Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jack Crawford Taylor

It’s past Memorial Day, schools are letting out, the wedding season is beginning…and America is on the road. I know I certainly am. For those who are able to fly to their destination, transportation once they arrive will likely be in the form of a rental car. Jack Crawford Taylor created a huge family fortune (est. value $14 billion) and a perennial spot on the Forbes 400 with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Enterprise started primarily as a provider of replacement cars for those who lost access to their cars in accidents. Insurance companies would negotiate a contract with Enterprise to provide those cars at reasonable rates, and Taylor’s business took off in the 1970’s when the courts ordered insurance companies to provide this service as a standard part of the insurance contract.

Although Enterprise is a common sight at airports around the country now, they have also retained this relationship with the insurance companies and many analysts cite this as the reason that Enterprise has not suffered as severe a downturn as many of the other major rental companies. As long as cars break down and people get into accidents, demand for Enterprise’s services remains strong.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car has frequently been cited as a top provider of customer service within the rental car industry and a one of the top places to launch a career. Today Enterprise is valued at over $9 billion, making it one of the largest privately owned companies in America. Crawford has created a great deal of wealth for himself and his family through his arrangement with the insurance companies and through his attention to strong customer service in an industry where product differentiation can be difficult. As a frequent Enterprise customer during my time as a business traveler, and as one who has benefitted from an Enterprise rental after a breakdown of my own, I can attest to the high quality of the Enterprise approach and to the value that was added to both of these circumstances. Given Enterprise’s rapid growth and strong reputation, it appears that I am not alone in seeing the value that Taylor’s company creates.

Jack Crawford Taylor on Forbes 400

1 comment:

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