Seattle, WA-based International Leasing Co. Inc. may be a small independent truck rental and leasing business, but when it comes to competitiveness, it ranks right up there with the big guys. “What sets us apart is our service and the flexibility we offer customers,” says Jeff Zylstra, gm. “Everyone has different wants, needs and expectations from a leasing company. We sit down with customers and go through the whole process with them step-by-step to customize a program that's just right for them.”

International Leasing is currently run by a brother-sister team, Mike Karson and Linda Brownell, who took over the privately owned company originally started by their father in 1961. The company offers a range of services that include full-service leasing, truck rental, maintenance on customers' privately owned truck equipment, and sales of used trucks that were originally part of International Leasing's rental/leasing fleet.

“Within those categories there are also numerous subcategories of services we provide, including everything ranging from truck washing to fuel tax reporting and 24/7 break-down services,” Zylstra states. “Every customer benefits from all our services. We don't distinguish between rental, leasing or maintenance-only customers in that respect.”

While International Leasing's primary coverage is within the state of Washington, Zylstra notes it will grow with customers to meet their needs. In fact, the company now has vehicles operating in Oregon, a few in California, and even one in Arizona. “Before we agree to enter into a lease/rental agreement with a customer, we make sure we can take care of them 100%, offering them the same good customer service we do for local customers. If it doesn't look like a good fit, we let the customer know that,” Zylstra explains.

Todd Daniels, fleet manager for International Leasing, says decisions about what type of equipment to spec are based both on customer needs and International's ability to maintain the equipment to its high standards. For example, equipment for customers who need refrigerated vans is primarily spec'd with Thermo King units because of dealer support available in the area.

Everything from cargo vans to Class 8 over-the-road tractors are available to International Leasing customers, even including a few trailer units. “Last June we put our first B20-approved hybrid vehicle into service in our standard rental fleet. It's a 26,000-lb.-GVW 2008 Freightliner M2e biodiesel-electric truck, fairly universally spec'd for a variety of customer applications and equipped with a 24-ft. dry van and liftgate. It's been very popular with environmentally conscious customers,” Daniels reports.

International Leasing has two shop facilities, one each in Kent and Seattle, WA. For customers in areas beyond a 40-mi. radius of those locations, the company relies on dealers and other independent shops to provide breakdown and maintenance services.

“We're currently instituting the Squarerigger SQ.7 fleet maintenance system to help create a paperless shop,” Daniels points out. “It will provide customers with more accurate reports and enable them to get their maintenance records quicker. In addition, we're implementing a web-based mileage and reporting system from Squarerigger.”

According to Daniels, the company also partnered with Zonar about three years ago to offer leasing customers the option of getting electronic vehicle inspection reports to help them meet DOT requirements for records retention. Zonar offers GPS tracking and assists customers with interstate fuel tax reporting as well.

It's all part of taking good care of customers, says Zylstra, who describes his company's relationship with them as a true partnership. “We don't offer cookie-cutter trucks, but communicate back and forth with customers about their applications and needs, so when the spec'ing process is over, they've got equipment suitable for their needs over the life of the lease. We're not in this business to sign a quick contract. We're in it for the long haul. We want our customers' repeat business.”