Franchise Spotlight: Care Hire

Franchising could be your only route into the buoyant car leasing sector benefitting from strong corporate demand and the UK’s popularity with overseas tourists.

The car hire and leasing sectors are thriving thanks to several trends that are likely to persist.

Larger operators are best placed to capitalise, making car hire franchises the best – or maybe the only – route in for aspiring entrepreneurs of ordinary means.

Sector overview

  • The care hire industry is worth £16.6bn, growing 7.4% annually.
  • There is plenty of repeat business, especially with leasing in this sector.
  • High barriers to entry make buying a franchise your best path to business ownership.
  • A reputable franchisor should generate leads from day one and provide systems and support to simplify your day-to-day role.
  • Sales and marketing skills often a requirement.

The rapid depreciation in car values makes leasing new cars an attractive alternative to outright ownership. There’s plenty of repeat business in car leasing, with two, three or four-year lease terms often renewed multiple times.

Growing numbers have been put off by vehicle ownership altogether by the rising costs – particularly in London – and simply hire vehicles for one-off purposes instead.

Increasing revenues will help offset the rising costs of fleet investment, which has seen major operators – including franchises – muscle into the hire segment.

The three most vital factors for success cited by IBISWorld are switching to low emission vehicles, prompt delivery to market and access to secure revenue.

Is a car hire franchise for me?

Here are some attributes car hire and lease franchises typically want in their franchisees:

  • Interest and some knowledge in cars – although an automotive background isn’t always required
  • Customer service and communication skills
  • Managerial and/or sales and marketing mindset – possibly experience too
  • Numeracy, with a background in finance possibly helpful
  • Competence in using computer systems
  • Full, clean driving licence

Other qualities favoured by various franchise systems include being “dynamic”, “commercially minded” or a “hard worker”, having a “can-do approach” or “entrepreneurial spirit”, and being a “proven motivator of people”

The structure of car hire franchises

Usually well established with a network of sites around the UK, car hire franchises have the financial muscle to maintain large, modern fleets and the economies of scale to offer competitive deals.

Your own marketing efforts will be complemented by the franchisor’s national campaigns and strong online presence. You’ll be given an exclusive area and receive leads and enquiries within your territory from day one.

The franchisor should help you secure funding and a suitable site, assist with fit-out and advise you on building your fleet.

They’ll likely have their own, bespoke computer systems to simplify management of your fleet, leads, accounts and so on. You may get your own microsite that you can optimise according to the services offered by your branch.

By simplifying your day-to-day role, the support gives you more time to concentrate on securing new business and providing an exceptional service.

Your role might also include handling leads, creating quotes and hire/lease agreements, protecting personal data and fleet management. Your marketing campaigns might include a mix of online marketing, e-shots, direct sales, direct mail and cold calling.

What’s out there?

Motor Republic for example, leases millions of pounds worth of vehicles every year – with “practically every automotive make and model available” – through a range of leasing solutions. As a franchisee you’ll generate business – much of it recurring revenue – from both consumers and local businesses.

The company, which has traded for more than two decades, says it offers deals with low monthly payments, while head office liaises with financial providers and negotiates special offers with manufacturers.

Boasting 30 years in the trade, 150 locations and a 3,000-plus-strong fleet, Practical, is another leasing company of considerable pedigree.

A five-year franchise agreement – with no renewal fees – entitles you to a three-day training course, ongoing support from an experienced business development manager and a web page and booking facility dedicated to your territory.

Franchisees of Driver Hire, which began franchising in 1987, recruit drivers and logistics staff on behalf of customers including multi-national freight companies, builders’ merchants, parcel carriers and local authorities.

The car hire industry is well placed in the franchising world, so if you believe that you have the traits, experience and passion to operate a car hire franchise, then this may be the business venture for you.



Paulyne Antoniou

About the author

Paulyne has devoted her educational life studying and working with film and media. After gaining a Diploma in Moving Image, Paulyne worked as an editor while simultaneously completing a part-time filmmaking course at the Metropolitan Film School.

@Be_theboss