By IKE WILSON
The Frederick News-Post
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A drive-thru window is not what most people expect when getting help with their vehicle tags and titles. But that’s what you get at Mid Maryland Tag & Title in Frederick.
Since Laura Hadel-Gray opened her business, she has tossed around the idea of drive-thru service. After 17 months in business, “we took that step and opened Maryland’s first drive-thru tag and title service in May,” she said.
Adding a drive-thru takes convenience to the next level, Hadel-Gray said, and “convenience is the main focus with a tag and title service.”
Reaction to the service has been positive. Customer feedback “has been everything we could have expected and more,” Hadel-Gray said.
Comments have ranged from “this is awesome” to the owner’s personal favorite “whoever thought of this idea was a total genius,” she said.
“I like to think the drive-thru was all my idea, but my husband has been saying since day one, ‘if we build it, they will come.'”
Drive-thru services include sticker renewal, tag return, duplicate title and registration cards, substitute stickers and plates, and notary.
Hadel-Gray tries to limit the drive-thru to smaller services and have full transactions done in the lobby, she said.
Transactions that require more paperwork, signatures, and more detailed information include new title and tags and 30-day temporary tags. All transactions for elderly and disabled customers can be processed via the drive-thru window, Hadel-Gray said.
Hadel-Gray said her fees are identical to the fees collected by the Motor Vehicle Administration, plus convenience fees associated with the transactions she provides that range from $2 to $50. For example, Mid Maryland Tag & Title charges a $25 convenience fee for renewing stickers, plus the cost of the stickers, she said.
“We have shopped the local market and have found that our fees are very competitive, and consultation and advice is always free,” she said.
Transactions at the drive-thru take about three to five minutes — no longer than your average bank transaction or a McDonald’s drive-thru order, she said.
“In the time it takes for me to process your drive-thru transaction you would still be in the information line at the (Motor Vehicle Administration) waiting to get your number.”
Full transactions in the lobby take 10 to 15 minutes.
Frederick resident Randy Gibson used the service recently.
“It took me three minutes or less to renew my tags,” Gibson said. “Never had to leave my car — that’s nice. I was very happy with it. It’s a good idea and I’ll use it again.”
Mid Maryland Tag & Title shares a building with Motor World, Hadel-Gray’s husband’s dealership, which provides on-premise Maryland state inspections for $69. Vehicle state inspection is a major component of many titling transactions, she said, and being on-site makes it convenient.
More services are on the horizon, Hadel-Gray said.
Since opening in October 2010, Hadel-Gray has watched her business grow and her customer base quickly expand, she said.
“I am so excited to watch and see how the new drive-thru service will take my business to the next level of success,” she said.
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)