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. 7 Passenger Car Rental 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, Cheap 8 Passenger Van Rental 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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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.
Renting a Car
There are many horror stories out there about people who have returned vehicles to a car rental location only to hear later that they are being accused of damage that they are not aware of. While many people think that the "car rental company is out to get them" when this happens, it is usually an unfortunate clerical error rather then any maliciousness. However, at times, many renters returned vehicles that have been damaged while they were on rent even though they did not know it occurred. So keep in mind that the possibility exists.
Here are some things you can do if you find out that you have been accused of car rental damage.
1. Remain calm. Nothing infuriates car rental counter agents more than an enraged customer who makes all kinds of threat that they cannot follow up on. If you remain calm, it is more likely that the agents will help you.
If it is proven that the car rental damage is yours, you will likely be surprised at how expensive it is to repair. Car rental companies do not make money on car repairs but car repairs are very, very expensive and most people are unaware at how pricey it can be. You may however be charged "downtime" to cover for the amount of time that your car was not rentable.
If the damage was not yours, however, using these ideas should help you solve the issue quickly.