Gregg Darish: A Company in Motion — Solutions for the Mobile Employee

Tell us about Cor­po­rate Reim­burse­ment Ser­vices’ cur­rent focus?

Ini­tial­ly, our focus was pri­mar­i­ly on vehi­cle reim­burse­ment, hence the name: Cor­po­rate Reim­burse­ment Ser­vices. Our pri­ma­ry goal was to tran­si­tion com­pa­nies out of fleet pro­grams based on com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed vehi­cles into a reim­burse­ment mod­el. Our busi­ness mod­el depend­ed on con­vinc­ing a com­pa­ny that they were bet­ter off shift­ing from com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed fleet vehi­cles to reim­burse­ment.

We have evolved from that mod­el. Now, our focus is pri­mar­i­ly on our clients’ mobile employ­ees and ensur­ing our clients have access to tech­nolo­gies, ser­vices and solu­tions that will equip those mobile employ­ees with the best solu­tions to con­duct their jobs in the most pro­duc­tive man­ner. In fact, this evo­lu­tion has led us to rename and rebrand the com­pa­ny from Cor­po­rate Reim­burse­ment Ser­vices to Motus, Latin for “motion”, lat­er this year.

Does that mean reim­burs­ing employ­ees for the per­son­al use of their own vehi­cle or reim­burs­ing them for expens­es they incur on the road?

Both. Orig­i­nal­ly, our tech­nol­o­gy plat­form was designed to cal­cu­late how much to reim­burse an employ­ee for the busi­ness use of their per­son­al vehi­cle. By revers­ing the process, our tech­nol­o­gy can also be used to cal­cu­late how much an employ­ee should be charged for the per­son­al use of their com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed vehi­cle. You can think of it sim­ply as putting it into reverse, it’s the same plat­form, it’s the same appli­ca­tion.

What are the ben­e­fits of a fleet based on reim­bursed cars vs. the cor­po­rate pro­vid­ed vehi­cles — owned or leased?

Reduc­ing risk and lia­bil­i­ty is the num­ber one rea­son why com­pa­nies call us. That can be attrib­uted to the lia­bil­i­ty and the risk expo­sure asso­ci­at­ed with a com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed fleet vehi­cle. There are dif­fer­ences in the type of expo­sure.

When a com­pa­ny pro­vides a vehi­cle, gen­er­al­ly the com­pa­ny is liable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If an employ­ee is out on a Sat­ur­day night, has a cou­ple of drinks, gets into an acci­dent, God for­bid he or she injures some­one, the com­pa­ny will be respon­si­ble for that. Many clients have come aboard because they found them­selves in an unfor­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion that result­ed in them set­tling a sig­nif­i­cant claim.

A prop­er­ly run reim­burse­ment pro­gram sig­nif­i­cant­ly mit­i­gates cor­po­rate risk and expo­sure. It moves the lia­bil­i­ty of the com­pa­ny from 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the com­pa­ny pro­vid­ed vehi­cle, to only being liable dur­ing busi­ness use.

Even if there is an inci­dent dur­ing busi­ness use, the indi­vid­ual employee’s pol­i­cy would kick in as pri­ma­ry and the com­pa­ny would be con­sid­ered sec­ondary. In oth­er words, they would only be respon­si­ble for any claims that went above and beyond that indi­vid­ual driver’s pol­i­cy.

If some­thing were to hap­pen dur­ing non-busi­ness use, gen­er­al­ly nights and week­ends, it would now have noth­ing to do with the com­pa­ny what­so­ev­er. So, sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, it does rep­re­sent a fair­ly sig­nif­i­cant vari­ance in the type of lia­bil­i­ty and risk expo­sure to the com­pa­ny.

What oth­er ben­e­fits does your tech­nol­o­gy pro­vide?

Our tech­nol­o­gy gives a com­pa­ny the abil­i­ty to fair­ly reim­burse the employ­ee for the busi­ness use of their per­son­al vehi­cle, or to fair­ly charge for the per­son­al use of a com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed vehi­cle. That puts a com­pa­ny in a posi­tion where they can pro­vide either as an option, where it real­ly becomes noth­ing more than per­son­al pref­er­ence for the employ­ee. Our plat­form sup­ports both mod­els equal­ly well.

When a com­pa­ny tries to deter­mine whether it makes more sense to pro­vide employ­ees with a com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed fleet vehi­cle, whether it be leased or owned, or to reim­burse the dri­ver for the busi­ness use of their per­son­al vehi­cle, there are sev­er­al dif­fer­ent key vari­ables.

What we have been able to demon­strate time and time again, is that if a com­pa­ny reim­burs­es a dri­ver for the exact same vehi­cle that it oth­er­wise would have pro­vid­ed, the com­pa­ny will save $3,000 per dri­ver, per year, just by choos­ing reim­burse­ment. The bulk of that cost sav­ings is from the elim­i­na­tion of unre­port­ed per­son­al use.

