Have hired cars privately over many prior years (one or two times) a year for travel in Australia and NZ.
Separately hired cars through work as often as weekly. Last hire this year for 2 weeks in NZ.
Firstly the corporate hire system and service from the major providers was always ahead of what I received privately. I have a private corporate card with one provider (Hertz) and had a corporate customer ID with a second (Avis).
Generally using my Hertz card gave me the same level of service I enjoyed in business. Although the business rate is generally loaded with extras. It is cheaper than the full rates but not truly competitive for every day private use.
The greatest difficulty privately is getting to the final total cost of each provider for the desired location and class of vehicle. You really need to complete 99% of the booking to be half sure. I usually look at three or more hire companies for longer trips. I’d say the experience is much worse than Jetstar’s online booking system. For what are other than straight in and out bookings I found it more effective to call the local office (franchisee?) to get the best deal. I can understand why people get confused with added insurances. Even after declining on booking I am commonly asked to add them at pick up, accompanied by a “you might die today if you don’t look” from over the counter.
in 100’s of hires never had major issues with vehicles provided - but you do need to look carefully at pickup and go back with any concerns asap.
Never had to rely on insurance claims - however insurance is over priced - no driver history/risk rating for us with low risk histories getting better rates. On major trips - I think Choice have this as a tip that you can use your travel insurance to provide cover for excess waivers. While I have relied on this recently it is not totally clear. I had to do an over the counter purchase of travel insurance to find some one who could give an answer that I accepted. The hire companies have no interest in pointing this out vs an added sale $$$$. Can’t see why my RACQ or NRMA policy can’t carry over to a hire car up to a specified value. Even with a small fee. While driving one I can’t drive the other? Accept that hire vehicles may have a greater accident risk - perhaps? Just can’t see how the risk is shared fairly.
Was billed once for adding fuel unexpectedly. Will not use that company again. Local business Meteor in Townsville. Charging down to the half hour on a hour daily hire returned same day and expecting an overflowing fuel cap on return attitude. No sour grapes - just typical of a business that chose to run 9 to 5 and took weekends off. My fault. Rates are marginally better than I could get elsewhere, but with no airport pickup etc they should have lower overheads too.
Free upgrades annoy me most of the time. To a same size vehicle with luxury fit out - yes. For urban areas EG Sydney I don’t need an upgrade to a full size sedan. It is harder to park and less room for error. Give me a discount on the rate instead. On longer trips with only 2 of us, and petrol in NZ around the $2 /l mark do you really need a big 6? I have yet to find a way around this. Last trip I was informed there were no smaller vehicles available and that I would really enjoy the bigger 4WD. In winter on snow perhpas. In summer in the sun - no!