Industry Insights

Car Subscription Business Model: The four most important Partners

August 15, 2023
9 min

Continuing our series on how to build a successful car subscription business, here we look at some of the most important partners you’ll need for your model.

As the demand for flexible short-term vehicle rental remains on an upward trend, the car subscription business model is swiftly becoming the go-to choice for modern consumers. This model grants customers the freedom of car usage without the complexities of ownership, sparing them from hefty down payments, ownership costs, maintenance hassles, and the responsibilities that come with owning a car.

In response to this changing landscape, many fleet owners are embracing the car subscription paradigm, capitalising on the surge in demand for convenient short-term mobility solutions. Car subscription services offer customers a seamless pathway to vehicular access through an all-inclusive fee ranging from daily, weekly, or monthly subscription plans. Within this structure, customers are offered complete flexibility and freedom to choose their subscription tenure, select their preferred vehicle, and tailor their plan with desired inclusions.

However, delivering a flawless car subscription experience to customers entails an array of considerations for car subscription companies. These include a wide range of aspects like securing a diverse fleet of vehicles, furnishing user-friendly apps or websites for seamless bookings, offering efficient vehicle delivery and retrieval services, managing insurance claims and security deposits, executing comprehensive identity and credit assessments, as well as providing robust customer service and responsive roadside assistance. The multifaceted nature of this undertaking underscores the pivotal role that partner companies can play in making the customer experience more efficient as well as allowing the business to function smoothly.

In this article, we will discuss the key partners you’re going to need to run a car subscription operation from end-to-end, and we’ll share some advice on how to choose the right ones. In the last article we explored the importance of choosing the right technology partner for your sales and operations, now we’ll explore the need for wider partners who will complete your offering.

The importance of having the right Partners

In the evolving ecosystem of car subscription businesses, having the right partners can help improve your business operations and efficiency by sharing resources and providing a seamless and integrated service to your customers. These collaborations make up the backbone on which these businesses thrive, ensuring seamless operations, enjoyable customer experiences, and sustainable growth.

First, the right partnerships can grant you access to a wealth of specialised resources and expertise. Instead of shouldering every operational load on your own, these businesses can tap into their strengths and resources. These relationships optimise efficiency, create space for innovation, and improve overall service quality so you can direct your focus on the brand you want to build and the experience you want to offer to your customers.

Secondly, partnerships contribute to the seamless integration of services, offering customers a holistic product. As the industry evolves and market demands shift, the right partners can provide the flexibility to swiftly pivot, integrate new technologies, and cater to emerging consumer preferences. This dynamic responsiveness ensures that your company can stay ahead of the curve and remain agile in an ever-changing mobility landscape.

Putting in the hours and resources required to find the right partners can help you streamline operations, enhance customer experience and mitigate risks. Partnerships can also drive financial prudence. Instead of investing substantial resources in building every aspect of the business in-house, you can allocate resources strategically by leveraging the specialised capabilities of your partners. In essence, partnerships are not merely collaborations – they are strategic catalysts that supercharge the growth, resilience, and customer satisfaction of car subscription enterprises.

In this blog, we’ll delve into four of the most important types of partnerships that play a a major role in propelling car subscription companies forward: insurance partners, technology integrators, marketing partners and of course, suppliers.

Insurance Partners

Partnering with insurance providers is an important step towards ensuring not only the safety of the vehicles on the road but also the financial security of the enterprise. These partnerships form a crucial layer of protection that shields car subscription companies from potential liabilities arising from accidents or unforeseen incidents. Beyond this fundamental aspect, insurance providers play an instrumental role in streamlining the customer experience and tailoring policies to the unique requirements of different car subscription models. Let’s explore some things to keep in mind when choosing your insurance partner.

1. What’s your need

Before selecting an insurance partner, it's imperative to understand your specific needs. The nature of vehicles you intend to offer, your target demographic, and your financial considerations will all factor into the insurance equation. This includes a thorough assessment of how insurance premiums might impact your pricing structure and its compatibility with your intended customer base. Once these aspects are clearly defined, you can move forward in looking for insurance partners that are aligned with your goals.

2. Researching

Conducting meticulous research is the cornerstone of finding the perfect insurance partner. Explore the landscape of insurance providers that specialise in policies tailored for car subscription businesses in your desired locations. This research phase should encompass a comprehensive evaluation of various providers, delving into essential elements such as premium rates, coverage depth, and the quality of customer service.

3. Getting Quotes

Once you've compiled a list of potential insurance partners, the next step is to request quotes from each contender. This comparative approach allows you to compare premium rates and coverage features, so you can make an informed decision that works for your business's financial and operational goals. Careful consideration during this phase can lead to a more precise understanding of the financial implications associated with insurance coverage.

4. Align Partnership with Purpose

Having met potential insurance partners, the final decision hinges on a thorough assessment of your business's individual needs, financial considerations, and preferences. Opting for an insurance provider that mirrors your objectives ensures that your coverage is finely tuned to safeguard both your assets and your reputation.

