Hazim and two friends had already started their careers in the corporate world in the fourth quarter of 2013.
They always wanted to start a business but had no idea what to sell.
Not to mention, they had little capital and no exposure to the business world.
But one day at a mamak in Wangsa Maju the three of them made the decision to simply get into a car rental for students.
"Why? Because the business allowed us to start with almost zero capital by simply using our credit facility to buy a car and place it in a university, a market we were pretty familiar with," shared Hazim With.
They did not have clear expectations of how the business would develop.
A year later in 2015, however, they were surprised by the sizeable profit they had made from this one car.
So they took it seriously and ventured into the open market with The Carpedia.
It starts with understanding your customers
"Long-term leasing (3 months and longer) is a blessing in car rental companies," said Hazim.
"We found it quite difficult to get long-term leases from corporate, government and tourism customers, but it was almost effortless for us to get long-term leases from email drivers."
In fact, they have drivers who have stayed with them for even 4 years.
On average, a driver would stay with them for around 6 months.
Hazim owes her successes to date by contacting his customers personally and collecting data to better understand them.
From then on, The Carpedia got more creative with offerings to suit their needs, evolving from a traditional car rental company to a car sharing platform for gig workers.
If you're not sure how The Carpedia is different from other email or car sharing platforms, let me try to break it down.
First, the cars. The Carpedia's fleet consists of idle cars that belong to those who use them little and that they perceive as a financial burden.
The Carpedia's fleet / Image Credit: The Carpedia
They also have cars from hosts who don't own extra cars but instead buy new cars to place on The Carpedia and generate passive income every month.
These cars are then rented to gig workers who can use a car to perform email, goods deliveries, and other transportation-related gig jobs.
Such a branching wasn't really in The Carpedia's plans, despite the fact that they'd been running similar small projects for dealers since 2018.
Pan just in time
But then COVID-19 and the MCO happened; This meant that email activity was affected.
“The drivers' income hit rock bottom. Most of them gave up and the number of idle cars in our garage increased tremendously. "
“It was then that we realized that we were too dependent on email activity. We urgently had to turn quickly, ”recalled Hazim.
The Carpedia's core income has always come from rental car fees. So they thought it would be a good move to help their drivers get income from other auto-related jobs.
This included parcel deliveries, personal grocery shoppers, and auto packaging advertising.
The rest of the Carpedia team / Photo Credit: The Carpedia
“We have started working with these related dealers and we have done so as a charity for the drivers. We didn't take a cent off the work orders, ”said Hazim.
“The idea was that if we could help the drivers earn enough income for themselves, they would in turn have enough money to pay the rental car fees. The plan finally worked out pretty well! "
Work smart after hard lessons
When Hazim and his co-founder saw their good growth progress in 2016, they got too ambitious.
They wanted to expand aggressively in 2017.
"We wanted to expand the fleet too quickly without realizing that we had a fragile foundation for our business operations."
“Looking back, we weren't ready to increase the number of processes, manpower, resources, and cash flow management. But we did it anyway. "
And everything turned upside down.
Their field operations were mixed up, they were bleeding money, and one of their cars was even stolen due to poor governance.
It was an expensive lesson. It took the Carpedia all of 2018 to recover from the effects through extensive restructuring.
More than just doing business
The Carpedia is not afraid of competition from other gig platforms. It motivates them to innovate.
Above all, the team wants to prove that their drivers are also highly qualified and trained people.
Carpedia introduced a Learning & Development (L&D) product for its drivers and job seekers.
In this way they can improve and improve their employability according to the current demands in the labor market.
"We are also working to ensure a comprehensive driver support package that includes insurance, savings and investment that definitely adds value to our offerings," said Hazim.
Over the next 5 years, their ultimate goal is to grow their sales up to 40x by becoming the preferred provider of light logistics services for assets.
They also want a fleet size of 2,100 vehicles.
In the meantime, we're building a sustainable ecosystem for the company to support growth by introducing digitization initiatives and strategic partnerships with players in the gig economy. "
Hazim, CEO and Co-Founder of The Carpedia
- You can find out more about The Carpedia here.
- More articles on the gig economy can be found here.
Featured image source: Hazim, CEO and Co-Founder of The Carpedia