With a fleet of over one million hot wheels stationed across 7,600 locations in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland and Germany and global revenues of more than $12 billion, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is ahead of the pack in the car rental business. The secret of Enterprise’s success? Customer and employee satisfaction.
- Plenty of variety and opportunities to expand your role
- Friendly colleagues that ‘make the job fun’
- Culture of meritocracy and internal promotions
- Great job security and potential career prospects
- You are given a high level of responsibility early on
- ‘No day is ever the same’
- Work/life balance isn’t always great due to the demanding nature of the customer facing aspect of the job
- Long hours: employees often start early and leave late
- Dealing with customers can sometimes put trainees under a lot of pressure
- Salaries could be more competitive, though pay is linked to performance
“Take care of your customers and your employees first, and growth and profits will follow.” Founder Jack Taylor’s customer-friendly philosophy has been the driving force behind Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s success; it is a mantra that has seen the company’s revenue grow every year since its inception in 1957. Enterprise is now a subsidiary of Enterprise Holdings Inc – a privately held company formed in 2009. With more than 7,600 neighbourhood and airport locations across the US, Canada, UK, Ireland and Germany, Enterprise specialises in providing car rentals in the event of an accident, break down, theft, or short business or leisure trips.
Enterprise’s founder was born in the town he would start his company – St Louis, in the US state of Missouri. Enrolling in the Navy in 1942, Jack Taylor served his country as a decorated fighter pilot in the Second World War. On returning from the war, Taylor utilised the military values of integrity, hard work and team spirit to open his business in 1957. Starting out in the basement of a St. Louis car dealership with a fleet of seven cars, one employee and a commitment to customer service, Enterprise fielded phone calls, calculated rates and washed cars.
Today, Enterprise offers a wide variety of car rental/leasing, carpooling and vanpooling commuter services, car-sharing and hourly rental programs. Other services include fleet management, and the sale of used cars and trucks. The company provides these within 15 miles of 90% of the US population, and is unsurprisingly the largest car rental company in North America. Even in the UK, 91% of the population is within 10 minutes of an Enterprise branch, which makes this company more than just a US behemoth. Enterprise’s other locations include Canada, Ireland and Germany and the firm is still very keen to expand its empire.
To ensure the highest standard of service is maintained across this vast and wide custom, Enterprise employs a third party company to follow up on a random selection of customers each and every week. The results are impressive: customer satisfaction continuously ranks high with Enterprise, the company’s secret to success reflected in its turnover of over $12 billion.
In the UK, Enterprise is structured into nine regional groups. Each group has a similar set-up, with a general manager leading a team of department heads – including daily rental, financial, vehicle acquisition and remarketing, HR and sales. Furthermore, each group has its own daily rental branches, split into areas and run by the area manager. There is typically four to eight staff per branch, helmed by an assistant and branch manager.Read all 174 employee quotes
The signs coming from the Enterprise camp are unanimously positive – life at Enterprise Rent-A-Car is good. Employees effusively proclaim, ‘I love working at Enterprise’, it’s ‘incredibly rewarding’, and ‘never boring’. ‘Autonomy’ is another frequent feature in Enterprise’s survey responses, with some individuals given the ‘opportunity to be creative’ and even allowed ‘free reign to expand’ as they see fit. Enterprise’s employees emphasise the variety in their jobs, the stimulating challenges they face, and the ‘freedom to work with clients’. One area manager describes their position as ‘covering all aspects of business management. From recruiting to marketing, sales, training and employee development. No two days are the same.’
In fact, it seems there’s only one thing Enterprise employees love more than their jobs, and that’s each other! ‘The people are what make this company so remarkable’, gushes one financial controller. The company fosters camaraderie; and a significant number of those surveyed echoed this strategic account manager’s sentiments: ‘Some of my closest friends started off as colleagues at work’.
