Business travel costs can add up quickly. From fuel to food, accommodations to extra amenities, business travel is one of the biggest expenses a small business owner has to stomach. Unlike larger corporations, small business travelers rarely qualify for discounts through corporate rates, and chances are you (or your employees) probably don’t travel often enough to reap the benefits of popular travel rewards programs.
If you’re struggling to build your business without blowing your budget, don’t worry. The following are a few simple small business travel tips that will help you save on your company car rental and cut unnecessary expenses from your travel itinerary.
Tip #1 – Avoid Additional Insurance Coverage
Car rental companies are always trying to get their customers to purchase unnecessary insurance coverage. Business travelers are no exception. Before you hit the road for an upcoming business trip, contact your insurance agent and review the coverage you currently have on any personal or company cars. In all likelihood, you probably already have the necessary coverage in place. Homeowners’ policies and credit car companies also offer car rental insurance policies, so don’t forget to touch base with these providers before approaching the rental desk.
Tip #2 – Reserve a Practical Vehicle
Granted, pulling up to your next sales pitch in an exotic car rental would certainly attract some attention. But is it really necessary? Instead of going overboard on your rental, be practical. Opting for an economy car rental can save you a ton of money, especially when traveling long distances. If you’re going to be chauffeuring a client around, considering upgrading to the next rental class, or at the very least, comparing rental reviews of various economy car rental models. Additional legroom doesn’t always have to result in a higher rental rate.
Tip #3 – Do Your Research
You spent hours comparing different printer models before you upgraded the copier in your office – shouldn’t you approach your car rental booking in a similar manner? Finding an affordable car rental rate online is a cinch these days, thanks to tools like the CRX car rental comparison search engine. Simply punch in your desired destination and travel dates and the Car Rental Express system will provide you with detailed rental listings for a wide variety of available vehicles. You’ll even have the opportunity to compare real rental reviews from business and leisure travelers alike. Don’t just assume you’ve found a great rate, compare offers online with help from Car Rental Express.
Tip #4 – Book with an Independent Car Rental Company
If your company is too small to qualify for a corporate account at a major car rental company, consider connecting with a smaller, independent rental agency. They might not be able to match a corporate rate, but you may have more luck negotiating a lower rate. Independent car rental companies don’t have to answer to corporate head offices when it comes to providing personalized service, making it easier for business travelers to lobby for reduced rates or additional upgrades.
Tip #5 – Do You Really Need A Car Rental?
If you’re traveling for business, chances are you’re headed to a major metropolitan area. If that’s the case, take a few minutes to review the public transit system before reserving your rental car. If the subway and bus system offers comprehensive service, you may not need that car rental at all. Before you embark on your journey, perform a quick cost comparison. If the cost of a car rental and parking is less than the cost of a shuttle, taxi and subway tickets, it’s time to reserve your rental.
Planning a business trip for early 2012? Don’t forget to check out our latest car rental coupons, discounts and deals. How do you keep your small business travel costs down to a bare minimum? Share your secrets with other business travelers in the comments below!