Vehicle leasing company benefits from down economy

Doering Leasing Co., a Milwaukee-based independent vehicle leasing company specializing in commercial fleet leasing, sees growth opportunity in a down economy, because the firm can help clients free up more cash on their balance sheets.

Furthermore, some of Doering’s competition is no longer doing business.

“A recession is always good for independent leasing companies,” said J.W. “Chip” Doering, president of the company. “We’re seeing that as well.”

A slowing economy that squeezes balance sheets makes many companies that operate fleets of vehicles think about leasing instead of owning, said Adam Berger, vice president of sales at Doering Leasing.

“When credit gets tight, you need your money in cash to grow,” he said. “And in the leasing business, the value proposition has not changed. When the economy gets tighter, businesses want to put their money to work better, to get more efficiency with their dollars.”

Most automobile manufacturers have either eliminated or severely restricted their vehicle leasing programs – and most auto dealers either do not offer leasing any more or have significantly scaled back their programs, Doering said.

Although Doering Leasing does not target individual leases with its business model, the company has seen an increase in business because other leasing companies have scaled back.

“We’re getting business referrals we never saw before,” Doering said. “Our market is to find growing corporations and to grow the market, to use our product as a tool to grow their companies.”

By the end of October, Doering Leasing’s volume had matched its total volume for all of 2007, Berger said. The company’s revenues reached record levels in 2007.

“We’re just a few vehicles off goal (for the year),” Berger said.

Some of Doering Leasing’s existing customers have extended their existing leases, pushing new leases off until 2009, which gives the company some guaranteed business for next year.

“That’s a decent thing for next year,” Berger said. “It will ensure some level of continued growth.”

The company recently moved to a larger location at 5317 N. 118th St. in Milwaukee, about two blocks from its former location at 11801 W. Silver Spring Road, Milwaukee. The company’s new offices are about 2,800 square feet. Its old offices were about 2,040 square feet.

Doering Leasing now has 10 employees, three of whom were hired within the last two years. The new office space will give the company room to hire two additional workers, Berger said.

“One of them will be a business development person,” he said. “And in the next year or two, we’ll need a leasing rep. We’re actively looking for someone to fill that role.”

The new space also gives Doering Leasing a larger and more secure location to temporarily store its cars, as well as a small garage space for detail work before delivery. Although the company occupies a relatively small footprint, it has a large number of cars on the road.

“We’re like a bank – we can do a lot of cars and a lot of numbers,” Doering said. “You would never know that we had more than 1,000 cars out there.”

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display