Are Shuttle Services a More Flexible Option for Shops?
Flexibility and convenience are important to any shop owner, but unfortunately, many shops still manage inconvenient methods of transporting customers. Traditional shuttle services can be unfavorable for customers and shops alike; meanwhile, maintaining a fleet of loaner cars isn’t very cost effective.
That’s why some shop owners are looking into alternatives to fleets of cars or a traditional shuttle service—just ask Frank Leutz, owner of Desert Car Care in Chandler, Ariz. Leutz has utilized an on-demand service for years, which has created the flexibility for his customers that he strives to provide.
In Leutz’s 25 years as a shop owner, his goal has always been to provide a full-service experience for every customer that comes through his doors. From the moment they walk through the door, until they drive their cars off the lot, Leutz wants a complete and smooth experience for his customers.
Like any shop, he’s had fleets of loaner cars, or employed a part-time shuttle driver to transport customers while they await repairs. But if you brought your vehicle into Desert Car Care today, you wouldn’t find a fleet of loaners, and Leutz hasn’t needed to keep a shuttle driver on call in years.
Running convenient and cost-effective operations are important for any shop, but unfortunately, providing convenient and cost-effective rides to and from shops hasn’t been easy. Holding and maintaining a fleet of loaners is expensive, and traditional shuttle services are not just costly, but inconvenient, providing a frustrating experience for customers awaiting repairs.
Years ago, Leutz had a driver arrive at his shop at 8 a.m., with eight clients waiting to be driven to work. There were even times when Leutz himself drove customers to their destinations.
That timing was disruptive for Leutz, his customers and his business.
“That’s big, bulky and old news,” he says.
That’s changed since Leutz began using RedCap Shuttle OnDemand. Shuttle OnDemand, which adapts Lyft’s national ride sharing service for the auto industry for customer shuttles, creates a more convenient experience.
Leutz’s customers can request a car at their convenience, providing the flexibility that didn’t exist with a traditional shuttle service.
Customers experience OnDemand through Leutz’s brand including logos, text message content, and driver tracking pages.
“RedCap just gives us that flexibility … It’s a win,” Leutz says.
While a criticism of the service remains the expense—it costs Desert Car Care about $2,200/month—Leutz says it’s still been cheaper than hiring a driver, and he’s found other ways to offset costs.
Additionally, Lyft covers liability, taking that responsibility away from the shop. While Leutz has received mostly positive feedback, there have been rare instances where his customers had a bad experience with the service or driver. Those complaints were handled by Lyft.
“They’re very professional about it,” Leutz says. “So, you’re sort of mediating through a third party there. Because who has time to sit there and go through the weeds on that? So, the liability is huge.”
An integrated DMS software allows Leutz to communicate with customers, send invitations, and reconcile shuttle-related expenses, which are billed monthly not per transaction.
Leutz hasn’t looked back since he started using RedCap’s services. They’ve become a large part of his business model at Desert Car Care.
He no longer needs to keep a bunch of loaners around; he hasn’t needed to use a traditional shuttle service in years; and his customers have been thrilled with the convenience and flexibility that Shuttle OnDemand provides.
The feedback shows.
Another selling point for Leutz has been the surveys RedCap provides that allow him to hear directly about his clients’ experiences. The insight from the surveys have been a great way to understand what Leutz’s business has been doing successfully and what they can do to continue to build on their full-service experience.
“We’re planting the seed of continually, as part of our service experience, reminding folks we absolutely want to know how we did. … We’re continually reminding folks that we want to always do better, so it’s a win for us,” Leutz says.
In addition to Shuttle OnDemand, RedCap also offers services called Roadside OnDemand and Parts OnDemand, the latter of which delivers parts directly to your door.
That’s been a huge plus for Leutz.
Desert Car Care is about 25 miles outside Phoenix. Running back and forth to the Valley of the Sun is arduous—it could take half a day before they’d get all the necessary parts, delaying productivity. If they’re working on repairs and suddenly realize they’re missing a part, it can be delivered within 30 minutes.
“I can still continue with moving productivity and not have to worry about, ‘We’ve got to keep this car overnight,’” Leutz says.
That’s important for Leutz as part of his business model at Desert Car Care is providing transportation for any vehicle they don’t finish in the time estimated.
For any shop owner looking to provide a convenient, cost effective, and flexible transportation service, an on-demand car service might just fit the bill. Leutz has fully integrated RedCap’s services into his business model, and he won’t be making changes anytime soon.
“The flexibility of it all, time management, all those things that we look for, not only for that service experience and for the consumer, but time management, productivity on our side, on our end. We’re able to navigate and do more and be proficient,” Leutz says.