Archive for the ‘Van Hire News’ Category

Winter offer: Europcar van hire from just £16 per day

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Europcar winter van hire from £16 per day

Although the weather seems to have warmed up slightly, winter is still with us — and to help you save money during the cold season, Europcar is currently offering van hire from just £16 per day.

This is a generous and long-running offer that’s available on bookings made by 29 March 2015 for checkouts until 30 June 2015 (some dates excluded, see website for details).

Europcar is one of the most flexible van hire firms around, too — hourly van hire, one-way van hire and overnight options are all available.

All Europcar rental vans includes 24-hour roadside assistance, and a choice of short wheelbase, long wheelbase and luton box vans with tail lift are available — ideal for small moves or big DIY jobs!

Europcar van hire from £16 per day

 

 

 

 

Terms & conditions apply, see Europcar website for details.

Van rental firm counts on Ford for ongoing growth

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

T.O.M. Vehicle Rental Ford vansT.O.M. Vehicle Rental has seen remarkable growth over the last five years, growing from 1,500 on one site to 8.500 vehicles across seven sites.

Serving customers from sites in Manchester, Nottingham and Scotland, T.O.M. has added increasing numbers of Ford vans to its fleet in recent years.

T.O.M. has ordered more than 1,000 Ford vans over the last year, and the hire firm’s latest order was for 330 new model Ford Transits, which T.O.M. says is the current van of choice among many of its customers. Ford vans now account for 35% of the firm’s fleet.

James Rafferty, T.O.M.’s group sales and operations director, says that the firm buying is influenced by customer preferences and requirements:

“We adapt to what our rental customers want. We find out what they are planning to do with a vehicle to ensure we provide them with the right one.

“Ford has a great range, from small vans to large, so there is something for everyone, and our customers like them. Ford is a manufacturer which stands by its products, which gives us peace of mind, with ease of maintenance a key strength of the Transit range.”

As a long-time Transit fan myself, I’m not surprised by the success of the marque’s sophisticated all-new van range and am looking forward to getting a chance to drive the new ‘big’ Transit in the near future.

Save up to 20% on Europcar Van Hire in January sale

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
Europcar van hire

Save up to 20% in the Europcar January sale

Europcar is currently offering discounts of up to 20% on van hire as part of its January Sale.

This is valid for bookings made by February 1st and completed by 30th June, with certain exclusions.

**THIS OFFER HAS NOW EXPIRED**

If you need a van for a trip to the tip, to move furniture or for a big DIY project, this could be a good opportunity. Europcar has also provided some helpful tips for driving and load a van (we have more tips on driving and loading vans):

All you have to do to benefit from the Europcar January sale discount is book online as normal*: click here to visit the Europcar website.

 

Tips for driving a van

  • Vans are bigger than cars – Be aware of the width, length and height of the vehicle when hiring a van, especially if you’re not used to driving one
  • Take corners slowly – it is possible for a heavy loads to move around if you take the corner too fast
  • Space for corners – Remember that larger vans need more room to turn so give yourself plenty of time and space when taking corners.
  • Stopping distance – Remember that the larger or heavier the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop, especially in icy or wet conditions.
  • Blind side – Watch out for cyclists and bikers who might be tempted to overtake on the blind side.

Tips for loading a van

  • Start loading your items at the front of the van and work your way to the back.
  • Spread the load evenly across the base, uneven loads can have a massive effect on a van’s stability.
  • Keep all items stacked as tightly as possible to keep everything from shifting during the drive.
  • When loading a van, place heavy items on the floor of the vehicle, and plastic and lighter things on top of the heavier ones.
  • You may have to take apart things like tables and desks in order to load everything tightly and to ensure safe transport.
  • Be careful not to scoot or drag furniture in the van as damage may occur to sofas, table legs and dresser bottoms.
  • When lifting a heavy load bend your legs not your back.

*Terms and conditions apply. See Europcar website for details.

Driving licence paper counterpart to remain in use until June 2015

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

The government has announced that the paper counterpart of UK driver licences will now remain in use until 8 June 2015, extending the previous removal date of 1 January 2015.

What do I need to do?

For anyone planning on hiring a van, this means you will still need to produce both parts of your driving licence — the photocard and the paper counterpart — when you hire a vehicle, until at least 8 June 2015.

What’s happened?

