How to Build a Profitable Car Hire Business

Car hire businesses can be highly profitable. It’s a proven business model, but like any business, it can go wrong. There are a million different car hire companies out there, and you’ve got to really think about what sets yours apart. What’s your unique selling point? Because without something special, you’ll eventually fall behind. For example, some companies may focus on providing the most reliable hire service and at cheaper rates than the market baseline level. Other companies choose to differentiate themselves by closing in on a tight niche market such as a premium supercar hire service. We’ve compiled a couple of great ideas and points for staying ahead of the game in the car hire business.

Know the Nuts and Bolts

If you don’t know everything there is to know about your fleet, your customers and your business, how can you hope to improve? Accurately diagnosing and improving your business can only come through fully understanding it. Make it your business to understand what cars your fleet favours, and why. What the major risks and issues are with each element of your business.

Even as a manager, sat at the top of the pile, you should know what every single nut and bolt of your business does, why it does that, and how it could do that better. It’s this obsessive level of attention to detail that can set aside businesses from the rest of the pack.

Constantly and Consistently Strive to Improve

When it comes to running any business, the first thing you should always be focusing on, beyond the standard day-to-day running, is consistent improvement and tweaking. All business can be streamlined and improved, and you should be constantly looking to do just that. Every single little mistake or cost you see within your business is an opportunity to learn, and increase function, autonomy and profit

Always be thinking, is my business model current? Does it meet the needs of the customers today? If not, how can you rearrange it? There are basic questions you need to be asking yourself to make sure you don’t stagnate and find your profits levelling off, with you left scratching your head wondering what happened.

Don’t Neglect Marketing

Physical forms of marketing, such a radio or TV adverts, billboards and magazine adverts have very much had their day. Untargeted marketing has had its go, and while it was passable when it was all we had, it’s got nothing on the power of targeted digital marketing.

Developing an online presence and brand is crucial. Becoming a well-known, respected and authoritative entity in whatever industry you’re in is the absolute crux of digital marketing. This can be achieved through SEM, social media marketing, online advertising and a variety of other forms and techniques of digital marketing. Online digital marketing can be the decisive factor in whether or not you become THE car hire company, or remain just one of the contenders.

A big part of digital marketing is becoming an authority on a particular niche, and without marketing, you can’t hope to achieve that. Even the biggest and most successful car hire companies might not be the dominant, top company online if they fail to do their online marketing properly.

Keep a Tight Grip on the Numbers

It should go without saying really, but you need to understand fully, all the numbers that make up the lifeblood of your company. The companies that succeed the most will be the ones with the most obsessive attitude towards their numbers.

It might be pretty far from an interesting subject, but being aware of how everything is going at a basic level, is pretty key to general success and without this, you’re chancing disaster.

Identify, Promote and Show Love for Your Top Employees

Dale Carnegie has been saying this since the forties. You need to show your employees and workers that they’re appreciated, and they’ll repay you by shouldering more responsibility, rewarding your trust and increasing your businesses profitability.

Remember, you’re paying people generally just above minimum wage, to hire out cars worth tens of thousands. You want people you can trust not to be incompetent and the best way to get these people is to promote from within and incentivise great work. Why would they care about your business, when you’re barely paying them more than you can legally get away with? What’s in it for them?

How To Really Connect With Your Niche Market

The most important part of any marketing campaign is getting a clear understanding of the ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ of the target audience.  Once this has been established with a clear picture in mind, you can simply give them what they want to hear.  As simple as this may sound, many businesses fail to do this. Instead, they often get caught up in the details and put too much focus on describing the product and how it works.

When communicating with your target audience, whether it be in person or through some form of advertising, you must learn to only talk about the benefits of what you are offering because most people do not care about what you want.  People are only interested in what the product can do for them and how it can add value to an aspect of their lives.  Therefore, staying focused on the benefits of the product is how to really connect with your audience.  The ultimate goal is to help them understand the benefits so that they naturally start to desire the product without the need for any forceful sales techniques.

Communication of these benefits is equally as important as understanding the benefits.  It is not just about having a good understanding of your own product it is about getting the benefits clear in the mind of your target audience.  Only through effective communication, can this be achieved.  In order to communicate the message well, you must describe the product and its benefits in the same kind of language used by your target market. Undertaking some initial market research can assist with this.  Learning to talk about the product in the same way as your audience can help you to create a deeper connection.  You will also find that they respond much better to your marketing because they will find it much easier to imagine how the product can have a positive impact on their own lives.

After gaining a good understanding of how your product is talked about among your target market, you can begin to craft your message.  Be creative with this but remember to keep the message short and to the point. Again, it should be very easy for the target audience to see the benefits of the product.

The final step is to shortlist the marketing strategies which are best suited to the type of product that you are offering.  For example, if targeting a younger generation, some type of online marketing method may be most effective.  Some of the most widely used methods are the following;

Social Media

Social media carries a lot of power in today’s market. With most people now owning at least one social media account, advertising is also shifting to where the attention is.  Creating adverts on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other popular platforms can get your product and message in front of lots of eyes.  When operating in a niche market, however, it can be more efficient to target your adverts at specific groups of people.  For example, if your product is intended for personal trainers, you can set up your adverts to only appear in front of people in the personal training profession.  This technique not only improves the conversion rate of the campaign but also makes advertising more cost effective as money is not being spent on unlikely candidates.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is another good way of targeting a specific group of people.  Sending out letters or leaflets allows you to quickly raise awareness of your brand or product line.  The rise in email marketing has led to large drop in the amount of direct mail.  Because of this, people are taking more notice of any mail that comes through the post.  This is obviously a positive thing as this means people are more receptive to adverts through the post. As with social media advertising, it is much more cost effective to target the mail at potential customers and not to people or businesses that are very unlikely to ever need your product.  This method will require building up a list of addresses.  It is best to send the mail to the business owner’s place of work rather than their personal address as it is often taken more seriously.  You can also make the mail appear more personal by simply finding out their name and heading the letter to them.

Display Advertising on other websites

One other method that is less commonly known but which can be equally as effective is display advertising and banner advertising.  This is done by finding other websites that operate in your niche and then advertising your brand or products through an advert which is displayed somewhere on their website.  This could even be just in the form of a link in the content which, when clicked, redirects the visitor to your official website.  With this form of marketing, it is important to find websites that are popular and generate lots of visitors.  Otherwise, this would not be a worthwhile form of advertising.  You will also need to think about whether the type of visitors generated by the website would be the kind of people who are also interested in your product.

The type of marketing method used really depends on the kind of product which is being offered and the kind of audience which you are trying to communicate with.  There are many other forms of advertising but whichever method you choose to adopt, remember to make the message impactful and keep the focus on the benefits of the product.  This will give your business the best chance of success with your marketing campaign. Good luck!