water level settings so you can
choose the water level depending on the size
of your load.
Three different cycle settings: delicate, regular
and heavy duty, so you can wash anything
from delicate lingerie to a full load of jeans.
Large capacity so you can dry larger loads.
Three different temperature settings: Delicate, Permanent Press and Normal so you
can use the right temperature for the right
A buzzer will sound to let you know when the
dryer stops so you can pull out the clothes
before they wrinkle.
It has an easy-to-reach lint screen located on
the top so you won’t have to bend down each
time to clean it.
New or Used Products. We give you a choice
of brand-new or previously owned merchandise.
Satisfaction guaranteed. If for any reason you
are not happy with your merchandise, we will
pick it up.
Disclosure agreement explained. We will
make sure you understand everything. Unlike
other retail establishments, there are no hidden costs.
No credit needed. We don’t do credit checks.
Good credit, no credit, it doesn’t matter.
There is a 50-disc CD changer so you can
store lots of CDs and listen to different
Short-term rental. If you just need to rent
something until you get yours repaired, no
problem. You can rent for the day, the week, or
It has 250 watts so you’ll shake the walls and
make the neighbors mad.
No big down payment. You don’t have to put
a lot of money down. No deposits.
It can be hooked up to your TV so you can
have stereo surround sound.
It has a remote control so you can control everything from the convenience of your chair.
Program features and benefits are the “value added” part of the equation. Your company’s
program (free delivery, free loaner, etc.) is what
makes the retail cost of your products worth it
to the prospect. Make sure your prospects know
the value of your company’s services. Some
No long-term obligation, which means
you don’t have to keep it, you can return it
Free service. We don’t charge you anything
to repair it.
Free, fast delivery, so you don’t have to wait
to get it in your home-and at no charge.
How to come up with features and
How much do you know about each product
Likely you can list the features and benefits
of your most popular items, but what if you’re
presenting a brand-new product?
Many stores have associates who “specialize”-some are great at electronics while others
know computers and still others know about the
furniture. That’s fine if you all are in the store all
at the same time, and are not busy with other
prospects, but how often does that happen?
Set a goal to learn all you can about one
new product line per week. You have to sell by
phone as well so it is important that you can
paint a picture for the phone prospect.
Get out of your comfort zone a little. Roleplay during meetings. Sell to each other when
continued on page 42
“Take my RTO accountant...
The competition was organized by Accountants One, an Accounting and Financial Recruiting Firm. The company wanted to prove
that “accountants are funnier than you think” After am AmericanIdol-like competitive audition process, ten financial professionals
were selected to perform in a night of stand-up comedy at The
Punchline. All proceeds benefited TECH CORPS Georgia.
“Accountants have gotten an undeserved reputation as ‘humorless number crunchers’ in our society,” notes Dan
Erling, Vice President of Accountants One. “But in
taking the time to really get to know the thousands of financial professionals we’ve worked
with over the past 32 years, our firm realized that accountants have a lot more
to offer - even in the area of comedy.
That’s why we decided to share this
secret with the world via our Funniest Accountant Search.”
Turner, along with the other 9
finalists, took part in a “comedy
boot camp” training
session prior to his
Alas, Ben did
not win the
he did not
Bass Singing Fish
for his efforts.
6 feet 9 inches of number crunchin sex appeal!
ax Director for Aaron Rents, Inc., Ben Turner, recently participated in a stand-up comedy competition called “Atlanta’s Funniest Accountants.” From his funny voice to his extraordinary
height (6’ 9”), Turner is not easy to miss. Comfortable on
stage, this Snellville, Georgia resident has no previous experience
as a comedian, but admires Jerry Seinfeld for his witty humor. Ben
feels that being an accountant has given him the opportunity to see
how his fellow financial professionals really act and insight on their
strange love of numbers. Ben says that if he weren’t an accountant
he’d be unemployed.
Ben Turner, Tax Accountant
for Aaron Rents, during his
act in the Atlanta’s Funniest
Accountants finals at the
Punch Line comedy club in
software - watch out for bundled ad-supported products.
How to avoid
pop-up ads, spyware
By Jay Nardone
aving been a computer and notebook
supplier to the rent to own industry
for the last ten years, I have been
fortunate enough to develop good
relationships with many RTO dealers. Recent
feedback I have heard from our customers is
they need assistance with computer software
that will combat spyware and viruses. .
