Race for the Rental Car

One of the complaints I have in doing this business is dealing with rental car companies.  Many, if not most, companies don’t keep a fleet of domestic vehicles sitting around waiting on the client to call.  financially it’s not prudent for BPI to do so, eventhough we thought about it as well as purchasing an up armored SUV.  In the end, it didn’t make any sense. 

What I have is memberships with the main car rental agencies so that no matter where I am I can have a vehicle waiting for me or my team.  If you rent a car and don’t have a membership, you must be present to add additional drivers to the rental car agreement.  If you have a membership with the agency you can add the drivers to the agreement by phone and not have to inconvenience yourself by having to be present at the time the car is picked up.

The issue I have is when a client requests a specific vehicle and color, you may run into problems.  Rental companies break their cars down in categories like: Compact, Economy, Mid-Size, Premium and/or luxury.  The specific model will fall into any one of these categories.  Then you request the color.  If the person you are talking to is not trying to brush you off they will tell you if they have that model and/or color in their fleet.  More importantly, if that specific vehicle will be available for you when you need to pick it up.

I have lost count on how many times we have arrived to pick up a dark suburban [falls in premium] and a soccer mom van was sitting in the assigned stall.  But, beacause I always instruct my guys to arrive early, the issue is normally rectified on site.  The problem is when you call to rent the vehicle you are NOT talking to a representative at the rental site.  You are talking to a person at the main switchboard that is hired to push rentals through with impeccable customer service.  When you arrive and complain at their version of what you requested you are nowhere near the person you spoke to.

I always tell my guys to get the “Gas option’ which allows you to bring the car back without filling the tank.  This is convenient when you are close to the wire on the return and having to catch a flight.  Bring it back on fumes.  If you don’t get the gas option and bring it back unfilled you are charged with them filling the tank at “Their rate”.  Some of the rates they charge are close to $5.00 per gallon.  It makes more sense to add the $40+ gas charge in the beginning.  Insurance coverage is another option they give you.  If your company insurance does not cover rentals, then you need to add this coverage for the life of the agreement to protect yourself.

I also have a relationship with a local rental company whereby the manager knows we need to renew our monthly agreement with our Suburban that we use with our client.  The rental car manager accommodates us which makes this agreement easy.

Special luxruy requests are touch depending on your area.  I have a relationship with two (2) companies that can provide S-550’s as well as Phantoms.  One company is based in NYC and they actually bring the car to me.  I suggest you maintain a business relationship like this.

Cars can be tricky and very disturbing unless you stay ahead of the car race.

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