How­ev­er, if a com­pa­ny is accu­rate­ly charg­ing for the per­son­al use of that com­pa­ny pro­vid­ed vehi­cle, the eco­nom­ics should end up being about the same. That’s why com­pa­nies have found it very excit­ing that they can lever­age our plat­form, our tech­nol­o­gy, to cal­cu­late a fair and accu­rate per­son­al use charge­back for each dri­ver, each month, based on their actu­al per­son­al use.

Now, from a cost stand­point, with our tech­nol­o­gy, even if a com­pa­ny wants to pro­vide the option of both pro­grams, they come out about the same. They may tell the dri­ver, “If you would pre­fer some of the con­ve­nience or per­ceived ben­e­fits with a com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed vehi­cle, we will give you that vehi­cle. If you would pre­fer a reim­burse­ment pro­gram because you would pre­fer the flex­i­bil­i­ty and choice; that is great.”

Either way, if the com­pa­ny has a pro­gram in place that is going to fair­ly and accu­rate­ly reim­burse a dri­ver for the busi­ness use of their per­son­al vehi­cle or fair­ly and accu­rate­ly charge the dri­ver for the per­son­al use of that com­pa­ny pro­vid­ed vehi­cle, cost-wise, it is going to be about the same.
At this point, it’s more of a cul­tur­al deci­sion. There are still some com­pa­nies that are bet­ter off only reim­burs­ing. There are com­pa­nies that are def­i­nite­ly bet­ter off only offer­ing a com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed vehi­cle.

It seems to us, that most com­pa­nies are prob­a­bly best off by pro­vid­ing a com­bi­na­tion of both. It’s along the same lines of, “does it make more sense for us to require our employ­ees to wear a suit and tie or does it make more sense for us to allow busi­ness casu­al?” Is it a JP Mor­gan cul­ture vers­es a Google cul­ture? Does it make more sense that we have the floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows and a very but­toned-up envi­ron­ment or does it make more sense to have bean bag chairs and col­or­ful trin­kets on the desks? That is a cul­tur­al ques­tion or a cul­tur­al dilem­ma for a com­pa­ny to solve. We feel as though reim­burse­ment vs. com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed falls into the same cat­e­go­ry. Cul­tur­al­ly, there may be one that makes more sense for your employ­ees.

We under­stand that your tech­nol­o­gy can be used equal­ly well for com­pa­ny-pro­vid­ed vehi­cles or reim­burse­ment. But let’s talk in more detail about reim­burse­ment mod­els.

We pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant amount of cus­tomiza­tion or flex­i­bil­i­ty for the client. A key point is that we don’t tell the client how much they should be reim­burs­ing their dri­vers. We will pro­vide con­sul­ta­tive guid­ance if they ask us, but more often than not the ques­tion is reflect­ed back to the client: “What are your finan­cial goals and objec­tives? What are your cul­tur­al goals and objec­tives? Let us design a pro­gram that insures both are suc­cess­ful­ly addressed.”

For instance, if a com­pa­ny is look­ing for a “rich­er” reim­burse­ment pro­gram, they can choose a series of para­me­ters that would pro­duce a rich­er reim­burse­ment rate. For exam­ple, they can base their reim­burse­ment on a more expen­sive vehi­cle. Or, they can base their reim­burse­ment on a short­er reten­tion peri­od. Do they want to pay for their dri­vers to be able to replace their vehi­cle once every two years or once every five years? It is going to mean a rich­er reim­burse­ment if the dri­vers are reim­bursed as if they are replac­ing their vehi­cle more fre­quent­ly. It is going to be a rich­er reim­burse­ment if you want to reim­burse the dri­ver for a $27,000 car than if you want to reim­burse the dri­ver for a $17,000 car.

Our clients rely on our exper­tise to select the right com­bi­na­tion of pro­gram para­me­ters, which ulti­mate­ly deter­mines just how rich or lean that pro­gram is going to be. Most of our clients will have mul­ti­ple sets of para­me­ters. For exam­ple, they may say we are going to reim­burse their sales reps on an Impala, or its equiv­a­lent, man­agers on a Cam­ry, and VPs on an Explor­er. Clients tell us what para­me­ters to apply to any par­tic­u­lar group of employ­ees. We then cal­cu­late a fair, accu­rate, and defen­si­ble reim­burse­ment rate for those groups of employ­ees, based on the para­me­ters that the com­pa­ny has select­ed.

Can you share a suc­cess sto­ry?

I am proud to say that we have a long list of those. I sup­pose one of the first to come to mind is one of our ear­li­er clients. This was a com­pa­ny that tran­si­tioned onto our pro­gram to pro­vide dri­vers with a fixed and vari­able rate reim­burse­ment. They start­ed with about 5,700 dri­vers on our pro­gram, which is a great-sized client. As we have inno­vat­ed and devel­oped more solu­tions and more fea­tures on our plat­form, this client has read­i­ly embraced our new offer­ings and has typ­i­cal­ly been one of the first clients to adopt some of the new tech­nolo­gies.