What are Pop-Up Ads and Spyware?
You have heard it time and time again from
your customers. “I keep getting these Ads that
just pop up on my screen” or “my computer is
so slow”. Pop-up ads are different from regular
banner ads in that they appear in new windows,
often clogging up your display and sometimes
crashing your system. Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) provide a built-in pop-up blocker.
Make sure this function is enabled so that it
provides protection from incoming Ads. Today’s
trickiest Ads look harmless and appear legitimate; however, in reality the intentions of these
Ads are to invade your customer’s computer
and negatively affect the computer experience.
One wrong click and presto, spyware is added to
the computer. What does mean? Spyware, also
called adware, is any software that covertly gathers user information through the user’s Internet
connection without his or her knowledge, usually
for advertising purposes. Spyware applications
are typically bundled as a hidden component
of freeware or shareware programs that can be
downloaded from the Internet. Once installed,
the spyware monitors user activity and transmits
that information to someone else. Spyware can
also gather information about e-mail addresses,
passwords and even credit card numbers.
Tips to avoid pop-up ads, spyware and
Don’t download and install software or files
from any unknown source.
Don’t open email attachments from people
you don’t know.
Read the fine print
when using or installing file sharing
Keep track of what your employees are doing. Don’t allow them to install any software
Install a reputable anti-spyware software
Pop-Up Ads and Spyware Removal
Most name brand computers offer some
form of anti-spyware software. HP and Compaq
computers feature a complimentary version of
Norton Internet Security AntiSpyware software
with 60 days of live updates. The Anti-virus Corporate Enterprise Edition can be purchased for
$99 at http://www.symantecstore.com . Here are
some free spyware software solutions that can
be downloaded from www.download.com:
1.) Spybot Search & Destroy 1.4
2.) Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta)
3.) Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition 1.06
Viruses can be annoying like spyware or do
serious damage. A virus is a software program
that is capable of reproducing itself and can
cause great harm to files or other programs.
The following antivirus software solutions
can be downloaded free with unlimited updates
1.) AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 7.289
2.) Avast Home Edition 4.6
Customers tend to equate the inefficiency of
a computer with numerous spyware and viruses
as a computer hardware problem. Insureing
adequate protection will increase customer
satisfaction and keep rates.
Remember, computer viruses which have
been added to computers via Internet usage, are
not covered under the manufacturer’s software
warranty. Performing weekly updates of these
products will keep your computers ready-to-rent.
Restoring Rental Computers
After each computer rental; it is imperative that each computer is fully re-formatted prior to the next customer rental.
HP and Compaq computers and select Toshiba
notebooks feature built-in restore programs.
Restoring with the built-in restore function takes
less than 20 minutes.
Call your BDI Laguna RTO salesperson at
800-241-5641, and we can offer other great
suggestions that will ensure your computers are
rented and not sitting idle on your shelves.
RTO magazine page: 34
RTO magazine page: 36
RTO magazine page: 37
RTO Magazine Presents
Recognizing excellence among independent rent to own dealers
Right Choice Rental
Big Ideas In A
By Lucille Farkas
ight Choice Rental Owner and Arkansas Rental Dealers Association President Joe Burchfield understands he’s got to think BIG to make small-town RTO work.
Joe Burchfield was 21 years old and fresh out of Southern Arkansas University when he answered a classified ad seeking an account manager.
Joe thought he was particularly well-suited for the job (he did, after
all, have an accounting degree!). When Joe arrived for the
interview and learned the account manager slot had been
filled, he agreed to accept a position as a driver for the
company, E-Z Rental.
Joe Burchfield showed up for his first day of
work in a shirt, tie and dress slacks. The year was
1987, and his co-workers donned the unofficial
RTO uniform of the day - jeans, t-shirt and a lit
cigarette. As one of E-Z Rental’s drivers based
in Magnolia, Arkansas (population: 10,000),
Joe traveled among owner David Pyle’s other
stores, delivering product wherever it was
“You can’t wait
You have to go
after it with a
Within 30 days the person who had
been hired as the account manager
decided he didn’t like the job, giving Joe
the chance to take over his duties. There
were no training manuals, and the
store manager at the time wasn’t much
help, either. Undaunted, Joe simply
figured things out for himself.
