Renting cars for business use? If so, view car rentals as an opportunity to save money and increase your profitability.
Renting cars for business use? If so, make sure you view car rentals as an opportunity to save money on business expenses and increase your profitability.
In recent years, the average rate for a weekly rental car from a U.S. airport has ranged from $200 to $350, according to Abrams Consulting Group. That's for a compact car booked seven days in advance.
For business owners who want are watching their pennies, the question is: How can a business traveler get the best business car rental rates?
One thing you can't control is supply and demand. Rental car prices can go up even when the economy is tanking. That's because the supply of rental cars often decreases in tough times, as rental car companies cut the size of their fleets.
The good news is there are some things that are in your control that can help you get a good deal on a rental car. Along those lines, here are a few ways to save money on rental cars:
- Get a Custom Rate Plan for Your Business. Big car rental companies like Enterprise Rent-a-Car will give you discounted rates if you sign up for a customer car rental plan. This means that whenever you or your employees rent a car, they just have to mention the company to get a lower car rental rate.
- Don't Rent a Car at the Last Minute. If a car rental agency only has a few cars left and demand is high, prices will generally be high. To avoid this situation, book auto rental reservations at least four days in advance.
- Don't Rent a Car at the Airport. If it isn't too inconvenient, consider renting your car at an off-airport downtown location. Prices tend to be lower because these locations are not burdened with higher taxes that airport-based rental car companies often must pay.
- Shop Around for Rental Car Deals and Discounts. Unless you negotiate a custom rate for your company with a guaranteed low rate, there's no big benefit in being loyal to a single rental car company. Indeed, by always going with the same car rental vendor on a one-off basis, you'll usually end up paying more for your rental cars. Instead, shop around for the best price.
- Don't Let Loyalty Programs Cloud Your Judgment. Some businesses always rent from the same company because they get frequent flyer miles. That's not smart business. If you are paying a higher rate for car rentals that you would if you shopped around, you need to compare the value of the miles you earn to the difference in the car rental rates. Based on this evaluation, decide which car rental firm to use.
- Try Sites Like Hotwire.com or Priceline. You can get some great rental car deals and discounts by using Hotwire.com or Priceline. It can take a while to get used to buying on these sites, but you can save a ton of money. Prices are especially good if you haven't had a chance to book early and need a car at the last minute. In this case, supply and demand can work in your favor, as rental car agencies with excess supply will lower car rental rates to keep their fleet busy and profitable.
- Get Auto Rental Coupon Codes. A simple search engine query could be all that it takes to find a rental car coupon code. These car rental promotion codes are often posted at deal sites. You should also take a look at RentalCarMagic.com -- it can be a great way to save money.
Remember, a dollar saved is a dollar earned. Smart business owners avoid overpaying for car rentals. Now, you can do the same.