A Startup SMB Tech Company 30 Years Ago

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Posted by John Beagle

by John Beagle

Tom Hornyak, founder of Micro Rental Service, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based technology rental firm celebrates 30 years in business this month. Congratulations Tom. No easy feat considering that only 37% of companies in the IT industry survive more than 4 years according to a University of Tennessee research report.

How did Tom get his SMB off the ground and why the technology rental industry?

Photo: Tom Hornyak, Owner Micro Rental Service, Inc.

Tom graduated from Penn State and passed his CPA exam on the first try and immediately went to work with one of the 'Big 8' public accounting firms.

So why six years later did Tom start a company that rented computers to business? Tom said, "The reason that I left public accounting was that I found out that I wasn't going to make partner as they weren't admitting new partners at the time. I had been an audit manager for about 6 years and I could have stayed as a principle but I decided it was time to leave. At the time I was the only one in the entire firm that had a computer, an IBM XT with a 10 gig. hard drive. I saw the potential in this new [computer rental] industry and decided to go out on my own."

"I saw the potential in this new industry and decided to go out on my own."

At first Tom was doing computer training and installing PC based accounting systems in other SMBs.

As the owner of a small business, Tom was responsible for just about everything, from selling, purchasing, managing, payroll, finance, everything. Hell, I even cut the grass in the summer and plowed the snow in the winter.

Tom explains that Micro Rental Service, Inc.is a relatively small company by design as much as by circumstance. Although the Pittsburgh market isn't all that large, they have found a nice niche. Micro Computer Rentals, Inc. is the largest and oldest computer rental business in the Pittsburgh area.

When Tom started, he was doing a lot of PC training in Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect. He had some out of town clients from his accounting days that requested that they come to Pittsburgh for him to train them.

They requested that Tom's company find a suitable space and rent some PCs for them to use for the training and they would pick up the cost. At that time, there were no companies renting PC's in the area or anywhere in the US for that matter.

Tom borrowed some money and purchased computer equipment for the training business. The rental business sprang from that.

One of MRS's first customers was Ticketron, the national ticketing company. Tom did a small deal for them at Pitt Stadium where they rented an IBM XT to connect to their ticketing machine. A few months later they requested that a couple more XT's be shipped to their main office in New York City. Tom tried to get out of the New York conrtact, suggesting that they could find someone in New York City to handle it. They told him that since they were so satisfied with his service in Pittsburgh, they wanted to use him nationwide. Over the next 4-5 years he had systems as far away as Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, the Milwaukee Bucks Arena, Florida, New Jersey, and Chicago. Those were the great rental days when the customer kept the equipment for years and years. This one customer helped me pay for my building and get my start in the rental business.

This month marks the 30th year in business for Micro Rental Service, Inc. Congratulations, Tom Hornyak!

Legal Name Micro Rental Service, Inc.
State of Incorporation and date PA 4/1/1984
Current Address of Business 4390 Rt. 8, Allison Park, PA 15101
Main Products or Services Short-term technology rentals, computer network installation and consulting, computer repair and equipment sales
Industry Certifications , Microsoft, Cisco
Website: www.mrsmmc.com