“I developed my own system
using three different-colored highlighters, depending on how late a
payment was. I put some structure
to it and became pretty darn good at
running accounts,” said Joe.
(1876 - 1916)
David Pyle, the man who hired
Joe, was something of an RTO baron
in late-80’s Arkansas. While he was
part owner of E-Z Rental, he was also
the complete owner of a store across
town, Rent-n-Own. Impressed with Joe’s
account manager skills, David tapped Joe to
become Rent-n-Own’s new store manager.
RTO magazine page: 38
“I went from running a 200-account route to managing a 750-BOR
store. It took me awhile to feel as
though I had my head above water.
I was in charge of the store plus the
entire service facility. Thankfully, my
father was a TV repairman, which
helped me understand the service
Over the next few years, Joe
honed his managerial skills while more
than doubling the BOR of the Rent-n-Own
store to a peak of 1307 units. He began to feel
he needed more of a challenge.
“Right Choice Rental stores
gain revenue by offering
a wide array of traditional
and non-traditional RTO
products and services.”
Joe’s company created the patterns and
keeps the materials in stock to custom-build
each unit. Joe’s most popular storage building
measures 8 foot by 12 foot and rents for $99 a
month for 18 months.
“We’ve got it down to where we build it
within 24- 48 hours and then one person can
load and unload the building with a winch
mounted to a refabricated flatbed truck. We set
it up at the customer’s home, put it on blocks,
level it, and we’re done. The best part is that
I’ve yet to go pick one up from a customer,
and for every unit I rent, I cash sale a unit for
While the chain was a great purchase
for a large entity, Joe felt his talents were
better suited to a small company. So Joe left
Arkansas for Shreveport, Louisiana where
he spent five years managing operations for
Good Home Center. All the while, though, Joe
dreamed of being in business for himself. Like
most folks, the only thing holding him back was
a lack of capital. But a chance introduction to
entrepreneur John Earnhardt helped Joe secure
financing and make his RTO dream a reality.
The Stamps store performed well enough
that Joe was able to add Prescott, Arkansas
(population: 4,000) in September of 2000. Most
recently, Joe added his third location in the
big city (at least by Right Choice standards) of
Texarkana, Arkansas (population: 30,000).
So, how does Joe make the small-town
RTO model work? The answer lies not just in
Joe’s head, but in his character.
“We all look at the numbers, but sometimes that bottom line is not the most important
thing. When I see a customer develop a better
lifestyle or quality of life through acquiring
our merchandise, or when I see an employee
develop a career, that makes me feel as though
we have done something excellent. Our cus-
In addition to the Radio Shack
opportunity, Joe has built another successful idea around a consumer trend
- storage units.
“I almost hate to give this idea away it’s
done so well for us. But I kept seeing all these
mini storage units that were going for $30,
$60, $80 a month that a customer had to drive
to and that they would never own. It occurred
to me that we could rent-to-own portable buildings - and boy, has that done well for us.”
“In 1992, I took a position within the home
office as training coordinator for David Pyle’s
seven stores. I wrote manuals, conducted
seminars, even doubled as company auditor.
By ’94, I was a full-fledged district manager
overseeing five of our company’s nine stores.
Later we were sold to HomeChoice, which
eventually became RentWay. We were a great
purchase for them - small town stores with low
overhead, and each one averaged about 900
Joe returned to Arkansas, and he knew
just where to open his first store - in the tiny
hamlet of Stamps, Arkansas (population:
2,000). Despite the small number of residents,
Joe knew stores in Magnolia delivered merchandise there and he sensed an opportunity.
In March of 1999, Stamps, Arkansas became
the location of Joe’s first Right Choice Rental
Joe believes the Radio Shack franchise could help him lower his overall
merchandise cost, as well. He plans
to take advantage of Radio Shack’s
buying power and check his franchisee
price for any item before purchasing it
through a distributor or even direct from
Joe and Amy
tomers are told ‘no’ every day. These people
are good folks who just get into tough situations. We want to be able to help.”
One way Right Choice Rental stores help
is by offering a wide array of traditional and
non-traditional RTO products and services.
Sure, you can rent televisions, sofas and appliances in Joe’s stores. But you can also rent
a U-haul, a car audio system or get phone service. And Joe’s next idea is really breaking new
ground. At the Prescott location, Joe’s taken
the bold step of adding a Radio Shack franchise
to maximize his revenue opportunities.
