Hiring the right car from the right car hiring company in Kenya nowadays has become a tall order. There are many scammers, brokers, unroadworthy cars of good cars but with ridiculous conditions to get them. It has become a norm for many that if you want a car, especially for long-distance travels which mean you are going out of Nairobi, you need to hire from somebody you know like a friend or relative operating a car hire company.
There are many things one needs to consider before hiring a car for long-distance travel in Kenya and here is a list of them.
1. Research, Research, Research
Unless you have an emergency and need a car immediately, I would suggest you research thoroughly on the car you want, the type of car, seat capacity and verify the owner if you want to hire from an independent owner which I tend to find a little bit risky. But you need to research on the car you want to hire.
2. Book Your Ride Earlier
If you want to hire from a genuine car rental company online or in person, just do so earlier to avoid the last-minute rush. Late bookings can ruin your trip where the person renting can tell you that the car is not available in the 11th hour after agreeing minutes ago and you will end up disappointed. Earlier bookings can also give you some discount from the renting companies.
3. Check The Payment Terms
Check if the car rental company offers payment options you will be comfortable with. These are like Mpesa, cash payments or credit cards.
4. Don’t Pay in Advance
This can be otherwise if you know the car renter personally or have dealt with them personally before. Many car rental companies you will get online which tell you to pay a deposit in advance are usually cons, 70% in that case. Don’t trust anybody easily with your money as you will be easily conned.
5. Know Their Fuelling Policy
I never knew this before but you need to. Before hiring a car, you need to check out their fuelling policy. Some rental companies give you a car with a full tank and expect you to return it while it is full too. Many others just give you a car with a blinking red fuel gauge and you know the drill, return as is was.
6. Countrywide Back-Up Service
Since you are travelling far, you need to be sure than in case something happens to that car like it breaking down, which they do, then you can get a replacement almost immediately all over the country to continue with your journey undisturbed.
7. Agree On an Open Location for Pickup if Hiring From an Individual
If you are hiring from an individual and not a company, and you haven’t met this person before, it is safe to agree with him/her to meet at an open location for pickup. Some thieves can lure you to disclosed locations as a pickup location and rob you since you find that most of the clients had agreement on paying upon pickup/delivery.
8. Check The Car Thoroughly During Hand Over
There is a time I was travelling upcountry and we decided to hire a car with my friends. The owner gave me the keys and off we went without checking and she clearly saw that. So upon returning it, she said it has a fresh dent somewhere near the bonnet, I laughed because I had seen that dent though I was not keen when she gave us the car. We could have paid for that. What iam trying to say is that it is very important to check the car thoroughly when it is being handed over to you. Check for every mark, dent, scratch, missing a thing and every imperfection and even the windscreen so that you cant be forced to pay for it upon returning it.
8. Read The Car Rental Agreement Carefully Before Signing
Just like any other agreement, you need to go through it carefully before signing it. The small clauses in the agreement you might not read are the ones which will turn out to be very important. Know if the insurance, sales tax or fuelling costs are included in the quoted price in the rental agreement. Some car renting companies don’t give a car for less than three days over the weekend, check that too and don’t fall for it because you signed an agreement blindly.
Also, understand what will happen if the car is damaged in your possession and stuff.
9. Check The Car Safety Essentials Before Leaving
Check the treads on the tyres and also check the spare tyres. If it is not inflated, inflate it. Inflate the other tyres accordingly. Check if the car has a first aid kit, a car jack, reflective triangles, an extra container of coolant, fire extinguisher, air pump, jumper cables and a map if necessary.
10. Keep Your Payment Receipt
Keep your receipt for hiring a car just in case of anything you can claim for a refund if need be or in case something happens like an ownership case about the car while you have it.