The car rentals industry has proven to be a pretty lucrative business, with agencies and their fleets growing in size to service cities and countries around the world. Understanding the ins and outs of the business will let you better utilize car rentals to your advantage, while securing a rental price that suits your budget!
1. Booking a Rental in Advance ALWAYS Saves Money. Just as with hotel reservations, booking your car rentals in advance lets the rental agency prepare for you and distribute their fleet of vehicles more effectively among various locations. This translates into discounted rates for you. Even if you have to cancel or modify your reservation, you have absolutely nothing to lose by giving a soft commitment of your travel needs ahead of time. If you are willing to pay up front and get a voucher to pay for your car rentals, you can save even more.
2. If Rental Rates Sound Too Good To Be True, They Are. Keep in mind that car rentals are always advertised in a way that makes them sound as appealing as possible. You may hear about a base rate of $15/day or less, but this kind of price quote ignores all the fine print. Additional fees are required for equipment like child seats or navigation systems. There are hidden fees and taxes that all companies have to charge, like road taxes and airport fees. Do you need to add an additional driver to the rental, or extra insurance coverage to pick up where your personal policy leaves off? Factor all of those things into your rental fee and now you’re looking at something more like $50/day or more.
3. Inspect the Vehicle Prior to Leaving the Rental Lot or You WILL Regret It! If you read your rental agreement carefully, you are liable for any damage sustained to car rentals while they are in your possession. If the agency does not have an accurate record of the vehicle shape when you pick it up, you could be charged for scratches or dents that occurred before your rental period even began. For this reason, when you go out to get into the rental car, do a quick external inspection for minor dents or damages – make a note of them and go back to the rental desk to inquire about these issues before you leave the rental property.
4. One-Way Rentals Are Now a Reality. Many car rentals now give you the option of picking up a vehicle at one location, and turning it in at another. This makes one-way travel much easier, and can usually be arranged in advance for a nominal fee.
5. Rental Car Fleets Have a High Turnover Rate. Maybe you’ve noticed that the large car rentals stock only the newest models in their fleets. You rarely find a car that is more than a year old. Where to all these used cars go? Believe it or not, most agencies work with local car dealerships to buy and sell their cars – this means that you can buy a used rental car and be confident that the maintenance record is spotless. If you are interested in purchasing a car, keep in mind that rental cars are likely to have higher-than-average mileage.