“We’ve added Radio Shack fixtures and
merchandise right within our own store. It’s not
a kiosk, or even a separate counter. The potential benefit to us and to our customers is huge.
Any Radio Shack item our customers want to
rent, I’ll move over to a rental agreement.
Digital cameras, LCD televisions, you name
it. Plus, this introduces our store to an entirely
new customer base.”
Joe’s seen how the rental business has
shifted over the years, and he’s using items
like the Radio Shack franchise and RTO storage
units to set his company up to weather longterm change. As for short-term growth, Joe
sees some opportunity right around the corner.
“I will say I’m actively exploring the tire
and rim rental opportunity. And as for more
standard RTO merchandise, gaming systems
will be big this holiday. I’ll also rent MP3 players through Radio Shack. I am considering how
I can make iPod’s available to my customers,
but that may be further down the road because
of how delicate the units are. And LCD televisions are growing at a fast pace for us. We rent
a typical 44” LCD set for $39.95 a week for 104
Joe says in the small towns where he
operates an advertising plan is secondary to
treating customers well. Word-of-mouth is
where it’s at.
“We pay $25 to any customer who refers
a new customer. We’re willing to pay cash, but
usually the customer just wants it deducted
from their agreement. And nothing’s better than
continued on page 42
Same Old Same Old
Bud Holladay reviews the new book
Scholar and Professor of Social Policy at the
University of Houston.
“SHORTCHANGED, LIFE AND DEBT
IN THE FRINGE ECONOMY”
Like many social scientists/socialists,
Karger seems to feel that an alphabet soup of
acronyms will stimulate sufficient outrage to
force some undefined change in our society.
How many times do we need to be told that the
CEO of a big American corporation makes a lot
Howard Karger, 2005
Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. San Francisco CA
nly eight pages into the preface of his
book Shortchanged, Life and Debt in the
Fringe Economy, author Howard Karger
compares the notorious Colombo crime family
to legal payday lenders, calling the mafia’s “vig,”
or interest rate, a bargain compared to the fees
charged by many legal payday lenders. That
probably tells you all you need to know about
this 252-page book (including 31 pages of footnotes and glossary) and more than you want to
know about Karger, a two-time Senior Fulbright
Most of Shortchanged is devoted to what
Karger calls the “predatory payday lending industry.” Karger claims that what seem to be small,
independent storefront operations are actually a
part of a fully formed parallel universe dominated
by some an evil banking empire (imagine the
surprise of several thousand store managers and
associates when they realize their 401k plans
could be under the control of Mini-Me).
Karger actually tries to make a case for
programs modeled after the practices of village
lenders in Bangladesh. Apparently the peasants
in Bangladesh are not wired into that nefarious
parallel economy Karger warns us about.
Rental purchase companies get a shallow
and careless dusting from Professor Karger’s
brush. Karger’s chief complaint against rental
operators is their alleged overstatement of the
risk factors in justifying pricing schemes.
On the positive side, he expresses a grudging appreciation for the place rental purchase
companies occupy. Consider these comments
about a customer whose furniture was picked up
and later returned:
“On the positive side, Janis didn’t take on
intractable debt – as she would with payday
loans or credit card purchases – and she could
voluntarily return the rentals when the payments became unaffordable. Nor did she face
a potential lawsuit and hounding by collection
agencies. The repossession also didn’t affect
Some rental purchase companies might be
wise to substitute Karger’s words for their next
Like most social activists/socialists, the author is full of complaints about what ails us, and
equally full of ways to spend your money to fix it.
RTO magazine page: 40
Sandberg Rental Express.
Powered by a tradition of style, quality and innovation.
Sandberg Rental Express—your fast-track to up-to-theminute style and rapid delivery—is no mere sprinter. As
the rental division of Sandberg Furniture, each piece of
bedroom furniture for adults and children as well as
entertainment centers from Sandberg Rental Express
come to you with nearly 90 years of American-made
manufacturing excellence. We give your customers the
variety and the style they are looking for at reasonable
prices. We give you the satisfaction in knowing the tradition
of quality that goes into each of our products.
Sandberg Rental Express’ substantial, innovative features make the difference.
ULTRAGLOSS for lasting beauty.
