PARS is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year; let’s talk about how you started and what brought you to this date.
After my years at General Motors I retired, if you will, to Virginia and decided that I would become a dealer. I tried that for five years and decided it was not something that I would be really happy with, so we just sold the business. After that, I got into trying to help some people in the fleet arena. A lot of the customers that I am dealing with today are customers or friends of mine from back in my GM days.
I started PARS by simply being a sales consultant for a company, and people just gravitated towards us. We provided a transportation service that I never even knew was part of the fleet business when I first started. In the fleet business, as long as you provide a service and are good with it, the customers will be yours forever. We don’t use the word ‘customers,’ but rather partners. It is a big difference for us. We partner with whoever we are doing business with. Their concerns are our concerns.
What is it that makes PARS unique?
In the beginning, we used to just pick up a car from Point A and deliver it to Point B. We now not only pick up and deliver; there are a host of other things as well. We take a lot of all the in-between reporting out and provide them with a service that’s far more than a pickup and delivery service.
In all of our orders we have special things that are important to that customer. No two customers are the same, so we tailor our service to the customer’s needs. When a customer has a certain project that they need, we work on it with them, we develop a procedure and then we just go on from there.
Our offices know we have a set of parameters that go with every single order. It gets right down to the driver. If there is a windshield that is cracked, let’s get it repaired. We know where they get their windshields repaired; we know where to do the maintenance on the vehicle; if there is an accident we know which company we are dealing with. We are providing the eyes and ears for the customer. If it doesn’t need it, we don’t do it.
How do you select your drivers?
We have quality drivers who are all well screened in advance. We do complete DMV checks on them as well as background checks just to make sure that we are not hiring people that would not show well for both PARS and the customer. We are very concerned about the customer safety: we are delivering a lot of cars to customers’ homes and we just want to make sure we have the right person doing that.
We have very low turnover in our drivers. For the most part, our drivers can work when they want to work. We have almost 400 drivers available to us all of the time. And if we call and they are busy today, that’s fine and we just move on to the next driver. We don’t keep just a certain group of drivers on staff 24 hours a day; we just rely on many drivers in each area.
Where do you think the vehicle relocation business is headed?
More and more companies are dependent on transportation. We have a full arrangement of storage available for our customers. In the past, if the car was not being used it would just be sold and then they would just purchase another one. Now, fleets are much better at running a cost analysis on the price and longevity of their vehicles.
Down the road I think this is going to be a major global service, with everything done electronically. We will be thinking the same thing that the customer is thinking, so we’ll know in advance that they have a shortage of vehicles on the West Coast or they have a shortage of vehicles on the East Coast. We will have their vehicles in different locations, and we’ll be able to supply those vehicles to them.