The Tiptronic Porsche got a lovely new roof this week. The old one was getting a bit tired, and the plastic rear window had seen much better days. Thanks to Tony and his team at DasNine Porsche Parts the old roof was off and the new on all in one day, and for a very reasonable price. www.dasnine.com.au
At Adelaide Hills Touring we've come to believe that every weekend should be a long weekend! We already offer great discounts for multi day hires, with your second to fourth days being reduced by 20% and all days after that 40% off.
We recently had a customer who wanted a car from around midday Friday to around midday Sunday-and although that's only 48 hours we would normally charge 3 days, because the car is unavailable for the 3 full days. That's how it works, but it doesn't always seem fair.
So we gave it some thought, and you know what? Weekends have always been our busy days, as you'd expect. Week days much less so. Which made us think, let's make this work. We came up with our Long Weekend deal.
Its simple. Take one of our cars for a 3 day weekend, and we'll just charge two days at the full rate. And you can have the car for 3 full days, not limited to a 48 hour period. So the Porsche for Friday through to Sunday will be $480.00. Under our old approach it was $624.00 for the same 3 days.
So, take a day off, pack a bag, book a couple nights somewhere nice and have a great Long Weekend!
Look who decided to take up residence in the garage the last few days. So we had to leave a couple of cars outside until he decided to leave, but hey, that's OK.
Just back from a flight to Melbourne and a drive back home in the Alfa Spyder. We generally don't do one way rentals, because we just aren't set up for it, but Richard seemed to be very keen to do the Great Ocean Road in the Alfa. Not pushy, but he clearly really wanted to do something special. So we worked with him to find a way to make it happen-and in the end he and his girlfriend drove the Great ocean Road, left the car in an off airport park for a couple of days over Christmas, and I flew over to collect the car and bring it home on Boxing day, all for an overall cost that Richard was happy with. I was half way home before I opened a thank you card which Richard had left, which not only said that they had had a fantastic time, but that they are now engaged! Really made all the extra effort worthwhile. No wonder Richard had wanted to make this happen-I think it was all part of a cunning plan. Happy to be part of a successful result!
We've now been running Adelaide Hills Touring for just on 2 years, and have had a good run in terms of damage to the cars. We have had a few minor scrapes, literally. All have been caused by genuine bad luck rather than abuse of the cars, which is great. Happily most have gone smoothly through the insurance and repair process. All have been under the $3000 excess, and so have relied on the customer's excess insurance. The process with TripCover has been reasonably smooth, although in one case there was some delay as some claim documents went missing and had to be re-sent by the customer.
We have had 2 occasions where for whatever reason the customer has refused to accept responsibility for the damage. This creates a significant problem for us, because the way TripCover excess insurance works is that it is insurance purchased by the customer, to cover their liability to us. The process is that we get the repair done, invoice the customer, and then the customer claims on their insurance. We cannot make a direct claim.
If the customer refuses to accept liability, we are stuck with the repair cost! So, unfortunately, its a case of the few making things harder for the many. From now on at the time of hiring we will require an authority to process any repairs up to $3000 on the customers credit card. We are still stopping short of clogging up your card with a security deposit. We would just rather not go there.
We've been around for a little over 18 months now, and word seems to be getting around too. We don't do paid Google or Facebook ads-personally I hate it when I do a search and sites which really don't quite reflect what I am looking for clog up my screen. It seems that people searching for a sports car or convertible in Adelaide find us easily enough, which is just great!
Recently we have been asked to act as backup when another local company didn't have quite the right car for their customer, and we were happy to help out. We've also had occasion to refer some of our customers to a similar company down in Tasmania Cruze Car Hire
And just lately we've come to the attention of the big boys in Europe, even being mentioned in their on line magazine Luxuria. Europe Luxury Car Hire is the largest European luxury car rental company. Combined with a gold standard service they provide a prestige range of vehicles from Supercars, Sports cars to SUVs, for the ultimate driving experience. Its nice to be noticed!
Watching the news yesterday (ABC News 14 June 2015) there was a piece on a high end Eastern States sports car rental company, specialising in late model Maserati, Ferrari and the like. The allegation was that they took substantial security deposits or credit card holds-as much as $25,000.00! and then failed to return the deposit, for months, or at all.
