Demystifying Car Hire

James Dent
James Dent

Hiring a car is a bit like a bargain low-cost flight – you just end up paying for all the other extras that aren’t included in the basic rate that persuaded you to purchase in the first place.

However, there are ways to avoid the upselling of ancillaries and hidden costs that really should be included in the basic car hire tariff. Paying for extras like collision damage waivers and excess insurance is often an added expense for something that should be included, plus there’s that irritating extra paperwork at the beginning and end of the rental when quite often you don’t even know what agreement you have just entered in to.

It’s also a headache for those processing the bills, with the final reckoning often far more than the original rate. You can spend hours going back and forwards, both with hire car companies and the employee before the real cost emerges.

Luckily, there is an easier way, because not long ago, Meon, through The Advantage Travel Partnership negotiated with car hire companies to persuade them to offer package rates to TMCs with some or all the hidden extras included. These can incorporate things like zero excess or increased insurance when in countries like the USA, plus additional drivers without penalty. You and your staff don’t have to listen to the sales patter, because the deal has already been done.

Through a TMC, car hire companies offer three or four levels of these packages according to need, all the way up to all-inclusive. Sometimes it’s a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. There are a few things that aren’t included, like snow tyres or failure to top up the fuel after use, but buying a package gives you peace of mind and simplifies the billing process because the rate you pay is the rate you’ll be billed.

This is especially appealing to corporates who agree contracts for a job that involves staff travelling to a location. If for example your tender includes a set amount for car hire to reach that location and you later find the cost has doubled due to the hidden extras, that can severely dent your profitability.

That’s not to say that booking through a TMC is inflexible. Most will have deals with vehicle hirers that will involve a fixed credit voucher system that protects the corporate, for example, from a member of staff upgrading from a Prius to a Porsche, but for some corporates, a flexible voucher might be more appropriate to give a bit more leeway. All this can be accommodated, as can membership of loyalty schemes like Hertz Gold, which offer benefits such as dedicated support and simpler vehicle pick-ups and drop-offs.

My message is that cheaper does not always mean money-saving. As with budget flights, you can book out of policy, but often that £50 car is a false economy once the upselling starts. So, talk to us and we will help you select the deals you need for the vehicles you need.

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