by RaD Car Hire
last updated 07/12/2023
Pay Less - Experience More
by RaD Car Hire
last updated 07/12/2023
Start a RaD car hire franchise for about the same cost as some pizza joints
For over 30 years, RaD Car Hire has served the rental vehicle needs of Kiwis and overseas visitors. Starting as ‘Rent a Dent’ in a single branch in Tauranga in 1987, RaD Car Hire is now one of the largest rental networks in New Zealand with franchises nationwide.
Since 2019, the company has been owned by Adam Parore’s Index Group, which has brought huge technical expertise to the crucial online marketing and booking functions, as well as increased buying power and support.
Now RaD is looking for franchisees for new locations around the country, including areas in Auckland, Palmerston North and parts of the South Island. There are a small number of established territories available as owners prepare for retirement, and the company has started franchising in Australia, too. ‘So whether you’re looking for an opportunity around New Zealand or across the Ditch, let me know,’ says Steve Whyte.
‘It’s probably more affordable than you think. You can get into a RaD franchise with a fleet of 30 cars for about the same cost as other retail options like cafés or pizza.’
Steve is General Manager of RaD, and has a long history in the car rental and wider motor industry in New Zealand. ‘I joined RaD when Adam bought the business, just before Covid hit,’ he smiles ruefully. ‘Fortunately, we have a very strong domestic customer base, with individuals, companies and even government departments among our clients, so all our franchisees came through that period OK.
‘When the borders re-opened, things went crazy for a while, and in fact we had a record year in 2022-23. With the new airlines coming in from the US, we’re looking at ongoing growth.’
We hold your hand
RaD franchises vary in size according to location, market and appetite. ‘Many are small 3-5 person operations, often family-based, which might have a fleet of 30-60 cars,’ says Steve. ‘Others can have 100 or more. The mix of vehicle makes and models varies from area to area too, with some having fleets mostly under 5 years old, while others find customers require a slightly older range. It’s up to the franchisee to know their market.’
If you’re looking at setting up in a new area, Steve says you don’t need to worry. ‘We will hold your hand through the whole process, including buying your first fleet with a range of vehicles and ages to suit your market,’ he says. ‘We have good connections with manufacturers, auction houses and can also assist and advise on importing direct.’
No automotive experience required
You don’t need automotive experience to own or run a RaD business. ‘Our franchisees include a farmer, a professional sailor, a furniture manufacturer, a recruiter and a quantity surveyor,’ says Steve. ‘We do have a good reputation in the industry, of course, with a number of well-known car dealerships and a corporate executive owning franchises, too. Many of our franchisees have been in the business for 20-plus years.
‘As long as you’ve got a bit of business savvy and like dealing with people, we can teach you the business through our step-by-step training programme. The marketing is mostly done by us, with the help of a franchisee committee and our own team. Google Ads and Search Engine Optimisation is pretty specialised these days so we have our own experts – the franchisee doesn’t need to get involved and can focus on local relationships and winning repeat business.
‘The booking engine, rental agreements, check-sheets, maintenance records and so on are also online. Most franchisees outsource the maintenance side, so it’s pretty straightforward to run. As I tell people, it all starts with providing a clean car. It’s really about looking after your customers and your business.
‘Most of our franchisees work in the business every day and enjoy the people contact which is such a big part of it. With regular clients, you are greeting old friends; with tourists, you are possibly their first experience of New Zealand on the holiday of a lifetime. It’s a real privilege and, as our track record shows, it has long-term appeal for customers and franchisees alike.
‘If you’d like to be part of an established family group in a franchise backed by real expertise, call me and find out more.’
Contact details for RaD Car Hire
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