"Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread"
Joe Zawatski of North Coast Auto Sales in Cleveland, Ohio shares his story.
I've been around cars my whole life. My dad was a mechanic and each of the four boys got the chance to hang out in the garage and be a "helper". Helper meant you had to hand the tools to Pop and wipe them clean and put them away, where they belonged. I remember my room was always decorated with pictures of Pontiacs that I would send away for every year.
After I graduated from college, I took my first real job at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland Oh. I started as a Research Librarian. What a great job to learn about the history of the Automobile. I later moved to San Antonio, TX where I was the Curator/Director of the San Antonio Museum of Transportation.
After leaving there in 1984, I started Classic Car Consultants, a service specializing in appraising antique, classic and special interest automobiles. I would guess that through the years I have appraised over 1000 collector type automobiles. Around 1986, I went to work in the retail auto business in San Antonio. I have run Hyundai, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, Mazda and Honda stores.
In 2006, I went into business for myself. Although, I had great expectations, the economy wasn't my best friend. After about a year, I thought I'd be closing my doors. Then I came across Ren’T’Own through Northland in Burnsville, MN. That was in November 2007. The program was an immediate hit and I went from selling 4 to 5 cars per month, to over 15 in the first few months. It was around March of ‘08 when I was checking my receivables that I discovered I had over $250,000 due in payments. That obviously caught my eye and we started to give our full attention to RTO/LTO. (In Ohio it's called Lease’T’Own). Our best month has been 30 and that's because we were limited by one salesman. We hope to build on that this year by adding an additional salesman. We have leased over 600 cars on the program and have over 200 on the road right now.
I am excited about what the future holds for RTO/LTO. It's a concept that is catching on quickly. Cars have been sold the same way for 100 years. It's time for a change. Most all my clients come by way of referral. I do no advertising whatsoever. My clients love the freedom that they have with our leases. They are never upside down. They are not locked in for a set time period. No one offers them the freedom and the flexibility that we do.