April 23, 2006

Fort Worth Business Press

Entrepreneur builds on curb appeal with latest technology

Ten years ago, when Warren Prescott launched his Rent a Frog Valet venture from his apartment, he never dreamed that he'd be running four additional businesses, each a spin-off from the parent company that continues growing by leaps and bounds.

Now 34, the Houston native is keeping ahead of his competitors by applying the latest cutting-edge technology to his successful endeavors.

"I can't believe I'm still doing this, but it's still such fun," he says. "And now after 10 years, we've realized there's a better way to do it. I've embraced technology to help run my business more efficiently."

Prescott parked cars all through college and began his valet-parking service shortly after graduating from TCU in 1996 with a degree in journalism and business. He was working full time at Pro Staff temporary agency and valet parking cars on the side. He became so busy moonlighting that he hired a college student – hence the name Rent A Frog – to answer the phone and take orders.

Today, it's grown into two separate businesses in three locations handling about 2,000 gigs per year and employing as many as 400 part-time staff, mostly college students looking to earn extra cash. Rent A Frog Valet services Fort Worth, Arlington and surrounding areas to the west and south. In 2002, Prescott started Golden Triangle Valet with offices in Grapevine and, as of last year, Plano. Its coverage area includes Colleyville, Southlake, Flower Mound, Dallas, Frisco and McKinney.

Prescott says referrals keep his valet business hopping, and many of his clients are repeat customers.

"I feel like I'm providing a helpful service because it's such a luxury," he says. "People don't have to hire us. It makes me feel good to help people and to have the same customers over and over."

Clients are happy

One repeat client, University Christian Church in Fort Worth, has been with Prescott almost from day one.

"Warren is great. He runs a tight ship and has a good business. He's the only one we've ever used because he's just so terrific," says Peggy Ivey, assistant director of facilities at the church.

Rent A Frog is highly visible at other churches as well as at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, and at public and private parties and charity events. The company's visibility increased at the beginning of this year when Prescott launched yet another business: Rent A Frog Moving & Concierge, serving a 300-mile radius and specializing in small moves and odd jobs for residential and business use.

But what gets Prescott most excited is his new technology venture. Six years ago, he created a scheduling software that managed his company and employees. Now, he's teaming up to market the software, called PepperNet, with two area leading mobile content providers.

"As technology becomes cheaper and better, it makes our business better and more efficient. It's helped make us run seamlessly," Prescott says. "I'd like to be known for more than just putting people on the curb. I'd like to become known for taking our ideas and helping make others more efficient with our software."

Contact Dillard at bdillard@bizpress.net