The cover story for the summer issue of RTOHQ: The Magazine profiles APRO’s new president, Louis Garcia, who took the helm after a few shuffles within the board. This Rent-A-Center franchisee—the association’s first Latino leader—hopes to reinvigorate the association and the industry through education. “We need to rebuild APRO’s membership by helping people understand what the association does and how it works for our industry,” he says. “As president of APRO, it’s my responsibility to make sure dealers are aware that this is the organization that watchdogs legislative issues, pursues them and keeps them in check, so they don’t blow up in our faces. APRO’s not just about a trade show; it’s about giving back to our industry, and a whole lot more.” Find out how Garcia plans to achieve his goals while in the top spot, and discover the road he traveled to get where he is today. As his surprising ascent to the top demonstrates, sometimes you have to expect the unexpected: “This is bound to be a transitional year for APRO,” Garcia predicts. “We have our first new executive director in 28 years, she’s a woman in this male-dominated industry and now we’ve got our first Hispanic president. There are going to be changes. I believe they will be positive ones.”
As Ed Winn III, APRO’s general counsel, observes in his latest feature, “OSHA and RTO,” the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is one federal program that’s been really effective. Before OSHA was signed into law in 1970, 14,000 U.S. workers were killed on the job every year. By 2010, that number had fallen to 4,500, while the size of the workforce had nearly doubled. While rent-to-own is considered a fairly safe occupation, there are still risks involved that require rental dealers to be diligent in protecting their employees—most notably, the risk of blood-borne pathogens that end up on mattresses and other RTO furniture.
For those who attended Fuse 2017 in Galveston, you’ve already heard what featured speaker Jay Baer thinks about listening to customer complaints. In the feature “Haters Gonna Hate,” writer Kristen Card prompts Baer to tell us more about how businesses can be made better by embracing those who are, in his words, pissed off.
Over the past decade, RTOHQ: The Magazine has featured profiles on rental dealers from coast to coast, old and new, and everything in between. In this issue, Gwen Fariss Newman focuses on a particular type of entrepreneur: business partners. In “The Power of Partnerships,” learn how a Texas trio of Premier Rental-Purchase dealers—Brian Clussman, Trinidad Rubio and Roy Soto—successfully joined forces and have remained friends through it all.
An employee manual can help define your business’ procedures, policies and culture. It can also reduce the risks of lawsuits. In our feature “You Can Judge an Employee Handbook by What it Covers,” get some tips on what to include, and exclude, from the “company bible.”
Note: Starting with this issue, RTOHQ: The Magazine, will be published quarterly instead of six times a year. APRO is in the process of fortifying its online communications via its website, rtohq.org, as well as the email newsletter, RTO Today, and social media accounts. “We want to be more effective in addressing our members’ needs, and that points to more online communication,” says Jill McClure, APRO’s executive director.