Edgar Ricardo, managing director of Boric Car Rental in Curacao, explains in this web-exclusive Q&A how he started his car rental company by purchasing three vehicles off auction in Miami, and then added vehicles from local dealers one-by-one since starting the company in 2002.
Photos courtesy of Boric Car Rental.
What's your fleet size?
Our fleet has now grown to 100 vehicles. We started in 2002 with three vehicles bought from an auction in Miami. Now we are a full-grown car rental company.
How many locations do you have and in what types of areas?
We have two locations: The Head office in the commercial area in Saliña and one at the Holiday Beach Hotel Curacao.
How did the business start?
It started in February 2002 buying three damaged cars from the States (Miami Florida), shipped them to Curacao, repaired them and made them ready to rent to customers. All these started at home — very simple — renting with local people who were in a need of an affordable vehicle. We purchased and added more vehicles one by one and the company started to grow without any help from the bank.
We got help from the bank, I believe, in 2008, when I got my first loan to purchase three additional vehicles by the RBTT Bank (now called the RBC). I hereby take the opportunity to thank my account manager Sandra Gonçalves do Estreito, she is an excellent account manager.
My aim is to keep growing and to be one of the biggest car rental companies in Curacao. Today our company consists of 11 employees.
Why did you decide to bring vehicles in from Miami?
Because at that time is was very cheap to buy a damaged vehicle in auction. At the end, when the vehicle is ready (repaired), it costs me less money than to buy a new one.
What are your primary sources of rental customers?
Our primary source was local people but that has changed. Nowadays most of our customers are tourists from the hotels on the island of Curacao. We receive online reservation as well and customers that have to be picked up at the airport. Our online booking percentage is 28% out of all our reservations.
Are you an affiliate of any kind?
We have just signed the affiliate program with Fox Rental Car and we are planned to start next week June 11, 2012.
Are you pursuing new sources of business/customers? What are they?
Yes, besides working with insurance companies, we are trying to gain customers that visit curacao for their business trip and give them a special service, where we give personal attention like “deliver go.” That service takes less than two minutes. We have the necessary information from the customer already, so that these customers do not have to spend time filling out the paperwork. They want to walk out of the airport, get in the vehicle and go. In leaving the island, they want to get out on the drop off lane and walk to the check-in counter. The invoice will be sent via email to the customer.
Describe your specific marketing efforts and what the payback has been so far.
Tourism has grown in the last few years in Curacao, so the need of more car rental is a must. To promote our company we have made folders and flyers; we promote special offers on our website as well. Our special offers are like “rent a week and get one day free,” special rates, special discounts, etc.
How do you market your website – have you had a company work on SEO for you?
No, we do not have a company working on SEO for us, we are planning to try Pay Per Click from Google to get more revenue. The intention is to seek for an SEO company after we renew/build a new website.