Long And Short Of It

Going My Way?

The popularity of auto drive-away among entrepreneurial road warriors appears to be shifting into high gear. What is auto drive-away, you ask? Drive-away companies match travelers with newly purchased vehicles being delivered to the same destination.

For example, say you were heading from your Chicago business to a convention in California and needed to visit clients along the way. You could try coordinating multiple airline flights, paying for a rental car, or even putting the extra wear and tear on your own vehicle. But by using an auto drive-away service, you get to cruise the open highway in someone else's brand-new Lexus or Cadillac, with the owner footing the bill (except gas).

"It's an extremely cheap way to travel with lots of alternatives to choose from," says John Sohl, chairman of Chicago-based Auto Driveaway Co., which matched 40,000 vehicles with some 60,000 travelers last year.

The catch: You may discover there isn't a car headed back your way upon arrival at your destination. Plus, most companies require you to plunk down a deposit; Auto Driveaway asks for a $250 to $300 cash deposit.

Otherwise, all indicators show auto drive-away has moved into the fast lane; in fact, Auto Driveaway notes roughly 10 percent of its clients are small-business owners. Start your engines!

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This article was originally published in the November 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Long And Short Of It.

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