The following article is a monthly Q&A segment on Powersports Finance that offers a glimpse of what senior industry executives are thinking about outside the boardroom. Read on to find out.
Hasham Malik is the founder and chief executive of Speed Leasing LLC, a motorcycle leasing company for Harley-Davidsons and Indian Motorcycles.
While Malik has years of experience in vehicle finance with a focus on leasing, he didn’t learn about motorcycle leasing until he walked into a dealership to buy a Harley-Davidson.
“I was stunned,” Malik told Powersports Finance. “I had no idea that people were actually leasing Harley-Davidsons.”
Malik, a motorcycle enthusiast since he was 8 years old, went home to learn more about leasing in the powersports industry. After doing research and analysis, Malik decided to test the concept. Putting together $100,000, Malik took out an ad on the vehicle purchasing section of Craigslist, saying that he would lease motorcycles.
“In the first week after I put that ad on Craigslist, I got 50 phone calls,” Malik said. “I set up a company, it wasn’t Speed Leasing at the time, it was a different company name and a simple lease contract. I met with 10 people and had them pull their own credit reports off of FreeCreditReport.com. I did a quick analysis and then I leased them the bike personally.”
Of those 10 borrowers, four prepaid, two defaulted, and the other four still make their monthly payments.
Realizing that the model worked, Malik went on to found Speed Leasing, a Dania Beach, Fla.-based company that works with 300 dealers in more than 20 states.
PSF recently talked with Malik about his company’s goals, helpful advice he’s received, and industry predictions. His edited responses follow.
Powersports Finance: What are your company’s goals in 10 words or less?
Hasham Malik: To provide the best comprehensive financial solutions to the powersports industry.
PSF: What is the favorite piece of leadership advice you’ve received?
HM: One of the key things for me that I learned, reading books and articles and hearing from other CEOs, is the importance of staff and the importance of letting staff do their job. I’m really, really averse to micromanagement, and [I think] that it’s a bad business practice. There’s a saying that’s attributed to Steve Jobs that goes, ‘It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; We hire smart people to tell us what to do.’
PSF: What do you think is the most underrated trend in lending practices?
HM: I think that one of the most significant trends in lending is digital activity. Data analytics is definitely a key trend and other online companies — like LendingClub, Prosper, and OnDeck Capital — have taken data analytics and married it with the delivery of the product online. It’s all moving to online, and I think that’s going to have one of the most significant impacts in our industry because it doesn’t really exist in powersports. You can go to Carvana and you can literally buy a car online. You can rent a car with peer-to-peer car rental tools. All of these things show me that [if you don’t have an] online presence, online product delivery, and usage of various data sources, you’re going to fall behind.
PSF: What person has had the biggest influence on your career?
HM: That would be my dad. He passed away in 2000 but was a very, very successful businessman. He ran a large company and employed over 1,000 people before he sold the business. It was a brass manufacturing business, and at one point, he was the largest manufacturer of keys in the world in the late 1990s. In 1994 through 1996, every single key that went into a Ford and Chrysler came out of his factory. He was very, very successful in the way he ran his business, the way he ran his life, the way he behaved. I try really hard to follow how he was.
PSF: What’s something all of your employees would be surprised to learn about you?
HM: I love to cook. I’m told I’m a really good cook of Pakistani food. I’m Pakistani, originally, and learned from my mother how to cook Pakistani food. I’m also a single dad, so I was forced to learn how to cook about 10 or 12 years ago, and now I take a lot of pride in making very traditional Pakistani food. I’m pretty good at it, I’ve been told by my mother, who is an authority.