Three simple ways to get the most from your rental provider
How to identify the right partner and develop a winning relationship with them
For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that you’re committed to sourcing part or all of your fleet through a rental agreement, either one of, or a combination of, leasing, contract hire, flexible rental or spot/daily hire. (And,quite honestly, why wouldn’t you? For most businesses nowadays, the case for buying and maintaining your own vehicles really doesn’t stack up.)
Here are three suggestions for identifying the right partner for your business and getting the most out of the relationship.
1. Can they supply the vehicles?
It may seem like an obvious place to start, but failing to consider the fleet size, profile and range when selecting your preferred rental supplier can (and usually does) result in poor service and performance. While price is obviously a key consideration, it should not be the only one (and certainly not to the detriment of vehicle availability,service and support).
If you’re the type of operator that knows exactly what vehicles you need, when you need them and how long for, providing a detailed list for your rental partner to adhere to is a relatively simple and straightforward process.
But not everyone has this level of internal expertise or resource. And if you don’t, it’s important to partner with a supplier that has sales and support teams with hands-on knowledge, developed through decades of experience.
Choose the right rental partner and you’ll have a team of people with in-depth knowledge of manufacturers’ specifications options and feasible modifications. And they can work with you to evaluate how the vehicle will be used and make recommendations on configurations and service plans to help maximise efficiency and minimise the risks that come with operating any commercial vehicle.
“Enterprise Flex-E-Rent has proven its willingness to invest in order to fulfil our specialist needs,” says Joe McDade, transport manager at City Building (Glasgow) LLP. “It already provides hundreds of expertly-maintained vehicles when and where we want them, liveried and kitted out to our specification, all with no strings attached and no financial liabilities. The new trucks are a further example of their willingness to go the extra mile.”
2. Are they willing to be flexible?
Flexibility is key in commercial vehicle rental; you need a supplier who can be flexible to your needs, with excellent service and longterm support. Whether you need a standard panel van to plug the occasional gap, or a longer term solution with tippers, grabs, temperature controlled vehicles, minibuses, accessible vehicles or even large articulated HGVs, your rental provider of choice should be able to meet these demands in order to keep your business running.
Of course, simply providing the vehicles you need on a flexible contract term is just one part of the story. Inspections can be a big disruption to your business, so it’s important you find a supplier who is flexible and has a proactive approach to vehicle management. An experienced maintenance team that works with you to make sure the inspection happens, with
minimum disruption to your business, is a must. It also makes a big difference having a dedicated account manager, so you always deal with someone who understands your business and the type of support you really need.
“We need to source vehicles at very short notice to fulfil our contractual obligations and Enterprise Flex-E-Rent provides us with the correct vehicles, at the right time, and in the right place,” says Evolve MD Neil O’Halloran. “They even supply minibuses to assist our drivers when collecting vehicles. Our property maintenance runs on a daily appointment system, so it’s essential that our fleet transport operation and support is as efficient as possible. We cannot afford to have unnecessary downtime and this is where Enterprise Flex-E-Rent’s performance is exemplary, supp-orted by customer service second to none.”
3. Supporting your business
Of course, being able to supply the vehicles is the main element in commercial vehicle rental. However, you should also be looking for a supplier who wants to make a difference to our business by understanding not just what you need, but also what you are trying to achieve.
This might mean being flexible enough to help you manage the peaks and troughs of seasonal demands, or providing vehicles with specialist features at very short notice. It could be mobile technicians proactively maintaining your vehicles on-site or out of business hours to minimise off-road time. Or it could simply be assigning someone to take personal responsibility for making sure your needs are being met each and every day.
Of course, not every situation can be planned for in advance, so if you do have a vehicle issue or have been involved in an accident, you need to be able to rely on your supplier 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In these situations, it’s important you are speaking to an individual with experience of your business, and preferably someone who is adept at handling complex fleet requirements on a daily basis. The knowledge and expertise required for managing highly sensitive fleets, such as accessible patients or refrigerated transport, guarantees a level of expertise. You know you’re speaking to someone who is trained to deliver local support and a first class service to you.
“We were so impressed by the way Enterprise Flex-E-Rent were able to meet our short-term requirements that we were keen to extend our partnership with a long-term deal,” says Kevin Waters Alliance Flooring. “Their customer service has been excellent and the fact that they service the vehicles at a time that suits us helps minimise any potential downtime in the working week.”