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The best way to Negotiate Automotive Rental Costs: 6 Methods in 2024


Final up to date on January 26, 2024 by Shannon

Touring Eire throughout my around the world journey pressured me out for weeks earlier than I arrived. It wasn’t a query of what to do (I had deliberate an epic route with my dad). It got here right down to transportation: to journey Eire by bus, tour, or rental automotive.

Eire boasts pretty massive cities dotting the countryside at sporadic, and sometimes lengthy, distances. Since I deliberate to skate by means of main cities, spending most of my time in rural areas, I knew I would wish to hire a automotive in Eire to actually expertise the nation.

rental car negotiations
Eire is properly linked by way of bus hyperlinks, nevertheless it’s a time consuming method to journey. I hoped that by negotiating on a rental automotive that I might keep away from utilizing one to discover the Irish countryside.

Actually, I knew from the start of my world travels that I needed to hire a automotive in Eire. However there was one key drawback: I used to be touring solo, and on-line rental automotive quotes have been far outdoors my strict backpacker funds.

Renting Stick vs Automated Worth Variations

My first answer crashed and burned (not actually). Renting a guide automotive—a stick shift as we name it within the States—is a lot cheaper than renting an computerized one in Europe.

Renting a guide automotive in Europe tends to be considerably cheaper than an computerized largely as a result of guide transmissions are much more widespread and thus, extra available. The upper provide drives down the rental worth, whereas the comparatively decrease demand for computerized automobiles makes them a premium choice, elevating their value.

So naturally I might simply study to drive guide whereas staying with my pal David in Edinburgh for the Fringe Competition, who agreed to show me.

That was a horrible thought. I used to be, primarily, terrible at not solely studying a brand new ability on the other aspect of the street, however soothing my pal’s freak-out that I might break his automotive.

We shortly deserted the plan after my first lesson. Yet one more fast on-line verify with my favourite reserving portal revealed that computerized rental vehicles nonetheless value properly over $1,400 USD for 3 weeks.

That was not going to occur. As a substitute, I waited till I landed in Dublin airport, deciding to inquire in particular person on the varied desks. I figured this: If I had my bank card in hand, certainly somebody was sure to present me a good deal, proper?

The best way to Negotiate and Pay Much less for a Rental Automotive

my rental car in ireland
Lengthy story quick, sure, I did negotiate on the rental automotive desk for this computerized magnificence that took me round Eire—I share recommendations on how to make sure you’re getting the very best deal in case you didn’t discover a good worth on RentalCars.com or the like.

As soon as touchdown in Eire, and with my fingers crossed, I checked rental automotive costs on the Price range counter. Costs have been nonetheless out of my vary. After my sigh of resignation, and after I had thanked the person and circled, I heard a gradual and regular, “weeeell.” He beckoned me again to the counter promising: “I believe we will do higher.”

My first thought? Wait . . . rental vehicles charges are negotiable?!

If my many months backpacking by means of Asia taught me something, it was negotiating expertise!

I slid again to the desk, and I used these 5 tips to drop the worth to lower than half my unique quote—and he gave me a reduction on full protection insurance coverage, too!

1. Journey within the Off-Season

Low season journey in Eire meant a less expensive rental automotive, however some dicey climate at occasions!

Rental vehicles are a sizzling merchandise in the course of the peak tourism season, and typically firms promote their full provide of rental vehicles—on this case, arriving and not using a reservation will solely assure you don’t have any choices obtainable at any worth level! Don’t wait to e-book your rental automotive in case you’re touring throughout peak season on your vacation spot, you have to e-book on-line forward of time.

Off-peak journey is an entire completely different ball sport. Firms are desirous to hire as many vehicles as attainable as a result of all these vehicles they wanted in summer season will simply sit within the lot in any other case—there’s simply not numerous enterprise, so they’re motivated to barter higher charges.

My expertise: I traveled within the barely low season (September), nevertheless it was simply sufficient to make the rental automotive firm looking forward to a sale. The big worth flexibility in my automotive’s rental worth was largely as a result of I used to be touring in Eire’s low season, and the timing was additionally a significant factor—I rented a automotive for 3 complete weeks, versus just some days.

Moreover, the rental automotive space was pretty abandoned—if there are enormous queues, these techniques are much less efficient, although nonetheless might be employed to some success. 

2. Negotiate Like a Professional

In the event you’re standing on the firm’s rental desk, and they’re that near renting you a automotive, they’re normally keen to barter. And typically they may negotiate rather a lot. Even in case you discover haggling embarrassing, simply go for it.

Begin by not overtly taking the primary worth they provide, in truth, don’t even take the second! After they title the worth, inform them, fairly merely, “I’m sorry, that’s out of my funds, are you able to do higher?”

Like all negotiations, and all good journey budgets, you must know your hard-and-fast limits—upon getting ballpark figures, begin your aspect of the negotiations a lot decrease than the utmost worth you may afford. 

In the event you solely have a set quantity to spend on a automotive, negotiate till you might be positive you’ve got reached the ground in your negotiations.

My expertise: Initially, I didn’t understand that rental automotive costs have been even versatile. However the staff clued me into the scenario with their language as soon as I demonstrated that I used to be ready to stroll away. I checked out it this manner, I might at all times simply settle for their first supply, however it might be higher for my journey funds if might finagle a reduction!

Don’t neglect to e-book journey insurance coverage on your journey—an important coverage gives protection in case of medical emergencies, misplaced or stolen gear, journey sports activities riders, and extra. I’ve used IMG International for greater than a decade extremely suggest it!

3. Keep Well mannered and Upbeat

This ought to be a given. In the event you berate the staff, they may maintain the worth excessive simply to spite you. As a substitute, strive the exceedingly well mannered tactic—sugar typically works in these conditions.

