Sitting in his office on Post Street in Town Center, Avis agency operator Scott Williams says that since he opened in January, customers have been telling him they are thankful to have the convenience of an automobile rental service in El Dorado Hills.
Even though this may not be the most favorable time to open a new business, Williams took the risk. “I wanted to get in first, before anyone else had the bright idea to put a rental agency here,” he said.
The office is in the corner of Foreign Autohaus of El Dorado Hills, where customers can pick up a rental vehicle when they leave their cars for repair.
“It’s a great location,” said Williams. “The visibility is high, across the street from the post office and the sports club, and next to Jiffy Lube, Big O Tires and Suds Car Wash.”
Williams has an inventory of automobiles, trucks, vans and SUVs to suit customers’ preferences. He will arrange to pickup Avis renters in El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park and Folsom. Avis can directly bill all major insurance companies.
Williams wanted to manage a business since he was young, and he had experience working for Avis at the San Francisco Airport. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from UC Santa Barbara, then joined Avis and worked at the airport office for seven years.
For the next 15 years, he worked at an auto auction, where he became the Northern California regional manager. The chances of an airplane crashing into your business are statistically slim, but that’s what happened. The auto auction in Rancho Cordova was destroyed when an airplane taking off from Mather had engine trouble and had to turn back. The plane missed the runway and went straight into the business.
Contemplating his next move, Williams came across an ad for an independent operator at Folsom Lake Dodge. All of the AVIS’s offices outside airports are owned by independent operators. They own the businesses, and subscribe to AVIS’ policies and procedures. Williams said qualifying to become an independent operator requires meeting the company’s stringent standards. He had an advantage, having worked for the company previously with a good record. He discussed whether to make the move with his wife, Kelli, and they decided he should go for it.
That was two years ago. At first, he worked seven days a week with no employees. He now has three employees.
Williams developed a relationship with Rafael Cedeno, owner of Foreign Autohaus. Cedeno would call him to bring cars up once in a while, then Williams started leaving a few cars at the Autohaus. One day last year Cedeno mentioned that his lease permitted him to have a car rental business at the Autohaus. Williams said, “Even though the economy was in a downturn I had a good feeling about opening a satellite office there.”
He has been welcomed into the community. Williams is a member of both El Dorado Hills and Folsom Chambers of Commerce, and volunteers with both. He supports the Twin Lakes Food Bank and El Dorado Arts Council’s Art and Wine Affair.
Williams and his family have lived in the area for 15 years. Kelli is director of Housekeeping at Marshall Medical Center. Daughter Lauren is a student at Ponderosa High School and son Daniel is at Camerado Middle School.
As the owner of the rental offices, Williams is hands-on. He is on the job at either the Folsom or El Dorado Hills location.
The El Dorado Hills AVIS office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, similar to the hours of Foreign Autohaus. The address is 4630 Post St., El Dorado Hills. Telephone is (916) 941-7662.
If customers need a rental car on the weekend they can call the Folsom agency at (916) 294-9810.