Richard & David Eastes

Written on the 23 November 2009

Richard & David Eastes
VROOMVROOMVROOM.COM.AU
AUTOMOTIVE

Age: 30 and 25
Business Est: 2001 acquired 2004
Number of staff: 10
Growth: 300 per cent
Turnover: $3.59 million

WITH a brand that sounds like a humming engine, Vroomvroomvroom.com.au co-owner David Eastes admits that early on it was difficult to get recognition for his online car hire business.

But the ‘silly name’ that catches attention, along with a serious race to catch a niche market comparing car prices online, has put Vroomvroomvroom into full throttle.

“Four years ago we had 40 to 50 bookings a day, but late last year in the Christmas period it just boomed and we were getting between 500 and 600 bookings a day,” says Eastes.

“When my brother Richard and our business partner Peter Thornton acquired the business it was a very dodgy online website where you just had car hire deals and one or two pages. We rescued the struggling business and really came across our niche for comparison and really good service.

“When we started out five years ago, getting recognition from clients like Avis, they didn’t see that websites could take off in car hire, even though Wotif.com has been a great success story.”

Since then about six competitors have come on the scene, notably Drivenow.com.au and DIYcarhire.com.au, but Eastes likes a bit of healthy competition as it keeps him on his toes and drives innovation.

“We own about 50 per cent of the market in our segment. We’re the strongest in our arena, but we don’t yet dominate the entire arena – we’re No.1, but that’s not enough for us,” he says.

“The first lesson is that you can’t get distracted. For us, we compare car hire and don’t get distracted by sports cars, campervans or anything like that. We don’t try to be the jack of all trades, we just try to do one thing well.

“The next thing is a good brand name – it shouldn’t be something too basic or boring. It has to stand out. It can be a bit silly but people will remember it.”

Eastes expects growth of around 40 to 50 per cent this year, citing a decline in booking numbers but an increase in dollar values. Nonetheless, across its operations Vroomvroomvroom receives 550 bookings a day domestically and up to 220 across the US, UK and New Zealand.

“Late last year Rich went to Las Vegas and started up a shop there (and) within a year the US website went from nothing to 12,000 bookings.

“But we always discuss that Australia is where we want to make sure we dominate and have a very strong holding.”


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