The Future of Vehicle Renting


The Future of Vehicle Renting

The future of vehicle renting in an all-electric era

It is difficult to argue against the benefits for the climate and reducing pollution of a wholesale change to electric vehicles.

Already, car maker Volvo has announced that all its new cars launched from 2019 will be partially or wholly battery-powered.

Countries, too, have been quick to declare deadlines for all vehicles to be fully electric. The UK and France have set a deadline of 2040 for ending sales of petrol and diesel engines. In India, the hoped-for deadline is 2030 and in Norway it is 2025.

Austria, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Korea and Spain have also set official target dates.

What needs to happen to turn aspiration into reality?

Not everyone wants to own a car, so it is likely that there will still be a demand for rented vehicles.

But regardless of whether people own or rent vehicles there will need to be huge changes to the infrastructure that will be needed to support electric cars and vans.

Clearly, there will need to be a network of public charging stations and the existing network of fuel stations could be re-configured. Already there are charging points in some spaces in town centre car parking facilities.

Even charging a vehicle at home overnight is not simply a case of plugging a cable into an ordinary household socket.

One of the main issues with electric vehicle battery technology is the length of time re-charging can take, although this may improve in time.

There are currently three levels of charging:

Slow – which requires a type 1 connection and can take up to eight hours

Fast – which requires a type 2 connection and offers a charging time of three to four hours

Rapid – can be as little as 30 minutes but chargers and cables are not universal.

It is likely that motorists on the move will need the rapid charge facility and motor manufacturers will have to collaborate to provide a universal cable and connection system. It would not be realistic for converted petrol/diesel filling stations to offer anything other than Rapid charging.

Installing the infrastructure is likely to be costly and this is likely to affect the vehicle rental business too.

Among the questions rental companies will need to consider are the costs and the charging options they will adopt. Again, it would make sense for them to go for the Rapid charging model. Is there likely to be any Government help towards the conversion costs?

In addition, they will need to consider if they will need extra space in their yards to accommodate the number of vehicles they will need to rent out for the business to be profitable.

Then, there is the issue of supplying the charging cables with the rental vehicle – and ensuring they are returned!

Given all these issues, the planning and preparation that will be needed, a deadline of 2040 is really not a long way ahead.

How insurance works on a Robertsons rental vehicle


Rental Vehicle Insurance and Claims

Given that there has been some adverse publicity about customers being overcharged on insurance and damage repair particularly by rental companies with a European connection we thought our customers would like to know exactly how we handle the whole issue.

We have a damage report for every vehicle, detailing its general state of repair. When a customer comes in to rent a vehicle we give them a copy of that report and ask them to also walk around the vehicle themselves and tell us if they spot anything not already listed in the report.

Vehicles are often returned out of hours at the end of rental periods, and the keys posted through our letterbox, so if we find additional damage on a returned vehicle our first action is to speak to the customer about it.

We insure all our vehicles but customers can choose the level of excess they are willing to pay.  The minimum level is £200 and the highest is £750. Customers can pay a little extra on the rental if they wish to reduce the level of excess payment.

Obviously if there has been a collision, we would expect our customer to exchange insurer details in the same way as if they owned the car, and to get the contact details of any other party involved in the collision.

If the car has been in a collision, or sustained other damage, during the rental period customers are asked to fill in an accident form, which we then send to our insurers.

 If the customer is considered not to have been at fault for the damage the excess payment deposit is returned to them by our insurers.

We take care of any damage repairs.  We don’t have “preferred suppliers” who have to pay for the privilege.  We prefer to get estimates from local companies that we know and trust and we then supply them to our fleet insurers.

Our system is therefore as cost-effective as possible for our customers and we have confidence that repairs are carried out by trusted, local suppliers who we know will do a good job at a reasonable price.

Book ahead for rentals


When you need to book ahead for a rental

While vehicle rental for our business account customers is fairly consistent throughout the year, we do experience peak time in demand for vehicle hire from the general public.

The months from March to September see the heaviest demand and there are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, people are most likely to move house from March onwards, generally hoping to complete the process before September and the start of the new school year.  Very few people want to move home just before Christmas if they can avoid it!

This means that the demand for van hire is at its peak during the summer months as more people are choosing to organise their own moves.  Usually, when people are buying a home completion day, when the moneys are released, is also the moving day, and often people have little leeway.

It’s therefore a good idea, if your move is tied to a specific date, or is at the peak time of year to book at least a week, or better, two weeks ahead.

Secondly, summer is the time for school and club trips, whether they are for a day or longer, and this means higher demand for mini-buses.

Then, of course, once the school term has ended, there are the family days out, which means higher demand for rental cars or people carriers.

Again, it helps us to meet your requirements if you can give us a week or two’s notice for booking a vehicle during the peak times of year.

