EagleRider founders and co-owners Jeff Brown and Chris McIntyre remember their first rental customers like it was yesterday.
Four tourists from Austria had just returned from their motorcycle tour and insisted that the two entrepreneurs join them for dinner. During dinner, the Austrians related, with misty eyes, how the trip was the fulfillment of a boyhood dream and that they would remember it forever. To further confirm their satisfaction, the customers even picked up the bill.
The event personifies the EagleRider motto, “We rent dreams.”
From that first rental in 1994 of four Harley Davidson motorcycles out of a backyard garage in Torrance, Calif., EagleRider has grown to 51 locations in the U.S. with additional locations in eight other countries.
EagleRider handles more than 50,000 customer transactions a year. With the current dollar exchange rate and fully 55 percent of the company’s rental business coming from overseas, 2008 is tracking to be their best ever.
Overcoming Barriers to Entry
McIntyre and Brown met in the 1980s while working for National Cash Register Corporation (NCR) and became friends with a mutual interest in motorcycles. After touring the U.S. and Canada the two set their sights on Europe. But shipping their beloved Harleys abroad was both incredibly expensive and a logistical nightmare; moreover, they couldn’t find anyone in Europe that offered motorcycles for rent.