Beginning as a small business on a mission to help other small businesses become mobile, Corporate Fleet Services has kept companies growing across the nation during the recession, and hopes to add to employment rolls, as well.
A 30-year company veteran, Michael Stevens, vice president and general manager of Highland Park-based Corporate Fleet Services, or CFS, wanted to continue to grow the company and complete the foundational mission of sterling service that his father, Ralph Stevens, established in 1989. The company is a subsidiary of Snethkamp Automotive Group.
“There are other companies out there that do what we do, of course, but they don’t do it the way we do it,” Stevens says. “We act as if we’re a department of our client’s company. Our obligation as a mature business is to help people find jobs. We’re going to ask everybody to increase their employment to 1 percent.”
For CFS, that means adding two people to their staff of 18 in 2012, preferably those who have been unemployed for more than two years and are over the age of 50. The offer to increase staffing to 1 percent will be extended to all CFS venders and clients. “We would like to see our small effort result in the hiring 6,000 people,” Stevens says. “I think that our economy is going to grow slowly, and that unemployment is going to ease gradually, but it is going to take too long.”
CFS grew throughout Detroit by word of mouth in the mid 80’s as it started to serve small businesses beyond Highland Park, its original headquarters.
Services include advanced pricing, budgeting, vehicle ordering and delivery, along with specialty services such as mechanical assistance through a designated dealership, and maintenance for extended warranty programs. Overall, CFS leases vehicles to businesses across the nation and in some parts of Canada.
“We deliver (the vehicles) whether the client is in Detroit, Lansing, Chicago, Los Angeles, or in Canada,” Stevens says. “We are fleet managers, we do everything from A to Z that our clients need.”
CFS had revenue of $13.7 million in 2010, and serves approximately 250 businesses. It’s fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles includes, cars, trucks, and shuttle buses. Staying true to its small business roots keeps the fleet growing, Stevens explains.
“We have a very long serving staff, … our average employment is 25 years,” he says. “We’ve gone from 6 employees to 18, (and) we maintain a knowledgeable, professional staff that allows us to serve our clients. That is the key.”
The company’s other offerings include a “no fees for service” declaration it adopted in 2000, and sessions on business organization and training. “If we’re not organized, we can’t manage,” Stevens says. “We can’t be reactive, we have to be proactive.”