Small Business and Franchise Success Stories

Brad Murray and friends on the road.
Brad Murray knew that it was time for change.

He had worked in construction for 40 years and was let go from the company he last worked (for 21 of those years) because he needed time off for health reasons. He sued the organization and won, but the entire exchange left a bad taste in his mouth and he decided not to return to the industry.

While he was searching for something new, he met a man who owned a motorcycle rental company and was looking to sell the business.

Murray's father coincidentally ran a Yamaha franchise when he was young, so he had raced motorcycles in the past—in fact; he'd been riding since he was 11 years old. This opportunity to take on a motorcycle business seemed like serendipity.

After a few Google searches and phone calls, Murray found Guidant.

"There wasn't a bank in the world that would help me get this company. I couldn't even tap into my home equity because I didn't have a job," he said.

Murray made the decision to move forward and use money from his retirement accounts to purchase the existing business. He was pleased with Guidant's customer service from start to finish.

"I just want you to know that the quality of people you sent me to for the different phases of the rollover process was amazing." He goes on to say, "Every single one of them is fantastic and they treated me like they really, really care. It was a great experience."

Since opening earlier this year, Murray has seen better results than he expected.

The previous owner would not accept one-day rentals, but Murray realized there was a demand for that service, so he offers that option to his customers. He also stays open late to accommodate those who can only pick up their motorcycles after work.

"It's really sort of an inventory management gig because you don't want anything on the shelf. That's where you're making money."

Murray handles all of the scheduling and rentals while his wife Carol manages the marketing.

"We are both learning a lot about the marketing part of it and where to go. She [Carol] travels a lot—handing out fliers and setting up shop at events."

At present, Murray rents out seven bikes, but hopes to one day have 10 – 12.

He says he's had renters from all over the world, including Australia and New Zealand. His clients sometimes take the bikes out for as long as a month to explore the whole country. He also allows renters to take the bikes to Canada.

"The fun part is to hear their stories when they get back—where they went, who they met and what they saw," says Murray. "It's phenomenal."

For safety reasons Murray is very selective during the rental process. Customers must have experience on heavy touring bikes in addition to a valid motorcycle endorsement on their license. He also uses intuition as his guide and reserves the right to deny rental to any individual at his discretion.

Risks and all, Murray feels fortunate to enjoy his work and hopes to run the business for many years.

"I love doing this, I love Harley-Davidson and I love people. It's amazing that I get to do this for a living."

Interested in renting a motorcycle? Visit Oregon Motorcycle Rentals official website or visit their Facebook page.