How Prevost Rental mobilizes its used motor coach fleet with Subscriptions technology
A Heritage of Innovation
Prevost, a premium motor coach manufacturer with nearly a century of heritage, is a member of the Volvo Group. Prevost offers direct sales and service support to its clients across North America. In 2019, Volvo Group sold $1.6 Billion through its coach business in North America.
Big Assets Add up Quickly
As with other vehicle classes, Prevost often takes in used vehicle trades as part of a coach sale. Prevost and Volvo coaches, which are designed to travel well over one million miles, often return in great condition and ready for a second life on the road. However, depending on the market for a particular vehicle given its age, mileage or exogenous economic conditions, it may make financial sense for Prevost to hold a bus for a period of time. But holding a bus is a difficult endeavor - without use, parts tend to degrade. Furthermore, the value of a used coach routinely reaches $200,000. Given the number of trade-ins Prevost takes in, these non-performing assets can easily total tens of millions of dollars on their balance sheet.
To put these assets to work, Prevost started a rental program and quickly found strong demand from its customers. The rental program allowed customers to take possession of a coach as quickly as two weeks. Whether they were filling peak demand during busy season or filling a gap in their fleet for a bus on order or in the shop, customers loved the acquisition speed that Prevost could offer with their rentals.
A Need for Automation
Soon, though, Prevost’s initial system of spreadsheets and back-and-forth phone calls began to show its limits. Prevost’s team was spending a surprising amount of time matching customers with buses up front, and then tracking down payments once the bus was delivered. “We were spending so much time hunting down checks in the mail,” says Patrice Cote, Prevost’s Rental lead. They needed a system that could allow customers to shop their available inventory of buses, as well as automate rental contracts, collect recurring payment information and collect automated monthly payments.
Prevost and Volvo Financial Services teamed up to find a mobility-as-a-service solution that was flexible enough to fit their existing rental model and unique motor coach market needs. Additionally, they had an existing telematics solution in Geotab that needed to plug in seamlessly. Launch Mobility was the perfect fit.
A Technological Reboot
Based on its Subscriptions structure, Launch Mobility built a rental solution for Prevost that allows fleet managers to view available vehicle inventory, register their companies, and add a recurring payment via a custom-branded website. Tax-exempt customers, such as churches who rent coaches for their congregations, even have an opportunity to add their proof of exemption during registration.
With Prevost Rental, the company retains full control over vetting its customers. Prevost manages checkpoints through LM Mission Control, Launch Mobility’s service management tool, that allows it to confirm creditworthiness, DOT status, and insurance documentation before approving customers to rent its premium coaches.
Once a customer is approved, Prevost arranges delivery at one of its nationwide service center locations. Service center employees have a role-based permission to manage vehicle delivery within Mission Control. If any vehicle work needs to be completed before delivery, Cote and the Prevost team can use Mission Control to assign tasks for that work and track its status. Even after the vehicle is delivered, Prevost receives mileage alerts from connected vehicle telematics that prompt them to ensure the appropriate maintenance is getting done. “Those are our coaches out there,” says Cote. “We need to make sure they come back in good shape.”
Through the Prevost Rental site, customers can view their invoices, payment history or contract at any time. Additionally, they can contact Prevost directly through the site, which helps Prevost maintain its legendary level of customer service.
Commercial Rental Scale
As a result of adopting the Launch Mobility platform, Prevost Rental can now scale its business far beyond the constraints they identified in their market debut. “With the new technology, we can triple our rental program volume without growing our office team. That gives us a lot of flexibility to manage our used inventory,” says Cote. More automation, more assets generating revenue, and that same classic Prevost service experience. Prevost Rental is a prime example of how technology can be used to further elevate already-great brands.
Learn more about Launch Mobility's Subscriptions solution to know whether it is right for your rental business.