Car rental Businesses have the potential to become the next big thing in automotive space. Global economic crisis, rising fuel prices, maintenance chores, growing traffic menace are some of the many reasons for people to put off the plans to buy a new car. Owning a car is no longer a necessity, thanks to car rental/leasing businesses that have cropped up in every corner of the world. This gives the customers additional flexibility in choosing the right car in terms of seating capacity, comfort, luxury and of course, driveability for people who prefer to drive by their own. Customers can choose the cars for the specific occasion. The exceptions are fast becoming the rule, especially in big cities and semi urban areas. So how do we capitalize on this paradigm shift in customer behavior?. Well, a formidable solution can be a car rental business strategy that could actually work.
A Business plan can make or break the car rental business altogether if not deviced in the right way. No rental/leasing business can survive the challenges, novices and experts alike without a proper car rental Business strategy.
Lets start by earmarking the target customers who may be the general public or catering to a particular institution or a class of people. In this case lets consider the general public as the target customers.
The first and foremost challenge associated with a car rental business strategy, is to allocate the budget based on the projections at the end of a month. It also determines the size of the fleet. This may not workout to the fullest for the first 3 months or so but eventually will succeed.
If you are planning to raise, say $40,000 revenue per month, the projected revenue share will look like,
Monthly operational expenditure:
|Driver salary: $537 x 10 = $5370 = $179/day
|Fuel expenses : 3330kms @12 kmpl = $248/ day
|maintenance : $33.5 / day
|car wash and clean: $33.5/day
|Toll charges: $27/day
|Car parking expenses: $13.4/day
|Salary of the Business Owner: (B)
|Profit from Business: (C)
|Total Expenses (A+B+C)
Avg Charges per km(including Fuel and maintenance) : $0.4
Total kms to be run per day to achieve the target: 3333kms
Total number of cars needed to cover 3333kms: 10 cars
Out of the 10 cars, say you allocate 5 cars for outstation duties( for areas not more than 150 kms) and the remaining 5 for urban commutes. The outstation cars must travel 330kms per day and the city cars must cover 337 odd kms per day.
Lets limit the outstation locations around 330 kms round trip in the interests of maintenance costs in the initial phase of business.
If a city car is to cover 337 kms per day, it has to run 11-12 trips of an average 30 kms trip.
So each outstation car requires a customer per day and each city car requires 11 customers per day.
For this to be achieved a marketing plan for city and outstation rides is to be implemented.
How are we gonna get the customers?
The second important aspect of a car rental Business strategy, and the one that actually brings you money is the way you market it to get the maximum number of customers. Considering the case above, we need 55 customers for cars running in the city and 5 customers for cars doing outstation duties on a daily basis. That poses the real challenge. How are we gonna accomplish this?. Well that calls for a detailed marketing plan.
Posting local ads on Google playstore and Apple appstore, facebook local, Ads on local newspapers is the first step towards effective marketing. To increase the reach you can resort to placing ads on Airport lounges, train stations, handover brochures in Malls, restaurants, movies etc.,. Apartment complexes and community centers are the best places to show ads. You can also target ads on their websites and mobile apps. Using ads as radio jingles on local radio broadcasts frequently will record your brand on people’s minds.
So, the marketing expense will be,
Total expected revenue – Total expenses i.e., ($40000 – $22733) = $17,267/month
Since we are focusing only on online customers at the initial stage to get the maximum number of downloads of the Apps.
Marketing expenses = $17267 i.e., $575 per day
Facebook local Ads+ : $100
Google Search, Play Store, App store, Banner Ads : $475
Once you have decided on the size of the fleet, 10 cars in this case, you will have to decide on owning the entire fleet or a part of it. Depending on the budget, you can workout a deal with individual cab owners to join the fleet under your brand name. The cars can be brand new or sparingly used ones to start with. Older cars are a strict no as you will end up loosing a hefty sum in maintenance. The cars can be self-driven or employed with a driver. As a startup you can have small hatchbacks to begin with and gradually add all types of cars to cater all sectors of the economy like micro, mini, executive, luxury, super-luxury, limousine etc.,
The software plays a vital role in automating the processes in today’s Businesses. Choosing the right software has the highest priority in a car rental Business strategy. In car rental space, software should effectively take care of every aspect of the industry from reservations, payments, maintenance to reporting in order to run hassle-free. Quite a handful of providers are in the market for car rental management systems. But only a few are right up there to meet the demands of the modern car rental business. Nikola by Smartcar Tech is one such software that encompasses everything and promises a few more in terms of quality, value and user friendliness. Nikola is a car rental/leasing platform which also doubles up as a taxi dispatch software which makes it all the more versatile. It is also the only provider to be future-ready incorporating the support for driver-less cars era.
Managing the drivers is a task by itself. A detailed code of conduct has to be laid down, their qualification to be analysed and their records to be maintained. Misbehaving drivers pose a serious threat to your business. And drivers with a criminal record, alcoholics are to be avoided at any cost as one bad incident can severely affect the overall car rental business. The vehicles need to be tracked real-time using GPS and on-board cameras to monitor reckless driving, unscheduled routes taken and fuel expenses incurred. All these can be achieved easily using powerful software.
Scheduled and unscheduled maintenance:
For a car rental business to run smoothly, you would want to maintain your cars like new till the end of its service life. You must keep track of each car’s service schedule. The software should remind you of the service due well in advance. This will ensure trouble free rides and keep you away from unexpected bill shocks. Cars that are rented out as self-driven are at the most risk of unscheduled maintenance. You will have to collect a security deposit based on the category of car, season etc.,. All the cars should be properly insured and if in the case of self-driven vehicles its better to offer a comprehensive insurance package atleast as an option at an additional cost.
Maintaining an inventory for spare parts that require the most frequent replacement is another important thing in improving the readiness of cars all the time.
Ways to get additional income:
Your car rental Business strategy can go an extra mile and earn you more. You can think out of the box to pamper the customers. Think of providing some value added services at an extra cost which may be beneficial both ways. They may be travel insurance, delayed flight expenses, free Wifi, basic road-side assistance for self-driven cars etc.,. These services will go a long way in instilling confidence and goodwill among the customers. Up-selling and cross-selling products offered by service partners like restaurants, movies, shopping etc., through promos on mobile app will earn mutual benefits.
So a car rental business can be highly rewarding for young entrepreneurs who have a penchant for trying something innovative. If deployed with the right car rental Business strategy, using modern technology by the way of excellent set of software, you have a promising business at hand.
1.Will this Car rental Business strategy work for taxi dispatch business also?
A car rental Business strategy involves you to invest a little more than in a taxi dispatch Business. A car rental business may require higher investment by the way of buying and maintaining cars. A taxi dispatch business does away with that and may require a different business plan.
2. can this car rental business strategy work for self driven car rental services?
Yes, of course, this car rental business strategy will work, provided the software incorporates features to manage customer inflicted damages to the car, proper insurance packages etc.,