Category Archives: Van Hire News

News and special offers from other UK van hire and rental companies.

BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney

Van hire trade body calls for yearly MOT tests for large vans

BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney

BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) says that evidence of poor maintenance on large vans means that yearly MOT tests should be required.

This is a topic we covered here on the vanrental.co.uk blog back in March 2016, when we flagged up government figures showing that 49% of vans fail their first MOT at three years old. Worryingly, almost 25% of failures were the result of brake  defects. That’s a potentially dangerous problem on a heavily laden 3.5t van.

The rules haven’t changed yet.

But the government has been consulting on plans to extend the MOT period for new cars to four years, up from the current three-year requirement. The BVRLA says that it supports this proposal, but does not believe it should be extended to class 7 vans (3,000kg – 3,500kg) due to safety concerns.

The BVRLA’s view, which I share, is that the date of the first MOT test for large (class 7) vans should be cut to one year after first registration, in order to address the potential safety concerns resulting from the current high test failure rate.

Commenting on the government’s plans, BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said:

“Modern cars are safer than ever, and rental and leasing vehicles are typically checked, serviced and repaired on a regular basis. As such, we believe the proposed extension before the first MOT test is required can be implemented without risk to public safety.

“However, van traffic is growing, and these vehicles’ average annual mileages are significantly higher than the average car on UK roads. At a time when the government’s own data shows large vans have appalling first time pass rates, the BVRLA believes these vehicles should be getting tested every year, not every three or four years. Many large vans fail their first MOT because they have not been well maintained and have substandard brakes, so they pose a real risk to road safety.”

The BVRLA says that it has met with the Department for Transport to discuss the proposals and intends to continue engaging with the Department after the consultation period has ended.

Trade bodies are often criticised for lobbying for changes that will cut costs or boost growth for their members. But in this case I think the BVRLA should be applauded for focusing on safety, even though it will increase the regulatory burden for its member companies.

BCA van auction

How do rental companies buy and sell so many vans?

One of the benefits of renting a van is that in most cases, you can be sure that the vehicle will be under two years old. Obviously this means that rental companies have a near-constant need to acquire new vehicles and dispose of old ones.

BCA van auction

Vans going under the hammer at BCA Blackbushe, where 540 vans were recently sold in a single day (source: BCA)

Rental companies are often among car and van manufacturers’ biggest customers. They will often agree deals to take a certain number of each type of vehicle each year in return for heavily-discounted pricing.

This helps the manufacturer to guarantee a certain level of production demand — essential for efficient planning.

What happens when the vans must be sold?

Whereas small companies might part-exchange their old vans when buying new models, this approach isn’t viable for big rental companies. They tend to buy direct from vehicle manufacturers and may take delivery of tens or even hundreds of new cars or vans at a time.

Remarketing — or selling — the old vans has become a major business in its own right. Vehicle auction group Manheim and BCA are the market leaders in the UK. Both companies operate on an impressive scale.

For example, BCA’s Blackbushe centre offered nearly 700 vans for sale in one day on 2 February 2017. These came from a mixture of fleet, lease, rental, local authority and dealer groups. A total 540 vans were sold on the day, setting a new one-day record for the firm.

And that’s just from one auction centre on one day. BCA has 24 auction centres in the UK and sells more than one million vehicles every year. According to BCA’s LCV Operations Director, Duncan Ward, the group is seeing high levels of van sales across its network:

“This is a significant result that underlines that BCA generates the buying power to remarket huge numbers of vehicles, swiftly and efficiently.  It also reflects activity elsewhere within BCA, as we have seen rising volumes around the group, notably at our multi-lane specialist LCV remarketing centres in Measham and Belle Vue Manchester.”

So now you know. To buy and sell thousands of vehicles every year, rental companies depend on careful planning and support from both manufacturers and large auction groups.

Will tough new London emission zone plans affect you?

In a bid to reduce air pollution in the capital, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is hoping to accelerate and expand the creation of a new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for London.

What was the plan?