They had a pop­u­la­tion of dri­vers that were part-time, low mileage dri­vers and were using a Con­cur pro­gram to reim­burse those dri­vers on a cents-per-mile basis. So, we had to devel­op a tech­nol­o­gy that was designed for low­er mileage dri­vers. These are dri­vers for which a fixed and vari­able method­ol­o­gy wasn’t the most appro­pri­ate and we had a cents-per-mile solu­tion that made a lot of sense. When we rolled that out, they imme­di­ate­ly signed their dri­vers on and added anoth­er 10,000 to 12,000 dri­vers.

They also have employ­ees that are hourly and were using our tech­nol­o­gy to clock-in and clock-out. In addi­tion, they use some of our tech­nolo­gies that relate more to gen­er­al expense man­age­ment. They still have some dri­vers that are in fleet vehi­cles and are ben­e­fit­ting from the appli­ca­tion that cal­cu­lates how much to charge those employ­ees for the per­son­al use of the com­pa­ny pro­vid­ed vehi­cle.

They are a real suc­cess sto­ry, I think, real­ly in two ways. They viewed their rela­tion­ship with us as true part­ner­ship, because as their busi­ness has evolved over the years, they have found that we have been right there, side-by-side. Because of our com­mit­ment to tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion, we have been inno­vat­ing in a way that has enabled us to pro­vide increased val­ue to them over time.

How do you posi­tion your­self in the mar­ket? What is your edge?

As far as our edge and how we posi­tion our­selves in the mar­ket, we have real­ly evolved to be more of a tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny and a plat­form on which we offer and deliv­er these ser­vices. We have talked a lit­tle bit today about the fact that we have some clients that are just on reim­burse­ment. We have some clients that are just on fleet, and they are using our tech­nol­o­gy to cal­cu­late how much to charge employ­ees for the per­son­al use of their fleet vehi­cles. We have a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of clients today that are now on a com­bi­na­tion pro­gram of both fleet and reim­burse­ment.

That real­ly changes the way we posi­tion our­selves and the way we mar­ket our­selves in the indus­try. We are not out there any­more try­ing to con­vince a com­pa­ny that they should not be pro­vid­ing fleet vehi­cles. We are not out there try­ing to con­vince a com­pa­ny that they are bet­ter off reim­burs­ing than pro­vid­ing fleet. We are able to take a step back and objec­tive­ly guide our clients through that deci­sion, whether reim­burse­ment makes more sense, whether fleet makes more sense, or whether a com­bi­na­tion pro­gram makes more sense.

At the end of the day, we have solu­tions for any of those sit­u­a­tions. So, we don’t have any vest­ed inter­est in try­ing to con­vince a com­pa­ny that it is bet­ter off one way vers­es anoth­er. And that is a very dif­fer­ent mes­sage, as we under­stand it, in the mar­ket­place. We under­stand from the mar­ket­place and from clients and prospec­tive clients, that it is a very dif­fer­ent mes­sage. It is very dif­fer­ent posi­tion that we are tak­ing on this par­tic­u­lar issue, and it’s why, as I men­tioned ear­li­er, we are in the process of rebrand­ing the Com­pa­ny from Cor­po­rate Reim­burse­ment Ser­vices to Motus.

BIO

Gregg Dar­ish is the Founder and Exec­u­tive Chair­man of Motus, LLC (for­mer­ly, Cor­po­rate Reim­burse­ment Ser­vices, Inc. (CRS)), an inno­v­a­tive and award-win­ning com­pa­ny that pro­vides the lead­ing soft­ware-as-a-ser­vice (SaaS) mobile work­force man­age­ment plat­form. The company’s inte­grat­ed solu­tion offers auto­mat­ed vehi­cle reim­burse­ment, fleet per­son­al use cap­ture, expense man­age­ment, mileage track­ing, route opti­miza­tion, and time man­age­ment solu­tions for com­pa­nies with mobile employ­ees.

Gregg is a nation­al­ly rec­og­nized expert on IRS tax law and account­ing reg­u­la­tions relat­ing to vehi­cle reim­burse­ment. He cur­rent­ly advis­es hun­dreds of com­pa­nies, includ­ing many of the For­tune 500, on best prac­tices for man­ag­ing costs and com­pli­ance, mit­i­gat­ing lia­bil­i­ty and risk expo­sure, and increas­ing effi­cien­cies.

An active leader in the busi­ness and non-prof­it com­mu­ni­ties, Gregg is a board mem­ber of Young Pres­i­dents Orga­ni­za­tion and sits on the board of sev­er­al non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions. Gregg attend­ed North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty where he majored in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion and minored in Entre­pre­neur­ship.

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