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Spotlight on ODO Power Broker – Paul Bulloch, Concept Vehicle Leasing
Paul Bulloch, Founder and CEO of Concept Vehicle Leasing

Paul Bulloch, Founder and CEO of Concept Vehicle Leasing

Welcome to the ODO Power Brokers Programme. Today, we're joined by Paul Bulloch, Founder, and CEO of Concept Vehicle Leasing. 

ODO: Paul, you've transformed your business recently with a move into fleet management. Could you just give us a little bit of insight into how you've done that and what you've done to transform your business proposition?

Paul: We want to help customers really reduce the administrative burden that is associated with running their business vehicles. It's something we've always been keen to get involved with. Our services have been built based on client needs, so we have clients over the years come to ask “Can you help with this”? We've looked for a way to help rather than have a situation where they've got to go and talk to someone else. So over the years, we built our services around things like policy, the duty of care, helping with licence checking, dealing with maintenance, and downtime. These things take up an awful lot of time for the clients, particularly when they don't have a dedicated fleet manager.

From a cost-saving perspective, we always look to optimise spend. I'm a big fan of making sure that finance only pay for what they need and what they use. For example, mileage is something that we really can take care of for our clients. We also help with preventative action to reduce unforeseen costs such as vehicle damage. So really, we're quite a long way from where we started, which was simply to supply and finance vehicles. Now our services extend far beyond that. It really helps us grow our business. You know, we all want to be the go-to option for our clients rather than them having to deal with multiple providers.

ODO: It sounds like there's plenty of real tangible benefits for your customers from time and cost savings to peace of mind and compliance. 

Paul: Absolutely. Yes. Our clients typically don't have a fleet manager or a team of people looking after their fleet. Our clients are the finance director or the H.R. manager or purchasing or office manager and so fleet management is not their core responsibility. Our experience shows that even a breakdown of one vehicle can take up an awful lot of time. It can literally drain days from your life! So the main benefit that I've seen and our clients see is that time-saving aspect. We think the actual time-saving element from running a fleet of 20, 25 vehicles could be as much as six weeks a year. Well, that's a lot of costs that we can save by taking away some of that administrative burden, using a platform like ODO in conjunction with the other services that we offer from a fleet management perspective. That's a really substantial time and cost-saving. 

ODO: How would you say ODO has helped you achieve that transformation in your service offering to your customers?

Paul: It has been quite a big change for us. We've been involved with ODO since the early days in terms of the broker proposition. We were the first broker to come onto the platform so we've had a lot to do with the initial set up and tailoring, which was really interesting to be a part of. For us, it's become our internal fleet management system and that's enabled us to save time and costs from our own internal perspective. 

From a client perspective, it's enabled us to build a suite of fleet management solutions that plug into ODO, which operates as a central point. So for us, ODO is the centerpiece. We then bolt on things like pay on use maintenance, rentals, and vehicle inspections via the driver app. 

Going forward, it will be that centerpiece for us as we build our services from a fleet management perspective. Ultimately, I think it's helped us pivot our business towards becoming more of a fleet management consultancy. The idea, of course, is that clients don't need to talk to anyone else. So it takes us very much away from just the supply and finance of a vehicle towards a situation where we're managing all aspects of a fleet for our clients, which I think is just a really important place to be for us. It's something that we see as the future for our business.

ODO: Looking ahead, what are the key trends that you see impacting brokers in the future? 

Paul: there's been a seismic shift away from the concept of owning a vehicle towards much more of a usership model. Certainly, businesses have been leasing vehicles for many years, but now it seems to be becoming much more the norm for consumers too. So leasing is a big part of the automotive funding world within the UK. I think there's been a real change in attitude and behaviour with the vehicle being used as a tool for mobility rather than an emotional thing that you want to own. So I think there are questions around mobility as a whole and ultimately how that works, not just in terms of the car, but also looking at other forms of transport. I believe that ODO forms part of that mobility future, as the centerpiece that connects the various elements of the future mobility solution. I also think that technology will play a very significant role in the future, both in terms of the type of vehicle we offer and in terms of power and autonomy. So in summary, on that, in terms of operation, smart management of drivers and fleets will be what we require and what's required from us as a service provider. And I would say ODO plays a big part in that.

ODO: What would your advice be to any other brokers considering expanding their services and offering Fleet Management solutions to their clients?

Paul: There's nothing wrong with just focusing primarily on the sale and funding of new vehicles. Nothing wrong with that at all and there are lots of our peers in the industry that do just that. But, my view is that there are some big players in the marketplace with a considerable online presence who are rapidly becoming the Amazons of this industry. At the same time, businesses and individuals are moving to much more of an online channel in terms of procurement and funding of vehicles with the vehicles being delivered to your door direct from the website. So that's a big shift. And the issue with that is that it becomes harder to set yourself apart from the competition. Your USP becomes much harder to spot and that will ultimately erode margin from a broker perspective. So I believe in a consultancy led approach, which does require more of a complex approach to the business.

Our clients need much more of a hands-on approach, which takes us away from being in that very competitive online space to much more of a purpose-built, bespoke niche solution. I believe that's been a massive advantage from our point of view. So what it does, it enables us to build a business where there are multiple revenue streams. And that is very, very useful from a broker perspective and something to think about in the future. Of course, I would also say ODO is very much part of our plan in that respect. 

So nothing wrong with the online transactional sale and finance of a vehicle. But I think there's only so much space in that part of the marketplace. Looking at other options to build revenue and increase client retention and build a much deeper relationship with clients, is something worth considering.

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