Renting a passenger van – major rental agencies vs. independent ones

Logo on a Greenvans passenger van rental

Renting from a major car rental agency has its perks – there are plenty of locations throughout the country and an abundance of vehicle classes to choose from. However, when renting a specialty vehicle like a passenger van, you might find that availability is rather limited. 

In this post, we’ll compare and contrast the benefits of renting from big-name agencies including Hertz vs. Enterprise and Avis vs. Budget. We’ll then determine what independent agencies have to offer and why you might want to consider renting your 15-passenger rental van with one.

Renting a passenger van from a major rental car agency: Hertz vs. Enterprise and more

A google search for “vehicle rental companies” will likely bring up big name agencies like Hertz and Enterprise. What’s the difference between the two, and is Enterprise or Hertz cheaper? Even though car rental analysts say that weekly rentals with Enterprise are consistently cheaper than Hertz, cost isn’t always the determining factor.

There’s more to it. Renting a vehicle means researching availability, location, customer service, and amenities. You’ll want to know the pros and cons of each company before making your decision. To help you do that, we’ve compiled a comparison chart that compares Hertz and Enterprise in six categories with our choice of category winner.

Check it out:

Now that you know the pros of renting a passenger van with Hertz and Enterprise, what are the cons? 

Here’s where both agencies fall short:

  • Limited fleet of passenger vans
  • Accessories like XM radio and GPS will cost you extra
  • Not all locations offer toll services
  • Not all locations offer airport delivery
  • Agencies are known for canceling reservations at the last minute due to inventory management issues 
  • Must be at least 25 years old to rent a passenger van
  • May not receive the vehicle you chose while booking

After looking at the differences between Hertz and Enterprise, let’s take a look at two more of the industry’s biggest agencies. Avis and Budget are regular players in the rental car arena, appealing to those who value a better deal for their wallets.

In this chart, we’ll compare Avis vs. Budget in the same way we contrasted Hertz vs. Enterprise.

Now, onto the cons of renting from Avis and Budget.

Both agencies could do better in the following:

  • Customer service is ranked below average
  • Adding on additional drivers may cost you extra
  • Lower rates often mean less amenities 
  • Limited selection of passenger vans
  • Agencies are known for canceling reservations at the last minute due to inventory management issues 
  • Surprise! You may not receive the vehicle you chose while booking
Photo by Kelly

The major agency gamble: will the vehicle you want be waiting for you upon arrival?

One of the most important things to know when renting a vehicle from a major agency is what you must do to guarantee that a rental car will be available when you arrive to retrieve it. Here’s what you need to understand when making a reservation with a big-name agency like Hertz, Enterprise, and Budget.

The difference between a reservation vs. guaranteed reservation

Almost the same word, two very different meanings. The difference between a reservation and a guaranteed reservation will determine if there is a 100% shot that a car will be ready for you upon pickup. 

  • Reservation: In the case of a reservation, the agency knows you have the intention to rent a car but can’t guarantee that the car will be available. In the case that it’s not, you will be given the option to take another car, upgrade, or wait until a suitable car is available.
  • Guaranteed reservation: With a guaranteed reservation, you pay in advance to ensure that the vehicle you want will be on the premises when you arrive at the rental agency.

Reservation number vs. your actual “place in line”

Are you renting a specialty vehicle like a passenger van? Upon booking, you’ll be given a reservation number which will give you an idea of your “place in line”. This doesn’t necessarily reflect the order in which you’ll be serviced. That depends on vehicle availability, location, and how many loyalty members are waiting. 

Cheaper rates vs. assured availability

As an independent rental agency, we commonly hear things like “I got a cheaper rate from Enterprise, why rent with you?”. The answer is simple. By renting with us, you can be sure that the passenger van you booked is the passenger van you’re going to get, at the time and place you requested. No hidden fees, no last minute substitutes, no unexpected cancellations.

The independent rental agency advantage

If you prefer a rental experience that is both straightforward and guaranteed, consider renting from an independent agency. This is the best way to ensure vehicle availability, especially in the case of a specialty vehicle like a 15-passenger rental van. 

  • The vehicle your group needs: Independent agencies have a curated van selection that caters to large groups.
  • The best on the market: Smaller agencies offer better quality, well-maintained vans.
  • Personalized service: Expect individualized customer service that focuses primarily on van rentals.
  • Speak to a human, not a robot: With an independent rental agency, you’ll be able to speak directly with friendly representatives instead of navigating through an automated call service.
  • Interact with experts: Because small agencies usually rent a specific class of vehicle, reps know passenger vans in and out and can answer any questions you have with full transparency. 
  • What you see is what you get: When renting from Greenvans, you know that the van you see on our website is the van that will be waiting for you.

