“I sold my oldest Mercedes-Benz van just the other day, but now looking at our January bookings I probably shouldn’t have,” laughed Will Owen, the man behind Samuels Vehicle Hire.
“At this time of year things are a bit quiet but we’re getting ready to be really busy.”
That helps explain why Will has ordered another five Sprinters, to join his existing fleet of 14 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Viano vans.
“I’ve always had Mercedes-Benz and they’ve always been very good for me, and more and more tourists are wanting that brand. They want prestige, quality and reliability.”
Will had been running a successful golf tour business for six years before he bought his first Mercedes-Benz van in 2009.
“It had leather seats and did really well,” Will remembered. “Some of the other tour operators got a bit jealous and kept wanting to borrow it.
“So then I thought - ‘Hang on, there’s another business here’ - so in 2010 I bought some more Mercedes-Benz vans and started dry hiring them to other tour operators.”
With a move to Auckland to complement their Queenstown business, Samuels Vehicle Hire has gone from strength to strength.
“My wife Rebecca and I run the business, we’re proud that we’re still a family operation, and we are committed to providing a rental vehicle service which is unsurpassed in New Zealand,” Will said.
A lot of the company’s business still comes from hiring to tour operators – businesses which need additional vehicles to temporarily boost their own fleet, or niche operators who don’t want to buy their own transport.
But Samuels also rents direct to the public and does a lot of Auckland’s VIP work, providing up-market vehicles for visiting athletes and rock stars.