How many times have you looked out your branch window at the cars moving through the ready and return lines and thought, “I have the experience and know-how to be doing this for myself?”
Is the next question, “Do I have the working capital and appetite for risk to pull it off?”
Many mid-level RAC managers dream of running their own car rental business as either a franchisee or an independent, yet typically the biggest single obstacle preventing them from fulfilling that dream is limited working capital.
From implementing a new marketing and business plan and selecting and securing a location to sourcing and disposal of vehicles, the idea of striking out on one’s own can be downright daunting.
Yet what if you had a partner with international brand recognition willing to cover vehicle and facility expenses, thereby allowing you to focus solely on managing the operation and business development?
Would you then say, “I can do this”?
Avis Budget Group’s Independent Operator Program is well-suited for those with an entrepreneurial spirit who may not have the financial resources to get a new location off the ground. And the program is not limited to people with car rental company experience.
Independent Operator Program
While the major local market competitor has expanded through corporate-owned stores, and others have enticed their licensees to open smaller (non-airport) locations, Avis Budget decided to increase its brands’ local market presence through a unique, hybrid program.
Initially started by Avis then adopted by Budget when the two companies merged, the Independent Operator Program combines corporate support with local knowledge and entrepreneurial commitment, benefiting both the parent company and the operator.
The key to the program, says Michael White, vice president of local markets for Avis Budget, is selecting operators committed to developing the Avis Budget brands and placing them in local markets. To facilitate this process, the Avis Budget Group takes full responsibility for site selection, facility expenses, rental car sourcing and disposal, training, sales support and risk management issues.
In assuming these responsibilities the company has found that the operator can then focus primarily on customer service and market development. Avis Budget further determined that because the company is providing its expertise to vehicle fleet planning, the operator does not necessarily have to come from a rental car background. In fact, many current operators are from retail, body shops and customer-centric businesses.
While a rental car background may be a positive, Avis Budget has found it much more important to select candidates “with strong community ties and a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” says White.