With the school year in full swing, many youth sports leagues are kicking off their seasons. Playing sports is a great way to stay in shape, release energy in a positive way, and learn important skills like teamwork, sportsmanship, and motivation. As a parent or coach, it’s important to promote the many benefits that athletics provide, but at the same time, transporting a large group to and from games and practices can get expensive.
Experienced coaches and parents know that choosing the right van rental service is absolutely essential if you want to keep long-term expenses within your team’s limited budget. Taking multiple vehicles isn’t usually practical or economical. If you’re looking for a better way to transport your team from point A to B, we’re here to help you save some serious money. Here are ten tips that will help you to keep your team on the road without breaking the bank.
1. Rent Longer
Although it may not seem logical, often a van rental service will actually charge less for longer rental periods, according to The New York Times. That means that you could actually spend less renting a van for a week than you would if you only kept it for a few days. The reasoning behind this is that businesspeople often require a vehicle for just a day or two, and those trips tend to be paid for by companies that have a large travel budget. Industry professionals realize this, and they price short-term rentals accordingly.
If your team has multiple practices and/or games in a period of one week, check the rates on long-term rentals. Keep in mind that if you do decide to return the van early, you may be subject to repricing fees. Before you reserve your van rental, make sure that you have a suitable place to store the van while it’s under your care.
2. Stick with the Local Companies
Instead of renting from a corporate giant, go with the little guy. A regional van rental service is more likely to have competitive rates, and you also get that one-on-one customer support that you just won’t find at a large corporation. To the major brands, the customer is just another number. Smaller companies really appreciate your business, and it shows. Plus, you can also feel good about supporting your local economy.
3. Use Rental Sites to Find the Best Deal
In some cases, you may be able to hunt down a lower price by using sites like Kayak or Carrentalexpress.com. In fact, you may even be able to secure your van rental for as much as 50 percent less than if you had booked it directly through the van rental service. While you may find low prices, there are some downsides to consider. Most vehicle rental websites do require prepayment, and you may not know which company you’re renting through until after you’ve already paid.
Another problem with discount rental sites is that not all companies participate. You may get the lowest rate out of five companies, but there may be ten in your area. Make sure you check prices on multiple websites, including directly through rental agencies. Using all of the tools that are available to you is the key to locating the best deal.
4. Return Your Vehicle on Time
It’s common for van rental companies to charge you for an additional day if you return your vehicle past the designated time, and if not, you’ll be hit with a fee. Make sure you leave yourself a wide open window so you don’t have to worry about fees if you’re delayed. In most cases, you choose your return time slot, so pick a time at least a few hours later than you’re planning on returning. You’ll usually end up paying close to the same amount anyways, and it’ll take a lot of stress out of your return trip.
Before you pay for your rental and finalize the purchase, ask about a grace period. Although most rental companies tend to stick to their policies, sometimes there is a grace period before you get charged. If you’re just running a few minutes behind, it’s nice to know that you do actually have time left before getting charged an extra day.
5. Check In at the Counter
When it comes to getting what you want from a customer service representative, a warm smile and a positive attitude can go a long way. While it may be tempting to check in at the van rental service kiosk for convenience and speed, you’re missing the opportunity to ask about any complimentary upgrades or promotions that may be going on. A machine can’t help you out, but a human may be able to.
Always go to the counter when it’s time to check in, and be friendly to the customer service representative. It never hurts to ask about free upgrades, and some companies may even be willing to provide a discount for youth programs.
6. Crowdfund Rental Fees
There’s power in numbers. If the school or league budget isn’t able to cover van rental service fees, it may be time to ask the community for help. Even small donations can be very helpful if multiple people get involved. Websites that allow crowdfunding make it easy for parents and coaches to request assistance, and sharing campaigns on social media websites is a great way to get some free exposure.
7. Search the Internet for Savings
There are plenty of bargains, coupons, and other rewards out there if you’re willing to look. Some credit cards offer rewards bonus programs for car rentals, although you may only be able to book through specific agencies. If you belong to AAA, the AARP, or other affiliated organizations, you may be able to get a discounted rate from a participating van rental service. Sometimes, simply searching “van rental discounts” can yield some surprising results.
There are plenty of articles that offer tips on how to save money when traveling—many of which include advice on how to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to renting a vehicle. Articles that feature tips for saving money during your family road trip or offer advice on which landmarks are ‘must-sees’ on your vacation can be valuable sources of information for the thrifty traveler.
You could also try to connect with other youth sports teams, and ask what they use for transportation. The internet’s a big place, and there are lots of people out there who are willing and able to help. You may even be able to find another local sports team willing to share the cost if scheduling allows. Most communities are all ears when it comes to assisting children’s programs, so don’t be shy—reach out if you’re in need.
8. Avoid Airport Rentals
While the airport’s location may not matter for youth sports league purposes, your best bet is usually to go with a rental agency located near an airport, but not in the airport. Airport-specific rental services tend to charge higher fees, and since airport location probably isn’t relevant to your needs anyways, there’s no reason to pay those premiums.
The reason why it makes sense to choose a van rental service located near an airport is that those companies tend to be large enough to provide excellent service and additional amenities, but small enough to give you the customer support you deserve.
For instance, a smaller van rental service may not offer multiple drop-off and pick-up locations and a larger company will charge significantly more for the same services. The companies located near the airport are usually medium sized and tend to provide you the best of both worlds.
9. Choose a Reputable Company
Before you spend a dime on a van rental, do your homework. There are plenty of review websites that allow customers to tell the world about their experiences—good or bad. While a few bad reviews could be due to any number of factors, you may want to reconsider if you see a pattern. If you rent through a known and respected company, you’re not going to need to worry. After all, a respected van rental service is going to want to protect its reputation, whereas the poorly reviewed company has little to lose.
You may also want to ask friends, family members, and members of your community for agency recommendations. Social media pages are great for putting out feelers, and talking to real people online ensures that you’re getting accurate, unbiased information. In addition to helping you make an informed decision, talking to the community helps you make potentially beneficial connections.
Reserve Your Van with State Van Rental
If your youth sports team is located in the Los Angeles or Las Vegas area, we encourage you to reserve a van with State Van Rental today. We take great pride in serving our communities, and we provide a level of customer service that you won’t find anywhere else. Our secure website makes booking your van rental fast and easy, and all of our dependable vehicles are modern and meticulously maintained.
If you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly customer service team at (888) 826-5212. We’re the van rental service that bends over backwards to keep our customers happy at all times. Transport your team to victory with State Van Rental.