What does the car you drive say about you? Maybe in your personal life you drive a restored classic with plenty of stickers telling everyone who you are. However, when you’re traveling for business, there needs to be a healthy mixture of making a good impression and making wise fiscal decisions.
What does the car you drive say about you? Maybe in your personal life you drive a funky restored classic with plenty of stickers telling everyone who you are. However, when you’re traveling for business, there needs to be a healthy mixture of making a good impression and making wise fiscal decisions. Knowing which car rental company can best fulfill these needs will smooth the rental process. Over time, you can develop an ongoing relationship with one national chain, which might result in upgrades or discounts for loyalty. But which car rental company comes out on top? The answer, obviously, depends on your individual requirements. Here is our breakdown of the most popular US-based rental chains to help you decide. Big names, big prices. Sixt, Mcar, and Silvercar all specialize in renting European and luxury vehicles. However, Consumer Reports notes that nearly all the same models and brands are available through traditional national chains or even smaller local rental businesses--often at lower prices for the exact same vehicle. If your goal is to stand out, show off, spend generously, and enjoy the trip, these companies may fulfill the brief. Tried and true. The big chains are big for a reason. They’re consistent at providing reasonably well equipped vehicles at reasonable prices. This group includes Alamo, National, Avis, Budget, Firefly, Hertz, Dollar, Enterprise, and Thrifty. With such a large pool of vehicles and infrastructure, customer service is usually a priority as well. We do recommend either pre-booking or avoiding the airport lots of these businesses, as you tend to pay a premium there. Other ways to save include using a price comparison site such as Kayak, Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, or even Groupon. Local deals pay off. If you’re concerned about your bottom line, and still want a safe, trustworthy vehicle, you might consider a smaller-scale chain or local company. Ace, Fox, and Payless are all independently owned, rather than subsidiaries of the major national chains. The key to getting a good deal with a local company is doing your due diligence. Check out the online reviews first, through the local Better Business Bureau or Yelp. When you’re renting a vehicle for a longer period, such as for extended business trips, be sure to ask whether there are discounts available. Even if there isn’t currently a corporate promotion, sales assistants may direct you to online deals. Membership in groups like AAA or AARP (if you qualify) can also bring down the costs. Another way to be more cost effective when you travel for business? Corporate housing from Churchill Living.