Back in November, I wrote about the government’s plan to scrap the paper counterpart that forms part of UK driver licences, leaving only the photocard. The change was due to come into force from 1 January 2015.

At the time, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) was flagging up concerns about the cost and practicality of this approach, as the planned new online system was, of course, running late, and was unlikely to be ready until the new year.

The plan was that the information contained on the paper counterpart to be available online, instead, so that individuals and businesses such as vehicle hire firms and transport operators, with a legitimate need for the information, could access it online instead. However, with hire companies needing to check thousands of licences per year, and many transport operators and staffing agencies needing to run hundreds of checks, the extra costs for businesses forced to use the DVLA’s existing driver data service would have been significant.

Lobbying from the BVRLA and the Freight Transport Association appears to have convinced the government to put back the deadline — hopefully, the extra six months will be enough for the government’s IT contractors to get their act together and finish the planned new Share My Driving Record system.

Jargon buster: van weights and payloads when moving house

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Let us show you how to move house with a hire van

If you’re thinking about hiring a van to move house, there’s lots to get your head around. Not only have you got to be aware of the maximum weight that your van can carry, but you’ve also got to understand the jargon that goes along with hiring a van.

We’ve put together a jargon buster to help you get on the road and answer the most commonly-asked questions.

Jargon buster

Large van / long wheelbase van: this is a typical large panel van that you might hire to move house, such as  long

Luton van: This is a van with a box body on the back. These are popular with small removal companies as they offer more space and a wider, flat floor with no wheel arches in the loadspace.

3,500kg or 3.5 tonne: These are the same thing, as 1 tonne = 1,000kg. Most big hire vans are described as 3,500kg vans. This means the maximum permitted weight of the van itself plus the load and any passengers is 3,500kg.

Payload: This is vital — the payload is the maximum load weight you can put in the van, including passengers.

  • For a 3,500kg panel van, the payload is typically around 1,200kg – 1,400kg
  • For a 3,500kg luton van, the payload will be a bit less, maybe 1,000kg – 1,200kg
  • These numbers vary between models. Any reputable hire company should be able to tell you the maximum payload for the van you are hiring

Overloaded: This is what happens if your 3,500kg weighs more than 3,500kg when you are stopped by the police — whether in the UK or Europe. Depending on how much over the weight limit your van is, you will be fined and/or forced to remove the surplus weight from the vehicle before being allowed to continue.

Ignorance is no excuse if you’re overloaded: you, the driver, are always liable, regardless of circumstances.

I don’t know how much any of my stuff weighs…

If you’re shifting boxes of wine or bags of cement (for example), it’s easy to know how much your load weighs. Each item is labelled with its weight, and they’re all the same.

Unfortunately it’s not so easy with household goods. You can’t realistically weigh your furniture, for example.

The solution, if you want to be sure, is to take your loaded van to your nearest public weighbridge before setting off. You can usually find details of these on your local council website (or try your nearest major recycling centre).

Vehicle rental and leasing generates £5.2bn in tax revenue each year

Monday, December 8th, 2014

VanRental.co.uk vanAccording to a new report from the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), the impact of the vehicle rental and leasing sector  on the UK economy was around £25bn in 2013, including £5.2bn in tax revenue.

The report, which was commissioned by the BVRLA from research foundation Oxford economics, measures three types of economic impact:

  • Direct: the activity of the rental and leasing companies themselves;
  • Indirect: the activity of their UK-based suppliers;
  • Induced: economic activity generated by the payment of wages to staff employed by the rental and leasing industry.

The scale of the rental and leasing industry in the UK becomes clear when you consider that in 2013, BVRLA members had 3 million vehicles on lease and 400,000 vehicles available for rental.

The main areas of direct and indirect economic activity are the businesses involved in the industry itself, manufacturers of UK-made vehicles and engines, the used car and van market, and the activity of the UK automotive dealers which supply rental companies.

It’s a people business

The report estimates that the rental and leasing industry itself employs 53,600 people directly and 263,400 indirectly, through the wider supply chain and through consumer spending.

If accurate, this claim is quite impressive, as it means that the rental and leasing industry accounts for the employment of 1 in every 88 workers in the UK!

Vehicle supply

A sizeable part of the industry’s contribution to the economy comes via its purchase of British-built vehicles, along with foreign vehicles with British-built engines. Rental and leasing companies are amongst the biggest buyers of new vehicles each year, and purchased an estimated 308,000 UK-made vehicles in 2013, which is thought to have generated £4.3bn in GDP and £1.4bn in tax revenue, as well as 90,000 jobs.

