Other Publications

Rent-to-Own Publications

APRO offers a wide variety of publications to help your rent-to-own business—some available to APRO members only at no charge. These publications reflect marketing, advertising, legal and financial analysis specific to the rent-to-own industry.

These reports were written by some of the leading RTO and marketing experts in the country and are crucial to your business’ growth, profitability and legal protection.

If you have questions regarding the APRO publications listed below, please contact Shelley Martinek by e-mail or by calling (800) 204-2776, ext. 109.

APRO Focus Group Research: Deep Dive to Reaching Hispanic Customers (2016)

2015 research showed the enormous potential to reaching the Hispanic customer base. Review deeper insights and strategies to recruiting Hispanics as loyal customers.
(APRO members: free; available to APRO members only)

APRO Focus Group Research: Targeting Hispanics and Millennials (2015)

Market research and recommendations on how to recruit Hispanics and millennials as new customers. Four digital document reports.
(APRO members: free; available to APRO members only)

APRO RTO Innovation Marketing: Grab that New Customer (2011)

Marketing study using knowledge gained from recent APRO focus groups, national surveys, and analyses that are a culmination of 13 years of market research. These results have helped add 1.3 million RTO customers and $3.6 billion in revenue nationwide.
(APRO members: free; available to APRO members only)

APRO RTO Industry Survey (2011 edition)

The only source of statistical information on the rent-to-own industry in the U.S.
($500, available to APRO members only)

APRO Potential RTO Customer Survey (2010 edition)

An evaluation of the rent-to-own industry’s image based on telephone and focus group surveys.
(APRO members: free; available to APRO members only)

APRO RTO Customer Satisfaction Survey (2009 edition)

A survey gauging rent-to-own customer satisfaction. The 2009 is the fourth customer satisfaction survey over 15 years and represents the most powerful marketing tool to retain your customers.
(APRO members: free; available to APRO members only)

APRO Advertising, Public Relations and Media Relations Handbook

An advertising, media relations and public relations handbook for rent-to-own dealers.
APRO members: free; non-members: $200)

APRO RTO Policies and Procedures Manual

A sample policies and procedures manual covering compensation and benefits, employee conduct, safety policies and much more! This manual is ready to be molded around your company.
(APRO members: free; available to APRO members only)

Updated! APRO Tax Audit Manual with 2012 Update

A collection of summaries and case cites to assist in defense and processing of audits.
(APRO members: free; non-members: $150)

APRO Bankruptcy Manual

A guide to assist in recovery of rental property from customers who have declared bankruptcy.
(APRO members: free; non-members: $200)

How to Locate Missing Persons: A Skip Trace Manual

Helpful advice in locating “skips” and “stolens.”
(APRO members: free; non-members: $30)

Annual Rent-to-Own Almanac

APRO’s annual membership directory and resource, listing association members by name, company and location. Includes listings of suppliers to the rent-to-own industry.
(APRO members: free; available to APRO members only)

RTOHQ: The Magazine subscription

APRO’s bi-monthly magazine for the rent-to-own industry.
(APRO members and non-members: free)

APRO RTO Legal Reference Index (1997)

A comprehensive summary of laws affecting the rent-to-own industry.
(APRO members: free; non-members: $500)

Managing For Success

A guide to hiring and keeping quality employees.
(APRO members: $30; non-members: $150)

Rent-to-Own Reports and Studies

Survey of Rent-to-Own Customers

Published by the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics
(This report is most beneficial to policy makers, news reporters, legal and legislative analysts)

While there has been considerable debate concerning the rent-to-own industry over the past decade or more, there has been little independent systematic examination of the typical experience of rent-to-own customers. FTC staff attempted to fill this gap by conducting a nationwide survey of rent-to-own customers. Between December 1998 and February 1999, more than 12,000 randomly selected U.S. households were surveyed, identifying more than 500 rent-to-own customers who were interviewed about their experience with rent-to-own stores. The survey is the first study on rent-to-own customers and the industry by a federal governmental body.

Read this report in PDF format.

APRO Annual Industry Statistical Survey and Trend Analysis

(This survey is most beneficial to financial analysts, investors, news reporters and new RTO business owners)
Every year, APRO commissions Industry Insights to conduct a benchmark study on the financial state and economic impact of the rent-to-own industry. Industry Insights has been conducting its survey since 1993 and has helped build the financial story for the rent-to-own industry for its future from its past. The survey measures the most predominant economic impact and financial figures defining rent-to-own’s economic health, such as annual revenue, number of customers, number of stores, etc. Click here to view graphs derived from the annual rent-to-own industry survey results.

It is very important that all APRO members participate in the annual survey. The numbers generated from this survey have built the rent-to-own industry’s financial and economic story, thereby contributing to the industry’s financing, public offerings, media relations and governmental representation. In 2006, APRO leaders went to great lengths to streamline the survey and provide an easy way to complete the survey through an online process. The survey questions are posted online in the spring and compiled in the summer for release in the fall.