Metal Slats for Adult Beds.
ULTRAGLOSS is a state of the art, super high gloss,
environmentally safe poly-finish that releases no Volatile
Organic Compounds (VOC’s) into our atmosphere. This
product has been produced with our environment in mind,
using some of the most technologically advanced materials
The slats that support the bed underneath are typically
wooden. As with most manufacturers, Sandberg’s used to
be. Not anymore.
Although Sandberg is the only company in the furniture
industry to use ULTRAGLOSS in its manufacturing, it
has been used —and proven—in many other industries for
years. From gymnasium floors to Kevlar military helmets,
many varied products have utilized
ULTRAGLOSS for its resiliency and durability.
ULTRAGLOSS is mar-resistant and has been
thoroughly tested and found to have been
unaffected by ink, coffee and even ammonia,
among other potential household problems.
Sandberg has upgraded
their slat system to metal.
Metal is an improvement
in terms of value to the
consumer, utilizing a
stronger material and
offering more stability. Wood
can become loose. It can
sag and split. The new metal
slat system is adjustable, so
that it fits all adult-size beds.
Each Sandberg Rental
Express bed is shipped
complete with metal rails.
AND MORE!—The kind of features you expect only in high-price furniture...
• Roller-Glide metal drawer runners
• Cam-Lock adjustable door shelves
• European 32mm dowel construction
• Adjustable leveling feet
• Fully adjustable door hinges
The more you know about Sandberg Furniture, the more you’ll want Sandberg Furniture.
Contact: Dave Humphrey, Matt or Wayne Harris
ph: 863-534-8915 fax: 863-534-3009
323.582.0711 • www.sandbergfurniture.com
Rent the sizzle!
it easier for staff to learn the inventory and, most
importantly, to make a sale! An added benefit for
the staff is that sizes and dimensions are always
at hand (especially handy for phone sales).
By Pam Leach
Continued from page 32
there aren’t any prospects in the store. Make a
game of it. How many features and benefits can
you come up with for any one product (the sillier
the better)? Hold contests. Write down all the
objections you heard this week, then list all the
features and benefits you can think of to overcome those objections (product and program).
Make a features and benefits binder
One way to keep track is to assemble
Features and Benefits binders. Most stores have
a large enough inventory that it makes sense to
create one for each product type (Televisions and
Electronics; Appliances; Furniture). Three-ring
binders are easiest to keep updated.
Decide if you want to organize by manufacturer or by type of product-whichever you find
easier to look up. For the sake of your sanity,
split the duties up and assign each employee a
section of the store. To help train your employees
on the inventory of the entire store, you might
consider switching the duties around regularly.
Put Susie in Electronics, Jack in Furniture and
Sam in Appliances this month, then rotate
departments next month.
Once the hard part of creating the books is
done, keep it up-to-date. Whenever new inventory arrives, add the information to the book immediately. Use the pockets for flyers, brochures
or manuals. A good Features and Benefits binder
that is easy to use and updated regularly makes
at the 2005
America tradeshow in Lake
Big ideas in a small town
By Lucille Farkas
Continued from page 39
One last benefit of features and benefits: it’s
SO much easier to overcome sales objections!
Rather than letting an objection go, counter it
with program or product features and benefits.
a smile and a handshake. We don’t just hang flyers on doors when we deliver merchandise. We
knock on the door and invite that customer down
to see what we’ve got in our store. We’re sort of
‘old school’ that way.”
The prospect is objecting to price? Remind
them of the free service and free loaner. Follow
with another close.
Joe motivates his employees by demonstrating that no one, including him, is too
important for a task at hand.
They want to discuss it with their spouse
first? Remind them of the product features and
benefits that meet their needs (extra-large capacity, water and ice in the door, etc.). Remind them
that there is no obligation and they can return
the merchandise at any time. Follow with another
“One of the first things I did as a district
manager on my first day in a new store, or with
a new hire, was help load or unload a truck or
clean the store restroom. I wanted the people I
was working with to understand that we are a
team. And to this day, you are just as likely to
find me sweeping the floor or loading a truck.”
