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Meet Sandra Edwards of Wheelz On Time

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandra Edwards.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sandra. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I created Wheelz On Time as a result of being introduced to the rent-to-own custom wheel and tire concept while I was living in Miami, Fl. I remember thinking at the time that I had never heard of rent-to-own tires before!

Being a native Chicagoan, my first thoughts were on the weather. Since winters are pretty long here, being in the rent-to-own custom wheel business was going to require a warehouse for storage, since more times than not the wheels have to be removed from the cars during snow season. Between that and the customer demographic (which tends to be the 20 something market) it didn’t seem like any thing I’d be doing.

But, when I moved back to Chicago a couple of years later, the idea came back to me. I ignored it at first, but it literally wouldn’t go away. So I did some research on the subject and decided to change the business model to tires only. My thinking was to build a business that would serve working class people who need help maintaining one of their most valued assets…their vehicle. So my husband and I took out a personal loan to test the idea and Wheelz On Time was founded in 2012 and launched in a garage in downtown Chicago in June 2014.

We were happy to find not only did it work, but that there is this whole segment of consumers whose new tire financing needs are being grossly underserved.

Less than six months after opening it became obvious that in order to serve our growing customer base more effectively we were going to have to make some changes to our distribution channel.

So instead of opening more brick and mortar stores, we closed the one we were currently in and went online. Basically, we pivoted to a point of sale finance company. We did this by establishing a retail partner program which allows us to not only help our customers get the financing they need, but it also helps tire merchants who serve communities/consumers that have credit challenges or are on strict budgets to build their customer base and increase their incremental sales.

At this point, we are preparing to launch a new p2p funding site. It’s very encouraging to look back and see how this company is constantly evolving. I’m excited about the possibilities.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Initially, educating our market about the benefits of rent-to-own tire was probably our biggest obstacle.

Wheelz On Time – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Basically, Wheelz On Time is a “no credit needed” new tire finance company. We work with new tire merchants who need a supplemental financing option for their customer who don’t qualify for the credit card financing offered by most merchants.

Wheelz On Time is known for providing obtainable financing. I’m proud that I am able to offer a rent-to-own product that provides the convenience that the industry is known for, for half the cost of traditional rent-to-own providers which is also what sets us apart for the others.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Due to my professional trucking background one of the things I ways I try to give back to the community is to teach free Women Car Care clinics during the summer months.

This two hour hands on workshop provides women with information to help them perform light maintenance on their own vehicle. My proudest moment would definitely have to be the day that I was honored to have a workshop with a family that included three generations, grandmother, mother and daughter! I thought…wow how cool!

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