This startup wants leasing a car to be more like shopping on Amazon

by Andreas Rekdal
April 18, 2016

Shopping for a new car can be a stressful experience. For one thing, looking at cars from multiple manufacturers means having to drive all across town from dealership to dealership. And once you get there, you may just find yourself overwhelmed by employees eager to hit their monthly quotas.

, a startup in Chicago, is working to bring the convenience of online shopping to car leases with an online showroom where customers can browse and customize cars from every brand imaginable. Once a customer finds the car they want, the company will source it from a dealership and deliver it to the customer’s home or office — lease contract in hand — usually within a week.

“New cars are a commodity. There’s enough information on our website that there’s no reason why leasing a car should be any different than getting a flat screen TV on Amazon,” said Carlease.com CFO Jay Menton (pictured right).

Likewise, when a car needs service, a Carlease.com rep will come and retrieve the car from the customer, and bring it to a certified dealer.

According to Menton, the company keeps prices down by avoiding the overhead associated with maintaining live showrooms and a stocked inventory. As for the company’s dealership partners, he said they benefit by increasing sales volume (often incentivized by manufacturers), and by the repeat business from maintenance appointments.

Since its founding in 2013, Carlease.com has become one of the largest actors in the car leasing space nationally by volume. To date the company has largely focused on serving the Chicago market, but they are actively looking at about 15 new markets in the next few years.

In order to do so, the company has been open to exploring unconventional partnerships. This past Friday, Maryland Live!, a casino located midway between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, started offering free yearlong leases on luxury vehicles to its highest rollers. Menton said the partnership has generated interest from other casinos.

Beyond gamers and regular consumers, the company also offers online fleet management services to companies and municipalities.

Bootstrapped to date, Menton said the company is is currently seeking funding to support its expansion to new regions.

Images via Shutterstock and Carlease.com.

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Jobs at Carlease.com

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