While car rental companies are a common sight at airports across the United States, one company saw a niche to fill in the market and now it’s looking for franchise partners to help it expand.
Airport Van Rental (AVR), which rents out 7 to 15 passenger vans, has been around since 2007 and currently has 14 locations at some of the busiest airports in the country.
The company decided to start franchising in 2016 and has already signed up its first franchisee, who is set to get started this month at Chicago Midway International Airport.
Filling a niche
Alex Emdadi, Director of Franchise Development at AVR, said the idea for the business came to founder Yaz Irani when he noticed the major vehicle rental companies he saw in airports weren’t accommodating large groups of people.
“Yaz Irani started Airport Van Rental with seven vans in 2007 at LAX Airport in Los Angeles,” Emdadi said during a recent interview with Franchising USA. “Yaz started the operation with the help of his employees Cesar Leyva and David Leyva and Arnel who are all still with AVR. We realized that car rental companies were not focused on this particular service, so we emphasized renting only vans and had opened 14 locations by the end of 2015. That kind of growth during some of the worst years the economy had ever seen was virtually unimaginable for small businesses.”
Considering the company’s target market is any group of people with more than five individuals who are travelling together, the rapid expansion seemed inevitable.
Now that the company is ready to expand further, it’s looking for qualified franchise candidates who are customer service oriented with strong time management and decision making skills. Emdadi said potential franchisees should be professional, organized, energetic, determined to succeed and have high personal standards.
Potential franchisees can expect to receive a franchise evaluation form and franchise brochure from the company after they’ve inquired about buying a franchise. If AVR believes the prospective franchisee is a good fit, a Discovery Day event is held with the candidate and the candidate is provided a copy of the Franchise Disclosure Document. After a 14-day waiting period, the franchise agreement is signed and the franchise fee is paid.
Once AVR brings a franchisee on board, the company provides complete training and support.
“At AVR we recognize the need for comprehensive training,” Emdadi explained. “During this training, we address the key points to running your own van rental franchise. The training does not stop there. Even after franchisees open their doors, we are there to help them continue to grow their business.”
While AVR is looking to expand nationwide, Emdadi said, it is particularly interested in expansion on the East Coast and in major cities in the Midwest.
“We are now accepting applications for all airport and city territories with the exception of: Hawaii, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Utah, unless we have qualified candidates to register in above lists.”
At the current time Atlanta, GA and Dallas, TX, territories are not offered to franchisees, the director of franchise development said.
Aside from renting out vans, another aspect that sets AVR apart from typical car rental companies is the great service offered by AVR, Emdadi noted. Customer feedback has indicated that the major car rental companies no longer offer the level of personal service that AVR excels in.
In fact, he added, car rental companies are becoming even less personal.
“Renting a car has become generic, even more so with some companies now offering self-service,” Emdadi pointed out. “When you rent a van from AVR we want to be available to answer any questions you have, to make sure you are making the right vehicle selection.”
AVR constantly tries to improve its customer service, Emdadi noted, and also focuses on adopting new technology to serve both its customers and franchisees. Throughout 2017 and years to come, AVR will continue opening new corporate owned locations in major cities across the US as well as expanding their franchising footprint.
“If any qualified candidates out there have been thinking about opening their own business, it’s time to take the next step to owning their own AVR franchise,” he declared. “Being an owner offers the gratification that comes with building something from the ground up. This is the opportunity those would-be entrepreneurs have been dreaming of. This is their chance to join a fast-growing national van rental company and make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.”
With its aggressive plans for expansion and comprehensive training program, AVR should have no problem finding potential business owners to help it fill the recognized gap in the vehicle rental market.