Over time, we have noticed the demand for different types of vehicles has been changing.  For example, with changes to the standard driving licence, which no longer includes mini buses, we have seen a decline in demand from the general public for these, but at the same time an increase in demand for people carriers.

This means that as a company, we have to keep an eye on the trends and adjust our fleet accordingly.  But we have never let a customer down. We have branches throughout Suffolk and Essex so we can move a vehicle from one branch to another where it is needed.

Failing that, if we are completely fully booked, our MD will go to an auction and buy another vehicle!

Renting a vehicle – What are the formalities?


What are the formalities when you are renting a vehicle?

Depending on whether you are renting as a private individual or as a business, there are several formalities to complete before you collect your vehicle.

Unless the vehicle is going to be used outside the UK, there are no restrictions on mileage.  If you do want to take a vehicle abroad you will need our permission.


For general day to day use business people are always on our insurance, although local authorities and businesses can also use their own insurance.

If a business is using its own cover, we would need to see a copy of the insurance certificate. Once a vehicle is assigned to the company, they would need to inform their insurer of its registration number.

While there are no specific restrictions on use, we do ask the purpose for which the hirer will be using the vehicle. This is particularly the case for vans and trucks.  We would not supply a brand new vehicle if a business was going to use it to transport builders’ rubble for example.

We expect our business customers to check their drivers’ licence details with the DVLA.

Personal rent

Before we agree to rent a vehicle to a private user we do a licence check with the DVLA on the customer’s behalf.  It is important because it can affect the insurance cover.

Often people don’t know how to do it or do not have the time, so we do it in-house as it can be a frustrating and lengthy process. It can be difficult to get onto the DVLA website, which can be down for several days for maintenance from time to time. Occasionally using the website for no obvious reason there is no trace of a particular licence.

If that happens we will ask the customer to bring their licence into the office and then try the alternative checking method of telephoning the DVLA.  This has its own problems when we have to wait in a queue – an expensive option at 95p per minute! – but not a cost we pass on to our customers.

We need to check people’s licences because our rental vehicles are covered by our own insurance and licences bearing endorsements with more than 2 speeding or parking offences may need clearance from our insurance company.

There are other conditions attached to renting vehicles and you can check them in the terms section of our website.

Vehicle Contract Hire


Vehicle contract hire – a flexible option

Many people do not realise how flexible vehicle rental is when compared to lease hire.

With lease hire, there is usually a fixed term contract and a mileage limit on each vehicle, which can cause problems if circumstances change. Lease hire is not a service we offer.

Rental periods, however, can be as flexible as our customers want and can be changed at any time. Typically, our customers rent for periods of between a month and a year but some can go for longer.

Among our regular customers are local authorities around Essex and with two elections, local and national now expected in the next two months, we expect to be busy.

They will need vans to transport the many temporary polling stations that are needed, not to mention the ballot papers and other equipment.  It may be that people who will supervise at the polling stations will also need transport to get to and from them, especially if they are in out-of-the way places.

But there are all sorts of other tasks local authorities carry out that people are less aware of. In areas that use refuse bags rather than bins for household rubbish, who delivers the supplies of bags? 

Then, there are the meetings outside of their authority areas that officers may need to attend.  It can often be more cost effective, efficient and convenient to hire a car for a one-off event than to use public transport.

Why vehicle hire works for businesses

Among the other advantages of using a hire system for vehicles, even for a fleet of vehicles, is that they are all fully maintained with MOTs and servicing organised by the hiring company.

If a vehicle out on hire needs repairs for any reason it is straightforward to return it to us for attention and to be supplied with a replacement even at short notice.

If it should happen that a vehicle is not needed for as long as the original hire period, that’s no problem.  The vehicle can be returned earlier.

Altogether, renting vehicles for however short or long they are needed and knowing there will be no maintenance or repair costs is a more flexible option than fixed term leasing.

why hire a vehicle


Why hire a vehicle

From April 1 2017 the rules on paying Vehicle Excise Duty (Road Tax) are changing for all new cars registered from that date.

If you already have a car and are intending to keep it for this year at least you will continue on the existing payment system, although the Government has not yet indicated what will happen in subsequent years.

That’s fine, for now, but what if you were intending to buy a new car this year?

Different rates will apply to cars with a purchase price below £40,000 and for those above £40,000.

According to the HMRC website “First Year Rates (FYRs) for Road Tax (VED) will vary according to the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the vehicle. A flat Standard Rate (SR) of £140 will apply in all subsequent years. except for zero-emission cars for which the SR will be £0.

“For cars above the £40,000 cut-off a supplement of £310 on the SR will be payable for the first five years, after which Road Tax will revert to the SR of £140.” This will apply to all new cars above the £40,000 mark regardless of their level of CO2 emissions. That means it will include electric and hybrid cars.

