budget car rental agency review

Budget...Or Is It? Our Comprehensive Report On this Car Rental Giant

Locations

 

Budget has locations in all the 50 states within the US, which makes it one of the major car rental services. Unlike most of its competing companies that primarily focus on airport locations, Budget locations are well balanced between the airport and off-airport locations which make it easily accessible for non-traveller clients. The Budget website also has a very helpful location finding tool which makes it easier for you to locate the location nearest to you.  

 

Vehicles

 

Budget has an impressively wide range of vehicles on offer for car rental in all of its outlets. The company particularly excels in offering specialized commercial vehicles such as commercial trucks and buses. They also offer hybrid vehicles in most of their locations in addition to the other conventional vehicle choices for both individual clients and groups.

 

Pricing

 

As the company name suggests (lowest prices here), Budget car rental targets the more budget conscious customer base by offering cost effective car rental services. This is reflected in their pricing as they are one of the cheapest car rental services. In the Las Vegas area, it cost $54 to rent a full sized car for a day which is only 1$ costlier than the cheapest option (Enterprise rent-a-car at $53). In other markets, such as New York, budget is often the cheapest option.

 

Additional Services

 

Budget car rental offers unparalleled savings for those who book their vehicles and pay in advance. While this is an industry-wide practice, other car rental services in the US offer a discount between 5% and 15% for customers who pay in advance. Budget, on the other hand, gives up to 35% in terms of discounts (depending on the type of vehicle and the specific details of your booking) when you pay in advance. This reduces the car rental cost significantly and is very attractive to those who plan their trips beforehand. If you make an advance payment, the discount that you will enjoy will make budget the cheapest car rental service in the US, by a significant distance.

Budget also offers attractive discounts for clients who are seeking a replacement car after a breakdown. Once the company confirms with your auto-repair shop that your car is not in usable condition, the company will send a driver to pick you up to the location where your rental car awaits, and you will get a  free ride (in addition to the discount) to the location of your rental car.

Customers who choose to use budget also benefit from a very responsive support system across all platforms. Budget has a chat function on their mobile app and on the official website which is monitored on a 24-hour basis. They also have numerous toll free support numbers that are manned by English and Spanish speakers. The overall experience with the Budget support staff has been overwhelmingly rated to be positive.

 

Shortcomings

 

Despite their overall cost effectiveness, budget has very steep cancellation and early return charges. In some cases, the early return charges exceed the charges for late returns. The company has stated that their pricing strategy is customized depending on the length of the hiring period, with customers getting favorable charges for long term car hires. Therefore, the charges are to limit the occurrences where users take advantage of cheaper daily rates for long-term hires before returning the car earlier and seeking refunds for the ‘un-used’ days they had pre-paid for.

 

Verdict

 

In terms of cost-effectiveness, it is hard to compete with budget car rental. This particularly benefits those with the foresight to make advance booking and payments. Budget scores favorably in terms of vehicle choice, nationwide coverage and cost effectiveness. Factoring in the friendly support staff and discounts for those seeking replacement cars, Budget is one of the better car rental services currently operating within the United States.