The Enterprise culture is ‘work hard, play hard’. Promotion is based on performance, not the time spent at the company. This promotes a competitive environment that in the first instance seems at odds with the ‘best friends’ assertions of the vast majority of employees. But this apparent contradiction is repeatedly quashed as ‘mostly friendly’ rivalry.
Enterprise is a ‘fun and vibrant place to work’; it is ‘open from the top down’ and operates an open door policy. The company’s structure and hierarchy are based around internal promotion, meaning ‘all management started at the lowest grade and therefore understand [ground-level] issues’. Communication and input are paramount. Most speak to their managers at least once a day and many feel empowered by being ‘involved in most major [business] decisions’. Every two months the company holds an assembly for all head office employees, conducted by the MD of the UK/Ireland and the MD of Europe.
Training and development are of the ‘utmost importance’, and ‘structured training plans’ are provided by managers. The formal training is ‘very defined and scripted for every level and position’. Management trainees are given a file comprising four stages. This typically takes 9 – 12 months to complete, although ‘the pace at which an MT completes the file is down to them’. Some have completed their file in as little as seven months.
If the fun, meritocratic culture of Enterprise piques your interest, you may be pleased to hear that the company hires from ‘any degree discipline’ and ‘any university’. Enterprise has even ‘taken on people without degrees who have sales and customer service experience’ instead. The qualification is less important; you need to demonstrate leadership, charisma, and the ‘desire to earn money and progress quickly’.
The interview process is described as ‘very thorough’. After an initial online application, the successful applicants will have a telephone interview. A tête-à-tête with a recruiter awaits those that impress over the phone. After this meeting, candidates then spend a half-day at a branch, during which they’ll sit a second interview with a manager. The final hurdle is an assessment day, comprising practical tests and an interview with an area manager. On average, about 30-40% make the cut from this final round.
With over 360 UK offices to pick from, graduates are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting their preferred location for their training. The same can be said about the vast areas of specialisation Enterprise offers after completing its management training scheme. Grads can, for instance, specialise in sales, national marketing, customer service, HR, accounting, corporate, and finance – to just name a few. Within two years trainees can rise to the status of branch manager and many trainees move on to become area managers, city managers, and general managers. The global nature of the firm also means that international opportunities are plentiful and the culture allows trainees to progress quickly with their careers.
For those interested in undertaking an internship scheme with the company, you can look forward to an abundance of opportunities. Enterprise offers a range of placements for students keen to experience working life as an employee at the firm. The internships usually run for three months in the summer, and interns are expected to fully integrate into the team. 12-month placements are also on the menu, but you should expect long hours as ‘the role is no different to a full-time employee’. Keep in mind that such schemes will make your way into the company a lot easier after graduation.
Graduate Recruitment Info
Year round recruitment
No. of UK employees: 3,400
Graduate intake: 750 for the UK & Ireland
Starting salary: £16,000 – 19,000
Training and mentoring is of a good quality for lower level employees coming through the ranks. Once at a senior management level however, it becomes virtually nonexistent. Some line managers are approachable – others are not – I currently have no mentor.Vehicle Repair ManagerHelpful?
Our office is not in the most luxurious area, but it has been refurbished inside which makes it quite a nice place to work. Our facilities are kept clean and up to date which is important for our employees. We promote a professional work environment that is clean and tidy which allows people to be more effective and efficient. The dress code is professional attire every day (except the last Friday of every month when we get to ‘dress down’) which is fine with me as I think there is a link between how people behave and their attire. A more professional dress code leads to a higher standard of professional behaviour in my opinion!Assistant Financial ControllerHelpful?
Within my job, I am invited on the occasional hospitality event with vendors such as the races, spa day or a concert.Vehicle Acquisitions ManagerHelpful?
Although we are a car rental provider, there is a strong global corporate commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by donating to bio-fuel research facilities, planting trees and offering carbon offsetting to our customers. At a local level, there is some recycling, etc., But not as many green initiatives as there could be.UK Implementation ManagerHelpful?