From the beginning of time car rentals were only available on a per day, per week, per mile basis. Cheap 7 Seater Hire in Fourways you rented a car and paid for the time used and the miles driven. However it was only a question of time and circumstances before car rentals would be offered with free mileage.
In 1967 my partner and I took over a bankrupt car rental company and had three rental stations, Miami, 5th Street on South Beach and the third in Ft. Lauderdale. Cheap 8 Seater Hire at the time Yellow Rent A Car, owned by Yellow Cab of Miami, with rental stations in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale was offering a sub-compact car with unlimited free mileage at $45 a week. They were the first and only car rental company with free mileage but with a one week minimum rental requirement.
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I can not tell you what year they first offered free mileage but I can guess why. They were only in South Florida, Best 8 Seater Car they were only dealing with the leisure market and Disney World 200 miles north was not open. Renters did not use a lot of miles. The competitive rate for a sub-compact car back in the 1960s was $5 per day, $25 per week [5 times the daily rental] and 5 cents per mile. With a one week minimum rental at $25 and with their weekly rate of $45 they would have the difference, or $20, to cover the cost of the miles. At 5 cents a mile the client could use up to 400 miles for the week and the rental would be a wash. I found out later that this was a winner for Yellow Rent A Car.
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To my knowledge Yellow Rent A Car was the granddaddy of free mileage. Their caveat was a one week minimum. My partner and I, owners of Capital Rent A Car took it one step further. We were the first to offer unlimited free mileage one day or more. One week minimum rental did not apply. It couldn’t get any better than that and I will tell you how it evolved.
We first published in CATM in 1970 and I mention this because I previously stated that we, Capital Rent A Car, was the first to offer unlimited free mileage one day or more. To substantiate this claim I must mention that in 1942 I was in my seventh grade Shop class and the teacher claimed that he invented the airplane before the Wright brothers. I am not kidding you and maybe he did. But if he did he didn’t tell anyone so Wilbur and Orville got the credit.
Maybe we weren’t the first with unlimited free miles and maybe someone in Okemos. MI or Rockford, IL did. But if they did they didn’t tell anyone. We did by being in a national publication, CATM. So we are going to take the credit for being the first. The next time you rent a car and don’t pay for mileage you can thank us.
For those out there who wish to contest our claim please contact me at my email address below, You can also read another one of my Ezine Articles, “Start A Major Car Rental Company”, dealing with the car rental business at the resource below.
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There are three major traps most people do not consider when they are looking to rent a car. These can significantly make your pay more and result in a financial disaster. Before you rent a car, keep the following in mind:
1. Search Wide for the Best Deal
The rules of getting the best deal are universal: you have to search wide. Many people simply go for the car rental agency that is near their neighborhood or that they are used to. While this is convenient, it can be very expensive. You have to search and compare the rates and terms of different car rental agencies to get the best deal.
Use the Internet to do your search. This is more convenient and faster. Travel price-comparison websites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia can help you find a good deal. Unfortunately, there is not one of them that guarantees the lowest price. You have to confirm at the car rental agency's website or call their customer care office to confirm the prices.
a) Fuel Charges: If you took the car with its tank full, refill the tank before returning the car. Otherwise, you will have to pay fuel levy fees for the "empty" tank even if it is just a couple of inches below the threshold line.
b) Late Fees: Most agencies will give you a grace period of 60 minutes but will then charge you late hourly fees. If you are late enough, you may have to pay for an extra day. Late fees are usually high and you could end up paying more than you did for the car rental. On the day when you are supposed to return the car, check the local traffic and weather conditions and start your trip early to avoid being late.
The above are three major things that you should consider before renting a car. They will help to keep your costs down.
The Car Rental Industry
It is not unusual to see advertisements offering rental cars for $6.00, $8.00 or $9.00 per day and I have serious doubts in believing these prices are real. You know, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Let's see, if a car is rented at, say $10.00/day it has a potential of earning $300.00 revenue for the month, however, since it is rented only part of the month, approximately between 75% to 80% of the time, we'll assume 80% and say that the revenue for the month could be $240.00. Now this is well below the cost of the unit, which in addition has to include insurance and maintenance and other costs directly related to the car. So, are we to believe that car rental companies are willing to rent cars well below what it costs them? Really?
I can understand some special circumstances under which rates may be low as business may be slow at certain times and I also understand that competition, which could be fierce, may drive prices down, but to consistently rent cars below cost... that is not possible.
I have looked into these low rates and found out several things. When you enter the corresponding search words in Google you see advertisements at $7.00 a day, but when you click that option you see a totally different price. I just entered: car rental Wilmington (North Carolina) and selected the $7,00/day option and then realized that rates start at $21.00 and go from there. I also could see that the option I selected took me to a site which wasn't a rental car company but offered to find car rental rates from other sites none of them a car rental company. So this is clearly an "internet marketer" which earns its revenue, I imagine, by sending clicks to other pages. By the time the actual supplier of the services gets my reservation I may have gone through three or maybe more sites that are serving as "middle man". So the $7.00/day car does not exist in Wilmington, and then the rates we found are not necessarily from a car rental company but some other "middle man" offering the service.
One of the basic premises of free markets is that there are many suppliers offering the same service, however, suppliers make every effort to try and differentiate their service from the rest as they believe this will be to their advantage and in these efforts are included the "tricks" we see at play, such as offering "bait" rates, etc.
Of course there are other suppliers who don't use of these tactics and offer their services in clear terms at what may seem at first as higher prices, and I for one, am one of those who prefer these suppliers. I have to say that in most cases the $6.00/day car may turn out to be the most expensive alternative, and that is why I normally go with someone who has a well-earned reputation for service and good rates and I'm rarely disappointed, if at all.