7 Things I Learned From an Afternoon at a Car Rental Company

6 minutes reading time (1188 words)

Car Rentals in Singapore


Imagine this: it’s Chinese New Year, you’ve got ten houses on your agenda, you don’t have a car, and the MRT is packed. By the time you’re knocking on your fifth uncle’s door, sweat is soaking through your clothes and your legs are ready to give way. Needless to say, that doesn’t make for a very happy CNY. Or a pretty sight.

Renting a car is an inexpensive option of solving your transport and #ootd woes - not forgetting that a brand new BMW will probably help you stand a little taller in front of your relatives. The convenience of owning a car is overstated, and if it were more affordable, who wouldn’t want a ride of their own?

But think about the skyrocketing price-tag on cars, and you’ll hear the entire nation collectively sigh together. Amidst the mounting pressure and the growing demand for the personal vehicle, Singaporeans have begun looking for cheaper alternatives to buying a car.

Here is where the Urban Motors Car Rental comes in. The company started off from humble beginnings as a new car importer in 2008. Today, they boast a fleet of over 100 passenger vehicles, ranging from small-sized sedans to luxury models, as well as a plethora of value-added services, like chauffeuring and repairs.

I paid a visit to Urban Motors’ headquarters at the Commonwealth Car Mart a few days ago, and sat down to chat with their manager, Gary. He was a personable, stocky man, and greeted me with a genial smile. “Sit down, sit down!”, he gestured. I felt right at home.

Here’s what I learnt in one afternoon.


1. Get a Car in Just 15 Minutes


Purchasing a new car is not an easy task - depending on the availability of stock, the entire process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.

As I watched customers trickle into the Urban Motors office around 2pm, I realized that they barely hung around the premises for long. Within 20 minutes or so of stepping into the office, most of them had already grabbed their keys and were ready to dash off, owing to Urban Motors’ team of well-trained staff and the ease of their verification process. Hurrah for short wait times!


2. Get the Car Wherever You Are



Perhaps you may be so strapped for time that you hardly have any to spare to take the trip down to Commonwealth. For a nominal fee of $50, their staff will send your chosen car right to your doorstep!

While you won’t be able to personally choose the car from the fleet they have available, you’ll still be able to inspect the car before taking it over to ensure that it’s up to your expectations.


3. The Cheapest Rates in Town


Urban Motors boasts a selection of over 100 passenger vehicles, of which half are rented out at any point of time. In comparison, most smaller car rentals only offer rentals from a selection of 30-50 units.

Urban Motors’ larger number of cars allows them to mark their prices significantly lower than that of their competitors - they can rent two cars out at friendlier rates to customers to get the same profit compared to dealerships with smaller fleets. A small Toyota Altis would cost you $50 a day at Urban Motors, whereas the average market rate would easily set you back $65-$75 a day.

With plans to expand this collection to a whopping 200 cars well on the way, their rates aren’t rising anytime soon.


4. Renting is Economical


According to the folks at MoneySmart, 10 years’ worth of car ownership would cost you at least S$245, 551 - which rounds out to roughly S$2046 a month.

Conversely, for a month’s rental, a car from Urban Motors can cost only $1288, depending on your model of choice. They also offer year-long leases at similar rates, and extend insurance policies to all licensed members of their client’s families.


5. Worried About Breakdowns? They’ve Got You Covered


The staff at their Urban Motors’ partner workshop carry out maintenance on each passenger car every 3 months, and review each vehicle’s interior and exterior furnishings for faults before it leaves the compound. The same procedures are conducted when the cars are returned to the office.

Unlike most car rental services, since Urban Motors Car Rental has an in-house car servicing workshop, all last minute car breakdowns (which Gary says constitute a mere 5% of all their rented cars) are attended to internally. Customers are spared the menial and arduous task of engaging external servicing workshops, which complicates the legal processes that one has to go through in the event of a traffic accident. Urban Motors even provides their repair and towing services across the causeway!


6. Many Customers Rent Cars For Months


Regulars often rent their cars for lengthy periods of time - some go by months, while others lease cars on a yearly basis. The rates go at $1288 - $3800 per month depending on the chosen model.Customers on a year-long contract are covered by insurance when their family members take the wheel, and do not have to pay the additional $25 when driving up to Malaysia.

This allows the customer to get used to driving the vehicle, and get a real feel of whether it suits their lifestyle and personal style of use. According to Gary, several customers find themselves so taken with their rented cars that they actually end up purchasing them at a resale price! So you can think of it as an extended test drive.


7. Their Staff Feel Like Family


While you shouldn’t walk in expecting marbled floors or plush armchairs, don’t let the no-frills interior spurn you; in fact, I find it channelled a sense of homeliness in the premises which completely set me at ease.

Their affable staff mostly hail from Malaysia, and have a distinctly laidback charm. Gary shared with me that their relaxed nature allows customers to warm up to them easily and many have even forged friendships with their regulars.

He beamed with pride, saying that some long-time customers will specifically buy dinner for them each time they paid a visit, and often ask them out for meals! Now that’s a real sign that these guys pay attention to their customer service.


Why Urban Motors Car Rental?


Although I only spent a short afternoon conversing with Gary, as I watched him comfortably joke around with some clients and the rapid pace of the handovers, I was left with a firm impression of the efficiency and attentiveness of their staff. Certainly, with their 100-strong fleet of passenger cars, and the array of value-added services on offer, Urban Motors Car Rental has the capacity to suit any of your needs.

Check out what happened when PrettySmart's host Christbal wanted to plan a surprise for her parents' anniversary:

For more information on their rates and car models on offer, check out their website.

This post was brought to you by Urban Motors.

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