Insurance partnerships are more than contractual agreements—they're the bedrock upon which the business's longevity and customer trust are built. By strategically selecting insurance providers, you're not just protecting your investments; you're instiling peace of mind for both your company and your valued customers.

Car Suppliers

Car suppliers are obviously vital, because they provide the very vehicles that your product runs on and customers drive in. Beyond just vehicle provision, they also determine efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and how diversified your fleet is. Here's a closer look at the strategic importance of partnering with car suppliers and how to go about finding the right one for your needs:

1. Defining Fleet Requirements

A clear understanding of your car subscription business's specific needs is the compass that guides your partnership with car suppliers. Clearly define the types and models of vehicles required, the scale of your fleet, and your budgetary constraints. This foundation enables you to hone-in your search for the right car supplier, ensuring alignment with your operational plans.

2. Researching Suppliers

The landscape of car suppliers is multifaceted, with a range of options catering to different preferences, volume requirements and budgets. Your research should encompass a thorough comparison of various suppliers, taking into account their offerings, pricing structures, and terms.

3. Face-to-Face Interaction

Take the initiative to visit any potential car suppliers. These visits provide an on-ground perspective, allowing you to observe their facilities and the condition of their vehicles, engage with their team, and build a deeper understanding of their operations. This engagement goes beyond transactions, fostering relationships that can be instrumental in the long-term success of your car subscription brand.

Here are some types of car suppliers that are in the market and the unique contributions they bring to car subscription businesses:

OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers): OEMs are the cornerstone of the automotive industry, responsible for designing, engineering, and manufacturing vehicles. In the context of car subscription businesses, OEMs can play a significant role by directly supplying new vehicles to meet the needs of new mobility enterprises.

Independent Fleet Suppliers: Fleet suppliers specialise in catering to the needs of businesses that require a fleet of vehicles. These suppliers usually maintain a substantial inventory of vehicles, spanning various makes and models, to accommodate many fleet needs. Their extensive selection often translates into a wide range of pricing and sometimes the ability to swiftly fulfill large orders. For car subscription businesses, collaborating with fleet suppliers can ensure rapid scaling and quick adaptation to any change in customer demands.

Independent Dealers: Independent dealers thrive in the pre-owned vehicle market, offering a range of cars that have been previously owned. Their versatility and capacity to provide a variety of makes and models, often at different price points, make them an appealing choice for car subscription businesses aiming to diversify their fleet and cater to varying customer preferences.

Each type of car supplier brings its own unique advantages to the table, catering to the specific needs and growth strategies of car subscription companies. The partnership with the right type of supplier can significantly influence the success of these businesses, from ensuring access to cutting-edge vehicle models to offering competitive pricing and the ability to tailor the fleet to customer preferences. Beyond the metal and machinery, the right partnership with a good fleet provider can contribute to the creation of memorable experiences for customers, bolstering your brand's reputation and customer loyalty.

Technology Partners

In this digital age, the synergy between car subscription businesses and technology partners is paramount, igniting operational excellence, seamless customer experiences, and innovative solutions. There are a number of Tech partners who can provide you with everything you need to run a full car subscription business. Let’s explore the pivotal role that tech partners play for car subscription companies.

A tech partner can be an invaluable asset for car subscription businesses. They can help you better understand your business needs and tailor a solution to meet those individual requirements. They can also help you implement and maintain your software solutions, along with the added support and advice.

1. Enabling Seamless Operations with the Right Software Solutions

Technology partners specialising in car subscription software provide the digital backbone essential for the management of subscription services. These software solutions encompass a spectrum of functionalities, from customer management and vehicle tracking to booking platforms and billing systems. This can help streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and elevate the overall user experience. From day-to-day management to long-term scalability, these solutions are the digital lifelines of modern car subscription ventures.

2. White Label vs. Custom Build: Tailoring Solutions

When it comes to technology solutions, car subscription businesses have two primary routes: white label and custom build.

White label: A white label solution is a pre-made software solution that is rebranded and sold by another company. This can be a good option for car subscription businesses that are just starting out and do not have the budget or resources to build their own software solution. However, white label solutions can be limited in functionality and may not be able to meet the specific needs of your business.

o Can be limited in functionality

o May not be able to meet the specific needs of your business

o Can be difficult to rebrand and make your own

Custom build: A custom build solution is a software solution that is specifically designed and built for your business. This can be a good option for car subscription businesses that have specific needs or requirements that cannot be met by a white label solution. However, custom built solutions can be expensive and time-consuming to develop.

o Can be expensive

o Time-consuming to develop

o Can be difficult to maintain

Choosing between white label and custom build solutions hinges on a delicate balance between functionality and cost. White label solutions offer a swift entry into the digital realm, but customisation might be limited. Custom solutions offer precise alignment with your operational nuances but might require more significant investments of time and resources.