Choose Greenvans for your van rental needs

The last thing you want is to plan an epic road trip and find out at the last minute that the agency doesn’t have the van you want, or worse, has canceled your reservation entirely. 

Avoid horrors like these by renting from an independent agency. This is critical when renting a specialty vehicle, such as a large passenger van. We rent passenger vans for a variety of reasons! Here are a few:

Great for family road trips

Families large and small love the comfort and togetherness that comes with renting a 15-passenger rental van for their vacation.

Perfect for your wedding day

The chic, sophisticated design of the Ford 15-Passenger Transit makes the vans ideal for wedding transport of bridal parties, guests, and extra supplies.

Ideal for bands on tour or production teams

By removing the back row or two of seats, we can fit all the gear and equipment a team needs for an upcoming music tour or film set.

Reliable for corporate outings or church groups

Passenger vans are a professional transportation option for outings like church concerts, community service events, and corporate meetings.

Excellent for camping and skiing vacations

Some vacations require more than just suitcases. With a passenger van, you can bring along skis and snowboards, tents and sleeping bags, and whatever other tools you might need for your skiing or camping trip.

The best option for East coast or cross-country road trips

The cushiony seats, spacious interior, and giant windows of a passenger van make it the perfect fit for a road trip across the U.S.A. 

What do people say about renting a passenger van from Greenvans?

Want to know exactly what it’s like to rent a passenger van from Greenvans? Here’s what our customers have to say about us:

Could not have imagined a better passenger van rental experience with Greenvans. Their team was available for any questions and help 24/7. We were a group of 15 and we all fit very comfortably. Lots of safety features as well. Excellent service!

Eric S.

We compared prices to every other van rental company in MA and couldn’t find a single price even close to what Greenvans was offering us, they’re a no brainer.

Chris G.

Where to begin?? I can NOT say enough about this amazing company! Customer service is superb! They went above and beyond our expectations to see that all our accommodations were met. The vehicles are new and run well. The eleven of us were comfortable and enjoyed our 8 hour journey.

Chelle L.

Why is renting from Greenvans better than renting from a big agency?

Greenvans has been renting vans to groups of all kinds since 2008. Our team knows what you need and when you need it, which is why we’re committed to making the van rental process as simple and transparent as possible. Instead of automated services, our customer service reps are on-call to answer all of your questions. Our online reservation system is easy-to-use, so if you don’t feel like picking up the phone, we’re just a click away.

Photo by Pixabay


Are major agencies more likely to have newer model vans?

Because of the excess mileage put on rental cars, major agencies usually replace their cars after one or two years. Greenvans replaces its vehicles every two years.

Do the benefits of a large network of locations (major agencies) matter for van rentals?

Not really. A large network of locations doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed the passenger van you want in that particular location. Independent agencies like Greenvans offer the option to deliver your vehicle anywhere in the country, so you will receive the van you want in the location of your choosing. 

Do the insurance options differ between major agencies and independents?

A bit. Coverage options are nearly identical – the difference lies in price points and deductible amounts. Because big agencies deal in such a high volume of drivers, they have the option to self-insure. Independents do not have the same volume or budget, meaning they must go through third-party insurance providers that sell fewer options at higher costs.

Do major agencies have daily mileage limits for vans, and how do they compare to independents?

Major agencies like Enterprise and Hertz have a daily mileage limit for vans of around 100 miles and charge per mile over that limit. Independent agencies who rent only passenger vans may have a higher daily limit. Greenvans, for example, includes 300 miles per day with a passenger van rental. 

Do independents offer unlimited mileage options?

Many independent agencies offer unlimited mileage packages as an add-on. Greenvans gives you the option to upgrade to unlimited miles for rentals of less than 10 days.

Do major agencies offer airport pick-up and drop-off for vans, and how does it compare to independent services?

Agencies like Hertz and Enterprise provide rides from your terminal to the rental office to pick up your vehicle. It’s rare that a major agency will deliver the van directly to you after landing. On the other hand, independent services like Greenvans can arrange airport delivery and drop off in accordance with your flight times.

Are there additional fees for after-hours pick-up or drop-off at independents?

There are usually additional fees to schedule out-of-hours passenger van deliveries or drop offs. Contact Greenvans directly to schedule your airport pick up and drop off.

For a seamless passenger van rental experience, rent a van with Greenvans! Get your free rental quote today.


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