Last updated: 06:00 PM ET, Fri August 12 2016

Renting a Car from Smaller Company Can Be a Traveler’s Best Bet

Car Rental & Rail | Enterprise Rent-A-Car | Donald Wood | August 12, 2016

Renting a Car from Smaller Company Can Be a Traveler’s Best Bet

Photo Credit: National Car Rental

Anyone who has traveled for work or pleasure knows the potential headaches and drama that can come with renting a car, but is there a better way?

Next time you hit the road, consider renting your vehicle from a smaller company.

While big-name companies like Enterprise, Avis and Hertz are more established and can offer a wider variety of cars, the smaller brands like Fox Rent A Car, E-Z Rent-A-Car, Advantage Rent a Car and Dollar Rent a Car can offer bigger discounts and better service.

For customers who use the larger car rental companies, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle when they serve so many people.

On the other hand, the smaller brands have to work extra hard to not only get customers in the door, but also keep them coming back. It is not true for every company, but the desire to build return customers is a good indication that smaller rental car businesses will offer more personal, one-on-one service for customers.

As a consumer, the best bet to finding a great deal for your particular trip is doing the proper research ahead of time. While renting from a larger company may be the best option in one city, a local company serving only a specific region may be the best bet in another city. The key is doing the homework ahead of your journey to ensure you get the best possible deals and service.

For example, using Philadelphia International Airport as our starting location and comparing the much larger Enterprise to the smaller Dollar in terms of the same economy car rental, Enterprise’s base charge is $45.99 per day and Dollar’s rate is only $17 a day. The car selection may not be comparable—as Enterprise has many more options—but the price difference is what really matters for travelers on a budget.

For those who travel frequently, though, the loyalty programs offered by top companies—like Emerald Club Loyalty Program from National—offer much better incentives and rewards than discount brands. They may be more expensive, but customers can save time and money if they rent from one business on a consistent basis.

Another major factor to consider before booking with a smaller rental car company is the customer reviews. While the reputation of larger rental car companies usually precedes them, scouring through the reviews from smaller brands can give customers an insight on what to expect. Whether it’s positive or negative, there are plenty of people willing to share their experiences on the Internet.

The key for any savvy customer is to not believe all of the reviews—as some customers are extremely jaded—and judge each company from an overall perspective. If one brand has 250 reviews and most are positive, the negative reviews are likely outliers. On the other hand, if most reviews are negative, it may be time to consider another rental car option.

Renting a car from a top company in the industry may be more expensive, but the experience and credibility of those brands can’t be matched. For those travelers trying to save some money while still being treated with respect, renting you vehicle from a smaller company may be your best bet.


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