3. Future-Proofing your Tech solutions

Partnering with technology experts doesn't end with implementation—it's an ongoing journey. Technology partners continually update software to keep up with industry trends, security measures, and customer demands. This evolution guarantees that your car subscription business remains at the forefront of innovation, adapting swiftly to emerging needs and staying ahead of the digital curve.

4. Navigating Growth and Scalability

For car subscription businesses, having the right tech partner is a strategic imperative. A tech partner can dissect your unique business needs and provide a tailor-made solution that harmonises seamlessly with your operational objectives. However, it’s important for this collaboration to extend beyond the implementation stage. If you implement a system that isn’t scalable, you may find that you outgrow it as your business grows. This can lead to problems such as:

Performance Issues: As your fleet and customer size grows, you may find that you need to add more systems to your business. For example, you may need to add a credit check system, a fleet tracking capabilities, or a CRM. If these systems are not integrated, it can be difficult to manage them all. This disarray can lead to performance bottlenecks that can affect customer experiences.

Feature limitations: The fluid nature of the car subscription industry means software needs to not be only functional, but also adaptable. As your business evolves and your business needs change, the features that were initially sufficient might quickly become inadequate. A rigid software solution lacking the capacity to enhance or scale can stifle your ability to innovate, handicapping your growth potential.

Financial Constraints: As your business grows, the cost of maintaining your software solutions may become prohibitive. This can put a strain on your budget, siphoning resources that could otherwise be directed towards new services, acquiring more vehicles, or maximising customer experiences.

As the automotive industry evolves and customer expectations transform, technology partnerships are the driving force that propels car subscription services to new heights of convenience, customer satisfaction, and operational excellence. By partnering with companies that offer the right software solutions designed for your unique business needs, you can ensure continuous scalability, optimal performance, and the agility to capitalise on emerging opportunities. Beyond mere technology, these partnerships reflect a commitment to your growth, and ensure that as your car subscription business expands, your software solutions amplify your success rather than curbing it.

Read More: Operational Model and the Role for Technology

Marketing Partners

A good marketing partner can help you launch and grow your car subscription business. Through a well thought out combination of online advertising, social media engagement, and targeted email campaigns, they can help channel your brand message to potential customers, enhancing awareness of your product and capatilising on that awareness by funnelling interested users into your sales pipeline. This far-reaching approach widens your market penetration.

Of all the partners mentioned in this article so far, marketing partners are probably the most widely available, and with that abundance comes difficulty in choosing the right one. Because of this, selecting the right marketing partner or agency demands a discerning approach. Here are some key considerations:

Clear Objectives:

A proficient marketing agency should have distinct, measurable objectives for their campaigns. These objectives serve as benchmarks for success and facilitate the tracking of campaign effectiveness. Whether it's a percentage increase in website traffic or a specific number of generated leads, well-defined goals are pivotal. These objectives should also be measurable and quantifiable, so that you can track their progress and effectiveness. For example, an objective might be to increase website traffic by 20% or to generate 100 leads per month.

Demonstrable Results:

Transparency is paramount. A reliable marketing partner should be able to provide concrete evidence of their campaigns' impact. This means that they should be able to show you how their campaigns have increased sales and generated leads or website traffic. They should also be able to provide you with data and insights that can help you improve your marketing campaigns in the future.

Accountability and Efficient Spending:

Partnering with a marketing agency involves investment, and accountability is key. A reputable agency should meticulously illustrate how your budget is being utilised to avoid wasteful expenditure of your resources. This transparency ensures that your resources are being allocated effectively to yield optimal results.

Shared Vision and Reputation:

Having a shared vision is an important step. Seek partners who not only possess a sterling reputation but also resonate with your brand's values and aspirations. The harmony between your business's mission and their marketing strategies fosters a seamless partnership, driving mutual success.

As your car subscription business navigates modern mobility, marketing partners emerge as the architects of impactful brand narratives, forging connections with potential customers and fortifying loyalty. By selecting partners who exhibit transparency, accountability, and an inherent understanding of your business's essence, you propel your enterprise into the limelight, setting the stage for operational growth.


From insurance providers ensuring financial security to car suppliers fuelling the fleet, and from technology partners orchestrating digital excellence to marketing partners amplifying visibility, each partner can play an important role in driving the success of your car subscription business. It’s important to find partners that can understand and add to your goals and vision. It’s also important to clearly define what you’re aiming to get out of each partnership and clearly communicate that to the enterprises you’re working with.

The car subscription business landscape is dynamic and multifaceted, presenting challenges and opportunities in equal measure. However, finding the right partnerships can accelerate the growth of your company with expertise, resources, and a shared commitment to your vision. They can provide the support you need to confidently embrace challenges, capitalise on new opportunities, and transform your aspirations into tangible growth.

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Dan Kirby

Commercial Director


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