The survey results are provided free to those APRO members who participate in that year’s survey. Copies can also be obtained by contacting Shelley Martinek by e-mail or by calling (800) 204-2776, ext. 109 or Richard May by e-mail or by calling (800) 204-2776, ext. 104.

For rental dealers who do not participate in the survey, copies cost $500. The survey is available only to APRO members.

Rent-to-Own Customer Satisfaction Report and Trend Analysis

(This analysis is most beneficial to current rent-to-own owners, advertisers and regional/store managers)

Every five years, APRO commissions nationally renowned market research company America’s Research Group to survey and define the customer satisfaction rate for the rent-to-own industry. The study surveys current rent-to-own customers throughout the country and defines the specific areas where rent-to-own companies can improve their business.

APRO commissioned its first customer satisfaction survey in 1994. This report is available to APRO members only. Please contact Richard May by e-mail or by calling (800) 204-2776, ext. 104, to obtain a copy of this report.

Rent-to-Own Potential Customer Perception and Trend Analysis

(This analysis is most beneficial to current rent-to-own owners, advertisers and regional/store managers)

With rent-to-own serving only 3 million customers from the 45 million Americans fitting the economic demographic of the rent-to-own customer, industry leaders have been grappling at how to attract the potential customer to their stores and to the rent-to-own concept. In 1997, APRO turned to Trenholm Research Group to identify the major obstacles and perceptions of the rent-to-own industry with the potential customer who fit the RTO demographics but do not rent-to-own.

APRO commissioned Trenholm Research Group again in 2004 to follow up the survey and provide the statistical framework on how to better market the RTO business to the customer that should be using it. This report is available to APRO members only. Please contact Richard May by e-mail or by calling (800) 204-2776, ext. 104, to obtain a copy of this report.

Rent-to-Own Agreements: Purchases or Rentals?

By Michael H. Anderson and Raymond Jackson Published in the Journal of Applied Business Research Spring 2003

(This article is most beneficial to policy makers, news reporters, legal and legislative analysts)

The rent-to-own business has emerged as an important component of the retailing sector. A common perception of RTO is that it is a disguised, high-interest installment agreement as most consumers eventually acquire the contracted merchandise by making all scheduled payments. The authors of this study examine the nature of RTO agreements by using a unique data set of more than 350,000 transactions drawn from 100 RTO stores in 46 states.

The main result is that RTO agreements are more frequently used for short-term needs rather than as a method of acquisition. Legislative and legal efforts to classify RTO agreements as primarily installment contracts cannot be justified by their statistically proven pattern of use in the marketplace.

Read this report in PDF format

A Reconsideration of Rent-to-Own

By Michael H. Anderson and Raymond Jackson Published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs Winter 2001

(This article is most beneficial to policy makers, news reporters, legal and legislative analyst)

University of Massachusetts finance professors Michael Anderson and Ray Jackson began their independent financial analysis and research of the rent-to-own transaction and industry after reviewing the market and realizing the that industry has been academically untapped in regards to institutional research.

As a consequence, the two professors began their series of studies with the rent-to-own industry with “A Reconsideration of Rent-to-Own” that investigates the market value and customer pattern rent-to-own provides in the American economy. “A Reconsideration of Rent-to-Own” is the introductory study of a series of research models and papers Anderson, Jackson – and later Sanjiv Jaggia -are conducting regarding the rent-to-own transaction and its impact on the American economy.

Read this report in PDF format

The Rent-to-Own Industry

By Doug Schuler and Gerry Keim Published in the Cases of Business Ethics College Textbook Winter 2006

(This chapter is most beneficial to policy makers, news reporters, legal and legislative analysts)

The rent-to-own business faced the most pressing public relations and government relations crisis an industry can ever face. Read the dynamics of a Congress wanting an entire industry put out of business and a front page Wall Street Journal article that began the attack. What did the rent-to-own industry to successfully turn around these dire circumstances to become even more successful and accepted into the American market and society?

The rent-to-own trade association, APRO, is the real-life case study for college business, political science and public relations students to study how an industry and trade association turns their most detrimental crises into a business, political and public relations success. For more information on this paper, please contact Richard May by e-mail or by calling (800) 204-2776, ext. 104.

Understanding The Asset Limited Income Constrained (ALIC) Consumer

By Jim Witte and John Mittelstaedt Released at the Macro Marketing Conference, Washington, D.C. Summer 2007

(This paper is most beneficial to policy makers, news reporters, legal and legislative analysts)

Two Clemson University Sociology Professors are studying the newly coined Asset Limited Income Constrained (ALIC) consumer in America. The rent-to-own customer represents the newly coined demographic and the sociological reasons why ALIC consumer choose very carefully and directly the choices they make as an ALIC consumer. For more information on this paper, please contact Richard May by e-mail or by calling (800) 204-2776, ext. 104.

