Irish businessman set to take on giants of car hire industry

Wicklow-based Maurice Sheehy’s company Fleet to enable motorists hire out their cars

Maurice Sheehy: Claims Fleet is fully funded from private investors and that he has put €300,000 of his own money into it. Photograph: Shane O’Neill

Maurice Sheehy: Claims Fleet is fully funded from private investors and that he has put €300,000 of his own money into it. Photograph: Shane O’Neill

 

An Irish entrepreneur is to launch a new service which he claims will be to car rental what Airbnb is now to traditional holiday accommodation.

Fleet will allow motorists to hire out their cars when they are not using them. For instance, a car owner who takes public transport to work could earn money by renting his car to another motorist during the week.

The company has been founded by Wicklow-based businessman Maurice Sheehy, a nephew of former AIB chief executive Eugene Sheehy.

He envisages Fleet will be a “disruptor” – a term given to companies such as Airbnb and taxi-hire firm Uber who have turned the existing business models on their head.

Mr Sheehy said Fleet was developed when he saw a gap for this type of service in the Irish market.

“We saw the opportunity to help make our customers’ cars work harder for them and earn them money whilst providing a cost-effective alternative to traditional car rental platforms who have higher price points, overheads and red tape,” he said.

He claims the company is fully funded from private investors and he has put €300,000 of his own money into Fleet.

Mr Sheehy said the key to success will be securing the services of a global insurance company to cover the person renting the car and the one driving it.

Insurance premiums

He said insurance for renting the vehicle through Fleet would be separate from a motorist’s normal insurance cover and would not affect a motorist’s premium.

The cost of insurance will be met through the terms of the rental agreement with Fleet.

“ It will be a seamless experience,” he said. “You will just take a photograph of your driver’s licence, you will upload it to the app, it will be verified by our team and you will be cleared to rent cars.

“To make everything safe for users , we will have to ensure that cars have an NCT, are taxed and already insured.”

It is intended that revenue will come through advertising, income from renters and fleet customers as well as through fees derived from insurance and payment methods.

Fees for cars will be suggested by Fleet to car owners based on make, model and age.

Mr Sheehy said cars and motorists using the service will be reviewed online in the same way that Airbnb users can rate properties.

He said he intends to launch Fleet next month based out of the Wicklow Enterprise Centre in Wicklow town.

The app will be available for download worldwide on both iOS and Android platforms.