LIFE has been varied for David Woodhouse. Highly varied. Since he became a Fleet Alliance Appointed Representative (AR) nine months ago, having swapped corporate sales at a BMW retailer for business lease consulting at Fleet Alliance, David says that the sheer variety has been brilliant.
“One moment you are talking to a customer about a Volkswagen T-Roc and the next you’re talking to a customer about a top-end Taycan! So I really like that broad range of customers.”
David says that when he was working just for the one brand, it was easy to become an expert on the variety of models available. But as a leasing AR you’re required to know about all the brands available, so it’s more difficult to become so expert.
Often it’s a case of either a private individual, or a fleet manager that has no formal bandings in place for their business fleet, who just wants an XYZ car to minimise benefit in kind taxation.
“So when I’m offering suggestions to clients about the potential choices available to them, I always make sure that I provide the appropriate literature for that particular model. They can then fully understand what car they are getting. It is well received by clients, but it does take extra time. Nevertheless, it’s the type of attentive service that resonates with customers.”
It’s not always a case of individual cars for customers. David says he has just delivered a seven-car fleet to one business, and expects to be doing similar deals as the COVID-19 restrictions start to unwind and he can start to engage in more face-to-face conversations. David also says referrals are beginning to come in and he believes these will only increase further.
Panel funding offers rental rate advantage
One of the benefits of being a Fleet Alliance AR with access to the company’s e-Fleet system is the broad spread of funders. “I was speccing up a Porsche Taycan for a company managing director,” says David. “It’s a car that is worth in excess of £125,000 and the difference in the monthly rentals was as much as £500. With such a range of tools at your disposal you can offer this level of cost saving to clients. In the case of this MD who wanted the Porsche it was a saving in the magnitude of £18,000.”
One of the biggest changes from car retail to leasing broker was, says David, the change in credit checking. “Once you closed the deal at a dealer it was done. Finished. There might be half an hour for the prop to go through but that was it. With leasing it takes much longer, which I found frustrating at first, but in reality it takes more time for all the checks to be done. It’s just a different system at the end of the day.
“On the other hand,” continues David, “the support you receive is very good. There’s a great team here at Fleet Alliance and the account handling at head office means there’s little admin for me. The training we receive is terrific, while the online weekly meetings are very ordered – to be honest it’s as close to having everyone in a meeting together.”
Overall, though, is being an AR working out for David? Apart from wanting a few more larger fleet orders – “always nice!” – he says that when he wrote his business plan to become an AR, the start-up scenario didn’t include the pandemic.
“I’m currently at 75% of where I thought I would be,” explains David. “To be honest, I reckon 25% adrift is pretty respectable given the trading conditions! With a, hopefully, more stable economic environment in front of us, I expect to be exceeding my business plan given the current level of enquiries I have.”
Automotive and fleet writer for Broker News