At Adelaide Hills Touring we DON'T take any security deposit, we DON'T put a hold on your credit card. If there is an accident or any sort of problem we work with you to resolve it. So far we have had 2 cases of very minor accident damage to our cars. In both cases this has been claimed on the customer's excess insurance without any problems arising. Accidents happen, and that's what insurance is there for.
We did have an engine failure in the Porsche early on, but that's a risk in any 15 year old car. There's no reason to think that our customer in that case was driving any harder than is reasonable. Sometimes stuff just happens. Fortunately it was right at the end of the rental, when the customer was on the way to fill up the fuel before we collected the car, so the customer was not inconvenienced. We certainly didn't suggest that the customer was at fault, or in any way liable.
We've also had a few minor breakages, like sun visor mirror covers and door locks. That seems to be just a matter of unfamiliarity with a different car, and probably some weakness or brittleness in ageing components. We don't see that as being the customers fault or problem.
We do ask that our customers treat the cars with respect, and by and large, they seem to do that.
Most importantly, when someone rents one of our cars we want them to relax and enjoy.
Well we have sold our beautiful red MGB. Lovely car, and customers Ooohed and Aaaahed, but tended to go for the Porsche. So, we are on the lookout for another Porsche now, probably an automatic. Its all about delivering what the customer wants.
Felicity and I had a great morning out this morning, chasing the first stage of Women's Tour, which is part of the official Santos Tour Down Under race program. Its great to see women coming to the fore in cycling here in Adelaide. We took the BMW Z3 and the Audi TT up to Woodside for the start of the first of 4 races in the Women's Tour. The weather was perfect, both for open top motoring, and for cycling, low 20's, clear skies and a gentle breeze.
The start of the stage, as the women set off for Murray Bridge, was fast and powerful with a tight bunch flying down Woodside's main street, with numerous police in cars and on motorcycles running rolling road closures around the race. Here's a quick video of the women flying past us in Woodsides main street.
We then took some back roads to catch the race a bit further along, arriving just in time to see a still tightly bunched race along Nairne Road. Then back in the cars to try to catch the King (Queen?) of the Mountain, a hill sprint, just outside of Nairne. Alas, we were too late, the women had obviously kept up a blistering pace and the officials were just packing up the finish tape as we arrived!
On Sunday evening the women have a Criterium down at Rymill Park, and we will be there to cheer them on.
Please, when you are out driving in the Hills, look out for cyclists, be patient and give them space. Share the Road!
I figure I need a place where I can just sit back and chat about whats going on with our cars, things we've seen or done in the Adelaide Hills and just anything really. So here's my first post on our new Blog Page. Enjoy:)
I've been running our little Sports car rental business for just over a year now, and when it came to Christmas, it was really the first year for as long as I can remember that I haven't had a least one office Christmas party to go to. But with just me, and some help from time to time from Felicity and the kids, well, there was no office Christmas party at Adelaide Hills Touring-other than all the usual wonderful family Christmas stuff. Welcome to the world of small business I guess!
Looking back, its been an amazing year. I'd had a corporate career, always as an employee in a large corporate environment. For a number of reasons I decided it was time for a change, and after quite a bit of quiet contemplation came up with the idea of a classic car rental business. Initially thinking towards large, luxurious saloons I bought a Mercedes 500SEL as the first car in the fleet. And then started hunting around for feedback about what sort of experience might appeal to people.
As a result of that, the Mercedes was sold, and the hunt was on for some fun, reasonably priced and fun to drive sports convertibles. Very soon we had our initial small fleet, a Mazda MX5, BMW Z3 and Porsche Boxster.
I made a bit of a business plan with some ideas about how we might do in our first year. And amazingly the business has exceeded those initial projections by around 50% for the year. Website traffic has been growing every month, as have bookings and revenue. We had one shock on the expenses side early on when the Porsche decided it needed a new engine (Ouch!)
One year in, we have 7 lovely sports cars, and planning on buying another couple within the next few months. As a fledgling business, we've hit our first birthday in good shape. Its been fun, I've learned more than I can remember, and it has been great to see our customers come back with great smiles on their faces, having added a very unique and special experience to their day out, holiday, wedding, anniversary, birthday, engagement or other occasion.