Although Budget Rent a Car is an internationally recognized brand, many people may not know that Budget Car and Truck Rental of Atlanta is actually a 43 year old, locally owned, family business run by the father-daughter team of Roger and Jennifer Gelder and Howard Steinberg.
Roger went straight into car rental after graduating from Penn State. He fell in love with the industry and that has been the only career he has known for over 50 years. After working for the Hertz Corporation and then the Budget Corporation in Dallas, Roger had the opportunity to buy the Budget Atlanta franchise in 1977 along with prominent Atlanta auto dealer, Dwaine Willett. Over the years, the Gelders have added new Budget franchises to their portfolio including the 1995 acquisition of Kansas City, Memphis and Wichita which was owned by now partner and Atlanta resident, Howard Steinberg.
Today, in addition to Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and Wichita, the business operates in Omaha, Birmingham, Salt Lake City, Tupelo and most recently Brunswick/Sea Island. The company is the largest car rental franchise in the country and has remained family owned and operated since its inception.
Jennifer has served as the Vice President, Marketing for the company since 2013. With more than 23 years of marketing experience working at several advertising agencies prior to joining Budget, she has spearheaded the company’s marketing efforts from the ground up, promoting the business and creating numerous ways to incentivize customers.
The Gelder family is actively involved in the Jewish community including as longtime supporters of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, where Roger played softball for many years and Jennifer was both a camper and counselor at AJECOMCE, now Camp Alterman. The Gelders are members of Temple Sinai and the Steinbergs are members of The Temple.
Budget Atlanta has built an excellent reputation through a commitment to customer service, providing superior vehicles and making the rental process easy. In Atlanta, there are 15 metro area locations, including the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, open 7 days a week. “We have the best people in the industry, we have newer, better equipped cars than the competition and we are conveniently located throughout the city,” states Roger.
“We have been very successful at hiring recent college graduates, introducing them to the car rental business, and putting them on a rewarding career path. Many of our current senior executives started out in entry level positions,” Roger says. “Our goal is to promote from within. Therefore, we put a lot of effort towards recruiting top level talent. It pays off with amazing longevity and dedication.” He adds, “Hands down, I have the most competent employees throughout the entire organization, including my Atlanta-based executive team that has been with me for decades.”
While traditional car rental is the foundation of the business, the company is always innovating and initiating new options for customers. The company recently launched a Long-Term Rental Program that serves as an alternative to leasing or even purchasing a car. The program is the perfect solution for individuals and businesses with long-term transportation needs who may not want to make a long-term commitment.
A dedicated Rental Agent Concierge provides a high level of customer service throughout the entire Long-Term Rental process. Customers choose a new model vehicle and are only required to commit to a minimum of two months. Rates start as low as $599 per month and are inclusive of generous mile allowances and preventative maintenance.
“Some people may think that in the middle of COVID-19, it might not be the best time to roll-out a new business initiative, but to us, it felt like the opposite,” Jennifer says. “We saw it as a way to fill a need that arose out of the pandemic.”
“People and businesses still require transportation, but because we’re in uncertain circumstances they may not have the funds to purchase a car or they may not want to be committed to a long-term lease. Some individuals who normally take public transportation may no longer feel comfortable doing so. Perhaps a family unexpectedly has a college student at home and now they want an extra car.”
The Long-Term Rental program is also a great solution for companies that utilize vehicles to conduct their business or want to provide company cars to employees, many of whom are now choosing to drive instead of fly for business travel. Budget Atlanta offers a wide selection of vehicles including cars, pickup trucks, passenger and cargo vans. “We have provided the fleet for several local construction and landscape companies through our Long-Term Rental program, and that has proved to be a real cost savings for them,” Roger adds.
Whether you are in need of a vehicle for a day, a week, months or years, Budget Atlanta will take great care of you. For more information visit BudgetATL.com or call 770-240-3332.
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