The retail rental car business has revolutionized the way that we travel to and from our destinations, as car rentals offered a quick and independent way to drive anywhere in the country pretty much without putting strain and wear on your own personal vehicle. This has created an affordable way for people to drive across the country like never before and allowed people to see their families up close and personal, creating a great one-of-a-kind experience. However, the rental car business is a cutthroat business that's unlike any other business out there, and there's always room for more profit margins, which make the companies very competitive.
You might remember shifting through cable channels during the nineties and seeing the Enterprise Rent A Car commercials going across your television. This company is just one of the many major players in the industry, and the rental car companies do a lot more than just rent out vehicles nowadays; they also rent moving vans and even sell their rental vehicles at wholesale prices. There's a lot that you probably didn’t know about the rental car industry, and the industry has experienced a massive amount of growth over the past few decades as the economy has recovered and more people have begun to travel by vehicle. Renting a car hasn't always been an expensive or troublesome proposition, and there have been many advances to the industry in the recent years as things have become more productive and sales have increased as time has gone on.
20 There May Be More Fees When Renting At An Airport
There's no doubt that renting a car can be an intensive experience, and according to Travelocity, the cost of renting a car from the airport as opposed to just going to a standalone location can be drastically higher.
Part of this increase in price is due to the demand, which is much higher at the airport whereas a standalone store might experience very few sales in a day.
No matter which way you look at it, renting a car is becoming more expensive than ever these days, and consumer demand is only going to grow. (Travelocity)
19 Returning The Car Early Could Cost You
Although you might think that returning your rental car early will get you some return on the premium, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When you rent a car for a certain period of time, it's only smart to keep the car for the entire length of the contract because returning the car early can cost you in penalties, which actually cost more than just continuing to drive the vehicle. Car rental companies book their clients sometimes months ahead of time, and when a car is returned out of the ordinary, it can throw the process off for everyone. (Consumer Reports)
18 Adding A Second Driver Could Cost More
Going on a road trip across the country can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever, and there's no doubt that when you're on a long drive, it can be beneficial to pass off the driving duties to another driver in the car after a while. But adding a secondary driver to your rental policy can be a costly investment.
You’ll be charged liability insurance on that driver as well, which can make a cheap car rental feel like you're paying for a luxury car.
So, keep that in mind next time you're planning a trip. (AAA)
17 The Company Will Likely Put A Hold On Your Credit Or Debit Card
Renting a car isn't just an in-and-out experience. There's a lot involved with renting your first vehicle, and most modern Rent-A-Car companies are going to put a hold on your credit card. This is due to the fact that many cars were returned to the companies in bad condition and, oftentimes, with a good amount of damage to them. This creates an unsatisfactory experience for everyone, and thus, the rental car companies started tacking on a deposit, and most rental car companies won't rent a car to you without a major credit card. (AAA)
16 Advantage Car Rentals Used to Cost $3.99
Rental cars have increased dramatically in price over the years, and these increases can be attributed to many different factors. There was a time back yonder when Advantage Car Rentals offered the $3.99 special, which might sound extraordinary in today's overpopulated rental car market.
The $3.99 price tag was the key ingredient that attributed to Advantage Rent-A-Car's massive growth.
And the company continues to do well to this day, although it's not as large as Enterprise by any means. (Entrepreneur)
15 On Your Way Out, It's Best To Look For A Place To Refuel On Your Way Back
One of the worst mistakes that you can make when you rent a car is failing to find a place to refuel because if the car is turned back in with less than a full tank of gas you'll be penalized for it. Generally, most metropolitan airports have some type of a refueling station nearby, which makes the experience much easier, as you can come right off of the highway and fill the car back up before you return it. It's also important to mention that some premium rental cars will require a higher grade of fuel, so look into this before you splurge on that Cadillac. (AAA)
14 It Pays To Clean The Rental Car Before You Return It
Nowadays, you cannot rent a car without putting a deposit and a major credit card on file, and this is for a reason.
If the car is returned without fuel or with any damage, the company will charge your deposit and possibly your card to fix the issues.
That's why it's crucial to give your rental car a thorough cleaning before you return the vehicle. Leaving the vehicle dirty can cost you in the long run, and you don’t want to experience that pain in the wallet. (AAA)
13 The Fathers of Rental Cars Are Hertz & Avis
The original two rental car companies are Hertz and Avis, both of which have been competing factions in the rental car business since the early years of the industry.
You might have thought that Enterprise was actually the originator of the industry due to their sheer size and volume, but you’d be dead wrong.
Hertz Rent-a-Car and Avis are the original two companies that have been perfecting the rental car business for decades with improvements in quality and price that revolutionized the auto rental industry. (Entrepreneur)
12 Hertz Invented The Low-Floor Passenger Bus
If you're used to traveling around the airport in the one-of-a-kind Low-Floor bus, you can thank Hertz Rent-A-Car for that. The company exerted the effort to create the bus system as a quick way for travelers to get around the airport and reach their destinations. When you have a lot full of hundreds of rental cars, walking to get to your car can take a long time, and before the modern alarm system, finding your car could be quite an ordeal. Thus, Hertz created the Low-Floor passenger bus as a quick and efficient way for travelers to get around the airport with ease. (Entrepreneur)
11 Avis Was The First To Rent Cars At Airport Locations
Although Hertz and Avis were both the original Rent-A-Car corporations, it was Avis that decided to think outside the box and offer vehicle rentals at national airport locations.
