Whether you are renting a car in another city while on vacation or renting one in your home town because your car is in the shop, there are several factors that go into selecting the right rental car company for your needs. For instance, renting a car gives you the chance to drive a car you couldn’t normally afford to own, so you may want to choose a company that rents luxury cars, along with sedans, compacts and other car types.
Although you may think that most rental car companies are pretty much all the same, there are some policy differences that could sway you when you need to rent a car. These factors can help you determine which rental agency you might wish to use:
- Rental Rates
- Vehicle Selection
- Customer Service
- Loyalty Program
- Rental Rates
While money shouldn’t be the only factor used to choose a rental car company, if you are deciding between similar companies with similar services, then the best rate may be your deciding factor. Generally, the rate you pay for a rental car will depend on how long you rent it for, and the category of vehicle that you rent.
Rates depending on the length of the rental include:
- Daily rate
- Weekly rate
- Weekend rate
- Monthly rate
- One-way rate
The vehicle categories will usually include:
- Compact car
- Small car
- Luxury vehicle
- Sport Utility Vehicle
- Passenger Van
- Pickup Trucks
Depending on the rental car company, they may further break down the vehicle categories if they rent hybrids, Toyota Prius and different sizes of SUVs, but these are the typical categories from which you will choose when you rent a vehicle.
When you rent a vehicle based on the rate, consider the company’s mileage and return policies. Most rental companies give you so many miles for your rental, then you will have to pay a mileage charge for each mile you go over that allowance. Especially check for that information when reviewing weekend, weekly and monthly rental rates.
Check for charges that you could incur when you return your rental. Most people are surprised to learn that they will be charged for gas if they don’t return their rental with a full tank. In addition, if the car has slight dents or is accidentally scratched, you insurance could be charged for any slight damage to the vehicle.
The types of vehicles an agency offers for rent is another reason you may select one rental company over another. If you want to drive a BMW while on a business trip, look for agencies that offer luxury cars for rent. While some companies may have luxury car rentals, such as the luxury car rental services from Express Rentacar, others do not offer anything better than domestic sedans.
Some smaller car rental agencies may not offer luxury cars because the company wants to keep their overhead costs down, such as insurance or maintenance costs. However, most large car rental agencies will have better vehicle selections, including offering luxury cars for rent.
In addition, if you need to rent a van to take your entire family on vacation, not all companies rent passenger vans. That could create a big inconvenience for you, and you will need to move on to the next rental company that can accommodate your needs.
Bad customer service has probably ruined more than one buying or renting experience in your lifetime, and if you have dealt with a company and had a bad customer experience, chances are you never did business with them again. The rental agent may have been rude or, if you were dissatisfied with your rental, they may have had a take or leave it attitude.
However, if a rental car company goes out of their way to help you with a price rate or offers a perk like a free upgrade on a rental if you are not satisfied, that is a mark of good customer service. That lets you know the rental company wants your business. They know you will probably recommend them to your colleagues and friends. A great customer service experience will usually determine from which company you will rent your car.
Car rental agencies that allow some flexibility with their rentals may be more attractive than those that are strictly by the book with their policies. For instance, if a rental agency has several locations in a city that you’re visiting, and you have a problem with the car you rented, instead of returning the car to the original location, you may be able to exchange cars at a location closer to your hotel. That type of convenience makes a lot of difference to some people when choosing a company with which to do business.
Smaller rental car companies may not have such conveniences, and that could put a damper on your vacation plans or make your business trip more difficult for you. Going back to the original location to exchange cars could end up costing you time and money, especially if you are late for an important business meeting.
If you work for a business that has an account with the rental company, you may receive perks for using the account to rent a vehicle. These perks could include free mileage, added days on your rental or a discount on the rate for renting a particular type of vehicle such as a luxury car. If you do work for a company that is part of a rental agency’s loyalty program, you will probably use that company to rent a car for business and pleasure.
By considering these factors when you go to rent a vehicle for business or pleasure, you can find the one that best suits your needs. Although most rental agencies have similar policies, any slight difference to your advantage could save you money, and could be the best company for you to deal with when renting a vehicle.