Daily rental decoded
When calling on the services of a daily hire provider, businesses need a solution that combines minimum fuss with maximum service. But how can you ensure that you get the very best from your policy? We’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the daily rental market to bring you an insider’s guide into the points you should consider before signing on the dotted line…
1. Check vehicles are fit for purpose
There’s no point in an employee renting a big luxury car for a lot of short town trips or a petrol sportscar for a long motorway drive, just because they can. It will cost your business money. But the temptation is there if checks, controls and balances are not in place.
Also, and this applies especially to vans where as much as three-quarters of the UK rental parc is more than four years old, you need to make sure your employees are being supplied are in good working order.
‘With a reputable rental supplier you can be guaranteed of a modern, reliable and fuel-efficient fleet,’ says Jonathan Pearce, head of marketing at Northgate Vehicle Hire. Choose a supplier that minimises risks further by looking for inclusive servicing, breakdown and recovery services.
2. Beware of delivery charges
Many businesses prefer to pay extra for Delivery & Collection (D&C) services, but make sure that you drill down into the detail. Sometimes the attractive D&C charge being offered will be for a limited mileage only, with additional costs if the journey is longer. There may also be the added expense of fuel costs allocated to D&C.
‘Before you sign on the dotted line, you should analyse where your employ- ees, ofices, suppliers and customers are located to establish where you will most likely need vehicles. Then check that the rental provider has branches close to these locations and make sure D&C won't cost more than you irst thought,’ advises Adrian Bewley, director of busi- ness rental at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
3. Trial as many different models as possible Daily rental can offer the perfect oppor- tunity to trial different models and vehicle types in the run-up to a leet refresh. Seize the chance to trial different options, for example switching between petrol and diesel, or even trialling an electric drivetrain.
‘Check the range of vehicles and the hire options available from your rental partner; for example, do they have alter- native fuel vehicles (hybrids and EVs), low CO2 vehicles and specialist vehicles which may benefit the business in the future?’ advises Kathleen Whittam, head of rental solutions at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions.
4. Enrol in a loyalty scheme
Most daily rental providers offer some form of loyalty scheme to reward returning customers with benefits such as discounts and “fast track” service online and in-branch.
‘Convenience and speed is particularly important to business travellers; as such we make every effort to make the process as efficient and stress free as possible,’ explains Louise Bell, commercial director at Avis UK.
‘Signing up to loyalty schemes, such as Avis Preferred, is often free and offers a whole host of benefits, including pre-prepared paperwork and priority counters. All you need to do is show up with your driving licence, collect your keys and go.’
‘Signing up to loyalty schemes is often free and offers a whole host of benefits.’
5. Check 24-hour support is available
When an employee climbs into a daily rental vehicle, it is very possibly his first experience of the car. As such, it is even more important that support is on hand in the event of a breakdown or incident than it would be in a standard fleet vehicle.
‘Choose a supplier who offers 24 hour support – if one of your drivers breaks down or has an accident in a rental vehicle who do they turn to? At Fourways we offer a 24 hour emergency line, manned by our own staff,’ explains Janet McCartney, director of Four Ways Vehicle Solutions.
6. Take advantage of administrative support As well as providing the vehicles to allow your drivers to get out on the road, a good supplier should also relieve some of the administrative burden involved in fleet management, and provide support for compliance and servicing procedures.
‘Our main piece of advice for businesses looking to get the most out of a daily rental agreement is to find a partner that will allow them to focus on their core activity, fully handing over responsibilities such as driver mandates, compliance and services,’ says Kathleen Whittam, head of rental solutions at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions.
7. Ensure demand can be met
Daily rental is often used as a stop-gap to support an expanding business or help a company meet an unusually high level of demand. It is therefore vital that your supplier has the stock ready to lease out: ‘Infrastructure and scale is crucial so that customers can rely on their rental provider to deliver on volume requirements,’ says Ken McCall, managing director of Europcar UK Group.
‘This also comes hand in hand with a fleet that is young and can deliver optimum fuel efficiencies and, ultimately, savings, and a network which covers as large an area of the UK as possible,’ he adds.
8. Book in advance
If you require a specific vehicle for your fleet, booking in advance is the easiest way to ensure a supplier can source the correct vehicle. There can also be financial advantages when planning ahead, as the best rates are often reserved for early birds: ‘I’m sure it won’t come as much of a surprise to the experienced traveller, but when it comes to getting the most out of your daily car rental, preparation is key,’ advises Louise Bell, commercial director of Avis UK.
‘Booking in advance may secure a lower daily rate, as well as make it easier for your supplier to accommodate any specific requirements.’
9. Gain insight into your fleet
A good supplier should provide analytical tools to help you gain a real insight into your fleet’s needs, and which of them are being met by the service available.
‘Ensure your supplier can offer an online management information tool, allowing you to monitor your costs and rental profile instantly,’ suggests Janet McCartney, director of Four Ways Vehicle Solutions.
‘Does your supplier actively make suggestions to help reduce your costs based on your rental proile? Do you have continuity in your account management to enable your supplier to understand your business, and hence facilitate further ideas and suggestions? These facilities should all be offered by a responsible supplier,’ she adds.
10. Service should be personal
Whether you manage a fleet of 10 cars or 10,000, it is important that you feel supported by your daily rental provider. This means queries should be responded to quickly and solutions offered, and, ideally a personal contact is assigned to assure continuity with the way your account is handled.
‘The key component to a truly worthwhile rental proposition is the customer relationship – ensure you work hand in hand with your rental provider and that they listen, and more importantly, respond and react to your needs,’ advises Ken McCall, managing director of Europcar UK Group.