If you’re curious about the Payday Loan business, read this!
I had never been inside a check cashing place, until I opened one. It was an unexpected and unusual career event.
At that time I owned a well regarded and in demand computer and systems company. Our primary market was Universities and Colleges. I was tired of computers, of technology and the big city grind.
On a whim, I moved to a very small city (Vero Beach), from a large city (Ft. Lauderdale). Vero is a great little place, but there’s not much going on business-wise. And I tried to run a little computer shop. My heart wasn’t in it, and after a few months, I was closing it down.
Next door to me was Check Cashing/ Payday Loan place. The business was owned by a local businessperson, and they were giving it ZERO time and attention. The loan employee was always late, always left early, took long lunches, and the clients kept coming in. As I was closing down MY non-busy store, I was approached by the payday store owner if I wanted to take it over. I had nothing else going on, so I agreed. We drew up a one page contract. My first time in a Check Cashing store was the day I took it over. This was March.
Originally, I went in with the owner of the building, but quickly bought him out.
I’m 90 days in. And I’ve spent $8,000 to get into the business. I’m now the sole owner. Remember, I don’t know ANYTHING yet. I bought Jer’s book about Payday lending, I joined the State and National Association. I found a software program that would track my loans and create loan documents. I went to any/every meeting within 500 miles.
Just as I’m gaining momentum, I’m paid a visit by State officials. It seems that a regulation was passed that required me to have a LICENSE to operate. I had to CLOSE down for 3 months while my application was being processed. For those three months, I’m living on Credit cards. But paying rent/phones/ utilities to secure the location. And this location wasn’t fancy. NO bulletproof windows, or cameras, or high tech.
I re-opened in October. I’d joined up with a funding partner. By Dec 31, we had enough revenue to:
* Pay back all my expenses, and outlays from day 1.
* Pay me a Salary back from Day 1.
* Equip the store with state of the art equipment, cameras, computers and printers
* And we still made a profit for the end of the year.
Starting with that one small location, we grew to 4 stores, and 2 of those were superstar locations. Each one doing $30-$35k per month in fees.
Because I’m foolish, I wandered off into other investments. Got into some consulting. Began working in online lending.
Looking back, my storefronts were exceptionally stable operations. Low collections, good staff. Nice customers. The other stuff was fun to do, but by solid measures, the stores were a top-notch businesses.
If you have the opportunity to get into a store front. Don’t be a snob, or think it’s not worth it. It absolutely is. I got back many, many more times my original $8,000 investment.