Des says his site dramatically undercuts the excess insurance offered by Hertz, Budget, Thrifty (not hard) and that business is growing strongly.
“Sales were up 40% in February and by this time next year I think we will have doubled,” Des says.
Car hire companies charge customers $22 to $27 a day to bring their insurance excess down to $300.
Tripcover.com.au rates start at $9.30.
It’s a big difference and one that’s struck a chord with the travelling public.
Des knows car hire well, though he doesn’t always remember his early days in the industry fondly.
He lost money on car hire site Oodles.com, which he started with his brother Steve Sherlock in 2004.
Steve, who has an interest in Tripcover.com.au, also co-founded market leader VroomVroomVroom.com.au in the early 2000s, later selling out to the management team.
Neither of the brothers is involved in Oodles.com any more; however Des considers time spent on the project to be worthwhile.
“I really learnt some lessons from Oodles,” Des says.
“We wanted to get a lot of money in and become a global giant.”
Unfortunately that turned out to be an expensive and risky strategy.
“This time we are keeping it simple – we are a lean, clean cash machine.”
“Tripcover in an oily rag story,” he jokes.
Cover is provided by Allianz, which is also helping with call centre support.
According to Euromonitor, in 2011 the Australian car rental market turned over $1.2bn with 50% of transactions initiated online.
There were 5.2 million bookings for an average of three days, equalling 15.6 million car hire days, which is down from 20.1 million days in 2007.
Des reckons 40% of car hire customers take out insurance excess cover.