The changes also mean that fewer cars will be exempt from Road Tax. The new VED system will only be free for electric and hydrogen cars only, so in future, hybrid vehicles will not be exempt from Road Tax.

Do you use a vehicle daily or occasionally?

Plenty of people own a car, but actually only use it perhaps at weekends or even less frequently.

In these circumstances, it may be that the convenience of owning a car is outweighed by the cost of owning it, particularly when petrol and diesel are becoming more expensive at the pumps and you consider the additional costs of maintenance, the annual service, the MOT and any repairs, not to mention the insurance costs.

Equally, having a large family car that is only rarely used to transport all the family may not be the most economical option.

Given the increasing costs of car ownership, especially when the time comes to replace the car with another that may be more expensive following the UK’s decision to leave the EU if it is an import, it may be more cost effective to consider hiring a car for those times when you actually need it.

Hiring a vehicle for daily, weekly or long term hire can include Child Seats, Booster Seats and Sack Barrows & Satellite Navigation available. All vehicles will come with breakdown cover.

Then, there are the times when a special family occasion or group outing, or the need to move household items or to move house mean you need a larger vehicle, either a minibus or a van.

So whatever your vehicle needs is it more cost effective to hire the right vehicle when you need it rather than to buy one that will depreciate from the moment you drive it away from the showroom?

Why hire a vehicle?

Guest Post – An interview with Motts Body Repair


Guest Post – An interview with Motts Body Repair

So we’ve been in touch with our good friends at Motts Body Repair who keep our car hire and van hire fleet in tip top condition by performing all of our accident repairs for the Colchester depot. We managed to grab hold of Lawrence, owner and operator to ask him a few questions!

So Lawrence what is your favourite car and why?
Favourite car? Well there are a few, but one that really stands out for me is the Aston Martin, it’s just the look and shape of them and above all the sound i guess that pulls me towards them. Plus the nostalgia of them, a combination of quality and speed and the fact they are so quintessentially British.

What is your favourite part of the job?
Well for me my favourite part of the job has to be helping customers where others haven’t. Taking their wrecked car and transforming back into its former glory, performing miracles! Sometimes i think that’s what people think we’re called miracle body repairs not Motts.

How long ago did you start the company and what prompted you to do so?
I started on my own 20 years ago in late November time this year, I was just 24 years old somehow, I always knew I was going to have my own garage. I was destined to do this job, even as a child I used to rub down my match box cars and change their colour. I got this idea from watching my dad paint air fix models. I think I may have promised my mum I would have a garage before she died when I was 14, maybe because my father had always wanted to have his own garage but never quite managed it for one reason or another, probably because he had to raise two boys on his own. Anyway, I just knew I had to do it for one reason or another.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like to ride motorbikes and now with my children, I am also enjoying doing up an old house at present which dates back to 1420 and has a shop attached to it which is said to be the oldest recorded shop in England and maybe even Europe?

So is there any exciting news at Motts Body Repair coming up?
Well at the end of this month it will be our 20th anniversary since I started the company in late November 1996.

Motts Body Repair carry out all manor or body repairs, dent removals and insurance work to name a few, for more information on their work please head over to their site


New Vehicles at Robertsons!


We have a new fleet of vehicles that have just arrived at Robertsons!

Peugeot 208 Active

Peugeot 208 Active

We have just taken delivery of 7 of these stylish 2016 plate Peugeot’s complete with a 1.6 diesel engine that boasts up to 80.7 miles per gallon EC combined, come with Air-con, electric windows, power steering, Bluetooth and central locking. Perfect for commuting to and from work, access is made easy with 5 doors, and comes complete with a 285litres of boot space.

Ford Transit (LWB 350)

We have also recently taken delivery of 4 of these brand new 2016 plate Ford transit 350 long wheel base vans, with power steering, central locking and a 2.2ltre diesel engine these vans have plenty of torque and make the ideal vehicle to help you move home or transport goods.


Ford Tourneo (9 Seater)

On top of that we also have taken delivery of 2 new 2016 plate Ford Tourneo 9 seater vans, perfect for trips out once again come complete with heated seats, Bluetooth, tinted windows, cruise control, air-con, power steering and electric windows. With a 2.2 litre diesel engine and side door access for you and 8 other passengers.

Ford Double Cab Van (9 Seater)

Last but not least we have taken delivery of some 9 seater DC vans, ideal again for seating up to 9 people, with central locking and power steering and with a powerful diesel engine which also allows for good fuel economy.


Here at Robertsons vehicle hire we are always ensuring that our vehicles are kept to the best standards, not only by having them regularly cleaned inside and out before and after use, but having them mechanically checked on a regular basis, as well as investing in the newest cars and vans allows us to make sure our vehicles not only look clean and well maintained but also have all of the latest safety features.

Why not take advantage of our great prices and get a quote for your car or van today by visiting now.