While the car rental and holiday season is going to the end, it is time to think what to do with the car during the off-season.
In this article I will present the main issues that you should know in order to test the car sharing business model and decide whether it can be a profitable alternative to traditional car rental.
As you already know, the traditional car rental is just a little different from car sharing. These two models can live next to each other, but practice shows that car sharing has more automated and self-service elements allowing you to save. Full comparison of processes can be found here.
In order to start the car sharing, you should learn two things: Telematics and business model.
I will make it simply. This is a small black (mostly ;-)) box connected to the CANbus (vehicle communication wires) that receives parameters and sends commands to the vehicle systems. As a full version (bill per time and distance, parking, fuel control), the car sharing model requires 4 parameters: GPS coordinates, engine status, fuel (optional) and odometer data. (Note that for light car sharing version (bill per minute) just GPS location and door control is needed.) Typically, this information is taken from the vehicle sensors (and GPS equipment) and data is sent through the GPRS transmitter (using the SIM card) to the server. Also, car sharing is unthinkable without remote door control. The selected device must have the option of controlling the central locking system via an additional relay or directly via the CANbus (in the latter case, you must know the appropriate commands to send to CAN). When a user initiates door unlocking in the Qwekee application, the Qwekee platform sends the appropriate command to the black box, and the door opens. We strongly recommend to consult local alarm technician on the appropriate model for your car. There are over 300 telematics manufacturers, and 1,000 different equipment types, therefore, it is very important to formulate accurate requirements to the manufacturer: 4 parameters plus door control.
It is worth noticing that most car rental companies already have equipment installed, therefore, below we will explain how it can be used without making any additional changes and investments. Create Qwekee account online and simply enter the IMEI and SIM number to the Qwekee platform during car registration.
Starting something new is always a challenge. Therefore, before choosing a business model we highly recommend to test Qwekee platform live. Only if you see your car in Qwekee application, unlock it, ride a little and see the price per kilometre or per minute, you can decide which model is suitable for your customers. With the investment of USD 150 you will not only save money but also time, because it is difficult to understand any system by vendor brochures or web pages.
In terms of the business process we face three parts – interaction with the customer, pricing and the interaction with the car.
Interaction with the customer means user data – driving license, credit card, contract, availability, pricing options, reservation, and payment. All this information is processed and managed in the Qwekee platform, i.e. you no longer need to control and administer these costs.
Pricing is the price that our platform will calculate based on the vehicle usage time and mileage. On the Qwekee platform, you can set the price per minute or per kilometer, plus the minutes of use or the parking time, when the engine is off. For example, a customer can pay for kilometers (let’s say, fuel is included in the km/mile cost), and be charged a lower price when fuel is not used. Or just use traditionally per minute regardless of whether the car is travelling or parked.
Interaction with the car is car locking and unlocking, fuel level, vehicle inspection, vehicle return and control of damage. Even if your equipment does not support the door control or fuel level, you still can use all other platform services. Customer interaction will save your costs while pricing will allow you to charge the customer more flexibly than a minimum daily fee.
Vehicle inspection will be carried out by the customer with the Qwekee mobile application. Should he notice any damage, he must make photos with the Qwekee application and the system will save the images with exact time and location, thus avoiding fraud because the system knows that the photos were taken before starting to drive the car. The car inspection obligation upon return shall be transferred to the next driver, i.e. the last one who did not take photos shall be responsible for damage.
The last important point is the car parking. Generally, there are three ways to use the car pick up and return. Samelocation, multiple locations and free floating models.
Same location means picking and returning the car to the same place. Typically, this will be your car rental lot. If the car is not in your specified zone it cannot be seen in the Qwekee application, if the customer wants to leave the car in other than your parking, system will not allow him to do it and will not allow to lock the car, i.e. the rental price will further be charged.
The Multiple locations option is where you set certain places on the city map where cars can be dropped and picked. The number and geography of sites is unlimited and can be within the city, the country or even in several countries (map example)
Freefloating model is marking a large area (usually urban) on the map, and customers can drop the car in any free parking space where parking is allowed (map example)
Let’s sum it up: if you already have the simplest (OBDII) telematics equipment, you need no equipment to test the Qwekee platform saving the customer interaction costs, setting flexible pricing and delivering the car in traditional same location way. Our experience shows that car sharing revenues per unit (RPU) is higher than in traditional rental, because the car sharing customers are not only tourists but also locals. For example, with the fleet of 100 cars in a city with 1 million residents you can have up to 15 different customers per day, i.e. the vehicle travels almost constantly.
To use your brand, the Qwekee platform will give you a White Label solution, i.e. mobile application will have your logo and stay in the open platform, i.e. other other Qwekee customers can see and use your cars in your city.