Backed by more than 60 drivers as of last week, the company’s current coverage extends from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Bay County to Pensacola International Airport.
SANTA ROSA BEACH — A local entrepreneur hopes to make mainstream ride sharing a thing of the past.
In response to the recent success seen by companies such as Uber and Lyft, Santa Rosa Beach's John Finch recently launched a concept that he expects to become a nationwide hit.
The business — GoVetted — rolled out in May, and Finch claimed it's the safest ride-sharing company yet.
"I don't know a lot about a lot of things, (but) I do know about transportation (and) we have perfected ride sharing," said Finch, who added that the idea stemmed from Sunshine Shuttle and Limousine, a similar business he started nearly 20 years ago.
Unlike Uber and Lyft, which Finch said only preform local background checks on drivers, GoVetted runs local, state, federal, sex offender and child security background checks.
Additional vetting includes drug screening and CPR/first-aid training.
"We deliver to a higher standard," Alan Roberts, the chief business development officer for the company, said in an email. "No other (ride sharing) company invests in these security features like we do, plain and simple."
Roberts, who lives in Santa Rosa Beach, believes the Panhandle is also the perfect testing site for a business emphasizing customer service.
"It's a perfect proving ground for our business, since customers in this area demand a high level of service while they're visiting," he said.
Roberts added that the positive feedback they're already receiving was proof the brand was "filling a need."
Backed by more than 60 drivers as of last week, the company's current coverage extends from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Bay County to Pensacola International Airport.
According to Finch, transportation fees are about 30% more than Uber and Lyft, but drivers make 70% of their ride fares.
"We're not going to get in a price war with Uber and Lyft," Finch said. "We see them more as moving toward a Motel 6 status."
Services can be requested through the GoVetted mobile app, which Finch said took about four years to develop.
In the fall, the brand plans to extend its coverage to Tallahassee before taking its services to Miami for the Super Bowl.
"It's not very often that a technology company starts and opens in Walton County," said Finch, who expects to have more than 400 drivers in the next year. "We'll soon be the largest employer in Walton County."
For more information, visit www.govetted.com.