MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s hard to listen to the radio or watch TV and not hear an ad for Renter’s Warehouse.
The Minnetonka-based company is the largest and fastest growing property management company in Minnesota. It employs 130 people. And the company isn’t just in Minnesota; it’s now expanded to 13 markets in 9 states.
It was all started by then 22-year-old Brenton Hayden, who now at 28 is trying to stay retired.
The company often makes lists of the best places to work, but it’s the numbers behind the business that makes Hayden most proud.
“We’re about 50-percent market share of the property management business in this state in just six years,” he said.
Hayden started as a stock boy at Lunds in high school. He then moved on to Kellogg as a sales representative, eventually becoming a territory manager for the company.
Then things changed.
“Seven years ago, I was evicted from my apartment and fired from my job,” Hayden said. “Never once thought I would be retired at 28 years old.”
After leaving Kellogg, he took a real estate licensing course and landed an internship with Coldwell Banker.
“As a buyer’s agent for the company, people kept asking if I could help them manage their real estate or find a rental,” says Hayden, “And I couldn’t find a business for that.”
So, at the height of the real estate market, Hayden walked away.
“I had to ask people in interviews, are you willing and able to work for someone who is 22,” Hayden said.
He started his first company: Hot Properties Realty, now known as Renter’s Warehouse. It fills rental properties and offers flat-fee property-management services.
“We just kept holding goals in front of ourselves,” Hayden said.
For Hayden, the carrot dangling has always been cars.
“The first nice car I got was a Mercedes SUV and it was $300 more in a month than I could afford, but I said, I’ll make the extra because now I have to,” says Hayden.
He expects hard work out of his agents. When the business started, he couldn’t pay much salary, but could offer commission. That model is still in play today.
“We stopped hiring people off resumes and started hiring people based on our core values,” Hayden said. “I wanted to hire more people like me.”
He hired enough people like him and dangled enough carrots — or cars, like one once owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. — that he’s now retired.
“I said I needed $7 million dollars free and clear to retire when I was 27,” says Hayden, “I’ve more than doubled that.”
He claims to be retired, but he’s still busy with the company, citing a passion for advertising, investing in new real estate and new businesses.
“I don’t have any hobbies outside of work, so I don’t know what to do with myself,” Hayden said.
Hayden has become an angel investor to young companies needing help getting started.
“I’m busier than I was when I was CEO. First I was bored, now I’m too busy,” Hayden said.
Not bad for someone who’s not even that close to 30.
Hayden never went to college, but has taken program courses at MIT and Harvard.
Not everyone likes Hayden’s politics. He once hired Glenn Beck as a spokesperson and sits on Tom Emmer’s finance committee. He said he has gotten hate mail, but is learning to live with it.