How much do you love Netflix, Hulu or Spotify? There are a lot of subscription services out there, primarily because of the convenience. Having everything you want for a small price each month is worth it in many people’s minds. That mentality has made its way into the car industry as well.
For a very long time, everyone just bought a car outright. Then leasing started making it easier for someone to get a new car without dropping thousands and being committed. Now, the new option is car subscription services. There are already car companies like BMW. Cadillac, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porshe, and more who offer this service. Soon car companies all over the world will offer it.
What is a car subscription service
Similar to leasing, the car isn’t owned by you. Instead, you pay a monthly fee to drive it. For the most part, the fee covers everything that has to do with the car. That can include maintenance, insurance, and roadside assistance. There are certain companies that offer a lot of other features like concierge pick up and drop off of the vehicle and car swapping whenever you want. The price you pay is set every month and you have the freedom to pick what you want. Many offer this service for their used cars or vehicles that have been leased.
I mentioned car swapping which is a really interesting feature within this service. Some car subscription services offer the option to change cars anytime. For example, let’s say you ordered a compact sedan through the subscription service and you have been driving that for a few months now. Now, you decided to help your friend move but need a truck to do it, you can go online and switch your compact sedan for a truck, use that for a few days, and then swap it back. A concierge will even pick it up and drop it off for you.
1. No stressful salespeople and negotiations.
2. No need to have a great credit score. It can be easier to be accepted versus buying or leasing.
3. It is really convenient because you can usually do everything online. You may not even need to go to the dealership at all.
4. The cost can be lower because there are no financing fees or down payments because it’s just the 1 monthly fee.
5. You have more flexibility when it comes to switching cars. You aren’t necessarily locked into paying for 2 years. You can pay for as many months as you want.
1. There are rules and restrictions on the car that you won’t see when you own or lease. These can include:
a. The insurance options may not be as great as what you already have
b. You may have to get authorization for other people to drive your car
c. Going across any borders may be prohibited
d. You could have a tracking device in your car
e. Your pets may have to be in carriers
f. No smoking, drinking, or drugs. Drinking and drugs are pretty obvious but smoking may be prohibited because of the smell it causes or you can pay more for it.
2. If you don’t like monthly payments and want to just buy it outright so that you own it completely then this service is not for you.
3. If you like going to the dealerships and test driving the cars and then negotiating hard to get good deals then buying or leasing is the way to go. Good negotiators may be able to get a better deal buying or leasing than doing the subscription method, but again you have to be good at it and/or like doing it.
Let’s be honest, buying a car is a huge pain. You spend hours at different dealerships looking for cars with sales people following you around trying to convince you to get it. It’s stressful and you always feel that pressure from them, especially once you take a test drive. This is what most people hate about buying a car. It’s a lot of work to do it.
When it comes to the younger generation (millennials) they are not thrilled with face-to-face transactions. Having to do what generations have done before with car purchases holds no appeal to them so being able to do it all online and in an app is appealing. This generation already uses a lot of other subscription services for other parts of their life so this is just as appealing to them.
It’s pretty tricky to compare these options exactly because the services are pretty different. Depending on your choices you could save money with a subscription plan or you could pay more. Remember that insurance is included in the subscription price versus buying or leasing which is your own additional cost on top of that price.
You may get a price of $350 for leasing a car and with the subscription plan, it could be $425 which may make you say no. However, what is the price of your insurance? For a new car it’s most likely over $100 so in the end, a car subscription service could be cheaper. Do keep in mind this won’t always be the case, especially when you add more high-end features to your plan you will probably end up paying more. Of course, if you want to have unlimited mileage and car flipping options it’s only logical that it would cost quite a bit more.
The mobile app development opportunity
A lot of this booking is done online and although some companies may offer management of this service through an app there is still a huge gap in the market for this. Going into an app, selecting the vehicle you want, the type of plan and extras you want, and submitting is way easier than the traditional method of getting a car. Mobile app development is the way to go to provide your customers what they really want. Also, make sure you hire the right app development company who knows what to do.
This is the time to get your app created if you haven’t done so already. There are still limitations within the current mobile apps as well. Whether you already have one and need to make improvements or you want to build one with amazing features making it easy for people to purchase a plan, you should do it. Simplifying the purchasing process will make more people want to not only sign up for a subscription plan but also buy and lease. You could increase your profits which is the ultimate goal.
Fun facts to know about car subscription services
Something that is really exciting for many people is the credit check. Having your credit checked not only lowers your score but you don’t always get approved if you have a low score. With the app, you enter your credit card details but no credit check. You also have to show proof that you have a valid driver license.
Like renting a car, you have to be 25 years or older to take advantage of this service. Although those younger drivers may love this service they will have to wait a little bit. Many of these companies need you to have a good driving record to show that you’re a reliable driver and less likely to get into an accident.
This change has been going on for a while. The way we do anything nowadays has been changing drastically and buying a car is no different. It’s all about the freedom and flexibility to do what you want. You’ve got to find new ways to meet your customers’ wants and demands. The traditional methods of making purchases are becoming a thing of the past and app-based businesses are the future.