From Retiree to Lender to Fluid Captain: How one little truck changed retirement!
Meet Mike Gumina! Mike is one of Fluids top lenders! Mike joined Fluid as just a lender in December of 2017 and has been growing his presence ever since. Starting with just 1 vehicle, Mike is now managing a small fleet of 7 units! Shortly after listing his first vehicle, a 16-foot Ford Box Truck with great success, Mike saw the ease and potential of supplemental income with Fluid Truck Share. After some research he quickly took on a Fluid Captain role. Mike now manages 7 vehicles on the platform, including multiple 2019 Ram Promasters!
We had a short Q&A with Mike this week to learn about his Fluid Captain experience so far and here’s what he had to say:
Q: You started buying your own truck and listing it on Fluid, how did you end up managing seven trucks? Why did you decide to become a Fluid Captain?
A: One day when our families were out to dinner my son in law asked me if I knew what Fluid was, and if I would like to partner with him on a box truck. I immediately thought it would be a great idea. I was looking for something I could do to make some additional cash, but not wanting to go to a regular type of job. I thought being retired, would give me plenty of time to manage the truck and with his demanding job, he doesn’t have the time, so it was a perfect partnership.
Shortly after getting started, I made a one-page flyer that I could hand out to folks and I began calling on some folks in the area near the location that I kept the vehicle. I also sent some mailers to some moving companies that were located close to the truck. Additionally, I put adds on Craigslist and on Nextdoor. This, along with Fluids advertising helped to promote our truck. The rentals started slowly but each month I saw an increase in rentals. After 4 or 5 months our truck was on rent about 25 days or more per month. It went out last November and didn’t come back until mid-January, straight through the holidays. The Fluid Team reached out and asked if I would be willing to take on some additional vehicles late last year. I told them that I was definitely interested. I wanted to do it because it gave me the opportunity to earn additional income from home.
Q: How much time do you dedicate to manage your trucks?
A: I have come to realize managing seven vehicles does not take a whole lot of additional time. I have spent additional time, marketing the vehicles that I currently manage again by talking with, and dropping off fliers and discount cards to folks in the areas where I have vehicles located. What is so great, I can do that when I have the time to do it. It is done at my convenience and I can spend as much or as little time as I wish marketing the fleet. Managing 7 vehicles can realistically take 10 or 15 minutes per week. I spend a little more than that because I choose to. I get a little more involved with our borrowers in some cases where it seems appropriate. I believe if they have a little more contact with someone on a more personal level, there is a better chance that they will keep coming back to us.
Q: Tell us about your relationship with borrowers: Do they come back and rent again from you? Do you get any positive feedback? What do borrowers like the most about Fluid/your trucks?
A: I have numerous stories from our borrowers, all of which have one thing in common: “What a great experience it has been using Fluid”, “I will be using your vehicle again”. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard that both on messages and verbally from our borrowers. I have had a borrower call me to let me know that the street that my truck was kept on will be getting road work done to it. They wanted to let me know so I would move it and not get a ticket. They didn’t realize that I had moved it the day before. It is great when your borrower is looking out for you. One of my repeat borrowers has a small moving company and uses our truck frequently. One problem he has however, he works hard, so when he is done with his job for the day, he often goes home, has dinner and sometimes takes a nap prior to returning the truck. He usually has it reserved until 11:00PM. Sometimes, however, his nap goes longer then he plans. I see on Zubie [the GPS tracker provided by Fluid] that it is parked at his house, so when the time is getting close to his scheduled return, I send him a quick message reminding him to get the vehicle back and within minutes the truck is on the move back to its parking spot and he closes out the rental. This person has rented at least 20 times from me and will continue to do so. Those kinds of relationships keep people coming back. Perhaps if I let the clock keep ticking on him with overtime, we may all make a little extra money on that one rental, but then perhaps he would not keep coming back.
Q: What do you like the most about being a Fluid Captain?
A: What I like most about being a Fluid Captain is the flexibility it offers. It allows me to be as engaged as I would like and it offers me the ability to make the necessary decisions with our borrowers to benefit both Fluid and myself. Additionally, I enjoy interacting with our borrowers and developing relationships with them. I am planning on adding vehicles to the fleet that I currently manage as soon as they are available and I have already decided on areas that I plan to put them.
Q: Any advice for future Fluid Captains?
A: Future Fluid Captains should be easily accessible if folks have question and respond back to them very quickly. If you don’t, chances are, they will go elsewhere. It is important to treat people fairly if there is a misunderstanding.
Fluid is happy to have Mike in our arsenal and we are thrilled it helps him put a extra money in his pocket so he can enjoy his retirement even more!! The opportunities Fluid has are easy for anyone to enjoy! Are you interested in adding a side hustle to your income? Become a Fluid Captain! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more info about the position. If you want to list your truck, hop on over to our lender page and learn more! #TruckYeah!!