How To Start A Hire Car Business – Check your wallet before renting a car. One of the benefits of being a member of Costco or BJ’s Wholesale is their partnership with major car rental companies. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images file
Having rented a car more times than I can count, I can easily identify this experience as the bane of any business trip or vacation. What usually happens to me is this: I get off the plane, sweaty and tired, drive to the airport rental car depot, and wait in line for about 45 minutes to pick up the car I reserved online. I then sign all the paperwork confirming that I want all the insurance coverage offered and brace myself for the final daily fee and total cost which is always much higher than advertised.
How To Start A Hire Car Business
“That’s because you have all the coverage,” the customer service agent says as I cringe at the estimate. “Better safe than sorry!”
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I agree with this platitude, but I also want to know if I am being scammed? Are there money- and time-saving measures — besides looking at mileage and gas before returning — that I could implement here?
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“Rental car companies like Enterprise and Budget operate limited fleets and have to estimate demand weeks in advance to have a car ready for you when you get off the flight,” says Christina McGrath, a savings and deals expert on the deal. com. “As the car rental companies travel season approaches, you want to book as early as possible to ensure not only a great price, but also a car.”
To save money when booking online, consider using a cashback browser extension like EBates, as well as a coupon code search extension like Wikibuy. Searching Groupon and LivingSocial for potential discounts can’t hurt either.
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“Renting a car at the airport is definitely more expensive in many cases because of the surcharges in many cities,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com. “It’s rooted in their revenue capture, and it’s easy to pass off as a tourism tax, which we often [otherwise] see at airports.”
Arranging a rental car at the airport can increase your costs by 10 to 25 percent, Rossman says, adding that just today he looked at the price of his rental car booked at the San Francisco airport and found a base rate of $200. there was another $100 in added taxes and tolls — “$50 more than if I drove into town and rented a car there.”
Chris Trifilio, a blogger at FrugalReality.com, says he’s actually saved money by paying for an Uber or Lyft to take him from the airport to the rental car depot. “I came out way ahead even after my $20 ride-sharing cost,” he says.
The biggest cost we face when renting a car is usually insurance. If you don’t normally drive (and therefore don’t need/have your own car insurance), the first add-on you’re likely to sign up for is collision damage waivers. This is the primary insurance that will reimburse the company for damages to the car if you are involved in an accident while the car is in your possession.
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Now, you may want to buy this coverage even if you have your own auto insurance because, as Rossman notes, if you get into an accident, you’ll still have to pay your deductible out of pocket, and the accident may incentivize your insurance company to raise your rates.
But there’s a better way, and it doesn’t actually cost you. Several credit cards offer primary coverage as part of their benefits (see NerdWallet’s list of cards that offer this benefit). The only caveat is that you have to pay 100 percent of the rental price for this card.
Check with your credit card company to find out what coverage they offer. Liability insurance is usually not included with these credit cards, so you’ll want to add it to the car rental company or use your own if you have one.
Another way to reduce the cost of car rental insurance is to purchase rental car insurance outside of the rental agency.
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“As little as six dollars a day can cover everything,” says Stuart Barrett, head of growth at RentalCover’s parent company, Cover Genius.
Rossman thinks this is a smart alternative if you don’t have a credit card that matches the coverage.
One of the benefits of being a member of Costco or BJ’s Wholesale is their partnership with major car rental companies.
“My favorite hack to save on rental cars: Costco. After two rentals, my membership paid for itself with the amount I saved on their travel portal,” says Kelsey Sheehy, personal finance expert at NerdWallet. “You can usually add an extra driver for free, which saves you another $12 to $13 a day.”
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“Rental car insurance is also a common union and union benefit, so it’s worth checking if you have an industry one,” Rossman says. “Same thing if you have AAA.”
“My auto club membership code saved me over 15 percent in the last five days on a one-way rental from Chicago to Florida,” Triflio says. “The savings alone almost paid for my annual membership with one booking.”
Rossman is not affiliated with Autoslash, but uses the site to save on car rentals.
“You put in where you’re going and it will show you the quotes,” Rossman says. “The nice thing is that you can join a Costco or AAA membership and they will look for those discounts and any online coupons that can help you save. They do a price comparison before and after you book, so if two weeks later in May the rent you booked has dropped, you can book at a lower price.
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Packages and bundles with hotels and/or airfare are designed to save you money, but can make your rental car cost more than if you booked it separately.
“A ‘free’ car is an offer that can’t be taken at face value,” says Randi Winters, a travel consultant at Passionate Travel, an affiliate of Classic Travel Virtuoso. “Often it’s only a day or two, and the mileage or extra days can significantly overshadow the ‘free’ offer, especially if you’re keeping the car for a week or more.”
“Paying up front to save money could be the most expensive decision you make,” says Winter. “As with hotels, pre-paying for closed conditions looks like it will save you money, [but] changes in flight times, dates, cancellations due to illness — even a better-priced hotel in a different area — may make it necessary to cancel your flight or rebook.”
And that cancellation fee could cost you about $50 (the price Alamo and Enterprise charge) and double that fee if you cancel within 24 hours of your scheduled pick-up.
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It is customary for car rental companies to do a quick inspection of the car you are renting to document any dents, scratches or other cosmetic defects. You can’t be too thorough with this test, and it’s best to take pictures of any problem areas you notice so they can’t be pinned on you later.
“Always use your phone to take pictures of suspicious dents or stains or interior anomalies,” says Winters. “This proof – time and date stamped – can protect you from any charges or prosecution after you return the car and no longer have access to the evidence.”
Rental car companies charge a lot of money for child seats — “$10 to $15 a day,” Rossman says.
“You’re better off bringing your own,” Rossman says, but Barrett adds that it might be cheaper to buy one at your destination. With apps like 5Miles or Facebook Marketplace, you have a good chance of finding an affordable one in good condition.
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Another fee that rental car companies like to tack on to your bill is the toll crossing fee. Hertz charges $5.95 for each day PlatePass is used, plus fees at the top rate. Avis, Alamo, Budget and Enterprise each charge a $3.95 convenience fee per day of rental (up to a maximum of $19.75 per month) in certain areas with toll roads, even if you don’t drive there — in addition to the tolls. have arisen.
“It’s a trick that could really add up,” Rossman says. “It’s harder to pay in person these days because there’s no cash on the bridges anymore, so either prepay online (depending on the municipality) or buy a disposable transponder if you can. This can save you a lot of money. “
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