The original plan was for ULEZ to apply to the congestion charging zone from September 2020. All vehicles operating inside this area during congestion charging hours (0700 – 1800, Mon-Fri) would have to meet raised standards.

For diesel vans and cars, the standard would be Euro 6.

What’s being changed?

Mayor Khan is now hoping to get agreement to bring forward the introduction of the ULEZ by one year to 2019.

He’s also hoping to introduce a £10 emissions surcharge on pre-Euro 4 vehicles entering London from 2017. That would generally affect diesel cars and vans registered before 2005.

In a more ambitious move, Mayor Khan is also proposing that from 2020, the ULEZ should be expanded to cover the whole area inside the North and South Circular roads for motorcycles, cars and vans.

Why is this needed?

Car exhaust tailpipe emissionsRecent government health statistics make it clear that this is a serious problem:

  • 443 schools in the capital are in areas where pollution exceeds safe air quality levels.
  • Nearly 10,000 Londoners die from long-term exposure to air pollution every year.
  • The health impacts of air pollution in London are estimated at £3.7bn each year.

It’s clear that something needs to be done, in my view. Simply waiting for natural attrition to eliminate older, more polluting vehicles, may not be enough.

Commenting on the proposals, Mayor Khan said that the current situation is the modern equivalent of the smog problem seen in London in the 1950s:

“It is the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act of 1956, which was passed following the great London smogs of the 1950s.  The legislation made a huge difference to life in London and saved countless lives.  British politicians at the time did an amazing thing and responded on the scale that was required.  Today we face another pollution public health emergency in London and now it’s our turn to act for the good of Londoners and for future generations to come.

“Just as in the 1950s, air pollution in London today is literally killing Londoners.  But unlike the smoky pollution of the past, today’s pollution is a hidden killer.”

What’s the problem with cutting pollution?

I’ve discussed the failure of the Euro 5 emissions standard before on this blog.

Euro 6 should provide a significant real-world reduction in NOx emissions, but the number of Euro 6 vans on the road remains very low. Although Euro 6 models have been available from some manufacturers for the last year or so, customers were mostly opting for cheaper Euro 5 alternatives.

If Mayor Khan goes ahead with a plan to expand the ULEZ, then van operators who typically use secondhand vehicles could find themselves unable to buy compliant vans ahead of the 2019 deadline.

This is because the majority of the used van market is supplied by fleet and lease firms, who usually keep their vans for between three and four years. Euro 6 vans have only started selling in volume over the last 6-12 months. This means that relatively few are likely to enter the secondary market before 2019/2020.

For van operators who can’t afford or to buy or lease a new van, operating in London could become difficult.

Mayor Khan is lobbying the government to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme to help address this issue, but comments so far from ministers suggest this is unlikely to be adopted.

It may be that operators will be forced to rely on daily and long-term rental vans to bridge the period between the introduction of the enhanced ULEZ and the widespread availability of used Euro 6 vans.

These proposed changes are currently under consultation. If you’d like more information or want to have your say, visit: www.london.gov.uk/cleanair

Bayfield Vehicle Hire

Jolly Good Shrewsbury and Telford is now Bayfield Vehicle Hire

Bayfield Vehicle HireIf you rent vans (or cars) in the Shrewsbury or Telford areas, then you may have used Jolly Good Vehicle Rentals before.

This company has changed name and is now trading as Bayfield Vehicle Hire.

Nothing else has changed and Bayfield’s staff, phone numbers and bank account details remain the same.

The reason for this post is that you may have heard that the company operating the Wrexham branch of Jolly Good Vehicle Rentals has ceased trading. Bayfield is a seperate company with no connection to the Wrexham firm, so is not affected by this event.

You can find more information about Bayfield Vehicle Hire on our Shrewsbury and Telford pages.

Alternatively contact the Bayfield team directly:

  • Shrewsbury: 01743 770035 / shrewsbury@bayfieldgroup.co.uk
  • Telford: 01952 570057 / telford@bayfieldgroup.co.uk
  • Web (coming soon): bayfieldvehiclehire.co.uk
Moving house with a van

Heading to University? There are still a few vans left!

