Car Rental Agent

The Job and What's Involved

Car or vehicle rental agents handle all the administration and enquiries involved with renting vehicles to businesses and the public. They may also be known as reservation, leasing, customer service or sales representatives or agents.

As a car rental agent, your work would generally include:

  • Dealing with customer enquiries about the availability and cost of vehicles.
  • Taking bookings and explaining the terms of rental or leasing agreements.
  • Completing paperwork with the customer and taking payments.
  • Showing customers to their vehicle and pointing out any bumps, scrapes or special features.
  • Checking mileage and inspecting for damage when vehicles are returned.
  • Providing ongoing service and sales support, if you deal with regular business leasing accounts.

In some jobs you may deal with international clients.

In most full-time jobs you would work 35 to 40 hours a week between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday. You may need to work shifts if you work for one of the larger car hire companies that provide a 24-hour service at major airports.

You would be based in an office, but may spend some of your time moving vehicles that have been returned. Many employers will provide a uniform.

Car rental agents can earn between £12,500 and £16,500 a year. Team leaders can earn around £18,000 to £20,000 a year.

Salaries may include bonuses or commission for meeting sales targets. There may also be extra shift allowances for working unsocial hours.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You could work for one of the large international vehicle rental and leasing companies found in towns and cities throughout the UK, as well as airports and ports. There are also smaller, locally-based companies.

You will not usually need any particular qualifications, but employers will expect you to have a good general standard of education. Having the right personality and skills is often considered to be more important than formal qualifications. It would be an advantage to have previous experience of customer service, office, or sales work.

Some employers will prefer you to have held a full driving licence for at least one year. For work at airports, ports and tourist destinations, it would be helpful to have foreign language skills.

Education and Training

You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You will do most of your training on the job and you may be encouraged to work towards NVQ's in Customer Service or Business and Administration at levels 1 to 4.

If you work for a member of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), you could access a range of courses such as an Introduction to Daily Rentals, and Vehicle Inspection and Damage Recognition. They also run short courses and a management development programme, which could be useful as your career progresses.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A car rental agent needs:

  • Excellent customer care and communication skills.
  • A basic understanding of cars.
  • Sales skills.
  • The ability to deal with complaints in a professional manner.
  • Good organisational and time management skills.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Administrative and IT skills.
  • Basic maths and cash handling skills.
  • The ability to work under pressure.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could progress to a supervisor or management post.

If you gain experience in business leasing accounts, you could become an account manager, or move into fleet management.

Get Further Information

Institute of the Motor Industry
Fanshaws, Brickendon, Hertford SG13 8PQ
Tel: 01992 511521
Website: www.theimi.org.uk

British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA),
River Lodge, Badminton Court Amersham, Bucks HP7 ODD
Tel: 01494 434747
Website: www.bvrla.co.uk

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