Overall, the industry purchased 80% of the British-made vehicles that were sold in the UK last year, and 20% of all British-built vehicles, including vehicles made for export.

Who needs vehicle rental and leasing?

A great many people, it seems: one of the reasons the leasing and rental industry has such a big impact on the UK economiy is that so many other businesses are dependent on its services. As a result, the sector’s gross value added (the sector’s contribution to the UK’s GDP) of £13.3bn was comparable to that of the electricty generation and distribution indsutry in 2013, which had a gross value added of around £18bn.

This kind of illustrates my point — virtually 100% of UK businesses require electricity, so the electricty generation and distribution sector is going to have a big impact on GDP, rather like the leasing and rental sector.

Putting it in perspective

However, before we get too carried away, it’s worth rembering that even the BVRLA’s £25bn headline figure is just a drop in the ocean in the scheme of things, and accounted for just 1.6% of UK GDP in 2013, when UK GDP totalled £1,606bn!

Northgate flags rising demand for van hire

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Northgate Vehicle Hire logoDemand for UK van hire is rising, according to business hire giant Northgate, which operates a fleet of 57,000 vans and minibuses in the UK, along with 40,000 in Spain.

In its half-yearly results, Northgate reported that utilisation of its UK fleet had risen from 88% to 89%, despite the number of vehicles on hire rising by 1,800 since 30 April 2014.

Growth story?

The company has opened five new sites since the end of April, and plans a further three before the end of April 2015. These new sites accounted for 1,100 of the 1,800 new vehicles on hire, suggesting that Northgate’s growth is largely being driven by expansion, rather than organic growth.

This conclusion is backed up by the firm’s admission today that all of its growth so far this year has been driven by its regional sites — i.e. those away from the London area. Growth at existing branches was a relatively modest 1.3%, and although the company believes this can be increased, I reckon this low number highlights the intense competition between van hire suppliers, especially in large urban areas around major cities.

Bumper profits

Northgate reported a 33% rise in operating profit for the first half of the year, despite revenue only rising by 5.6%.

How do they do that, you might ask? Well, one area where the firm has made big improvements is in reducing the holding cost, or depreciation, of each vehicle — the difference between its purchase price and its eventual resale price. Northgate says that it has managed to improve residual values over the last five years, with an emphasis on several key areas:

  • Van Monster retail network expanded from 7 to 11 branches — ex-rental vans sell for more at retail than through auctions or trade sales;
  • Using “customer profiling and pricing” to target rental customers who won’t trash their vans;
  • Increased marketing, especially online;
  • Using expert in-house sales professionals to select the most appropriate disposal channel for defleeted vans, rather than obeying a fixed formula.

As a result of these changes, 29% of Northgate’s ex-rental vans are now sold through the Van Monster network, up from 18% in the year ending April 2009.

Of course, this rate of profit growth is unlikely to last forever — as a general rule, profits can only grow faster than sales for a limited time, before the two come back into line. It’s also worth noting that if used van prices weaken, Northgate could be affected.

However, despite these risks, Northgate’s near-term outlook does appear to be pretty healthy.

DVLA to abolish paper element of driving licence in January 2015 — before substitute is ready

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Update 22/12/2014: The deadline for the removal of the paper counterpart has now been extended until 8 June 2015. See here for more details.

The current UK driving licence consists of a photocard, together with a paper counterpart — but this is set to change in January 2015, when the paper counterpart will be abolished.

Although this has been known about for some time, I haven’t seen a lot of publicity about it. For car and van rental customers, however, it is relevant.

Here’s why.

You will no longer need to provide the paper counterpart of your driving licence when you pick up a hired van or car. That’s the good news, and  in the long run, this seems like a sensible move.

However, as you might expect, the replacment solution involves a new DVLA online service. As you might also expect, from a government-funded IT project, it may not be ready in time.

If the new service, known as Share My Driving Record (SMDR), isn’t ready in time, the hire company may need to use the DVLA’s existing driver data service to check for details of points on your licence, recent convictions, and entitlement categories. This is quite expensive — current costs are 51p/minute by telephone or £1.50 per enquiry via a dedicated electronic connection.

Given that there are 10 million rentals a year in the UK, according to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Asssociation, this could add up to a sizeable cost for hire companies, until the DVLA gets it IT act together.