Moving house with a van

You just can’t get all of this into a car!

The ‘university commute’ is now gathering speed.

Even as I write, many of the UK’s 1.7 million undergraduate students are moving out of their parents’ homes and into university accommodation.

Each year, we see a big surge of demand for rental vans at this time. But availability is limited.

Renters who wait until the last minute to book may be disappointed, or forced to rent a van that’s much bigger or smaller than they want.

If you or your children are heading to university this autumn and you’re planning to hire a van, act now! The big hire companies still have some availability in most areas, but popular vans and locations are selling out fast!

To make sure you don’t miss out, start now. To compare quotes from leading UK van hire companies, click here now.

If you’re not sure where to start, then here are a few suggestions:

Finally, if you’ve got any questions about anything to do with van hire, leave a comment or get in touch and we’ll do our best to help:

Moving house with a van

Heading off to university? Book van hire early and save!

Heavily-loaded van

You just can’t get all of this into a car!

Summer may be a slack time for many businesses, but here at vanrental.co.uk it’s one of the busiest times of the year.

One reason for this is that as we head into September, there’s a sudden rush of people trying to book vans for the long trip back to university.

Official figures show that there are 1.7 million undergraduate students in the UK.

It’s probably fair to assume that well over one million of them will be moving away to start the university year in September.

That’s a seriously big move! Unfortunately some van hire companies may run short of vans on popular weekends.

If you own a car, then you might consider using this instead. But as I’ve explained before, the family car doesn’t really cut it in these situations.

Most cars simply aren’t big enough to contain everything you’ll want to take. Using your car like a van can also cause serious wear and tear. If you or your parents have recently splashed out on a new motor, the last thing you’ll want is for the inside to be scuffed and damaged by student gear.

Hiring a van is the only sensible option. Booking early often gives you access to advance discounts, especially if you pre-pay.

For example, at the time of writing Hertz is offering a discount of up to 15% for customers who pre-pay. We also have an exclusive 10% discount for Sixt Van Rental.

If you’re not sure where to start, then here are a few suggestions:

Finally, if you’ve got any questions about anything to do with van hire, leave a comment or get in touch and we’ll do our best to help:

VanRental.co.uk van

Arnold Clark to open new van rental location in Nottingham

Glasgow-based rental and sales group Arnold Clark will shortly open a new Motorstore branch in Nottingham. The new location will be the firm’s 22nd Motorstore branch and will offer both car and van rental and car sales.

It will be located at:

Nottingham Motorstore
Lenton Industrial Estate
Redfield Road
Nottingham
NG7 2UJ

Recruitment is currently underway — visit the Arnold Clark website for details of vacancies.

Limesquare Vehicle Rental

Limesquare Vehicle Rental heads north with Rotherham branch

Limesquare Vehicle RentalLong-standing vanrental.co.uk advertiser Limesquare Vehicle Rental is aiming to have 15 branches across the UK by 2020.

The firm currently has eight branches, the most recent of which to open is a large new ‘super site’ in Rotherham. Limesquare’s most northerly branch is a large, 11,000 square foot office and light industrial site at which the firm plans to base 500 cars and vans.

The site’s location at Farfield Park, Rotherham is mid-way between the M1 and A1(M). It’s within a short distance of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. In addition to daily rental services for personal customers, Limesquare offers full corporate hire services from this location.

The address of the branch is: Temple House, 1 Farfield Park, Manvers, Rotherham, S63 5DB. You can contact Limesquare Rotherham directly on 01709 794 090.

Limesquare’s other branches are located at Bracknell, Chertsey, Grantham, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Peterborough and Swindon.

Heading abroad in a hired van? Missing paperwork could prove costly

Car ferry

Anyone driving in mainland Europe is required to carry a vehicle registration document. That’s easy if you are in a vehicle you own, but what if it’s hired or leased?

