Lease or Expense?
Health Care Fleet Offers Choice to Drivers

By Amy Winter-Hercher of Business Fleet
Solace Leased Car

With its team of clinicians always on the road, Solace Home Healthcare wanted to provide its employees with an additional benefit: a new and reliable vehicle.

“We’re committed to offering our employees the best benefits package we can,” says Mike Billinghurst, CEO of Solace Home Healthcare. “Being able to drive a new car — for both professional and personal use — without paying for insurance, gas, or maintenance is a significant benefit we’re thrilled to provide to our talented and committed team of clinicians.”

By working with Enterprise Fleet Management, Solace employees can receive a new Nissan Rogue [or Pathfinder] for a monthly payment that includes the amount for the lease, a fuel card, a maintenance card, auto insurance, and roadside assistance. If employees don’t opt for this program, they would drive their own vehicles and expense their mileage, according to Wendy Krueger, Solace’s director of business development.

“The number of vehicles we order depends on how many of our clinicians join the program,” says Krueger. “We present this leasing program as an option where they can drive a new car for home visits, leading to less wear and tear on their personal vehicles.”

Based in the greater Denver area, Solace specializes in pediatric home health care. Each clinician generally completes four to six home visits per day, according to Krueger. Solace’s clinician team includes nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language therapists.

Why Lease?

Solace ordered its first vehicles through Enterprise Fleet Management last fall. In the spring, Solace received its second batch of 13 new Rogues. Through the open-end lease, the deal is to keep the vehicles for four years and then trade them in for newer vehicles.

Enterprise Fleet Management helped Solace choose a vehicle.

“Our CEO Mike and our administrator chose the Nissan Rogue,” says Krueger of the compact crossover. “It’s all-wheel drive, which is necessary for driving in Colorado. When we have snowy or icy days, we want to make sure that we have all-wheel drive so that our clinicians are safe on the road.”

After helping Solace find the right fit in a vehicle, Enterprise ordered the vehicles and took care of licensing, registration, and auto insurance. Enterprise handles Solace’s fleet management duties by conducting use and performance monitoring as well as tracking fuel purchases and miles driven, according to the company.

“When we help companies with fleet management, they don’t have to hire someone to deal with managing the fleet,” says Larry Caster, senior account executive for Enterprise Fleet Management. “We take everything off their plate; we handle all fleet-related items for them. It’s a nice consolidated one-stop shop.”

Additionally, Solace employees are given a maintenance card and a gas card as part of the monthly payment. The maintenance card can be used at the dealer or several mechanic shops, including Grease Monkey, Firestone, Goodyear, and Jiffy Lube, says Caster.

“All the employees seem happy with the program so far and are enjoying the benefits,” says Krueger. “Mike meets with Enterprise on a regular basis to assess how it’s going and when we need to make more orders.”

Currently, Solace has ordered 22 Rogues through Enterprise. According to Caster, the company is hoping to double that number in the next 12 months as it continues to grow and add more clinicians. [Update – current total is 54 vehicles]

“In addition to being an attractive employee benefit that supports recruitment and retention efforts, fleet cars will also have a positive impact on Solace’s business operations,” says Caster. “The use of these newer, well-maintained, and fuel-efficient vehicles will contribute to more reliable service and cost savings over the long run.”