The car rentals business in Northern Virginia, a city of nearly 2 million, has largely stayed the same in recent years, but a new boom in rental car companies could see a lot more of the industry.
“The industry is still growing, but there is a lot of activity,” said Paul Matson, owner of CarRental Richmond.
The region has been a hotbed for car rental businesses since the 1980s.
Since then, many car rental companies have been trying to make their mark in the booming local market, but Matson said his company has only been in the region for a few years.
“There was a lot to do, a lot for us to learn,” he said.
“It was a tough time, but I still believe that we can make a lot out of it.”
“It is just like any other business, there are people that need to be hired,” he added.
When CarRrentals first opened in 2011, the company offered a car rental service to customers of all ages.
In 2013, the business expanded to offer rental cars for longer distances and customers could rent from any vehicle.
But with more than 500 car rental centers across the region, CarRental’s car rental fleet is now a much bigger part of the business.
Matson said that since CarRaptors inception, he has been looking for a way to grow.
He said that the car rental industry in Northern VA is one of the fastest growing in the country.
“[It’s] definitely one of those areas where the growth is not going to be linear,” he noted.
However, as car rental operators expand, so do their costs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average cost of a rental car for a customer in Northern Va. is $2,828.
That’s $1,854 more than in the rest of the country, according to the most recent NHTSA report.
Car rentals also require cars to be inspected and tested before a rental is performed.
That means it costs a lot extra to rent a car, and that extra cost can add up quickly, said Mary Ann Muth, a senior vice president of operations at Carrental Richmond.
“When you’re renting a car for an hour or so, it adds up,” she explained.
She said that CarRacys business is not affected by the costs of inspection.
And Muth said the company is not afraid to charge for its services.
While it may be a bit pricey, Muth explained, “the money we save is the money we have to pay for the people who we need to serve.”
Muth said that while she does not want to get too into the business of pricing, she is sure that customers are comfortable paying more for car rentals in Northern Virgins.
On average, Mather said, car rental customers in Northern Richmond make $40.33 per hour.
Even if car rental rates are higher in cities in the South, she said that customers in the North are comfortable spending the extra money.
Of course, there is a catch: Car rentals can only be booked through the online booking system Car Rental Richmond, which requires an additional fee for the booking process.
For example, a customer can only book a rental from a vehicle that is owned by a member of their family.
With that in mind, Matson said CarRaleighs costs are a bit higher than some other local rental companies, like Car Rentals.
Despite the costs, Mather said he is confident that the company will grow.
“It’s always going to come down to the people we need,” he stated.
Rental cars are also not cheap.
A rental car is about $1.7 million, and the average annual maintenance fee for a rental vehicle is $1 per month.
To make matters worse, a rental company’s annual operating expenses for a car is typically $25,000 to $30,000.
This means that a car will cost more than twice as much as it would for a typical household.
What do you think about car rental prices in Northern Virginia?
Let us know in the comments below.
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