The California Rental Dealers must stand organized and united. Recent national and local issues demand that our industry be organized and ready to prevent intrusions on our industry, our businesses and our livelihood, especially in the large state of California.
Historically, what occurs in California will affect the rest of the nation and vice-versa. Not having an organization leaves us vulnerable to the State and Local Legislatures dictating how we as an industry conduct business without our input. Right now we have no voice, no power, and no protections. Our businesses can no longer allow this to continue. We need this organization to represent Californian Dealers as a whole, to provide a unified voice for our industry. As a small local dealer, I can’t think of anything more important. I want to be informed and ready for anything that might occur.
Most of you reading this may think, “Why do we need an association, when we already operate under the most stringent laws in the country?” The answer to this is found within the question itself. Reflect back to when the laws were enacted. At that time California didn’t have any organization, strength, or unity and because of this we are required to abide by these laws in order to transact business in California. This is why we need an association. Remember, Legislators do not ask for our permission to pass laws, they just do it. This is why we need a strong association in our state. We can not assume that we are protected by our current legislation. Take action now and protect our businesses and livelihood. I urge you to become an active member of CAL-APRO.
To learn more about the benefits of CAL-APRO membership or how to apply for membership to CAL-APRO, please use the links listed below.
Paul M. Davis
1. Members of this association have at their disposal:
- Copies of legal, full disclosure rental agreements
- Copies of the current California Rental Act
- Copies of Fair Collection Practices and Procedures
- Surveys and results
- Facts and information of current legislation and tax laws
- Facts and information of current industry laws
2. Your voice in the legislative process is heard through:
- The combined force of rental dealers from across the state
- Voicing your opinion on the floor of the general assembly at conventions and seminars formulating CAL-APRO policy
3. A source for information in bookkeeping procedures including:
- Preparing financial reports for bankers
- Depreciation concerns
4. A source for information relating to legal issues including:
- Compliance with California Rental Purchase Act
- State and federal collection laws
- State and federal tax laws
5. General information and educational opportunities including:
- Sharing advice and experiences
- Introduction to manufacturers who support our industry
- Liaison to the national association, Association of Progressive Rental Organizations
- Educational seminars to enhance employee productivity
- Monthly Association Updates
Your membership helps guarantee your right to do business. Since 1993, there have been seven federal bills that would cripple the national rent-to-own industry, pre-empting every state RTO law that protects the right for rent-to-own dealers to conduct business. The creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has brought many more attacks upon the industry and will continue to do so.
Whether it’s been powerful Senators such as Charles Schumer (D-NY) or the CFPB, the rent-to-own industry is always a potential target. Only APRO and its grassroots effort that educates lawmakers on the industry’s value to consumers has kept the industry viable for decades.
Join APRO dealers across the nation in Washington, D.C. for the APRO Annual Legislative Conference where you and hundreds of your colleagues meet with your U.S. House of Representatives and Senators to protect and promote the rent-to-own industry.
Those national surveys and focus group studies and action plans culminated to 2015’s most comprehensive survey and action steps to recruit the customer who fits the rent-to-own demographics, but does not currently rent-to-own.
In 2015, APRO conducted 14 focus groups in the country focusing on the Y generation and Hispanics. Focus group participants fit the economic profile of rent-to-own customers but do not currently rent-to-own. In fact, the economic demographics were a little higher, showing rent-to-own has room for a slightly higher income.
The results were astounding, as the data was consistent throughout showing a detailed marketing plan that can address how to recruit the two fastest growing demographics. The study produced four action plan documents:
- APRO Focus Group Action Plan
- APRO Focus Group Executive Summary
- APRO Online Marketing Action Plan
- Deep Dive: Targeting Hispanics and Millennials
These action steps outline what it will take to stay competitive and thrive in tomorrow’s market and are available to APRO members only.
Consumer facing website, ShopRTO.com, is a consumer-friendly website offering tips and trends for the affordable home lifestyle. Articles focus on affordable home furnishing tips and when and where RTO can help them in their lives. ShopRTO.com was created from the 2011 marketing plan as both an introductory webpage for consumers in general and as an SEO tool.
Because the site brings in a brand new visitor, it introduces them to the RTO concept. The significance of the site is that, according to Google Analytics, the most popular page visited is the “store locator.” Visitors read enough about rent-to-own, then look for stores in their area.
