Opening an auto leasing business provides a valuable service. Businesses, insurance companies, tourists and local residents all provide a potential customer base to draw from. Your income will be derived from insurance adjusters, corporate accounts and individuals. Though the competition is stiff, offering dependable vehicles at a fair price and providing excellent customer service will help your auto leasing business succeed.
Choose a location. Things to consider when selecting a town include general population size, the number of competitors already there, public transportation availability and the number of corporate campuses. After choosing a town, locate a business location. You want to have enough room on the lot to park lease vehicles, and you want easy access for customers to get in and out of your lot.
Check with city hall to be sure the location you chose is properly zoned for an auto leasing business. Apply for required city and county business licenses. This is typically done at the city hall business license office and the county administration building.
Decide whether to purchase an existing franchise or open an independent auto lease business. Advantages to franchising are owning an established brand name, company training and, in most cases, reduced advertising costs because you go in with other franchisees. Disadvantages include being contractually obligated to several things, including hours of operation and pricing, having to give a percentage of your profits to the corporation and not being able to build your own brand reputation.
Advantages of not going with a franchise include the freedom to determine hours and prices; building your own brand, with the ability to franchise to others; and the freedom to pick and choose what products and services to offer. Disadvantages include not having an established reputation to start building on, the lack of corporate training opportunities and the lack of group advertising pricing.
Set up for business. Decide on pricing, packaging, fleet leases and other aspects of the daily operation. Purchase the vehicles you will offer for lease. Make sure you have a variety of sizes and styles so you can offer different packages to please different customers. Check with various commercial automobile insurance carriers and secure a policy. In addition to insuring the vehicles while they are being driven, you need to carry a policy protecting the vehicles on the lot and the building, along with personal liability coverage for any injuries on your property. Ask your insurance agent to advise you about everything you need for the area your business is located in.
Create a business name, logo and stationery if you are not buying a franchise. If you are, order enough supplies to last for the first several months of operation. Design a contract for the auto leases. Hire an accountant.
Personally introduce yourself to area mechanics, insurance agents and local travel agents. Give them your business card and ask them to send potential clients to you. Assure them that you will give their clients excellent customer service and good prices.
Advertise your opening. Continue to advertise locally and send out information to all corporate headquarters of offices in the area. These are the people who will pay for their employee travel needs, so let them know your autos are available for lease and your prices.
Candace Webb has been writing professionally since 1989. She has worked as a full-time journalist as well as contributed to metropolitan newspapers including the "Tennessean." She has also worked on staff as an associate editor at the "Nashville Parent" magazine. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in business from San Jose State University.