If you’re one of the lucky few, your company handles all your business-related rental car arrangements. More likely, however, making such arrangements is up to you. In that case, following are some practical guidelines for scoring the best possible deal on a rental car:
- Inquire about discounts. Many companies have corporate rental car agency accounts that qualify their employees for special discount pricing on day-, week-, and month-long rentals. Ask your company’s human resources representative about such discounts, which can save you a lot of tedious paperwork, as well as save your company a significant amount of money.
- Shop around. If your company doesn’t have a business account with a specific rental car agency, go online or open up the Yellow Pages and do some comparative shopping. Start by contacting the major agencies, inquiring about special deals and rates for business travelers. Also, ask each of them if they’re partnered with a specific hotel chain. You may be able to find an inexpensive room (if you haven’t already made a reservation) while lining up your rental car.
- Aim to pick up and drop off at the same location. Many agencies tack on a surcharge for customers who don’t pick up and drop off their car at the same location. If you’re attending a tradeshow or conference, you probably won’t have to worry about this, but if you’ll be visiting multiple locations, understanding this clause may help you plan an itinerary that brings you full circle to where you began your trip.
- Find an agency you like and stick with it. Most rental agencies offer repeat customers special discounts and upgrades to luxury cars. Hertz, for instance, has a special members club that allows you to go right past the rental counter and into your car. Rental clubs like this one do require a membership payment, but here’s an insider’s tip — if you call the agency and ask them to waive this fee, they often will.
- Make sure you’re covered. If you own a car, you should already have insurance, which makes the extra insurance that car rental agencies always try to sell you unnecessary. If you’re uncertain, be sure to talk to your insurance agent beforehand about whether or not extra insurance for a rental car is something you should purchase. And make certain that 24-hour roadside assistance is available to you when renting a car — the last thing you want is a dead battery on your hands when racing to get downtown for your meeting, especially if you are in an unfamiliar area.
Rental Car Agencies
Here are the more popular rental car agencies and their toll-free 800 numbers: