Shawn DiLeo has been in the rent-to-own (RTO) business for his entire career, starting in the early ‘90s when he took a job with a small appliance store called Rent-A-Vision. Industry giant Rent-A-Center, took note of DiLeo’s skills as an operator and recruited him to run a store in Geneva, New York. DiLeo moved up through the ranks quickly, becoming a manager, then a district manager, and eventually as a director of more than 60 stores.
After years of working in a variety of capacities for Rent-A-Center, DiLeo decided to enter the game as a franchisee, purchasing two Aarons franchise locations. Before long, DiLeo decided to return to Rent-A-Center, investing in the franchise’s subsidiary brand ColorTyme and later a new wheel and tire concept by Rent-A-Center called RimTyme. DiLeo opened two ColorTyme stores in 2008 and eventually grew his operation to include seven units in addition to three payday loan stores.
So when Shawn DiLeo says that RimTyme is one of the best business opportunities in the industry, he knows what he’s talking about.
“If you are looking for a rent-to-own business, you can’t do better than RimTyme,” he said.
RimTyme is a rent-to-own custom wheel and tire concept offered by Rent-A-Center with 35 locations owned by five franchisees, with each having a multi-unit and multi-state operation.
“Across the $8.5 billion rent-to-own sector, with its approximately 6,700 brick and mortar locations, we’re pretty confident that our RimTyme brand is the single highest-per-store revenue producer nationally,” said Michael Landry, VP of Franchise Development for Rent-A-Center. “With the top 20 percent of our stores generating revenues over $2.2 million in 2017 and our average near $1.5 million, the brand and our group of 100% multi-unit franchisees deserve the bragging rights.”
Operationally, the wheel and tire franchise is similar to a Rent-A-Center operation, but RimTyme has its own unique branding, marketing as well as a unique automotive culture.
“I knew the strength of the Rent-A-Center model, and the idea of applying that to a new opportunity with a new and exciting wheel and tire model that has so much territory available was exciting,” DiLeo said. “I saw enormous growth potential.”
Even with initially high hopes for the venture, DiLeo says the success of his RimTyme operation has exceeded his expectations. His stores in Ohio, Indianapolis, Kentucky and Tennessee have all performed exceedingly well, despite their varying climates.
“I expected different results from my stores in each location,” he said. “Three of my stores get snow, two don’t. I assumed that would have an impact on sales and I’d strategize future growth accordingly, but all of them have done very well. Everyone needs tires and wheels, and we’ve been there to fill that need.”
In addition to the vast range of available territory and a universal demand for RimTyme’s services, DiLeo attributes much of his rapid growth over the past five years to the same operational efficiency that allowed him to scale up his Rent-A-Center stores years earlier.
“They make it so easy,” he said. “They set you up with marketing, training, operations support, everything. It’s a turn-key operation, which is amazing for someone like me who wants to come in and build something very big, very quickly.”
But Landry, is quick to point out that equal credit is owed to DiLeo.
“I probably shouldn’t say this in an interview for fear that another franchise company might want to recruit our franchisee, but Shawn is just the ideal franchisee,” Landry said. “But I’ve seen his same-store sales increases and his growth ambitions, so I think he’ll be with us for a long time.”
Landry says DiLeo’s experience with multiple brands in the rent-to-own industry prepared him to become the ideal RimTyme franchisee.
“Shawn’s decades-long experience with some of the biggest brands in the rent-to-own segment — Rent-A-Center, Aaron’s and ColorTyme — gave him the foundational experience to excel,” Landry said. “That deep experience is on full display in his RimTyme operation, which is steadily expanding across several states. The success he’s having with RimTyme comes as no surprise.”
DiLeo currently has three new RimTyme stores in development, all set to open within the next 12–18 months. As his business has grown, DiLeo says he’s also been well assisted by RimTyme’s field-support team.
“The support staff has been amazing,” he said. “The field consultant works with my team, helps select locations, assists with store design, provides both soft opening and grand opening support, and comes out to my stores to help with audits, operations and anything else we might need an extra hand for.”
DiLeo says both Rent-A-Center and RimTyme have proven lucrative opportunities for him, and he’s excited to continue growing with both.
“The Rent-A-Center franchising model is fantastic, and to have that same, proven model applied to wheels and tires has been a home run,” he said. “The branding, support, marketing, operations, training, — everything has been perfected. These are the best brands in rent-to-own, and RimTyme is the best-kept secret in the industry.”