Queen Creek and San Tan Valley residents no longer need to drive 20 miles or more to renew their vehicle registrations.
Power Titles, Tags and More, the first business in the Queen Creek area to offer Arizona Motor Vehicle Division services, opened in a San Tan Valley shopping center along Hunt Highway about two months ago.
Patricia Power opened the business after managing a credit union for nine years. The office is a third-party provider authorized to do services such as renewing titles.
Power's business is the newest of the 143 third-party MVD locations in Arizona. Her career change was her husband's idea. He works for the state, had seen other third-party MVD officesand suggested it was a service Power could provide.
"We've had a lot of our people, our friends, say, 'I have to go to Casa Grande today. I have to go to Coolidge. I don't want to go that far,'" Power said. "We thought maybe this is something we can do to help our neighbors out."
MVD has been trying to expand partnerships with third parties to provide services to rapidly growing or underserved areas, said Cydney DeModica, agency spokeswoman.
"They can move more quickly than the state can to move or open an office," DeModica said. "The state has to go through the budget process to obtain land and actually build and open an office, whereas the third parties are continually seeking out locations."
The last MVD office to open was in southeast Mesa, and that was in 2003 or 2004, DeModica said. That office is more than 20 miles from Power's office. The closest MVD office for those in Queen Creek and San Tan Valley is on Coolidge, about 17 miles away on the Hunt Highway.
It took Power and her daughter, Candi Segovia, about two years to become certified to run the office. They can renew titles and tags, transfer licenses, perform basic inspections to verify who the vehicle belongs to, and replace driver's licenses, among other services.
Power said customer service sets her office apart from some of the state-run offices.
Waits are generally 10 minutes or less. Customers are called by name instead of taking a number and only have to wait in one line to take care of everything they need, she said.
They also have longer hours than most offices, staying open until 6 p.m. on Fridays and working part of Saturday.
The business makes money by charging a convenience fee. The fees are visible on a sign Power has advertising the state's rates for services compared with what her business charges. For instance, title transfers cost $10 more at Power's office than a state MVD.
But she said there are customers willing to pay.
"A $10 fee for being here for 10 minutes and not having to take half a day off; people are willing to pay the $10 fee," Power said. "Or you would put the $10 in gas into your car to drive to Coolidge."