Renting The Good Life: A Law And Economics Research Paper

By Jim Hawkins Published in the William & Mary Law Review Spring 2008

(This paper is most beneficial to policy makers, news reporters, legal and legislative analysts)

The rent-to-own business has been inspected by legal and legislative scholars for the past thirty years with a negative and mistaken premise. The University of Texas law student dissects the legal arguments against rent-to-own and its ramifications with public policy and the market. For more information or to view a copy, contact Richard May by e-mail or by calling (800) 204-2776, ext. 104.

Independent Research on Rent-to-Own

In Chronological Order:

The Federal Government and the Fringe Economy

By University of Houston Assistant Professor of Law Jim Hawkins

Published by the Chapman Law Review in Winter 2011. The paper explores the Dodd-Frank Act’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and specifically assesses the Bureau’s new power to regulate alternative financial services providers like payday lenders, rent-to-own companies, pawnshops, and auto title lenders.

Review the study

Regulating on the Fringe: Reexamining the Link Between Fringe Banking and Financial Distress

Rent-to-Own Agreements: Customer Characteristics and Contract Outcomes

By UMASS Finance Professor Dr. Michael H. Anderson and California Polytechnic State University Finance and Economics Professor Dr. Sanjiv Jaggia

Published in the Journal of Economics and Business in January 2008. The rent-to-own (RTO) industry is popular among low income consumers in part because it offers immediate access to merchandise along with the ability to cancel a transaction at any point without adverse consequence. This paper studies consumer use of RTO using a unique data base of more than 11,000 completed transactions originating between 2001 and 2004.

Download this study

Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained Consumers: A Macromarketing Perspective

By Clemson Sociology Professors Dr. James C. Witte and Dr. John D. Mittelstaedt

Published as a part of the “Macromarketing and Development: Building Bridges and Forging Alliances” study in Summer 2007. The purpose of this paper is to report on an ongoing study to understand the production, consumption and family life cycle of households that possess limited assets, and face limited prospects for income growth. The paper applies a macromarketing perspective to understanding the family structure and consumption contexts of households with income between $25,000 and $45,000, with heads of households between 25 and 55 years of age. Based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, preliminary findings suggest that these asset limited, income constrained (ALIC) households differ from higher and lower income households in terms of household structure, employment and consumption.

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Renting the Good Life

By Jim Hawkins, J.D. University of Texas School of Law

Published in the University School of Law and Economics Journal in Summer 2007. This article examines the theoretical justifications for regulating the rent-to-own industry against the backdrop with key participants in the market, recent empirical data about the industry, and the industry’s unique business model.

Download this study

Managing High Risk in a Retail Operation: The Rent-to-Own Business

By UMASS Finance Professors Dr. Michael H. Anderson and Dr. Raymond Jackson

Published in the Southern Business and Economics Journal in Spring 2006. Many types of retail businesses, including rent-to-own (RTO), serve an economically disadvantaged, high financial risk segment of the population. Using a large transactional database, the outcomes of rent-to-own contracts are examined to see whether the findings can be incorporated into a risk management system for a retailer serving these subprime clients. The incidence of positive and negative outcomes of RTO contracts is examined from the retailer’s perspective using a variety of possible predictive variables.

Rent-to-Own Agreements: Purchases or Rentals?

By UMASS Finance Professors Dr. Michael H. Anderson and Dr. Raymond Jackson

Published in the Journal of Applied Business Research in spring 2003. The authors of this study examine the nature of rent-to-own agreements by using a unique data set of more than 350,000 transactions drawn from 100 rent-to-own stores in 46 states. The main result is that rent-to-own agreements are more frequently used for short-term needs rather than as a method of acquisition. Legislative and legal efforts to classify rent-to-own agreements as primarily installment contracts cannot be justified by their statistically proven pattern of use in the marketplace.

Download this study

A Reconsideration of Rent-to-Own

By UMASS Finance Professors Dr. Michael H. Anderson and Dr. Raymond Jackson

Published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs in winter 2001. This published academic paper is the introduction of Dr. Anderson and Dr. Jackson’s financial analysis that investigates the market value and customer pattern rent-to-own provides in the American economy.

Download this study

Corporate Social Responsibility: The Rent-to-Own Industry

By Rice University Business and Government Relations Professor Dr. Doug Schuler

Published as a chapter in the College Textbook “Cases in Business Ethics” in 2001. The chapter explores the public relations and political crises the rent-to-own industry faced in the early 1990s. The chapter uses contemporary conflicts for business and political science students to better understand the relationship between business, government entities, the media and the effects thereof.

FTC Survey of Rent-to-Own Customers

Published by the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics between December 1998 and February 1999

More than 12,000 randomly selected U.S. households were surveyed, identifying more than 500 rent-to-own customers who were interviewed about their experience with rent-to-own stores. The survey is the first study on rent-to-own customers and the industry by a federal governmental body.

Download this study

For more information on APRO’s federal legislative effort, please contact Richard May by e-mail or phone at (512) 225-1051.

APRO: The Association of Progressive Rental Organizations— the official voice of the rent-to-own industry founded in 1980, APRO is the national, non-profit trade association advocating and representing the rent-to-own industry before the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, courts, media, Wall Street and the public.