With more and more Croatian brands earning international respect, the founder and owner of the Croatian brand Carwiz reveals his plans to set Croatia’s newest rent-a-car company on the path of the global market through franchises already agreed with five European countries.
As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of January, 2019, the newest car rental service in Croatia, Carwiz, is also the first to start a franchise business outside of the Republic of Croatia, with ambitious plans for the coming three years to be present on at least twenty markets across different parts of Europe, as well as in Africa and Asia.
At a recent press conference, the first five markets the Croatian brand Carwiz will take to this year were revealed, and Poslovni Dnevnik got to hear all the details of this important move and the current situation on the domestic market, which were revealed by Krešimir Dobrilović, the founder of the completely Croatian brand Carwiz, who has been in this business almost twenty years.
Which are the first markets you plan to go to with the franchise, and how have you decided on such a step?
I’ve been in this business for a long time and with the Carwiz project, I’ve been trying to apply all of my acquired knowledge, experience, and my business relationships, but also introduce an innovative approach, and the emergence of the global market is in line with such thinking.
I have significant support from the team we’ve gathered together for Carwiz there, and in 2018 we began to develop a franchise business in cooperation with partners who are already doing car rentals, but have the ambition to make a step forward in their business as well as increase their traffic. At this time, we have five signed franchise agreements with partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Serbia, Latvia, and Cyprus.
How does your model differ from those already on the market and what do you offer to your partners?
All models in Croatia are imported franchises, and our concept has been fully developed in Croatia, in cooperation with our team and our partners such as Vip Data who have developed our software. With this front desk product, the company which will be ”under our cap” will also have a website, a main one and a local one, as well as a brand with the entire brand book and everything that goes with it, from the standard look to employee uniforms.
However, it’s crucial that, with the whole philosophy of our business, we get access to our foreign partners who will fill up the reservations.
That was the key step in the preparation of this project. It was crucial to find out how much foreign partners are willing to accompany the realisation. That’s why we’ve carried out research and received extremely positive feedback from all the partners we’re working with.
Why is cooperation with foreign partners so important, and why do they need you to get that approach?
This [foreign] cooperation is very important because there are a number of good rent-a-car companies that can’t make a breakthrough to the largest number of bookings, which can only be achieved in cooperation with global online partners, which makes up about 80 percent of our business. It isn’t the case that just anyone can go to Rentalcars [website] and just ask them to put them on their web platform. Building trust with such partners takes a long time and is demanding.
Through all the projects I’ve been through, I’ve continued to build the relationship that we’re continuing on with Carwiz, and that’s the strongest asset we can offer through the franchise. Carwiz is, on the Rentalcars site and on the American website Autoeurope, recognised as the best rent-a-car in Croatia. That’s what we want to convey to our franchise partners. In addition, we offer them a price strategy, a fleet strategy, plans, tracking, and so on. Moreover, at least in these close markets such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, we’ll also be able to help our partners with the purchase of vehicles.
How did you find partners? Can we expect any further franchise expansion?
So far, they’ve mainly been finding us. We’re additionally teamed up for a stronger search for new partners, but we’re careful about who we give the franchise to.
We check companies and their business, so we have refused some of them. This involves different markets, from Greece, which thanks to tourism has a highly developed fleet market of about ten thousand vehicles, to Latvia which isn’t as developed tourism-wise as Greece is, but offers other aspects of opportunities with significantly smaller fleet vehicles.
By the end of the first quarter of the current year, we will finalise the signing of agreements with partners in Morocco, Romania, and Kosovo, and we plan to be present with our brand in more than twenty countries over the next three years.
How realistic is the prospect of doing that?
We saw that it’s very realistic last year at the WTM London Tourism Fair, where we were the first Croatian rent-a-car brand to have our own stand. We talked with potential partners from a total of nineteen countries, including Morocco, Poland, Vietnam, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Brazil… I believe that in a year’s time, we could close the complete Baltic region, we also have indications for Russia.
What are your plans for this year with regard to new investments?
We concluded 2018 with 48 million kuna in revenue, with a profit of around 600,000 kuna, which would have been even bigger without the major investments [we carried out] in business development, primarily for the franchises. This step, along with the increase in the number of fleets, should increase this year’s [revenue] to more than 65 million kuna, with a projected profit of about 3 million kuna.
Because of that, we want to increase the availability of our services in continental cities, our fleet is fairly large in the winter, consisting of more than 600 cars. During peak season last year we had 1,400 vehicles, and for this year we plan to have about 2,000 cars operating during the summer months. Therefore, we’re planning new employment, and we expect to reach over 80 employees in the peak season.
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Click here for the original article by Marija Crnjak for Poslovni Dnevnik