going (to the United States) to just join the industry. We’re
going there to compete fairly and to try to win. David Ingram,
President/CEO, Canadian-based easyhome on his company’s
just-announced U.S. expansion program
dust settles years from now there’s still going to be a
Rent-a-Center and there’s still going to be an Aaron’s. But a
lot of the smaller companies and the independent-type owners
will fall by the wayside unless they can execute at a high
level. Bud Gates,
Master Franchisee, easyhome,
Former President/CEO of Rent-a-Center
David Ingram (left),
President and CEO of Canadian-based easyhome with Bud Gates,
easyhomes just announced US Master Franchisee, on stage with event MC Mike Carbone at Wednesday's general session.
See a complete photo gallery (235 pics) of Wednesday's events;
Session Live and Interactive, (98)
Team Building (114).
David Ingram, CEO, easyhome.
Bud Gates, Master Franchisee, easyhome.
Dave Maries, VP Marketing and Merchandising.
Simon Holmes, Divisional VP, Eastern Canada, easyhome.
Errol Penny, Regional Manager, Region 4, Saskatchewan.
Use the controls under each image at left to
listen to podcast interviews or click the following
links to listen to the podcasts in your default MP3
Over 300 easyhome managers, executives and vendors held the
first full day of the 2007 easyhome National Conference at the
Fallsview Casino and Resort in Niagara, Ontario Wednesday. easyhome
is Canada's largest rent to own/leasing company. See a complete
photo gallery (235 pics) of Wednesday's events;
Session Live and Interactive, (98)
Team Building (114).
RTO Online conducted exclusive podcast interviews with
easyhome executives including President and CEO David Ingram and
industry legend Bud Gates, who has been named as easyhome’s
Master Franchisee for the United States.
Under Ingram’s six-year tenure the company has re-branded itself
with a name crafted from extensive customer research, expanded
heavily throughout Canada, and is now prepared to introduce the
easyhome concept to American rental customers.
“We have made a very conscious decision to bring (the rental
concept) up-to-date. We wanted to modernize the store
environment. Our customers are good, hard-working individuals
who are going to use a lot of their disposable cash to treat
themselves to a nice TV or a bedroom set. Why not give them a
great experience when they come to our store? The (rental) model
is always changing. The industry is always evolving. You have to
be very innovative when you design a store and think about what
relevance it will have in five years’ time.”
Ingram’s group relies heavily on research and data to guide them
in making decisions, including the design work on their latest
‘store of the future’.
“The research we did said that 53% of our revenue comes off the
wall space. Given the fact that living rooms were growing faster
than anything else we had for the past two to three years, we
designed fixtures to allow us to put more living rooms in by
using cube space. Now you’ll see 50% more living rooms
merchandised in the same 4,000 square foot store.”
Easyhome has moved away from their previous monthly model, which
represented 70% of payments when Ingram took over in 2001. In a
complete turnaround, weekly payments now make up 75% of easyhome
agreements. Ingram has also made inroads on extending his
stores’ average length of agreement.
“Six years ago it was four months. But I challenged our team to
grow their business by keeping existing customers longer. We’re
now at an average agreement length of 5.25 months. Which when
multiplied over our 190,000 units on lease becomes a big
So how much of an impact can easyhome make on the U.S. rental
“There is no way to ‘crystal ball’ this. Everything moves so
fast. We know we want to get to 300 stores in Canada in short
order. In the U.S., if the industry estimates of 8,500 stores
doing $6.5 billion in revenue are correct, then Bud and I have
agreed that the number of stores we want to open over the next
few years is in the hundreds. How far you go beyond that depends
on whether we continue to execute well.”
Execution is a particular strength for Bud Gates. The well-known
former Rent-a-Center CEO is a successful entrepreneur who stayed
connected to the rental industry as a former franchisee for both
Rent-a-Center and Colortyme. So what could have brought him back
to the rental business – again?
“What I see in easyhome are two things. Number one, I am very
excited about their proposition to the customer. But I also
think their level of execution is tremendous. All the ideas in
the world are not going to help you in this business if you
can’t execute. I think easyhome’s systems and processes lend
themselves to being able to execute at a very high level. You
see it up and down this organization. Whether it’s marketing,
merchandising, IT or training – they’ve got very solid systems
in every one of those areas. If I’d been of a mood to start my
own rent-to-own company after all these years, which I wasn’t
and I’m not, what I see in easyhome - in terms of the
proposition for the customer and the level of execution - are
the very things that I would look to do myself.”
Gates readily admits that no one knows the exact growth
potential for the easyhome concept in the United States.
“A lot of the expansion in Canada has been into virgin
territory. In the U.S. I think a lot of growth will be from
taking market share. It will be interesting to see how that
Ingram predicts the next few years will be busy ones for the
“We’ll do more in the next three years than we did in the
previous six years combined. We have essentially the same senior
management team we had six or seven years ago. We have a lot of
loyal people in our stores. I’m proudest that our people have
taken us to where we are now. They’ll be the ones to take us
where we go next.”
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