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Business Happenings - November 2003

My Name is Richard Farabee
and I Rent Jeeps!

by Janet Lowe

Farabee Jeep Rental
397 N. Main, Moab, Utah.

Stock Jeeps rent for $110 per day during high season, modified Jeeps for more advanced trails and drivers rent for $150 per day. Weekly rates are $619 and $850. Off season rates are from November to February each year.

Whenever Richard Farabee travels to another community or attends trade shows or travel conferences, he introduces himself by saying “Hello, my name is Richard Farabee and I rent Jeeps.”

“It’s what I do. And I do that exclusively. I’ve found my niche and it’s a good one and I want to be the absolute best at renting Jeeps,” said Farabee talking by telephone from the newest location of Farabee’s Jeep Rentals, Sedona, Arizona.

“I absolutely love what I do,” said Farabee. “It is a great thing to be able to help people plan their adventure. For many, it is a once in a lifetime trip and I want to make sure it will be a memory they keep forever.”

Maria Sierra, Farabee’s Moab manager, echoes Farabee’s philosophy. “We really help the customer plan for their trip. We don’t just hand them the keys and send them on their way,” she explains.

“We go over the vehicle with them, explain what does what, provide them with maps, talk to them about their destination. We don’t want people getting in over their heads on the backcountry roads around here,” said Sierra.

To keep customers safe, besides receiving an orientation, Maria and other staff in the Moab office find out if they have ever done any four-wheel driving and if so, where.

“We send people to different trails for their first visit here. First time drivers usually go the national parks, but then as their experience grows, we’ll send them out to Fins and Things and some other moderate trails. Only experienced drivers get sent to the more challenging trails and there are several trails where we do not allow our vehicles to be used such as Moab Rim, Pritchett Canyon and Behind the Rocks,” Sierra continued.

Part of the message customers receive is one of low impact. “Everyone who rents a Jeep from us has to sign a contract that says they will stay on the designated road or trail,” explained Sierra. Customers are also given an ice chest, free bag of ice and maps before they hit the trail.

One of the most satisfying components of being a part of Farabee’s, according to Maria and other Farabee’s staff, is that so many customers come back.

“We get an amazing amount of return business,” she said.

“One of the fascinating things to me,” said Farabee, “is that we have people who come and rent a Jeep with their kids. Ten years later, we have the kids all grown up renting a Jeep with their own kids. It’s a very fun, family activity.”

“It’s truly the highlight of many people’s vacations,” said Sierra. “We get postcards, letters, pictures and patches and all sorts of feedback from all over the world.”

Looking at a map of the world that is hanging in the Farabee office, quite a bit of the world makes its way to Moab and to Farabee’s. There are pins stuck in Siberia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Easter Island, the Canary Islands, Bali, Greenland as well as all over Europe and, of course, the United States.

“People do come to us from all over the world. I think it’s because we pay very close attention to their needs. We listen to the person on the other side of the counter. That’s why we’ve been successful,” said Farabee.

Farabee attributes much of his success not only to great customer service, but to the community of Moab.
“I simply would not have been as successful had it not been for the support of the business community in Moab. I’ve had lots of help.”

Farabee hopes people will use his model of creating activities for visitors to Moab to build their own businesses.
“Our first few years in business we parked our Jeeps out at the KOA which was then owned by Jan Manne. It was wildly successful. People wanted some other things to do in Moab. The more activities we find for them to do, the longer they will stay. Everyone is interconnected in Moab and I think recognizing that early on really helped us be successful,” explained Farabee.

Farabee also credits Maria Sierra. “She’s been with me for 10 years in Moab. She is responsible for much of our success.”

Farabee also attributes his growth to focusing very closely on Jeep rentals. “We tried for a time to also rent passenger vehicles, but we found we weren’t as good at that. It’s a different business altogether. We are helping people plan an adventure, not just handing them a key to get from one point to another. So now we are back to a 100 percent focus on Jeep rentals. We want to be the premiere Jeep rental company in Moab, Utah, and now in a few other places, too,” explained Farabee. The company expanded to Sedona, Arizona, in 2003 and has 16 vehicles in the Sedona fleet in addition to the 29 Jeeps available for rental in Moab. Farabee says he is in the process of identifying some other communities to move into in the future.

The company has certainly come a long way. From a small family run operation that started in Blanding, Utah, to a multi-location business in two states, Farabee has perfected the art of Jeep rental and independent 4-wheel drive adventures. He did it with the help of his wife, Sherri (who is credited with the original idea) and his two sons who put in many long hours in the Moab location during the early years.

“We worked hard, there’s no doubt about it. Sometimes we’d be driving Jeeps down to the Needles Outpost at midnight so a customer could have it for the next morning,” Farabee laughs.

“But the formula is easy,” explains Richard. “Besides hard work and passion for what we’re doing, we simply pay attention to the customer. We listen to what they want and what they need. We go all out to keep them safe and make sure they have fun. Everything is to benefit the customer!”

Farabee Jeep Rental is located at 397 N. Main, in Moab, Utah. Stock Jeeps rent for $110 per day during high season, modified Jeeps for more advanced trails and drivers rent for $150 per day. Weekly rates are $619 and $850. Off season rates are from November to February each year.

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