Great Lakes Hotel Supply, a fourth-generation family-owned business, saw notable improvements in efficiency and employee happiness after transitioning to Everlance for their sales team.

About Great Lakes Hotel Supply

With a 90-year history of serving restaurants, commercial kitchens, universities, hospitals, and (of course!) hotels, Great Lakes Hotel Supply is a prominent player in the foodservice equipment, installation and design industry. In 2023, they were ranked 23rd in Foodservice Equipment & Supplies (FE&S) magazine’s Top 100, with annual sales of $111MM in 2022. 

Headquartered in Michigan, the company has expanded its operations to include offices in Metro Detroit, Northern Michigan, Western Michigan, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, and Denver. Especially in recent years, they’ve experienced astonishing growth. When Warren Casey, Vice President of Sales and Design, joined the company three years ago, his entire team was 22 people, including support staff. Today, it’s 60 sales reps!

Challenge: Overcoming varied vehicle programs and reimbursement methods

The strong growth that Great Lakes Hotel Supply experienced came from both expansion and acquisition, through which they inherited a variety of different vehicle reimbursement programs. Some employees had company cars and gas cards, some received monthly car stipends, others were on a cents-per-mile (CPM) program and yet others turned in gas receipts and were reimbursed accordingly.

Warren recognized the multitude of programs was too much to manage. It created a burden on the company's finance and administrative teams and they had to spend a lot of time on the process every month. They needed a unified approach to mileage and expense tracking that could be seamlessly implemented across the organization.

[.quote-wrap][.quote-top][.quote-top]We had everything across the board because each division was a little different. And as we're really systematizing across the company, it was too much to manage.[.author-attribute][.is-casey][.is-casey][.author-facts][.author-facts][.author-bold]Warren Casey, [.author-bold][.author-pos]VP of Sales and Design[.author-pos][.author-attribute][.quote-bottom][.quote-bottom][.quote-wrap]

Solution: Everlance's user-friendly technology and FAVR program

In their pursuit of a suitable solution, Great Lakes Hotel Supply considered several options but ultimately chose Everlance.

They were looking for a comprehensive mileage tracking and reimbursement platform that would integrate across their organization with:

  • A robust and feature-rich product
  • Easy implementation for management
  • User-friendly experience for employees 

Implementing any change usually results in some friction, so it was important to Warren to minimize disruptions and show reps how it would benefit them.

In addition to evaluating technology providers, the team also reviewed their options for vehicle programs. While their goal was to systematize everyone onto a consistent program, they also wanted to ensure it was fair and equitable to all employees.

After discussing their options with Everlance, they determined a Fixed and Variable Rate (FAVR) program was the best option for them. A FAVR reimbursement program not only allows them to keep reimbursements tax-free, but also customize each person’s reimbursement based on their location and keep up with the latest gas prices. For employees who had been receiving a monthly car allowance, it would be an easy transition too, as they would still receive a fixed amount every month.

[.866][.blue-line]“You really did a great job of selling, and the most important part is you executed. [Our CSM] blows up my inbox to take care of us and he is just world-class. They’ve made the transition and the education just perfect,” says Warren.[.blue-line][.866]

The decision was influenced by the comprehensive presentation we provided, which effectively addressed all of the company's questions and concerns. It was one of the main reasons Warren chose Everlance over the other two providers they were talking to, in addition to the strength of the technology and customer service.

Results: Increased efficiency and employee satisfaction

The adoption of Everlance's FAVR reimbursement program proved to be a perfect fit for Great Lakes Hotel Supply. For Warren's team, implementing the new solution was as simple as installing Everlance's business mileage tracker app on their mobile devices.

[.quote-wrap][.quote-top][.quote-top]Everlance has streamlined our world so incredibly much. It’s a way to have oversight, control costs, have accountability and consistency and make my life easier. But the biggest selling point is being app-based, it’s so doggone easy. It's not cumbersome for the driver, so therefore, you've got buy-in from them.[.author-attribute][.is-casey][.is-casey][.author-facts][.author-facts][.author-bold]Warren Casey, [.author-bold][.author-pos]VP of Sales and Design[.author-pos][.author-attribute][.quote-bottom][.quote-bottom][.quote-wrap]

Employees are happier with their reimbursements

The transition to Everlance’s FAVR program led to more accurate reimbursements because they reflected the actual costs employees face to own and operate their vehicles. For almost all employees, that meant immediately higher payments than they were receiving before. Of course, that made them happy.

