Leasing organisation Lease.com entered the Australian leasing and rental fray recently with an Internet-based strategy that has raised the eyebrows of at least one major competitor.
Lease.com's strategy will be built around picking up the small ticket transactions that existing Computer Fleet Management (CFM) initiatives offer, according to Harry Henderson, Lease.com's new CEO. Henderson said the organisation is looking to establish channel relationships through vendor programs and their existing distribution channels, and believes this will encourage partner and customer loyalty.
Already on the cards is an alliance with Acer and QMS and Henderson believes future associations will branch away from traditional vendors and incorporate banks, who will be leased ATM and eftpos devices.
Lease.com is planning to conduct the majority of its leasing transactions via the Internet, an approach Henderson claims will make the organisation competitive in a market that already features the likes of Flexirent and RentSmart.
"We will provide resellers and customers with everything from the lease application and approval to the tracking of assets for the vendor conducted over the Internet," Henderson said.
A little premature
Ned Montarello, RentSmart's managing director, questioned Lease.com's timing by suggesting this e-commerce-based approach is a little premature for the Australian market.
"Being solely Net-based is a bit ambitious now, although it is a matter of when not if e-commerce comes into its own," Montarello said.
"But for now Australian businesses are just not purchasing over the Internet as their first option."
However, Henderson is adamant that operating over the Internet, and leasing in general, will ultimately be good for a customer's bottom line. He claimed it will diminish costs by conserving time and energy resources and will reduce expenditure on technology and its renewal.
Montarello agreed to some extent. "Our biggest competitor is not going to be Lease.com - in fact I welcome them into the market.
"The biggest competitor we have is cash and the attitude that equipment is an asset. The more players there are the easier it will be to raise business consumers' awareness of renting."
According to Montarello, only 10 per cent of businesses rent in Australia.
He believes that as that industry becomes more competitive, the figure could increase to up to 40 per cent and RentSmart will be getting a bigger piece of the pie.
Sticking to his guns, Henderson is committed to Lease.com's strat-egy and believes that it will offer a host of new initiatives.
"We are a pure business leaser so businesses get tax benefits from us that they can't get from other organisations that have consumer customers as well.
"The fact that we are totally electronic means we can provide a faster and more effective operating lease and also provide more information to the vendor."