While you might not get the sale every time,
using features and benefits will certainly increase
your chances. Let your prospects know the value
It’s worth noting that Joe considers Right
Choice Rental a family business, with wife Amy
“keeping my papers in order and keeping me out
the door!”. Joe’s children have also worked at
the stores during school breaks and in summertime. And his dad, the TV repairman, runs Joe’s
“You get what you INSPECT, not
what you EXPECT”
Shopper’s View supplies RTO
“I will say that in this business you definitely make a lot of friends. I have so many strong
connections to my stores and to my employees,
that I don’t ever see myself retiring. I would like
to eventually develop into a 7 - 10 store chain.
The ultimate for me would be to have seven
stores with seven great managers who I could
give an ownership stake in the company. I’ve
always said, ‘Help me make some money and I
don’t mind sharing it with you!’”
Which just goes to show that you can live
and work in the smallest of towns, and still manage to think really big. Just ask Joe Burchfield.
Know someone who’s excellent? Please send suggestions October/November
for future RTO
2005 Excellence Dealer Profiles to :[email protected]
RTO magazine page: 42
Experience the M & B
• Diamond Importers Prime Jewelry
• Over a Century of Jewelry
• Exceptional Inventory
• In-House Repair,
• “Quick-Turn” Shipping
• Special Orders - No Problem
• Turn Key Jewelry
• Experienced In-Store
• Customized In-Store
• Flyer/Mailing Program
6040 Century Oaks Drive • P.O. Box 23227 (37422) • Chattanooga, TN 37416
Telephone: 423-894-4480 • Toll-Free: 800-251-7640 • Fax: 423-894-5122
RTO magazine page: 43
RTO Success Stories by Trooper Earle
EXPERIENCE, WE CAN MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!
Leasing • HR • Legal • Easy start-up • Advertising • Financing • Operational Support • Buying Power • Camaraderie
4 to 40 in 4 years”
he word is spreading. RTO people are talking to each other and one
word keeps coming up: Premier. Those who are ready to start their
own business are favoring Premier Rental-Purchase to help them
get started. And those already part of Premier have found the support they need to keep right on growing.
For seasoned RTO operators wanting to go out on their own, Premier
has become important in helping them put together a business plan, working with banks to secure financing, linking them to a network of quality
vendors, and giving them access to support services that includes human
resources, payroll, advertising, accounting and even legal advice. Now an
approved SBA franchise organization, Premier is playing an important role
for current dealers looking to open their second and third stores. Premier
provides comprehensive support services to its dealers so they can grow
their business aggressively without being encumbered by the many important but time-consuming details that come with any business ownership.
In order to better help dealers
expand, Premier has named Mike Lewis
as vice president of operations. After 11
years of RTO experience that included
being a regional director for another
RTO company, Mike opened his own
business last year, finding Premier’s
guidance and support invaluable with
the financing and store opening.
Owner of Central Properties of
Granger, Inc., in Mishawaka, IN, Mike
returned to his bank after eight months
of business looking for more financing
for additional stores.
“It is one thing to be successful working for an RTO company and doing things in their system, but another to create your own,” says Mike. “As
an independent dealer, it’s your business. I know from my own experience
how difficult it was to open a store and develop systems that got all my
employees working effectively together. As VP of operations for Premier I
will help new dealers get through that challenge and not lose the day-today focus on the numbers. Premier does a great job already of getting new
dealers open. I will help new dealers after they open to establish their own
systems while staying focused on renting and collecting.”
Mike adds, “In working for other companies, ‘profit’ is all you know.
As an owner/operator, ‘cash flow’ is king. To be successful, new dealers
have to make that huge mental change quickly.”
According to Premier’s president/CEO Trooper Earle, “Mike has the
unique understanding of what it takes to run a successful store as well as
what is necessary to build and run an effective multi-store company. They
are vastly different. For all of our dealers, making one store a success is
easy. But developing a multi-store organization requires systems, processes and internal communication to maintain performance and standards.
Premier is very excited to have Mike helping our new dealers develop their
operational systems so they can get ready for multi-store expansion when
excess cash flow from their first store comes.”
Trinidad (Trini) Rubio was at an RTO
convention last year and happened to speak to
Trooper. A market manager over eight Texas
stores for the biggest RTO company, Trini had
been toying with putting his 15 years of industry experience to work in his own business.
