How would you describe your van supersites?
“Vans are available from all of our 155 UK car rental outlets, but Hertz now has 20 van supersites specifically set up to work with LCV business rental customers.
“Our van supersites are where we corral van expertise as well as our fleet of vans. We are able to offer customers mobile servicing and fitting out, while our supersites feed the smaller sites. They will do spot rental, but it’s essentially about longer-term flexirent.
“Our flexible van rental service helps customers focus on growing their businesses efficiently, by removing the financial commitment of purchasing a fleet and by saving them the administrative headache of insurance, breakdown cover, maintenance, servicing and road tax.”
How many vans does Hertz offer in the UK?
“We have more than 6,000 LCVs on the road, but it’s a very different business to cars, particularly on flexirent.
“Last year we grew by 26% and this year we will see double-digit growth. We have a relatively small percentage of the UK hire market, so there is potential for good growth.
“As the UK comes out of recession the growth we are seeing is really interesting and people are less willing to sign up to long contracts. People really like the flexibility of flexirent.”
Are you planning additional van site growth?
“We don’t think that we need many more supersites to provide a backbone of service across the country. But vans have been outgrowing a number of locations.
“It is really hard to find the right sites though, we don’t want to compromise. The Glasgow site for instance can take up to 1,000 vans, while this site in West Thurrock has a capacity of 1,300 vans.”
Are you building the fleet in response to specific customer demand?
“We buy to service customer needs, but hire can be one month to three years. The customer can return the vehicles at any time without penalties. Some people see rental as a supplement to a leasing fleet, there’s a trade-off between lease and hire.”
Hertz is updating its innovative 24/7 van hire service with the addition of PIN number pads, for anytime access to vehicles. There are currently more than 300 of the firm’s 24/7 vans based at branches of B&Q, Costco, Ikea and Homebase.
Customers who discover that all of that flatpack won’t fit in their car, can sign up to the 24/7 service by downloading an app, onto Apple or Android devices. They can then upload their driving licence details and credit card before renting a van, literally by the hour, to get their goods home.
This originally relied on the store being open, so that customers could access the vehicle keys, but that is no longer the case as Hertz is rolling out a touch keypad that is stuck inside the windscreen of the van. The customer is sent a six-figure PIN number for the hire, having booked a van. This is typed in at the agreed rental time and the LCV unlocks. The keys are tethered inside the vehicle.
Each vehicle has a mobile phone connection so Hertz can check that everything is okay once the hirer has checked over the vehicle, reporting any damage from the previous user before setting off. The vans are provided with a fuel card that can be used at any time, as rental is charged by the mile.
When the van is returned and the door closed, the vehicle is locked and immobilised, with the invoice for the hire sent to the customer’s account, to be accessed on smartphone, tablet or computer.
“We’re pretty selective about our partners for 24/7,” says UK general manager Neil Cunningham.
“We do it through Costco, Homebase, Ikea and B&Q and expansion means finding relevant partners with the footfall and the need for the vans. Our ambition is to get a van within 10 miles of 90% of the population.”