In 2016, I had two different experiences with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car has been around since 1957 and has close to 6,000 locations worldwide. It is the largest rental car company in the United States.
The First Experience
I had to get the rim repaired on my own vehicle due to an unfortunate pothole incident on Morris Bridge Road near Temple Terrace. That’s another story for another time. After barely making it to the repair shop on a Sunday afternoon, I took an Uber ride to an Enterprise location in North Tampa to pick up a rental.
The rental was paid for with a debit card, so they charged a $200 deposit over and above the cost of the rental. I also needed my driver’s license (as you’d expect) and two utility bills no more than 30 days old. I didn’t have them on paper. Fortunately, I pay my cable and electric bills online, was able to retrieve them on my phone, and emailed them to the clerk who took care of my rental.
I originally requested a smaller compact car, but that wasn’t available. The location was slammed with customers that day. I accepted an upgrade to a Ford F-150 truck for no additional charge. They also threw in a quarter tank of gas. Upon return I only had to pay $5.00 total for gas. The location I rented from has a Mobil gas station in the same parking lot. The convenience couldn’t have been better.
The return was quick and easy; I was the only one at the location. I signed and was on my way, in my own car with a newly-repaired rim. The deposit was returned to my debit card in 1-2 days.
The truck itself was nice, drove well, plenty of room in the cab. It had a few thousand miles on it, so it drove like a new vehicle. I would consider this vehicle were I in the market for a good-sized crew cab pickup truck.
The Second Experience
We went on a recent roadtrip to Dallas, Texas, which I will be writing about in a not-too-distant article.
We signed up online for a mid-sized car (Hyundai Sonata or similar) and arranged for a noon pickup at a different Enterprise location not far from the first location.
This time I used a credit card, which makes the rental process more seamless. No utility bills; just a driver’s licence. They put a $200 hold on your credit card for a deposit, which may or may not show up on your bill, depending on your bank.
Once again, the desired car was not immediately available. We were instead offered a Jeep Patriot at no extra charge. We took it, as the extra room seemed appealing.
The Patriot was sluggish in acceleration and had a small gas tank, requiring us to stop every 250 miles or so to refuel. On long trips, the gas tank capacity and overall gas mileage is a consideration to not be taken lightly. On the flip side, the Patriot was a comfortable ride.
As a pleasant surprise, the sales rep gave me a courtesy call a few hours into the rental just to see if everything was going OK.
The experiences both times with Enterprise were pleasant and went the same way. Employees are well versed and standards seem uniform from location to location.
If you compare prices with other rental car companies, Enterprise will probably come out the least expensive or close to it. Be warned though, the online price offered is not an out-the-door price. They will attempt to up-charge you on insurance, care, and fuel packages. The lower tier package is necessary in case of breakdown and there’s a loss of days being in the shop. This will at least double the total rental amount. Check with your car insurance agent to confirm the extent of your coverage on rental cars. A handful of credit cards also offer to cover any losses to rentals, but confirm this with your credit card provider.
To be perfectly honest, I strongly dislike up-charge pitches after the fact. Their pitches are aggressive and make the customer service aspect awkward. I want an out-the-door price proposal, with the ability to pick and choose options online before I agree to a price. This is something Enterprise should strongly consider adding to their online system.
This is my one major beef with Enterprise. Other than that, their cars are clean and well maintained. Their staff is professional and courteous. Their equipment during the rental and return process is modern. I did virtually all signatures on a tablet in the parking lot, a receipt printer is attached to the waistline of each agent.
Additional drivers are allowed, but with an additional fee.
Would I recommend? Yes. Just keep their up-charge tactics in mind.