His meeting with Trooper helped him see it as
Mike Lewis has been named
“We had success with the first
Premier’s VP Operations.
store and were in the financial position
to go back to the bank to ask for more funding to open another store,” says
Mike. “The bank knew we weren’t just a mom and pop but rather a class
operation. They poured over our numbers heavily and visited our store
many times. With our operational procedures solidly in place and the credibility of the Premier support system behind us, it turned out to be easy to
go get the ‘okay.’”
Mike’s plans now also include a third store in Indiana before the end of
the year! With established operational systems, Mike’s organization is ready
to grow with multiple stores.
“Having an industry accountant, human resources, payroll services,
advertising and legal support through Premier means we don’t have to
worry about things like quarterly taxes, payroll, insurance or marketing
programs. My stores can run largely on their own leaving me free from
administration duties so I can keep growing.”
RTO magazine page: 44
And now Mike is poised to help other dealers do the same - keep
growing. In his new role with Premier he will help new dealers get off to the
“Trooper takes the time to talk to you,”
says Trini. “He is really personable and he sold
me on Premier Rental-Purchase. I reviewed and researched other options
and came to the conclusion that Premier was the best vehicle to help me
realize my long-term business goals.”
The biggest stumbling block for him was financing. He says Premier
“made it easier. I tried it on my own first and couldn’t do it. Premier’s entire
support program helped the bank feel comfortable with me and my plans.”
But Trini is quick to say that Premier is invaluable in other parts of
his new business, too. “I am an operator,” says Trini. “I don’t want to be
burdened with the administrative tasks of owning a business. I want to
be hands-on with customer service and spearhead the training for my
employees. I also want the freedom to implement the vision I have for my
company. Premier’s support allows me this privilege and, I believe, is one
of the reasons success is on the horizon.”
Dave Reed has a special offer to those thinking about starting a new RTO business: “For any
‘fence sitters’ out there, just give Premier’s Trooper
Earle or me a call,” he says.
After 20+ years working for the biggest RTO
names and moving up from market manager to
regional manager to senior vice president, Dave
decided “the timing was right to do what I wanted,
not what someone else wanted. It was time to
look out for my family and our future.” For him - and for others, he claims
- Trooper and Premier have the answer.
“After checking around and comparing what was being offered, it was
an easy decision to choose Premier. They offer a vehicle while I supply the
gas. The lower fees, a great support network and very few constraints are
allowing me to do what I want, when I want.”
Although his experience had included virtually all aspects of RTO, he
found that having Premier’s three-year budget process already formatted
made it easier to get started.
Chuck Botts watched as many
of his RTO friends went out on their
own - Dave Jones, Rich Bagoly, Brian
Ferrari, Scott Kinnear. And they were
“With all of our experience,
we all knew how to rent and collect
but we didn’t know how to do other
operations,” says Chuck. “Yet there everyone was telling me how easy it
would be with Premier.” Chuck believed them.
“What Premier did for us was great. It laid out what we didn’t know.”
According to Chuck he didn’t look anywhere else. And for him, everything has gone as expected in opening his new business in Nashville, TN.
At Premier, Rick feels he is more
than just another store owner, rather
an important member of the Premier
family. Not only does he feel Premier will
help him be successful, but he can help
Premier be successful too.
“Premier listens. Good ideas, no
matter where they come from, get implemented and changes are made. It’s fun to contribute to a rapidly growing
organization” says Rick.
“Premier is very comfortable letting our dealers speak for our program
and support,” says Trooper. “We are earning our industry credibility from
their success and support. I urge anyone interested in opening their own
RTO to call any of our dealers and ask them about their choice to join
Premier. People believe what they hear from our dealers and that is what is
driving Premier’s rapid growth and success.
“Premier is different from our industry competitors. Frankly, we are
different from most franchises. Most franchisors believe they have given
the dealer the right to exist and there is only one way to do things…their
way! Premier doesn’t teach RTO, we support it. Our dealers are all seasoned RTO professionals. They know what to do, and our organization
takes the time to listen to them. Premier provides them with the knowledge
of what it takes to own a business and the support to do it. It’s a true business partnership. We believe our dealers know better than anyone what
their customers want and need. Our goal is the use the knowledge, the
diversity and collective power of the entire group to strengthen our support
programs and provide answers to each dealer.
Trooper continues. “Franchises typically don’t allow individuality and
diversity. Premier welcomes it and uses it to our advantage. Iron sharpens
iron. That’s the Premier difference! Just three years ago we had four dealers. By next summer we expect to be very close to 40 dealers. From four
dealers to 40, in four years. Our brand of franchising clearly is working.”
