Pros: Great customer service, always room for bargaining!
Cons: If you don't get the car you want you should get a free upgrade.
The Truth About Renting From Enterprise Rent-A-Car
OK, so I worked for Enterprise many moons ago. But I didn't do what you might think. I worked in rental for a short time as a manager, but then I switched to car sales, which sort of tanked when CarMax came to town and stold the Enterprise philosophy. This review will be honest and to the point, and I hope it gives consumers a lot of help and some tips when it comes to renting a car. Here goes!
Believe it or not, Enterprise employees have to be educated! Every ERAC (Enterprise-Rent-A-Car) employee must have a 4 year degree, although sometimes a minimum amount of credits coupled with sales experience will do. Why would a college graduate want to rent cars for living?? I've asked and answered that question many times myself. Because of the money. Enterprise has a very rigorous Management Trainee Program that is designed to get employees promoted quickly through the ranks. Once an employee reaches Management they get a certain percentage of the rental profits AND a certain percentage of car sales. (Believe it or not, ERAC used to be#2 behind GM in the nation for car sales, which was never a well known fact because they do not advertise.) What does this have to do with the consumer Enterprise Experience?? Well, the point is, the people you're dealing with should be intelligent and well mannered. If they're not, you should take your business elsewhere. You will run into some fresh University graduates who may not be the most mature people, but they are very well trained if they are working at a branch.
Why Enterprise is So Successful ?
Enterprise is a very successful company due to a couple of reasons. ERAC started as a very small rental car place, and now Jack Taylor and his son Andy Taylor are billionaires. In fact, I believe they were, in 2012, two of the richest men in the world according to Forbes. It really is a very happy entrepreneurial story, and the foundation of the Taylors' success lies heavily on their commitment to customer service. ERAC wants their customers to come back, and the employee training mirrors this philosophy. Employees are trained to always make sure the customer is 'Completely Satisfied' and to do anything possible to make that customer completely satisfied with his/her rental experience.
Why Do People Rent From Enterprise?
Enterprise is an 'around town' rental car company. Most rentals are replacement rentals. In other words, if you are in an accident and your car is totaled or needs work, your agent/adjustor will likely guide you toward Enterprise for rental. There are some other companies out there that do replacement rentals, but Enterprise owns over 80% of the replacement market. You can also rent at ERAC for pleasure. Although Enterprise has become much more competitive in the past couple of years in leisure rental, you'll find that if you need to take a long trip involving plenty of miles, you may not get unlimited mileage from Enterprise. The reason is, they sell their cars at about 30,000 miles. I'll get to that later. Enterprise is also building a huge corporate business, but Hertz and other big Airport rental car companies still hold the corporate market by a long shot.
Tips For Renting from Enterprise
What most people don't know is that Enterprise pricing is very flexible. You can ALWAYS haggle with price if you are renting for leisure. Weekend specials start at $9.99 a day, and they have been like this for years. I rented a car for the weekend, a sedan, for $30.00 total only three weeks ago in September of 2012. Because Enterprise is mostly a replacement rental company, insurance companies do not like bodyshops to keep cars over the weekend while they are not being worked on. Enterprise therefore gets a lot of rental returns on Friday afternoons. They'll do pretty much ANYTHING to get those cars on the road for the weekend. Price DOES NOT matter, OCCUPANCY does. So, if you really want to rent a car from a Friday until a Monday morning, have some fun and call an Enterprise location and use some haggling skills. When I worked in rental I would rent Lincoln Town Cars out on the weekend for $20, without batting an eye! If you are renting because your insurance company or someone else's insurance company is paying for the rental, there will be a fixed rate that insurance will pay, which is very low. However, insurance rates are daily, NOT 24 hour rates. In other words, if your insurance company pays $25.99 for a mid size car, they are paying that rate each day, not each 24 hour period. If you were to rent a mid size car on a Monday at 1200pm and bring it back on a Tuesday at 1200pm, it would normally be a one day charge. Insurance companies would pay two days. Why would you have to look out for this? Well, if you have a cap on how many days your insurance will pay for a rental, you'll end up paying the extra days. It happens all the time.
What to expect when you arrive at a rental branch.
First of all, Enterprise will pick you up if you live in a reasonably close area. I used to pick people up who were 20 miles away from my branch. Often times, branches have drivers who are mostly retired older men or women who's sole responsibility is to pick people up and drive them to the branch. So, if you are stuck without a car you can always call for a pickup, free of charge. When you get to the branch, make sure you have your driver's license and a credit card that is NOT attached to a debit account. In other words, you really need a major credit card. If you do not have a major credit card, you must fill out a paper that will be verified by a manager. The paper will have your home address, work information, insurance information and references. The person at the branch will run your credit card for $150 and the charge of the rental. You do not have to provide insurance information. When you drop the car off, the $150 will disappear.
If you want to pay cash you can, but you'll need $150 plus the full cost of the rental up front with a money order or cheque. Your $150 deposit will return to you in the mail about 10-14 days after you return the car. You'll also need to fill out the above-mentioned paperwork. To verify your home address you must bring two bills, one must be a utility bill and they prefer a phone bill. You must bring a copy of your FULL COVERAGE insurance card. You must bring a pay stub to verify your employment. All things will be verified by phone as well.