The hire or lease company which owns the vehicle won’t provide the vehicle registration document. Instead, what should happen is they will issue a VE103 document to the driver of the vehicle. This  contains details of the vehicle taken from the V5, along with the name and address of the hirer.

This is the only acceptable substitute for the V5C, and enables the authorities to verify that the person driving the vehicle has permission to do so.  Photocopies of the V5C or letters of authority are not accepted. 

The penalties and inconvenience resulting from failing to carry a valid VE103 document can be considerable, warns the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).  Drivers caught without the correct documentation can face long delays which can be time consuming and costly. The consequences will vary according to the country, but a driver may be fined and the vehicle could be impounded.

The BVRLA has been told of drivers being stuck at border control for four days while the VE103 document is sent through to them. There are even examples as close to home as Dublin where drivers have encountered issues following minor parking infringements.

BVRLA Director of Member Services Nora Leggett says:

“Whether it’s because they are not aware of the rules, or they decide to take the risk, there are drivers who travel abroad in a leased vehicle without the correct VE103 documentation. And we aren’t just talking about company cars; there are a significant number of commercial vehicles that leave the UK without a VE103 too.  It is essential that businesses understand their responsibilities and educate drivers to avoid significant disruption.”

What do you need to do? If you are planning to take a hired van abroad, you must arrange this in advance with your hire company. That includes driving into the Republic of Ireland in a vehicle hired in mainland UK.

There will be an additional fee, in return for which the hire company will normally provide you with a VE103B document plus European insurance and breakdown cover. You should also check whether any extra equipment is required, such as reflective yellow (hi viz) vests or breathalysers.

European use is not normally included in hire agreements. Anyone taking a hired vehicle abroad without the agreement of their hire company may also find that they do not have insurance or breakdown cover. 

Europcar van hire

Lincoln Wickes offers hourly van hire this Easter thanks to Europcar

Europcar van hire

Europcar vans will be available for £17 per hour at Wickes in Lincoln this Easter weekend.

Europcar is one of a handful of big hire companies which offer hourly van hire in the UK (another is Hertz).

This service is very popular with customers, but is harder for hire companies to operate profitably — hence its limited availability.

Hourly hire comes into its own for short distance moves in towns and cities.

Picking up large furniture or DIY purchases is a good example. To try and capture some of this market and presumably trial a new service, Europcar is making two VW Crafter vans available at the Lincoln branch of Wickes this Easter weekend.

Europcar’s research shows that nearly 20% of 35-44 year olds have admitted to driving an overloaded car. This is surprisingly easy to do when purchasing DIY supplies, given the weight of quite small items. A standard bags of gravel, sand or cement weighs 25kg. Tiles and paving are also very heavy for their size.

The vans will be available for just £17 per hour, according to Europcar UK boss Ken McCall. Commenting on the Wickes initiative, Mr McCall said:

An overloaded car presents visibility issues and could compromise vehicle handling, not to mention being uncomfortable and probably requiring multiple journeys.

If you are planning a big DIY job or house move this weekend and will be hiring a van, Europcar has also provided the following tips to help make sure that you and your load arrive safely at their destination.

  • Remember to distribute cargo evenly to ensure the van handles correctly
  • Load the largest, heaviest items first such as appliances or furniture and keep them upright
  • Use padding to protect corners or wooden surfaces – this will help you slide heavier items into the van
  • Use spare mattress protectors to cover sofas and mattresses and place them on their sides against the walls of the van to save space
  • Dis-assemble bed frames, tables and desks but making sure you tape the pieces together
  • Roll-up rugs and carpets and tape these at each end and in the middle and place these on the bottom on the van
  • Put heavy boxes at the bottom then stack the lighter boxes on top
  • Slide long items such as floor lamps in along the sides of the van
  • Place odd-shaped items on the top of your load if they are light enough or place them last in the van ensuring that they don’t move around when being transported
  • Pack all items as tightly as you can to prevent anything breaking whilst on the move

If you’re still worried, check out our guides on driving a van for the first time and how to do a DIY removal job.