It started, like many good ideas, over a cup of coffee. This past spring Modo and Central 1 Credit Union met to discuss opportunities to deepen member engagement and grow the local co-op sector. A remark about transportation needs and community profile sparked an idea that led the two co-ops to create an entirely new, customized carshare program for business members – The Company Car.
“How we expand our fleet is much more of a science than an art,” said Selena McLachlan, Director of Marketing. “Because we’re a member-centric organization, any plans to expand must continue to put our members’ needs first and offer best-value. Adding a car to Central 1’s location didn’t make a lot of sense from a member-demand perspective, however when asked what it would cost to have exclusive use of a Modo – having a branded car for the Credit Unions of BC quickly became a possibility.”
Modo has over 400 local businesses using their fleet to solve employee transportation needs. Business drivers can easily book online or on their phones by the hour – with gas, insurance, maintenance and other perks like local bridge tolls, included. With such great value, Central 1 quickly realized the potential to test this new business model.
“The only thing better than a Modo car is a Credit Unions of BC branded Modo car,” says Martin Reed, AVP, Marketing & Research for Central 1 Credit Union. “Cooperatives share the same values and principles and we’re constantly looking for ways to partner with them. We saw such an opportunity with Modo, we proposed to have a custom wrapped Modo car at Central 1 for exclusive 24/7 staff use – and Modo was quick to give us the go-ahead. We’re very excited to pilot this program for other businesses. A branded Prius offers us a cost-effective and sustainable way to promote and support cooperatives and more specifically, Credit Unions of BC.”
The non-committal and worry-free aspect of The Company Car has great appeal to businesses. While having a private fleet might be convenient, the return typically doesn’t equal the investment – especially when you factor in the time it takes to maintain each vehicle. Under this program, a business can book a car for three or more months – effectively creating their own fleet – while Modo’s team handles all the behind-the-scenes work. With Central 1 leading the charge, Vancity will have their own Company Car on the road this summer.
“Many of our employees have daily travel needs at work – meetings at other branches, or delivering some of our mobile banking services. We’re already a business member of Modo which serves our employees’ individual needs well, but having a car dedicated to Vancity and displaying our branding is a great, cost-effective way to increase our exposure in the community, while providing our employees with another sustainable transportation alternative,” says Linda Morris, a senior vice-president at Vancity. “It’s also a great way to help Modo expand their fleet to better serve all individual and business members in the community.”
Some longtime Modo members may remember The Company Car as Modo’s original Business offering. Repurposing the name was an intentional callback to connect Modo’s grassroots upbringing with their contemporary, diversified services. However, at the heart of this new program was the initial push from Central 1 looking for a creative solution, proving again that the 6th principle of co-ops (“help your fellow cooperatives”), continues to produce innovative results for our communities.
Anthony Casey, Marketing Specialist