At InTempo, a number of our employees have years of first-hand experience working in rental stores, whether that's behind the counter or in the yard. These people don’t just know software; they know firsthand what it takes to run a rental business, and they understand the challenges and roadblocks that can get in the way. That's one of the leading reasons rental companies choose our software; they know that when they need help, we're there to provide proven best practices and effective solutions.
We asked two of these employees to tell us how they got into the rental business and how their background helps them better serve our customers. We’ll hear from Jeff Loomis, Director of Business Development, and Tim Johnson, Director of Operations.
Q: How did you get your start in the rental industry?
Jeff: Back in the 80s, I was working as a musician in Los Angeles. At some point, I realized I needed a full-time job. And that’s where the story begins. There was a local rental yard next to my house. I applied there and the manager there called me three times. On the third time, he told me it was the last time he was going to call me. So finally, I showed up. He was my first boss and we’re still good friends to this day.
Tim: I married into it. My wife’s father bought a rental store in Oceanside, California. I was a shoe salesman at the time. He brought me in to work in the rental store with the thought that I would work my way into management over time.
Q: What was your role at the store?
Jeff: I started as a yard guy. I’d wash the equipment and load it onto our customers’ trucks and deliver to jobsites. I was able to learn about all different types of equipment — how it’s used and how it operates. After that, I worked at the rental counter and ran the operation on weekends by myself.
After a few years, I had worked at several of the 20 locations we owned from San Fernando Valley to Anaheim and was asked to run our new location in Torrance, CA. In 1994, that company was then acquired and I was relocated to Buena Park, CA. where I worked the rental counter for a few years and then I was asked to take over purchasing for our five locations. Then in 1998, United Rentals came in and bought us, and we were using RentalMan at the time. The team at United Rentals saw I had a lot of knowledge about the system, so they sent me to help install RentalMan in other locations. From there, I ended up at Wynne Systems and now InTempo. I didn’t have a computer background, but the team at Wynne said, “We can teach somebody computers but we can’t teach the industry.” So that’s how I got my start in software.
Tim: I did everything — mechanical work, welding, chair cleaning — whatever needed to be done. Basically, I did everything that anybody would do in a rental store. I ended up getting into management. We had two stores, one for general rental and one for medical. At one point, we were part of Taylor Rental. Eventually, we got out of the equipment business altogether and became party rental.
Before we split from Taylor Rental and become independent, we used a software program called TOPIC. Once we dropped the franchise, we had to find an alternate to TOPIC. At that point our needs were simplistic — we were just looking to run reports to total taxes and get delinquency reports. I ended up as a Solutions by Computer customer with the earliest release of CounterPro. And that’s how my journey to InTempo began.
Q: How has your background in the rental industry shaped your work now?
Jeff: I know the pain points. I know what it takes to do certain things in the system — what ‘s involved in taking the order, exactly what the yard guy is going to do when he pulls the order, and what the delivery process will be because I used to do all that myself. Even something like what equipment fits on the same vehicle — that’s not experience you can get any other way except by doing it yourself. On the accounting side, you’ll need to know things like how to collect on a customer that isn’t paying or the accounts receivable balance.
My philosophy is it’s not just about software, but how it’s going to help you with your business. At Wynne Systems, I have done over 40 implementations, managed the support team and performed hardware upgrades. With this broad experience under my belt, it made sense to transition to business development and apply my knowledge to help rental businesses. I don’t consider myself a sales guy. The people I talk to know I’m not trying to sell them something they don’t need, I don’t do that. My goal is to find the right solution to help them succeed. Nobody wants to be sold to, and that’s the rule I live by.
Tim: I can evaluate every call or case that comes in, and know what the urgency is based on my knowledge of the rental business. Somebody who doesn’t know the business as well might see a certain case and think it’s not a big deal. But for somebody like me who has been in the industry, I look at it differently and can see the crippling effects a problem can have on a business. I also am better able to “talk rental” with store owners and managers. When they say they want something, I can give them insight on how to think all the way through an issue. It helps them make better decisions so, in turn, we can do a better job of helping them solve their problems.