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View Full Version : Bling... If you can't buy it, rent it.



benyl
01-26-2005, 03:11 PM
A new spin on rentals: Big, bad wheels, tires

Young customers take up to a year to pay for fancy gear in expanding business.

By Chris Woodyard / USA TODAY

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- For the young hip-hop crowd, a car without gleaming, oversize chrome wheels is like a birthday cake without candles.

But at $2,000 or more for rims and tires, a rolling dose of social acceptance can be out of reach for those in their first or second jobs.

That's where Rent-A-Wheel comes in.

Rent-A-Wheel is a sign of the times, a new wrinkle in the rent-to-own industry. The fast-growing chain and others like it are cropping up across the Sun Belt -- tapping into the craze for giant wheels that have become as essential to car enthusiasts as fuzzy dice were to their hot-rodding granddads.

"For our customer base, their cars are their status symbol. That's where they spend a lot of their disposable income," says Rent-A-Wheel's co-founder John Bowlin.

Most chains employ the same basic plan. Customers can take 90 days, or in some cases, up to 120 days, to buy a set of wheels and tires for the same price that they would pay up front.

If they don't make it in time -- and many don't -- they rent them, typically making weekly payments at a high premium for up to a year. If they make all the payments, their purchase is complete, and the wheels are theirs to keep.

If they can't keep up with the payments or don't want to own the wheels anymore, they can turn them in.

There are no credit checks. The chains usually rent to anyone who can show a steady paycheck.

The idea is borrowed from the rent-to-own furniture industry.

While rims and tires are a minuscule part of the rent-to-own industry, it's the most exciting area because customers tend to be more upscale, says Bill Keese, executive director of the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations, a trade group.

Often, they are young drivers out for "the biggest, baddest-looking wheels they can find," he says.

To reach them, the rental wheel outfits typically advertise on hip-hop radio. The formula's success is showing up in how fast the businesses are growing:

Rent-A-Wheel. From a single store in Los Angeles, Rent-A-Wheel now has 36 stores spread across California, Arizona and Texas, including the Rent-A-Tire chain it acquired in 1999. It plans to add about 15 stores a year.

Rent-n-Roll. The Tampa-based chain has four company-owned stores and 23 franchises and plans to have 100 stores under contract within five years.

Rent-A-Wheel of Florida. Same name as the western chain, but not related, Rent-A-Wheel of Florida has five locations in the Tampa and Orlando areas and plans to soon add three, says Vice President Che Hatcher.

"What we cater to is young people who want to get wheels and tires and can't afford to pay $2,000 or $3,000. We do it on an easy installment plan," Hatcher says.

Despite their growth, the wheel businesses run into the same critics as the rent-to-own furniture business. Some fear young people will be strapped with wheel payments approaching what they pay monthly for the cars themselves.

"Rent-to-own has always been in the business of selling dreams with contracts that are very difficult to comply with," says Ed Mierzwinski, a consumer issues analyst for the Public Interest Research Group in Washington.

"The interest rates are so high that by the time you're done paying for the product, you've paid two or three times for it."

At the Rent-A-Wheel store in Inglewood, the cash price of a set of Zinik Adrian rims is $1,092, but at 52 weekly payments of $42, the total price balloons to $2,184. Tires, which can add $400 or more, are extra.

The cash price and the finance price are both posted prominently on the chrome rims throughout the shop.

Bowlin says the credit price has to be higher because of the inherit risk of defaults.

Some customers say they're happy buyers.

Actor Ray Smith, 29, of Inglewood pays $60 a week for his rims, which will amount to more than $3,000 over a year for a set that could be bought for $1,560 cash. "It's not that bad," he says. "It's affordable."

