Independent Car Rental companies around the world are faced with similar challenges such as increased competition, rising fleet and insurance costs and thinning margins. How to meet these challenges varies by every situation, however, profitable growth is key for the survival of every car rental company. To achieve this there are few options available that are practical and cost effective. One option to strongly consider is to either become a Franchise or an Affiliate of another larger company to leverage the many benefits that relationship provides. The question then becomes should I become a Franchisee or should I become an Affiliate. While each has its own benefits, the answer comes down to how much an operator values their independence.  

Independent car rental companies that decide to become a Franchisee can tap into an established brand, have an established customer base, support from the franchisor, increased buying power via the franchise group, and a lower statistical risk of failure. However, as a franchisee, you will also be required to give up your autonomy and run your operation according to the dictates of a remote corporate headquarters. You’ll have to adopt operational requirements based on central operational “best practices” that may or may not reflect your operational needs. You’ll also have to adhere to standardized practices that could add complexity and inefficiency to your operation. In addition, depending on the market the cost of entry be very expensive. Franchise fees’ can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and then you must pay the franchisor for every transaction done at your location regardless of how that transaction was generated.

In contrast to a Franchise, as an affiliate, you’ll maintain your own brand and have more autonomy to run your operation reflecting the needs and realities of your specific clients and tailored to your market, which could be far different than those of the rental provider with whom you’re affiliating. While you’ll have the benefit of the well-established brand, you’ll still be able to maintain your business’ identity. With that identity, you’ll have the freedom and responsibility to make your own operational decisions for your business. Processes can conform to the needs of your clients and the market as a whole and not be dictated based on a one-size-fits-all model that, by its nature, must be all things to all people no matter the demands of an individual market. In addition, cost of entry into an Affiliate program is quite modest and you only pay the Affiliate for the business they send you.  This means the financial risk is low, while the potential financial benefit — increased rentals and revenues — is high

While there are other affiliate programs to choose from, Routes Car Rental has developed a win-win program designed to enhance quality and drive revenue. Affiliates proudly display the Routes logo next to their own — as a sign of the company’s more 20 - plus years of well-earned and well-developed quality. For their part, affiliates must meet Routes’ level of quality with a well maintained, low-mileage fleet that’s cycled regularly. Routes’ own fleet of vehicles is cycled within 12 months. Affiliates also benefit from a low entry fee and business sent to them directly from Routes or from one of the major travel websites. Further, Affiliates benefit from topnotch support from the company. An overriding reason for this superior service is the company’s philosophy that customer service is one of the central pillars of success. And because of this, it is better able to respond to the needs of its customers and affiliates. Routes has been recognized by the Better Business Bureau for its service excellence. Taken together, affiliating with a top rental brand, such as Routes, is a win-win proposition, leading to improved quality, better name recognition, repeat business, and, most importantly, an improved bottom line.

Headquartered in Toronto Canada, Routes Car Rental is one of Canada’s premier car rental companies that has corporate locations throughout Canada and the United States. Routes has been in business for over 20 years and continues to grow even in today’s environment where the pandemic has dramatically curtailed the growth of most car rental operations. Since the beginning of the year Routes has added Affiliate locations in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Richmond, St. Maarten, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Romania, Malta, New Zealand with more signed up and ready for onboarding. In addition, by the end of the year Routes will also add corporate locations in Denver and Montreal. Furthermore, Routes Car Rental and EuropCar Mobility Group have formed a mutually beneficial alliance partnership in Canada.    Routes has an experience team in place to provide all the support needed to help their Affiliates be positioned to take advantage of the current opportunities, and more importantly, be positioned to capitalize on the pent up travel demand once the pandemic has passed. To learn more about the Routes Affiliate Program, go to www.routes.ca/en/affiliate.