Unfortunately, if you pick-up a hire van at 9am and return it at 10am, you still pay for a fully day’s hire.
Similarly, if you collect your van after work at 5pm, and return it first thing the next morning, you still pay for a full day’s hire.
The thing about van hire is that people only hire a van when they need to. It’s not like hiring a car for a weekend away — when you need a van, you may need it at any time of the day or night, and you don’t want to pay a penny more than necessary.
For example, what about those times when you need to pick-up some furniture from Ikea on a Saturday afternoon, or pick-up a big eBay purchase one evening?
Perhaps you’re in a band and only need a van in the evenings, when you’re travelling to gigs that you fit around your day job?
The good news is that things are improving and that companies are starting to offer genuinely flexible services. Here’s an overview of what’s available:
Overnight Van Hire
If you want to hire a van overnight — say from 5pm to 9am — then Europcar is your best bet.
Europcar is Europe’s largest car and van hire firm and now offers overnight van hire from just £29* at most of its UK branches.
The deal is simple — collect the vehicle after 5pm and return it before 9am (if you return it after 9am, you’ll be charged a full day’s hire costs).
To learn more about overnight van hire from Europcar, click here.
Hourly Van Hire
The other common problem with daily van rental is that you may only need the van for an hour or two. This often means you have no choice but to pay for a 24-hour hire, despite only needing the van for a small fraction of that time.
It’s worth noting that almost all hire companies will let you book a van for a few hours — or even one hour — but in most cases, you will be charged for a full day’s hire, regardless. You won’t explicitly be told about this — the company’s booking engine will just quote you a price that’s the same as the daily rate.
The best option we know of for standard hourly van hire is Europcar.
Europcar currently offers hourly van hire from just £11 per hour* - click here for an instant quote.
What about car and van-sharing?
Hertz offers hourly van hire through its standard rental service, but it also offers something a little different — a car-sharing membership scheme called Hertz 24/7, which allows members to book, pick-up and drop-off Hertz 24/7 vehicles from Hertz 24/7 locations.
The deal is simple — as a member, you get a special key fob that gives you access to the vehicle you have reserved. The ignition key will already be in the vehicle and you simply get in, drive off, and then return the vehicle when you are done.
Members can book Hertz 24/7 vehicles online and billing is taken care of automatically — whether hourly or daily.
This scheme is similar to Zipcar and a number of other schemes that are increasingly popular, especially in big US cities, but also in London.
To learn more, visit the Hertz 24/7 On Demand website.
*Prices correct at the time of writing on 22 July 2013. T&Cs apply.