But those companies which provide little more than a 'ring-round service' for the cheapest deal face a bleak future, according to Colin Tourick, managing director of Associates Fleet Services. Contract hire brokers offer a snapshot of the rates being charged by a range of leasing suppliers. They then charge a commission on successful rentals.
Associates Fleet Services uses a network of 25 brokers which provide a valuable stream of additional business from the small fleet arena. Brokers' strengths include the one-to-one service they can provide to very small fleets which would be too costly for large leasing companies to provide. Tourick said: 'There will always be a role for the broker who gets to know his local clients and provides them with a good, efficient, personal, tailor-made service.
'With more contract hire companies advertising their rates on the internet, more customers are going online to compare rates and get the best prices. I believe that brokers will soon be setting up sites that compare the rates of many contract hire companies. Customers will then be able to go straight to those sites to find the cheapest rental for their car. Such sites will pose a real threat to the traditional broker.'