Only APRO member stores are listed.
As a consequence, it is imperative that your marketing plans implement an aggressive, organic page ranking strategy known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Much of SEO can be done in-house and APRO members can use ShopRTO.com and RTOHQ.org as a major part of their campaigns.
While ShopRTO.com was created as a consumer facing website, its back-end and front-end were built with a deliberate and researched SEO strategy and framework. The SEO strategy is built around the “affordable home furnishing” search term, giving rent-to-own dealers a broader keyword range. ShopRTO.com has become an authority site giving it enormous credibility with Google.
One of the most powerful SEO tactics can be links from authority sites such as ShopRTO.com and RTOHQ.org. APRO members can offer articles for ShopRTO.com whereas we link back to their site, giving them increased visibility and a significant boost for their website and company’s SEO efforts.
In regards to RTOHQ.org, it is an authority site built around the search term “rent-to-own.” APRO members are urged to send their company news for inclusion in APRO’s newsletter to then be linked back to their website, offering another powerful SEO tactic. Both of these authority sites’ backlinks are available to APRO members only.
It is also highly recommended that APRO members link their sites back to ShopRTO.com and RTOHQ.org, as crosslinks from websites are also valuable boosts to an organic SEO strategy. APRO provides those link badges to members only.
Another smaller yet important SEO tactic is to have your employees and customers sign up for ShopRTO.com’s newsletter. They will receive affordable home furnishing articles with links to further improve ShopRTO’s SEO status, especially in your area. The more SEO credibility ShopRTO has with Google, the better the back-links are for your site and the number one page is “store locator” on ShopRTO’s site.
Your employees need to sign up for RTOHQ.org’s newsletter for the same reasons. As more APRO members boost each other’s SEO efforts through links, crosslinks and backlinks, it builds momentum and improves each member’s online visibility, benefiting all parties. APRO will only link back to members.
Retailers throughout America are spending a majority of their time and budget on their SEO as they know it is often the first and most important shopping step for consumers. APRO members need to use every opportunity to their advantage and APRO provides two extremely powerful authority sites.
APRO offers cutting-edge education in all areas of the industry to help you and your employees succeed. You’ll find educational resources through APRO that are not available anywhere else.
Attend the #1 event for the rent-to-own industry, the APRO National Convention & Trade Show. In addition to industry updates, networking opportunities, great deals for your business in the APRO exhibit hall, fabulous locations and entertaining social events, you’ll find unsurpassed industry education at APRO’s RTO Education Day. APRO members receive a deep discount to APRO events.
APRO RTOHQ Live Learning Center offers access to audio and video recordings from live educational sessions at your convenience – all year long.
Take advantage of the collective wisdom of APRO’s family of rental dealers and learn the best operating tips, vendor contacts, customer retention tips, advertising techniques and more. You will make lifelong friends as well. Every APRO member will testify that networking is one of the most valuable assets of your APRO members.
As an APRO member, you will have access to powerful marketing studies to help keep your current customers satisfied and to reach the 40 million potential new customers that fit the RTO customer demographic.
APRO’s media relations can help you navigate negative media attacks that have crippled the industry for decades.
APRO awards various annual scholarships to deserving students who have a parent employed in the rent-to-own industry or are themselves RTO employees of an APRO member company through the APRO Educational Scholarship Foundation.
APRO general counsel, Ed Winn III, provides limited free legal advice to APRO members. Winn is the leading legal rent-to-own expert in the country with nearly 30 years experience. Your membership gives you the access to RTO’s most knowledgeable legal expert and the legal issues affecting your business.
Wage-and-hour consultation with Cowles & Thompson, P.C. provides limited free wage and hour consultation to members.
Commercial insurance with Relation Insurance Services, the commercial insurance agency endorsed by APRO, offers property, liability, auto and workers’ compensation insurance programs customized to fit the needs of rent-to-own dealers.
APRO Member Business Statistical Surveys are invaluable APRO member banking and investment tools. These are the only studies of their kind that are available to rent-to-own companies to use for loans, growth and investor relations. These studies help your bankers and investors understand your business in financial terms. These are available to APRO members only.
Disaster Relief Fund assists APRO member employees to help them recover from natural disasters.