I have never been a driver (no patience for the idiots on the road), but my wife drives, so we have had occasion every now and then to avail ourselves of a car rental service.
From personal experience, it can be an overwhelming chore trying to figure out where to rent, which vehicle to rent, and which prices are the best. If Knight Enterprises offers you a black 1982 Pontiac Trams-Am, should you take them up on it?
However, there are some online sites aiming to disrupt and shake up the car rental scene. Here are some of them, which will surely help you the next time you’re looking for a sweet ride.
TransferCar is a neat scheme where you can drive for almost free, by driving car rental cars between branches. If say Avis wants a car at the other end of the country in 3 days, then you can help them out by driving it (and saving them a lot of money in the process).
The advantage for you is virtually free travel, and if you want to keep the vehicle longer than the 2 or 3 days, then you pay a higher fee, but still extremely good ($45 a day!). Although strangely it seems to be confined to California and Nevada right now.
HyreCar enables car owners to rent out their cars to people working for Uber and Lyft (earnings for the car owner is apparently as high as $36,000 a year if you believe the site). The Uber / Lyft driver can then make their money back — and more — by driving people around.
It’s a nice way to drive a nice car, and make some cash at the same time. And you don’t need to be working for Uber and Lyft. HyreCar is available for personal use too.
FlightCar specializes in airport rentals. When you are just off the cargo plane with the chickens from the depths of the South American jungles, the last thing you need is to find out you’ve missed the last bus of the night.
So just fire up their app, enter your trip information (as in what airport and when you will be arriving). State which vehicle you would like and it will be waiting for you when you land. Rates start from $15 a day.
One customer testimonial claimed that “on a cold Boston night, the car arrived with the heating on”. Now, how is that for customer service?
Breeze has partnered with Toyota Prius to give you a car rental service for either personal use, or for driving with Uber and Lyft. However, if you are planning to use Breeze for personal use, you should note that they are generally for longer term use.
And they are expensive. A $250 registration fee, which also covers a background check and a credit check. If you fail either or both of those, you will be refunded $200. You are then charged $195 a week for unlimited use of the car ($28 a day). If you use the car to work for Uber or Lyft, you should make that money back in no time.
Getaround claims that most of the 250 million vehicles in the US sit idle for 22 hours of the day. So why not earn money renting them out to people? The site estimates you could make up to $800 a month, or $10,000 a year.
And as the renter of the car, you could take advantage of some huge savings. It’s free to join, and no monthly fees. And cars start from $5 an hour. There are LOTS of different cars to choose from, including a very cool 2014 BMW Z4.
OK, I think I am starting to see a certain theme developing with these sites now. Rent your car out, make craploads of money, and sit at home marvelling at your wealth while the renter of your fine unblemished Porsche crashes off the freeway and smashes into a barn.
You can use RelayRides to offer airport pickups, and even to park your car at RelayRides’ airport parking lots to earn money while it is parked there! People looking to rent these cars can expect t0 save mucho money. No membership fees, and rentals starting at $20 a day.
As the name of the site suggests, SilverCar only has…silver cars. But boy-oh-boy, what cars they are! Every car is an Audi A4. They apparently have free GPS, free Wi-Fi, and free satellite radio. So you can never have a boring car journey. And in my opinion, silver cars are just totally bad-ass.
SilverCar is only in select US locations, and of course there is the usual obligatory smartphone apps for iOS and Android. And…the raving customer testimonials. Pricing is as low as $59 or as high as $99, but never more.
We are quickly going to finish up by mentioning the two car rental brands which enjoy the most name recognition – Avis and Hertz. They are your straightforward car rental agencies. No personal vehicles from other people. Simply an anonymous fleet of cars spread out throughout the world, and you go there and hire the one you want, based on availability.
And yes, contrary to the other ones which are US only, Avis and Hertz are international. Wherever you are in the world, from the biggest cities to the smallest smelliest armpits of Hell, you can be certain that there is either an Avis or a Hertz (or both). Right next to Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Burger King, and McDonalds.
The downside to Avis and Hertz though is price. As companies with high name recognition and large fleets of cars at their disposal, these companies can afford to put their prices up, and businessmen on expense accounts come in and instantly snap these acars up. But the average traveller may find these prices a bit out of their depth.
Car Rentals — Do You Use Them?
Do you think the future of car rental is hiring cars from personal car owners, instead of huge anonymous companies? Would you be comfortable hiring your car out to total strangers? Let us know in the comments.
Explore more about: Automotive Technology.