Hiring a van is much the same as hiring a car; the only real difference is the reason that people actually hire vans. Contractors often hire vans to maintain their operations while a vehicle is in for service or repair while many choose to rent a van when they are moving furniture and other items. There is a wide selection of different vans out there for hire ranging in size and drivability meaning that renters are almost sure to find the perfect vehicle for their requirements. The rental process can be confusing however; hopefully the following advice will give renters a better understanding of this process and how to have the best van hire experience.
The first and most important thing to remember is that when you arrive at the hire company, it is vital to have all of the relevant documentation at hand. Naturally you will be required to bring a copy of the rental agreement and conformation number for your booking, without it you have no proof of purchase and hence will not be able to rent the vehicle. As well as the company literature it is normal procedure to bring a valid driver's licence, both parts, the photo card and paper element will be needed. Utility bills may also be needed to provide a proof of address, especially if your address differs from that on the licence. If booking with a credit card, the company may also wish to take the details of this to ensure that the payment is valid.
Most companies will have a fuel policy for all of the vehicles they let out. In the majority of cases fuel is not included meaning that if the van has a full tank when it is picked up, on its return the fuel level should be the same. As many vans are diesel it is always worth checking with the company before departure to see what type of fuel the vehicle uses.
The hire process usually involves a deal of paperwork. Part of this paperwork will be the rental agreement but also companies will give you a vehicle report form. This form typically contains information on the vehicle's mileage, interior cleanliness and whether any dents or scratches are evident. Using this form to assess the van is important; make a detailed check all over the van to ensure that when you return the vehicle you are not given any additional charges for damage you have not caused. Larger companies will normally have some form of breakdown service, before departure make sure to take this phone number just in case the vehicle falters.
Some companies will put a mileage restriction on their vehicles. Check this in the rental agreement and if it is likely you will exceed the restriction; change the contract so that it provides unlimited mileage. For those using their van for a self move it is usually advisable to hire a variety with a tail lift. This device can take much of the effort out of moving, saving your back and ensuring that the move is as easy as possible.
Driving a van is fundamentally different from driving a car, this is why it is vital to familiarise yourself with the controls of the vehicle before departure. As with any vehicle adjusting the mirrors and driving position is essential, visibility in vans is normally reduced so this is vitally important to ensure your awareness on the road is suitable. Take time to drive the van carefully noting the differences in handling and of course the extra height of the vehicle. By taking a conscientious approach it should be possible to drive the van safely.
Hopefully this information has given the renter advice on how to get the best from their van hire experience. Understanding the rental agreement and having familiarity with the vehicle will all help in this.
Rental expert Thomas Pretty looks into the van hire process and why care should be taken when driving larger vehicles.