[.split-text-wrap][.text-wrap][.text-wrap-paragraph]Furthermore, the reimbursements are not taxable. Employees who had been receiving a car allowance typically ended up paying 20-30% of that toward taxes, but no longer. Their actual take-home pay increased significantly, and Great Lakes Hotel Supply also saved on employer taxes.[.text-wrap-paragraph][.text-wrap][.mixed-font-a][.is-green-bold]20-30%[.is-green-bold][.is-info]tax waste on flat car allowances[.is-info][.mixed-font-a][.split-text-wrap]A couple of high mileage employees, who were on a cent-per-mile program before, experienced some initial heartburn because their first reimbursements were lower than before. However, Warren was able to alleviate their worries by calculating what their reimbursements would be over the course of a year on the new program, based on their previous year’s mileage. In fact, the employees would receive about $30/month more on average with Everlance FAVR!

Ultimately, Everlance proved to be beneficial for all drivers, regardless of their previous vehicle program. It’s become a selling point and helps Great Lakes Hotel Supply retain and attract talented employees.

Admins spend less time managing reimbursements

From an administrative standpoint, Everlance has been a relief. It’s helped lower the burden on the team and delivered significant time savings. Finance no longer has to keep track of all the different ways employees get reimbursed and deal with multiple types of records and systems to pay them.

[.866][.blue-line]Having everyone on the same program and system with Everlance makes the process “infinitely easier” from a time management perspective.[.blue-line][.866]

With all the time savings they’ve seen already, Great Lakes Hotel Supply also plans to roll out Everlance’s expense management for all their employees, regardless of whether they receive mileage reimbursement. They see it as another opportunity to centralize and systematize what they’re doing for even further time savings.

Managers strengthen relationships with their team members

Because Everlance provides greater visibility into how employees are spending their time, it has also helped Warren get closer to his team. He didn’t implement it as a tool to police employees; he trusts them. But it does offer greater accountability and assist him with knowing when to check in with someone if something looks off.

For example, last December Warren had one employee who usually drives a lot, but only recorded about half of his usual miles. He took that as a sign to reach out and make sure that Everlance had not missed any miles and everything was working well. The employee confirmed that with the holidays and a couple of illnesses he had in fact driven a lot less. There was no cause for concern, but he appreciated the outreach from Warren.

“It was a nice way for me just to email him and go, ‘Hey, I'm really concerned because your miles are off. Did you miss some trips, is Everlance working? I don't want to turn in this report if we're missing things because it's not fair to you.’ He goes, ‘No, no, I was out sick and just holidays, just wasn't driving.’ So no worries, just wanna make sure you're taken care of,” says Warren.

By enabling Warren to spot discrepancies and inquire about any unusual patterns directly with his team members, Everlance helps him foster a sense of care and support that goes a long way in retaining talent.

[.blue-wrap][.list-head]The bottom line:[.list-head][.list-subheading]Implementing an Everlance FAVR program at Great Lakes Hotel Supply resulted in:[.list-subheading][.list-div][.list-div][.c-row-flex] [.is-1] [.list-check][.list-check] [.is-1]A happier sales team (because they were getting paid more) and a happier admin and finance team (because they were spending less time on reimbursements)[.c-row-flex][.c-row-flex] [.is-1] [.list-check][.list-check] [.is-1]A unified, streamlined method of mileage tracking and reimbursement[.c-row-flex][.c-row-flex] [.is-1] [.list-check][.list-check] [.is-1]Enhanced accountability in mileage reporting[.c-row-flex][.c-row-flex] [.is-1] [.list-check][.list-check] [.is-1]Improved employee relationships and communication, contributing to talent retention[.c-row-flex][.blue-wrap]

If you’re interested in learning more about how Everlance can help your team, check out our FAVR reimbursement product and please get in touch!

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