Eliminating rental issues
Many rental companies say they are becoming more transparent in the way they deal with additional charges.
Mark Connor, Zenith operations director, says: “We have been working with our vehicle hire customers to provide control and transparency of all areas of hire car spend which will help to form decisions and implement changes that reduce costs.”
All fleet managers should insist on getting the terms and conditions of rental in a clear, written, signed document to prevent any issues or risk of fines encountered down the line.
Out-of-hours delivery charges
Planning ahead to ensure vehicles are dropped off and collected within working hours will prevent these charges.
Kathleen Whittam, Hitachi Capital head of rentals, says: “Naturally, companies may want vehicles dropped off and collected when it is suitable for them.
"Often rental operators can accommodate this, but to do this outside office hours would require two separate drivers specifically for this customer and this cost has to be covered by the rental operator.”
Many big rental companies, such as Enterprise and Europcar, are now open seven days a week, saving fleets money if rental vehicles can be picked up on Sunday ahead of a Monday meeting.
The easiest way of preventing refuelling charges is making sure drivers fill up before returning the vehicle. Commercial vehicle rental company Fownd sends drivers text messages to remind them.
MAN Commercial Protection’s operations director, Chris Smith, who uses Fownd, says: “It’s a small detail but it saves you a load of money.”
Some rental companies charge only the cost of fuel to fill up the returned vehicles, but many will add service charges. Check the terms and conditions to find out the rental company’s policy.
Poor vehicle condition/damage charges
Companies should take a clear look around rental vehicles when collected to make sure they’re happy with the condition.
It’s important that the fleet manager has a copy of the terms and conditions so they know what to expect from any damage.
Adrian Bewley says: “It should detail whether all damage will be recharged or if minor dents and nicks are wear and tear – and how that’s decided.”
Excess mileage charges
Planning ahead should prevent any unexpected mileage charges. If there are limits, make sure your driver stays within them, and if the vehicle is going to be used for high mileages speak to the rental operator in advance as they might be able to negotiate a package to suit your requirements.
Driver resistance to having a rental vehicle
Once drivers see the benefits of using a rental vehicle, they’re not usually resistant.
Compared to the grey fleet, it will be a more comfortable, modern and reliable car, without putting miles on their own vehicle –although they won’t be able to claim generous AMAP for fuel reimbursement. Paul Marchment says it’s critical that companies request the right vehicle for the job.
He says: “Drivers will not be happy if you select a vehicle that is not big enough or can’t deliver the performance they require.”