Source: DetNews

http://www.detnews.com/pix/2005/01/25/biz/b125-wheel_one-0105n.jpg
http://www.detnews.com/pix/2005/01/25/biz/b125-wheel_two-0105n-2.jpg

streetarab
01-26-2005, 03:16 PM
ghetto to the max

/////AMG
01-26-2005, 03:22 PM
rip off, but good for the owner

nismodrifter
01-26-2005, 03:24 PM
wow.....can't be a balla, can't be a shot calla, don't got 20" blades on the impala....so they rent them??? damn thats hurtin

?????
01-26-2005, 03:24 PM
Originally posted by benyl

Most chains employ the same basic plan. Customers can take 90 days, or in some cases, up to 120 days, to buy a set of wheels and tires for the same price that they would pay up front.

[/B]

Thats a pretty good deal is its 90 or 120 days no interest sicne it says same as what they would pay up front.

theken
01-26-2005, 03:28 PM
id rent em
then sell em and go to mexico

benyl
01-26-2005, 03:28 PM
wonder if there are enough wanna be ballers in Calgary to start a business... ;)

nismodrifter
01-26-2005, 03:45 PM
^ oh we definately have enough wanna be ballers...but the problem is that their vehicle choice is a little different than the thugs down in So-Cal.
So Cal: wanna be baller drives a stolen/his moms SUV
Calgary: wanna be baller drives.......a j-body :D

As long as we can fit 20s on a J-body then sure..count me in and lets get this business going :D

roopi
01-26-2005, 04:07 PM
This is a great idea. This is pretty much like any business that extends credit at a higher rate. These type of businesses are gold mines.

QuasarCav
01-26-2005, 04:08 PM
You can have them right now for $1000 or pay 200 a month for a year.

Sounds like someone has come across a great idea.

roopi
01-26-2005, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by QuasarCav
You can have them right now for $1000 or pay 200 a month for a year.

Sounds like someone has come across a great idea.

It's nothing new. Car payments, House Payments, Rent-to-Own furniture, it is all the same. Just different terms.

streetarab
01-26-2005, 04:12 PM
Originally posted by QuasarCav
You can have them right now for $1000 or pay 200 a month for a year.

Sounds like someone has come across a great idea.

think about insurance, 150-200 a month for, oh shit, i dont get anything back!!

lint
01-26-2005, 05:37 PM
Originally posted by QuasarCav
You can have them right now for $1000 or pay 200 a month for a year.

Sounds like someone has come across a great idea.

That's pretty much what most people do when they lease a car. Just look at the monthly payments, it's affordable, they go for it. They don't look at the total cost.

BMDUBS
01-26-2005, 06:01 PM
Forget if it is Ghetto to the max, these guys are makin mad cash! Awesome business idea... what next, performance parts, bodykits ect ect? I give it up to the business owners, they are franchising as well so there is a demand for this type of business in Cali anyways...

?????
01-26-2005, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by lint


That's pretty much what most people do when they lease a car. Just look at the monthly payments, it's affordable, they go for it. They don't look at the total cost.

No, the way it writes in the article means no interest but if your leasing or something your gonna have to pay interest. Don't forget that.

ZorroAMG
01-26-2005, 06:33 PM
No, read the article again, no interest for 90-120 days, then they pay big interest but also principal payments until it is paid off....it's not leasing really, it's financing. At the end of the term you own the wheels.

ex1z7
01-29-2005, 03:57 AM
Originally posted by BMDUBS
Forget if it is Ghetto to the max, these guys are makin mad cash! Awesome business idea... what next, performance parts, bodykits ect ect? I give it up to the business owners, they are franchising as well so there is a demand for this type of business in Cali anyways...

If you were to rent the wheels, scratch them and dent them and spray paint 2 of them - they wouldn't take them back I wouldn't asume. Same would go with bodykits and the like - you'll paint them and they'll get scratched from the road and all that so they wouldn't be able to return them if they decided they didn't want them. Which is what that article said they could do with wheels.

Performance parts as well I believe would not be able to be returned. But it's a good idea to have a finance business selling shit like that :P Who has 3g to drop on a turbo kit at once usually ? More people have 200/month ;)

ohhhh so pimp.