Avis originated the idea because they thought that airport travelers might find it complementary to get their vehicle rental right at the airport, thus cutting their travel time in half.
This created a winning situation for airports and travelers alike, and the other rental companies took notice and followed Avis’s suit by offering their services at the airport as well. (Entrepreneur)
10 Since 1963, Avis's Slogan Has Been "We Try Harder"
Avis has always been the runner-up to Hertz, and in fact, the company actually embraces being number two. Since 1963, Avis has maintained the same slogan, which was "We Try Harder," and the company has maintained the principles of that slogan for most of their company's origination. The Avis slogan is a direct jab at Hertz, who was the other original Rent-A-Car company alongside Avis during the formation of the two conglomerates. Avis has always maintained that they try harder, and the company has routinely found ways to make their customers satisfied with their rental car service. (Entrepreneur)
9 The Largest Car Rental Conglomerate is Enterprise Holdings
Although Avis and Hertz are the two main rental car conglomerates that started the industry, Enterprise actually became the larger company. Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which also operates quite a few other companies including National Rent-A-Car, has continued to grow decade after decade.
And now, Enterprise even offers a slew of dealerships which sell their previous rental cars as used cars.
Enterprise is simply huge, and there's no sign of the company slowing down its massive growth path anytime soon. (Entrepreneur)
8 Most Rental Car Companies Are One And The Same
As the years have gone on, it's been a common fact that most of the Rent-A-Car companies are actually the same, and thus, many of the cars that consumers rent are actually coming from the same company. This creates a sort of monopoly on the market—you could say—which is why Enterprise continues to be the largest player in the Rent-A-Car market. This may not be beneficial for travelers because it's true competition that brings forth bargain basement prices on some great cars, and competition always improves any industry. (Entrepreneur)
7 Enterprise Is The Largest Rental Car Company In The World
Although Hertz and Avis were the original two Rent-A-Car companies, there was a young startup that eventually overtook both companies in terms of market share and growth. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has become the largest Rent-A-Car company in the world, and there's a reason for this. The company worked out a strategic growth pattern, which involved acquiring many lesser-known companies to form the large rental conglomerate that you see today. Enterprise is the largest and most competitive Rent-A-Car company in the segment, and it's with good reason. (Entrepreneur)
6 The Four Main Rental Companies Potentially Buy Nearly 2 Million Cars A Year
There's no doubt that the Rent-A-Car companies have an amazingly large fleet, and with Enterprise being the largest, the companies all buy a massive number of cars every year. According to Fortune Magazine, the combined Rent-A-Car companies will acquire 2 million new cars each year, and the majority of these vehicles are from domestic automakers. This means that the Rent-A-Car companies are potentially the biggest clients that the big three automakers have, and this is big news for the economy. (Fortune Magazine)
5 Small Companies May Offer Big Benefits
Sometimes, you don’t always have to go with the behemoth company to get a great deal. In fact, many of the smaller companies are much more competitive and will try to get your business. These smaller companies oftentimes offer much more competitive rates and will strive to earn your business much harder than the major companies. While you might not be able to get the newest or fanciest cars, renting from a smaller outfit will save you some money in the long run and give you a more pleasurable experience. (AAA)
4 They Form The Basis For Car Disposal
Rental car companies form the basis for most of the car disposal in the country, and what this means is that these companies are recycling a huge number of cars every year. They either sell the fleet on the used car market, or the vehicles are returned back to the automakers.
According to Consumer Reports, an average rental car will be driven 60,000 miles and then sold.
This means that there's a good number of quality used cars being sold back onto the open market. (Consumer Reports)
3 There’s Not As Much Competition In The Industry
Although you might be used to seeing many different names on the rental car scene, there are actually very few different companies. Most of the car rental companies are under the same umbrella of one company, which, although it creates a monopoly, also holds the quality in the industry to much higher standards. The lack of competition between the companies has made the rental car industry pretty stagnant, but there's a huge selection of cars for travelers to choose from, which is a good thing. (AAA)
2 The Business Has Existed For Over 90 Years
The retail Rent-A-Car business has been around for 90 years, which, in all of this time, has advanced from its humble beginnings to an advanced operation where you can rent some of the most luxurious vehicles on the road.
Because the Rent-A-Car business has been around for so long now with the same companies in place, there has been very little change in the past few decades.
But as long as there are travelers, there will be a market for renting new cars and trucks. (AAA)
1 Look Beyond The Airport
Although the airport is the obvious place to rent a vehicle from, there are also many other avenues which will save you money in the long run. Popular websites such as Booking.com and Trivago will offer discounted rates on car rentals, and many of the times, you're able to book the rental right there on the website and pick up your keys at the airport. This is an excellent way to save a good deal of money as well as cut your wait time at the airport in half by getting most of the paperwork done online. (AAA)
Sources: Entrepreneur, Travelocity, AAA