And past well mannered, keep pleasant and conversational, speak about why the journey is vital to you, ask in regards to the worker, and usually simply converse with them like a fellow human. You’ll additionally get bonus factors with some folks in case you throw in some tidbits of well-timed humor to lighten the temper.

My expertise: Every time they got here again with a brand new worth, I sincerely thanked them for his or her efforts, and commented: “I so admire all you’ve got finished to make this rental automotive extra reasonably priced for me, sadly it’s nonetheless out of my funds; thanks a lot although.”

And each time, they might hem and haw and clack at their keyboard till that they had give you a brand new determine. 

4. State Your Backside-Line

Giving freely your hand—the quantity you might be keen to pay—could possibly be a weak spot in your negotiations in case you lead with it. However, not lengthy into the dialog, once I was positive that my bottomline was actually fairly removed from their supply, I discovered sharing my aspect of the negotiation grew to become a energy.

You possibly can decline the presents till they decrease the worth sufficient to present you a greater thought of how a lot it ought to actually value, then title your worth as one-third decrease than what you guess you’ll find yourself paying. Solely when and in case you are not coming to an settlement do you then overtly assert that you just can’t cross a sure price-point.

My expertise: As soon as I declined the preliminary supply, the automotive rental man stayed regular across the $850 mark for a number of extra minutes. Even so, I figured that I might get him nearer to $700, so I gave him a little bit of my background, joked with him a few backpacker’s funds, and instructed him my transportation funds wouldn’t permit me to go increased than US $600 on the automotive.

He wasn’t swayed although, however no less than I had instructed him the place I stood on the scenario (with a half-truth, as a result of I had determined I might afford $700). When he wouldn’t budge from upwards of $800, I moved on to the subsequent negotiation tactic.

5. Strive the Stroll Away

I like the walk-away in any negotiation. It’s really magic. That is notably helpful while you’re touring with one other particular person, as a result of you may mix the walk-away with the “good-cop, bad-cop” routine (ie., the particular person strolling away says one thing alongside the strains of “Let’s simply go, we will’t afford this.”).

In the event you’re touring and negotiating solo, it’s a must to play each roles: Thank the particular person for working with you, state that it’s out of your funds, and, fairly actually, decide up your baggage and stroll away. In the event that they allow you to stroll away, transfer on to a unique automotive rental firm—you understand the primary’s bottomline, and you may come again if wanted. Greater than probably, nonetheless, they may name you again to the counter.

My expertise: As soon as the rental automotive gentleman caught to his supply of greater than $800, I picked up my baggage, thanked him, and blatantly instructed him I used to be going to see if the opposite firms would give me a greater deal.

Nonetheless keen to truly shut the deal, and never keen to name my bluff, the great man referred to as me again over but once more. He picked up the helpful calculator and we handed it backwards and forwards for the ultimate stage of our negotiations.

6. Present Them the Cash

negotiate rental car
Really put your bank card on the counter and make it very obvious that you just’re very near paying for this rental automotive!

In the event you’re actually near your comfy worth, knock away the remaining opposition by strolling your stroll. You instructed the worker you’d pay a specific amount, so pull out your bank card and actually make it clear that you’re near plunking down cash on your rental automotive.

My expertise: After my final stroll away, we bandied backwards and forwards just a few extra occasions till I slapped my bank card on the desk and indicated I used to be able to hire it, however provided that he would simply comply with a pleasant spherical determine: $700 US.

This was greater than I initially instructed him was my funds, however really my restrict. By displaying that I might go over my first acknowledged baseline, we might each stroll away feeling like we had gotten deal.

Minutes after I set my card on the desk, that they had my petite pink Nissan Micra ready for me within the parking zone. It wasn’t as low-cost as a guide automotive would have value, nevertheless it helped me enterprise everywhere in the Emerald Isle. I had a beautiful computerized rental automotive for an agreed $720 US—lower than half the unique quote!

As soon as I settled into my automotive, I gave myself a pat on the again, turned on the tunes, and braced myself for driving on the fallacious aspect of the street!


Fast Renting Tip: There are a lot of offers comparability websites on the market and you must completely verify these first. If they’ve one thing in your funds—nice! However in case you’re versatile, touring low season, and keen to threat not having a rental automotive, then negotiating in particular person may help.

I typically begin each my lodge and automotive searches at Reserving.com earlier than utilizing these many offers websites—and I’ve discovered good offers on these offers websites up to now, nabbing a low-cost rental from RentalCars.com a number of occasions whereas touring with my dad over time!

Important Journey Planning Assets

Sure, you want journey insurance coverage.
IMG International is the journey insurance coverage I’ve used for properly over a decade of touring solo, and with children. Right here’s why.

🧳 Good packing can save your journey.
Store my favourite journey gear, together with all the packing necessities for world journey, gear to maintain you protected on the street, my favourite journey books, and extra.

🛏️ Discover nice lodging.
Reserving.com is actually the one lodge reserving web site that I exploit. It has a large and reasonably priced choice of conventional accommodations, but in addition hostels and trip leases, too. Use these professional tricks to discover the very best journey lodging.

📍Navigate extra successfully.
Rome2Rio is tremendous helpful to evaluate the complete vary of transport choices between two cities—reveals every thing from flights to trains, buses, minibuses, and extra. In the event you’re reserving a rental automotive, I’ve at all times discovered the very best offers on RentalCars.com.

✈️ Ebook reasonably priced flights.
Expedia is among the first locations I search for low-cost flights.

Peruse all of my ideas for around the world journey, or learn to transfer and stay overseas.

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