Opening a private car rental agency can be a profitable venture, if you factor in all the relevant considerations for expanding your client base over time. In what follows, I have given a few tips for those who are indeed planning to launch their vehicle hire companies in Kolkata.
Like almost all other lines of business, profitably managing a car rental company can be rather challenging too. With the degree of competition in the car hire market of Kolkata being rather high, it is imperative to take a careful, all-inclusive approach – while making plans of your very own rental agency. My private car hire company in Kolkata started operations exactly nine years ago, and I would take this opportunity to share a few tidbits about how you can launch a new agency in the city:
- Chalk out your business plan in detail – From the very outset, you need to have an idea about the starting budget for your company. You will need to frame plans about the type of automobiles that should be present in your car rental agency too. Prepare a day-to-day operational cost model, which will not force you to incur heavy expenses. Unplanned businesses are never successful!
- Determine your target market – Who would you be providing car hire in Kolkata to? When I started out, my company provided rental cars only for formal/informal trips within the city. Later on, I started maintaining a separate fleet of luxury vehicles, for my corporate clients. Ideally, you should also have arrangements for car on hire for marriages and other functions.
- Select the location for your services – If you are not planning to provide car rent in Kolkata for weekend/holiday trips to the attractive places outside the city – you will probably be missing out on a considerable chunk of prospective clients. Clearly specify the locations to which the cars/buses from your company can be taken, without any additional costs. My company provides rental cars to all the tourist hotspots in Bengal.
- Pay attention to service quality – Remember, if you want to retain customers, you need to satisfy them the very first time. Before providing car rental in Kolkata, make sure that the automobile is not defective in any way. Hire a small team of experienced mechanics, who would be in charge of inspecting the cars at your showroom daily. Make sure that the automobiles have all the sophisticated components and accessories.
- What additional services will you provide? – Customers love reliable personalized services, and if you do not provide them – your company would remain unprofitable. My agency has provisions for Kolkata airport car rental, and timely pick and drop from the Howrah and Sealdah railway stations. You should arrange for these facilities too. With the Christmas season coming up, I would also be having carol records in all the luxury rental cars in my showroom.
- Have a team of professional chauffeurs – To gain authenticity, you have to allay the safety concerns of the people who wish to take car hire in Kolkata from your company. One of the first things you need to do in this regard is to hire a team of experienced drivers, who are familiar with the mechanisms of all sophisticated car models, and have a thorough knowledge of the local driving regulations. Make sure that their licenses are in order. No one would take vehicles on hire, if the driver does not come across as reliable.
- Keep the car hire rates reasonable – If you thought that charging hefty amounts on your rental cars would be a shortcut to getting high returns, you would be in error. I used to believe this too, but have, over time, realized that it is the affordability of my services that drew in more and more clients. Make sure that you do not charge any hidden costs, or have fees for common services like arrangement of car rental from Kolkata airport. Have a discount car rental scheme as well, along with a couple of suitable special offers.
- Provide online car booking options – Ensuring quick availability of rental cars to customers is key to the success of your business. Allow people to book cars from your agency from wherever they might be, by providing secure online car booking options on your business website. Avoid charging advance payments, and make sure that there are no undue delays in sending car(s) to the specified pick-up spots.
- Provide vehicular insurance – In case there is an on-road automotive breakdown, your clients must not be really inconvenienced. At my car rental agency, all the vehicles have complete breakdown insurance. Replacement vehicles are provided on request, whenever reports of problems in the cars originally provided reaches us. Choose an established third-party car insurance provider.
- Promote your company well – There is no dearth of car hire companies in the city, and if you do not promote your agency well, you will be trumped by the already established firms. Prepare an informative, engaging and optimized website – which would provide all pertinent information related to your business. Advertise your agency on leading dailies and magazines as well. If availability of funds is not a problem, you can also consider having banners and hoarding ads.
Avoid charging extra amounts for fuel consumption and/or driver charges. Train all the staff at your company well, so that they maintain a pleasant demeanor while interacting with clients. Doing these business basics correctly have helped my company becoming pretty successful over the years, and your agency can definitely prosper in this field too!