With SelfDrive.in, You Can Pick a Car Online and Drive YourselfAround

By Meghna Chhabria|21st May 2012
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After having researched the car rental space in India, Soham Shah, Founder at SelfDrive.in found two major drawbacks – poor state of Dependability and lack of Quality. The poor state of dependability was seen in the fact that users don't feel safe when in a cab given the Indian highways and driving conditions and also the presence of the driver restricts the scope of privacy. The quality of most cabs suffers because the cars, in the case of cab rental services, are owned by the driver and maintenance costs are borne by him as well. Apart from these drawbacks, Soham also saw opportunity in the fact that cab services restrict users to city limits only and if one wishes to opt for a weekend getaway in a car, apart from a few local car rental services, where similar drawbacks arise, the options are limited. The thought process was to reduce the limitations of any traveler paying on a 8hr/80kms (local) model or client, paying a minimum amount of 300kms for outstation travel.To meet these standards of dependability and quality and to bridge the gap in the car rental service space inIndia, Soham launched SelfDrive.in in 2011.

“We strongly believe that people in India would realize that buying a car does not add any good credit to their ROI. Selfdrive.in would give them the flexibility of leasing a car across destinations according to their needs and family size. As one of our clients said, ‘Why take the hassle of buying a car and maintaining it? Just rent a car whenever you need it and get the pleasure of driving a new car every time you rent,'" said Soham.

SelfDrive.in is one of the first such services inIndia, where you can rent a car online and drive it around yourself, for up to half a year if you please.

How it works

On SelfDrive.in, you can book a car of your choice, from a variety of Hatch Backs, Sedans, Saloons and MUV/SUVs. You can book a car starting at Rs. 1250 PCD (Per Calendar Day, i.e. 24hrs rentals starting at 12 A.M.) with rates decreasing with the increasing time period of your booking. They follow a ‘pay less while you drive more’ policy. So if you lease a car for a month, you have to pay lesser per day compared to if you lease a car for a week. The availability of cars is shown live online.

Selfdrive.in currently offers unlimited kms mileage on all the cars leased. A fixed amount, starting with Rs. 25000 is reserved from your Credit Card as a refundable deposit.


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The booking process is rather simple. Once you select a car for the desired time period, you are asked for a few basic essential documents ( i.e. Driving License, Photo Id, Address Proof ) and you are then directed to the payment gateway. You make the payment and choose among options which allow you to avail facilities such as pick up, drop off, GPS Map My India and a CDW Insurance.Background

SelfDrive.in is a product of Pinewoods Service Corporation. Soham is a Mechanical engineer and an MBA graduate. His experiences include 4 years as the Market Research Head at Times Group, 10 years in the FMCG industry and in IT/SEO as well.

Pinewoods Service Corporation also shelters ‘Bookacar.in', a chauffeur driven car rental service.

The Back End

SelfDrive.in’s cars are all brand new cars provided by investors for a period of 1-3 years. Every investor gets a fixed ROI per annum and covers insurance of the cars.

"While a user books online, he/she has to provide ID details including passport, driving license, company details, etc. which are verified by us. For security purposes, the IP address of the user is recorded. We are the only website in India currently with a HSBC Direct payment gateway for car rentals for all our Payment Processing," claims Soham.

On any given day, they have 5-6 car users. SelfDrive.in’s target audience is made up of employees of IT companies, NRI, International clientele of corporate and International travel companies.  Around 65% of their users come from the same audience.

Challenges

A major challenge that Soham faced was crafting the business model as the venture was being introduced for the first time inIndia. Although car leasing is popular in the US, the presence of smart cards solves most problems that replicating the model in India creates.

Another challenge faced was getting the direct payment gateway from HSBC. As of now, getting users to understand this new model is a bit of a challenge, but the SelfDrive.in team is confident that they will create a user friendly interface striking a balance between technology, ground zero operations and market demand.

Selfdrive.in is already becoming popular with over 8600 fans on facebook.

The road ahead

SelfDrive.in recorded a growth of 35% last financial year and is expected to grow at 60% this year. Their expansion plans include moving to the metros and having a pan-India presence. Their future plans also include having Apps for iPhone & Android smart phones integrated with payment gateways.

“We wish to simplify the rental process in retail and corporate sectors and reform the way India travels. We plan to raise funds to take our venture to the next level," concludes Soham.

Here's more on SelfDrive.in.

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