Dragged down by a corporate structure that didn’t fit with his philosophy of customer service, Rick Vadnais decided the “only way to control
your own destiny is to own your own business.” For him it was time to put
into play something he had been thinking about over his 18 RTO years.
“What attracted me to Premier was the name Trooper Earle,” says
Rick. “It’s a household name in RTO. I talked to a lot of people who knew of
Trooper, and I had heard all good things, particularly that he had vision, he
was flexible, he was fair and as head of Premier he offered good leadership.
Premier was something I wanted to be part of.”
Premier Rental Purchase Inc. | 1-800-2PREMIER | www.premierrents.net
RTO magazine page: 45
“Ownership and support assistance
for the seasoned RTO Pro.”
RBrycee Co.n t t o O w n R
Turnkey RTO Jewelry Programs
Associated TITLE , Inc.
Turn your non-paying customers into CASH with car title
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*turn Key Operation *Training, and forms
*Allowed in 20 States including: GA, SC, AL, DE, CO, NV,
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Associated Title , Inc
call now; 404/252-8117
ent to Own
To advertise in RTO Magazine, the most widely
circulated RTO industry print publication, or to
advertise on RTOonline.com, the RTO industry’s
most popular trade website, contact RTO Online Inc.
w866-786-7547 - [email protected]
RTO magazine page: 46
nR e n t t o O w n
a service of rto online - www.rtoonline.
Vendor Address Book
11844 Bandera Rd #114
Helotes, TX 78023
M&B Jewelry / Previously BOGO
6040 Century Oaks Dr.
Chattanooga, TN. 37422
800-251-7640 EXT. 227
High Touch, Inc.
2020 N. Amidon
Wichita, KS 67203
Ideal Software Systems/TIRM
4909 Great River Dr
Meridian, MS 39303
800-964-3325 ext 153
590 E. Summerlin Street
Bartow, FL 33830
Suite 800, 155 Technology Parkway
Norcross, GA 30092
GE Consumer Products
AP 4, Room 200 A18
Louisville, KY 40225
4916 N. Royal Atlanta Dr.
Tucker, GA 30084-3031
1-800-444-8962 ext. 1184
6600 Orangethorpe Avenue
Buena Park, CA 90620
3960 Royal Drive
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Twinhead Corporation USA
48303 Fremont Boulevard
Fremont, CA 94538
2997 LBJ Freeway
Dallas, TX 75234
5700 Tennyson Pkwy #180
Plano, TX 75024
Premier Rental Purchase
PO Box 244
Lightfoot, VA 23090
Associated Title Loans
6000 Lake Forrest Dr Suite 315
Atlanta, GA 31315
n Rent to Ow
711 N. Carancahua, Ste. 1500
Corpus Christi, TX 78475
RTO Pro Software
2503 Gables DR
Eustis, FL 32726
InForm Print & Promotions
1209 S. Ridgewood Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
RTO Online, Inc
Jackson, MO 63755
Jackson, MO 63755
Central File Marketing
5277 W. Beaver Creek Pkwy
Brown Deer, WI 53223
2322 Cass Road
Traverse City, MI 49684
Lynnray Financial Corporation
5696 Peachtree Pkwy Suite J
Norcross, GA 30092
PO Box 19360
Shreveport, LA 71149
BGC Telecom LLC
2001 East Malone
Sikeston, MO 63801
1-888-698-1725 ext 703
Trihouse Enterprises Payday Loans
1516 E. Tropicana, Suite 150
Las Vegas, NV 89119
110 Oakwood Dr. Suite 200
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Coalition for Fair Rental Regulations
Where Do Independent RTO Dealers Turn For
Help In Today’s Competitive Environment?
They Turn To Rent Direct Nationwide!
With group centralized purchasing power, low-cost quick turn around shipping,
high-impact advertising, on-line training programs and a host of other benefits,
Rent Direct Nationwide is the independent RTO dealer’s best shot at reaching
every business objective.
Rent Direct Nationwide
Please see our ad in the
center spread for more details.
110 Oakwood Dr., Suite 200, Winston-Salem NC 27103
For more information call James MacAlpine at 336-714-8802
or email [email protected]