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Meet Raymond Ahdoot of Rays Rentals

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raymond Ahdoot.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Raymond. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started my career in the rental industry in 2001, working at a rental shop on Mission Blvd. while I went to SDSU. I was only 20 years old! I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur from a very early age… I was the kid that would sell you candy in the halls of your Jr. High, would mow your parent’s lawn in the summer and shovel the snow from their driveway in winter (yes, I’m an East Coast native). I always liked the idea of making income on my own terms. I Graduated SDSU in 2004.

In 2005, I established the first Rays Rentals location across Mission Blvd from the roller coaster. My former boss who was also my mentor, financed me. I was to pay him back (handsomely) over the next 5 years. I was in over my head. I was a 25-year-old kid with a retail store in the heart of Mission Beach with a high rent payment and an even higher loan payment. To add to that the recession hit and drastically effected the tourism market. This was the best thing to happen to me as an entrepreneur. Times got tough, very tough. I had worked for 3 years nearly straight. Often working many months in a row by myself without a day off, it was stressful and I had many sleepless nights wondering how I was going to survive another month. My back was against the wall. I learned many valuable lessons during this time but one remains the single most important tenant of my company…

CUSTOMERS ARE ROYALTY

During the lean times, I would basically worship the few customers that would come in. I would (still do) bend over backwards to do anything to make my customers happy. They were my only lifeline and I was drowning. This business is a service business – we are providing a service to the customer. Service is everything.

By 2009, my business was finally making a turn for better! Wait, skipped a major event. In late 2007, I was tapped out. My credit cards were all maxed, no money in the bank and almost no customers as it was the middle of the off season. I am one of the lucky few to have had help when I needed it. I have to give credit to my parents. Aside from all the invaluable life lessons they continue to teach me, they threw me the ultimate lifeline when I would have otherwise had to shut my doors. They saved me and they saved my business from failure. My company would not be here today if it wasn’t for their help. It’s my ultimate goal in life to provide exactly this type of help to my children, when the time comes. This was my rock bottom. I had to get there in order to go up.

Back to 2009, I had finally established some momentum. My customers’ loyalty was incredible as they and began their return visits. I made some good and lucky marketing decisions plus time passing had, all played a factor into this.

Finally, in 2011 (six years after going into biz!!) I got my first break. I was awarded a small government contract doing surf rentals and beach goodies for Marines. It was a short-term contract but helped propel me and my company to the next step.

From 2012 – 2016 we expanded, opening up 4 locations. Coronado, Pacific Beach, Newport Beach, and another one in north Mission Beach.

We are a completely different company now compared to when we started. I’m blessed with an amazing staff that works hard for our customers every day. It was the lean times that established the overall energy and mission of the company. CUSTOMERS ARE ROYALTY. We steadfastly maintain an extremely high level of customer service throughout all locations. This is paramount.

In 2016, most recently, we established Rays Rentals North Mission Beach at 3830 Mission Blvd. It’s the former home of a local competitor. What did them in was poor customer service, plain and simple. I care about my business down to my heart and soul. And customers are the most important part. Rays Rentals was my baby before I had a baby 🙂 My name is both literally and figuratively on the line!

I still forward calls to my direct line from the stores. No calls missed this way. Every call is a customer that deserves the very best on the other end of the line. On our website there is a 24-hour hotline linked directly to my mobile and yes, I have taken calls at midnight or later. I love my customers so it’s a pleasure for me!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Rays Rentals story. Tell us more about the business.
Service – Customers Are Royalty

Aside from that, we specialize in action sports rentals. Bikes, boards, blades, pretty much anything you might want for the beach! Chairs and umbrellas, quad cycles, wave runners, skateboards, everything! Also offering Pedego electric bikes now as well!

What sets us apart is our service and low prices.

Yelp ranked the Mission Beach store as the number one rental shop in SD 2016 and Pacific Beach location ranked number 5!! Pretty cool.

https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=bikerentals&find_loc=San+Diego%2C+CA

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I don’t see a lot of changes coming, aside from weather related anyway… the city bike share program doesn’t help us. Every time I see riders on them I think that money should have gone to a small local business. So what if we compete with the San Diego government with bike rentals (kiosks near a few of my stores), I’m not one to complain – those machines cost more than my stores plus they don’t treat the customers like the kings and queens they are!

Electric bikes will gain popularity which is why we partnered with Pedego, the leader in ebikes. Come try one!

Pricing:

  • $12 all day bikes with coupon
  • $12 all day surfboards with coupon and much more!

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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