United Rental System is a licensee network of independent vehicle hire companies across the UK. United Rental System is owned by United Rental Group Ltd (URG) which was founded in 1991.
Ian Lawrence, Chairman of URG, is a popular face within the industry and has helped shape the company both operationally and financially throughout the years.
URG started trading on the 1st of April 1991, before this Ian was doing his own research and work for the business and was previously working for the American company, Ryder. Whilst he was there Ian was scouted to see if he would be interested in joining their new company called United.
Ian decided to meet with them and concluded that he wanted to give it a go, forward to now and Ian is the Chairman of United, he is very much the guiding light of the company but tends to stay away from the day-to-day management.
Establishing a Strong Foundation
In 1993 Ian came across Paul, Founder of Prohire, and was instantly drawn to Paul’s ambition regarding the rollout of his company, Prohire. After several meetings, Ian knew they would have a great relationship working alongside each other and could vision the success of Prohire as it was geared toward the independent vehicle rental market.
Ian adds: “In all honesty, there were very few systems about in the early days and the ones that did exist didn’t have the vision Paul had. Paul worked hard to prioritise the independent vehicle rental market, whereas others were designed mainly for franchises and larger corporates, some certainly had systems for some independent companies, but they were very antiquated and not particularly forward-thinking. This is why I think it’s worked very well with Prohire and why it still works to this day.
“I would say, it’s one of the only systems out there that’s trusted, it’s the people in the system, and if you look at the continuity, the consistency of delivery, and just talk to the licensees in United that have got Prohire, it works. And not only does it work, but it will also work for the foreseeable future because of the consistency in terms of developing the software to make it future-proof. Prohire is a United partner, a partner of our business, and is the only system we would promote because it’s the best.”
Shared Goals and Vision
A vital mission to URG has always been to help licensees, who are all independent businesses, compete on more equal terms with the bigger faces in the industry.
Ian adds: “We knew that fleet supply was a major part of making our mission possible, we could get discounts on vehicles, through volume purchasing, which independent businesses would not be able to achieve on their own, but we needed other things too, like insurance tracking systems.”
Prohire and United have always had a consistent level of collaboration over the years. The Prohire team always ensures we attend licensee meetings and events to keep the relationship close.
Ian adds: “Over time we have grown up together, not only business-wise but as people, we have aligned ourselves well and more importantly, we trust each other. I think it’s great to meet someone like that in business, when you find people in an industry that you can work well with, it’s a real blessing.”
“I would say one thing Prohire has been particularly good at is understanding that if we have 600 licensees, they all get from A to Z but B to Y could be different. Paul has tried to accommodate many of those individual needs into the system as a coverall and that has been a difficult challenge. Paul has made sure Prohire is flexible to cover every individual business needs.”