Getting the most out of your fractional ownership experience
Before you even sign on the dotted line to any car club, you will want to do some research. All of the clubs that we feature on our site have informative web sites, but sometimes, certain points need to be clarified and you may have questions not covered on the site.
The exotic car sector has been one of the largest growth areas in the fractional ownership market and, as such, with new clubs springing up with increasing regularity, the first thing that you will want to assure yourself of is the stability of the club itself.
Some not inconsiderable sums of money are going to be changing hands, so it is best to go and visit the premises and check it out. When speaking to them, you will want to cover the following salient points:
- How is your money guaranteed should the worst happen and the business closes before your agreement is complete?
- How many members does the club have at present?
- Based on this, what is the member to car ratio?
- As the membership expands, will this ratio remain constant?
- Is the membership total capped and what is the total member target?
- In terms of reservations, is there a system operating to guarantee you a second-choice vehicle should your first selection become unavailable at short notice?
- Confirm that insurance is included and that there are no further fees.
- What are the additional benefits of being a member of their particular club over others? Are additional services available free/discounted to members?
- What is the policy on additional drivers on your membership? Costs?
- Is delivery provided? If so, are you within any mileage restrictions?
- Can you store your own car at the club?
- What is the vibe (cringe!) and ethos of the club? Are there club evenings/events/track days organised by the club?
- If you have any points left over at the end of the first year of your membership, can they be 'rolled-over' if you elect to renew?
- Does the club have plans to raise prices and change club policies in the future?
Once you have made your informed selection, it does not stop there, as once you have signed up, there are ways you can get more out of your experience.
Many web sites have a configuration utility that allows you to calculate what cars you want, when and for how long, so that you can plan how best to utilise your points. Even if the site does not support this, it is worth taking the time to calculate this yourself, as not taking the time to plan can mean that you end up running out of points prematurely or not being able to carry over any left-over points at the end of your term.
In terms of maximising your time behind the wheel, the single most effective way to do so is to be careful with what you hire and when. Basically, if you are thinking of taking a Ferrari away for the weekend during August, why not take two days mid-week instead? Generally, you can get four weekdays for the cost of one Saturday or Sunday jaunt, although this varies from club to club. Obviously, if you only use your points on weekends, they are going to run out pretty darn quickly, but you will no doubt want some weekend action, so take the lower band cars during the weekend and the fancier metal mid-week. Some clubs will also offer last-minute deals to members if cars are available at short notice, so it is worth keeping your contact e-mail up to date.
Practicalities and planning aside, the best way to get your money's worth is just to drive and enjoy!