If you have a direct bill set up with an insurance company or a dealership the Enterprise employee will still require you to have your license and a credit card swipe for security. If you do not have a credit card (remember that debit cards do not count!), you must fill out the paperwork and bring all the verification that you would need if you wanted to pay cash. The Enterprise Employee will not make you give a $150 deposit if you have a direct bill set up. They will probably run your credit card and place a hold on it for anywhere from $1 to $25. That hold will automatically drop off when you return the vehicle. If you do not have a credit card they may require a $20 cash deposit.
What’s the Deal With All of That Extra Insurance??
Enterprise does not really sell insurance so to speak. They sell something called Damage Waiver. It usually runs about $11.99 a day, and in lots of States that is not taxable. If you elect to purchase Enterprise's Damage Waiver, you would not be responsible for anything if something were to happen to the car. If you choose not to purchase Damage Waiver, you would be responsible for paying your deductible to Enterprise and then ERAC would put a claim through your insurance for anything leftover after the deductible is paid. You would also be responsible for paying for the time off when the rental could not be used. In other words, if the rental car was in the shop for three days being repaired because of an accident that you cause, you could be responsible for the rental charges that would have been incurred for three days. Damage Waiver or Extra Insurance is a good idea when you are renting for a very short period of time, like one day or a weekend. Damage Waiver or Extra Insurance is a bad idea when you are renting for several days and the cost of your deductible would equal the cost of the Damage Waiver.
You can also purchase something called PAI, or Personal Accident Insurance. The cost of this is usually about $3/day and Enterprise Employees will normally package that together with the Damage Waiver. In other words, they'll tell you that the Damage Waiver is $14.99/day instead of $11.99/day. What PAI does is protect the drivers and their passengers from any injury and any sort of deadly accident. The driver is entitled to $100,000 in medical or death benefits, and each passenger is entitled for up to $10,000. I always buy this extra protection, because it is always a good idea to have it.
Extra Liability is also an option with Enterprise. The price is something like $10.99 a day and what this does is insures the driver for up to $1,000,000 in liability if you were to injure someone or harm someone's car or property. People with lots of money and plenty to lose often purchase this, but to be honest in most cases, your own liability insurance is more than enough to protect you in a rental car.
ESQI or Enterprise Service Quality Index is very important to ERAC. You as the consumer dictate whether Enterprise has done a good job, and people are promoted/demoted and sometimes even fired if the results are not good. The ERAC standard is 80% or more of the people who rented a car must be completely satisfied each month. The percentage is measured on the answers given on survey phone calls after the renter has returned the car. When you return a car, an Enterprise Employee will more than likely ask you two or three questions. Were you completely satisfied with your rental experience? Was there anything we could have done better? If not, what can we do to make it up to you? If you had a bad experience, like if there was something wrong with the car, if you waited too long to get your car, or if your car was smokey/dirty, SAY SOMETHING!! When they ask you what they can do to make it up to you, shoot for the moon. Ask for 50% off your bill. Ask for a free weekend rental. Ask them to suggest something that may sound good! Employees are trained to make the customer happy, so you can be sure that you are taken care of if something goes wrong. If it was a great experience, just say so and keep renting. The deals will fly your way if you are a repeat customer, and the employees at your branch will be very happy when they find out you rated your experience 'completely satisfied.' if you rate anything lower, you'll get a phone call asking what they can do better for the next time.
Enterprise Sells Cars
Enterprise does not advertise, but they sell cars and they actually used to be very successful at it. A few things you may want to know about Enterprise Car Sales:
One Price System: No haggling for the customer or for the sales representative. The price is what it is, and it is always below Kelley Blue Book.
Vehicle Certification: Each vehicle they sell has been through a rigorous 109 point inspection. If they cannot pass this inspection, they are given to dealerships who sell them as used cars.
Trade-Ins and Financing: They do both
7 Day Repurchase Policy: If you decide that you do not like the car, you have 7 days to return it for a no-questions asked full refund!
Limited Warranty: All of ERAC's used vehicles come with a 12-month, 12,000 mile limited warranty. All of them!
One Year Free Roadside Assistance: Provided by AAA.
Enterprise used cars are sold by word of mouth. Rental Branch Employees see person after person who has a totaled vehicle, and they refer these people to Enterprise Car Sales. They also work with a lot of Credit Unions who give use referrals. The great thing about Enterprise Car Sale Employees is they get paid the same whether you purchase a $12,000 car or a $25,000 car. No pressure sales account for hundreds of thousands of happy customers!
All of the above is like the CarMax philosophy, however CarMax only gives a 5 day money back guarantee and a 30 day limited warranty. They also do not give the year of AAA roadside assistance. You have to purchase an extra warranty if you want anything more than that from CarMax. CarMax gets most of it's cars from Enterprise at auction or directly from their rental fleets. CarMax has a lot more inventory on site to choose from too. I purchased my last car at CarMax because Enterprise didn't have what I wanted in stock.
Enterprise is truly a great company to rent from. The employees are trained very strictly to follow guidelines that guarantee excellent customer service, or your money back. I would rent from Enterprise for any reason before any other company. It's cheap, easy, convenient, and there are many locations.