What do I need to do?

Let’s hope I’m wrong, and SMDR is ready in time. However, as it probably won’t be, then if you are planning to hire a van (or any other vehicle) early in 2015, I’d suggest three things:

  1. Take your paper counterpart along regardless of whether it has been abolished, just in case it’s still useful.
  2. Be prepared for some delay and confusion while the hire company checks your driver data.
  3. Be prepared to pay any of the resulting licence verification costs.

Although abolishing the paper counterpart seems like a good idea in principle, this looks set to be yet another poorly-planned piece of government red tape cutting that could actually cause more hassle for customers and small businesses, rather than less. Let’s just hope I’m wrong.

Are younger drivers unfairly penalised by van hire firms?

Friday, September 12th, 2014

VanRental.co.uk vanAge limits remain a problem for car and van hire customers: anyone under 25 is likely to pay a surcharge, while anyone aged 20 or under is unlikely to be able to hire a car — or van — at all.

The problem means, for example, that students are not able to hire a small van to return themselves to university with their belongings (on a one-way hire) but instead must enlist their parents’ help, in most cases.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has been looking into this issue in more depth and believes that the traditional justification given for this discrimination — that young drivers are too high risk — has been overused and is not backed up by statistics.

The organisation points out that while teenagers are a documented high-risk group when it comes to accidents, the risk drops considerably after six months of driving experience and even more so for drivers in their early 20s.

And according to existing government data*, reported killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in accidents involving young car drivers have decreased at steady rate since 2000. In 2011, compared with the 2005-09 average, the numbers of KSI casualties in young car driver related accidents in 2011 was 35 per cent lower, and the number of fatalities was 46 per cent lower.

Neil Greig, IAM Director of Policy and Research, points out that car clubs are opening their doors to younger drivers, without problems, and that a sensible, measured approach could actually help drive new business for the hire firms:

“We are not suggesting that inexperienced or teenage drivers should be let loose with a powerful hire car. But younger 20-somethings shouldn’t be penalised to such a degree with expensive premium charges. Safe young drivers could be a potentially fruitful market as the economy picks up. The rise in the popularity of City Car Clubs which do allow 19 year olds to drive shows that demand is out there.”

“Car hire companies should be commissioning research and looking at their real world claims history to see if the age limit can be reduced. It’s a small part of the overall traffic mix on our roads but reviewing the age limit would remove what appears to be a fundamental unfairness for safe young people in their early twenties.”

You can find more information on age limits for van hire here, although do be aware that these conditions sometimes change and that the young driver surcharge can sometimes double the daily rate for a small van!

*https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/236989/young-drivers-2011.pdf

Rental companies demand police action on vehicle thefts

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Did you know that nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the UK each year are bought buy hire companies?

That may not be so surprising when you learn that the UK vehicle rental industry has a total fleet of around 400,000 cars, vans and trucks — of which an estimated 1,500 are stolen every year.

Against this backdrop, it’s not hard to understand why the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) is calling for more aggressive police action on vehicle crime, in the light of damning findings in a new report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The report — which describes policing as a ‘postcode lottery’ — concluded that car crime is “on the verge of being decriminalised” because forces have “almost given up”, a finding with which Gerry Keaney, BVRLA chief executive, wholeheartedly agrees:

 “Vehicle theft or fraud is one of the biggest problems facing the rental industry, but our members are largely being left to fend for themselves.”

“We need police forces to take cases of vehicle crime seriously and adopt a much more ‘joined-up’ approach to working with other constabularies.”

UK vehicle rental Operators undertake rigorous training of frontline staff and share access to an industry-wide database of ‘problem renters’, but the sector still suffers an estimated 1,500 vehicle thefts each year, according to the BVRLA, which says that vehicle rental operators are often targeted on a national basis by organised gangs.

“Rental companies are not time-wasters – they know when a vehicle has been stolen and are prepared to work closely with police to solve these crimes”, Keaney added.

To help address this problem, the BVRLA has developed its own Stolen Vehicle Reporting Guidelines to help members report thefts and ensure that police forces are provided with the right evidence and information to conduct an investigation.

The Association of Chief Police Officers and forces up and down the country have been made aware of this information, but it is falling between the cracks as more and more crime-reporting and administrative functions are outsourced, says the organisation.

You can access the full HMIC report into crime here.