Bad Deal Good Deal

Do Cheap Rental Rates Always Mean A Good Deal?


Ever since the birth of Uber and GrabCar in our sunny island, I find myself gravitating towards these services more often than I would stand along the roadside trying to flag a cab, which makes sense because why would you when you can effortlessly secure a ride to virtually anywhere. Of course, a huge pull factor is the affordable rates and seemingly endless promotions.

(Featured Image: Amazonaws)

But after a string of unpleasant rides, and apology emails from the operations team, I am now convinced (more so than ever) that I would make a much better and safer driver. “If only I had a car,” I thought. So I did what every car-less drive would do – price comparison of car rentals.

A comparison of arguably the two biggest private hire car rentals surfaced these points:

  • As low as a $0 deposit
  • Hourly car rentals between $4-$6
  • New drivers get two weeks of free rentals and petrol
  • Minimum fare guarantee of $8
  • Full commercial insurance coverage

(Image: Unscrambled)

And the list goes on! With all that said, it is safe to conclude that renting a car can be rather cheap but it begets the question: are cheap private hire car rentals always a good deal? Here’s what you should look out for if you’re intending to hire a car!


We all fancy new cars but not all of us are able to appreciate the price tags that come with hiring a brand new car. In a bid to reduce cost, you are likely to be drawn to cheap rental rates that are often tagged to older cars. Maybe that’s not surprising as car value depreciates over the years so it makes sense for older cars to be rented at cheaper rates. While I am not outrightly stating that older cars are always a bad choice, there are a few factors you need to consider before making your final decision:

  • Condition: Make sure to inspect the car thoroughly. You don’t want to be held accountable for any existing damage. Most rental companies require you to sign an inspection form and you’re advised to take this step seriously. If you do spot any existing damage, make sure an employee signs off any ding, scratch or dent.
  • Fuel Efficiency: Between two cars with the same rental rate, you’d want to go for the one that consumes lesser fuel for the same distance travelled. That means you can go longer distances without having to refuel your gas tank as many times lesser cost on gas.

You would find that, most of the time, a new car tends to outweigh an older in these two areas, which is why you should be gravitating towards renting a new car instead.


Will you be the only driver – or will someone else in your party take the wheel on your off days? If you share car duties, you may have to include additional names on the rental contract, which may incur extra costs.

When you rent from exclusive partners of Uber and Grab, you are prohibited from driving for another company ie. if you rent from an exclusive partner of Uber, you can only drive for Uber. As a result, you are only earning from one company. And the downside of only being able to leverage on one platform? When unforeseen circumstances (eg. system glitch) happens, your earnings will be greatly affected.

Age might also be a factor as drivers between the ages of 21-24 are more expensive due to their perceived higher chances of getting involved in an accident. Even if all your drivers are over the ripe old age of 25, you are still likely to pay a fee for every additional driver registered when you rent the car. Think carefully about how many drivers you’re sharing a rental car with. Your best bet is to keep the number to a minimum to avoid supplementary fees.

With all that limitations, you’d want to rent from a company that’s not tied to one particular private hire service provider; one that allows you to take drive for both Uber and Grab to maximise your earnings.

Hidden Costs

Most rental companies charge you for even the littlest thing. It’s the little things in life that count, isn’t it?

Need a child seat or a GPS system? Want to listen to the radio? Equip yourself and save big! As with gas, rental companies generally charge a higher rate – often on a daily basis – for extras like navigation systems or baby safety car seats. You could easily pay more for additional car accessories that you may assume come ‘standard’ with all vehicles. Whenever possible, pack your own traveling extras and be sure to have the rental company remove theirs – from the car and the bill – before you drive off.

While you save at the point of rental, it is also important you note the clauses in your rental contract. Exclusive rental parties of Uber and Grab require drivers to complete a minimum number of trips, among several other conditions, before they’re entitled to “exclusive” rental rates, which means you might end up paying more if you don’t meet their requirements. Therefore, unless you are confident to fulfil these hidden conditions, it may be more cost effective overall to rent from someone who provides fixed rental rates

Maintenance Support

As a regular Grab user, I’ve come across several drivers who are reluctant to send their vehicle for servicing as it would mean eating into their earning time. They typically only get their cars serviced when their cars no longer function optimally. Ironically, lack of regular servicing only serves to increase the chances of a vehicle breakdown, further cutting into the driver’s earning potential.

With cheap rental packages, there’s a possibility that service and maintenance are not part of the deal. To include these into the package, the rental company will have to pass the cost onto consumers, which means they will no longer be able to loan a vehicle at cheaper rates. Hence, consumers are expected to indirectly absorb these costs whenever the vehicle has any issues.

If a maintenance package is included, rental companies usually engage third-party workshops that have no affiliation with the rental company itself. The problem with engaging a third-party workshop is that you will have to liaise directly with them which may result in miscommunication between the rental company and the workshop. It is always difficult to align everyone’s expectations, isn’t it?

In worst case scenarios, the rental company not only does not have a regular servicing plan in place for their cars, it also does not provide emergency breakdown and towing support. So when your car finally breaks down in the wee hours of the morning, you’ll probably have to pay for breakdown assistance and tow service.

Insurance Coverage

When renting a car at any rental agency, it is always important to double-check the insurance coverage. Your insurance may cover the cost of damage on a rental car, if not, it might be wise to consider paying for the agency’s loss damage waiver coverage. The loss damage waiver relieves you of responsibility of any loss or damage to the car but is not necessarily included in the quoted rate so you have to ask. Otherwise, you’ll be responsible for the full price of damage.

When you rent a car, you’ll be offered an option at the counter of purchasing rental car insurance to cover any damages. This rental car insurance is usually rather pricey and you may not need it. Another available option will be coverage offered by many major credit card companies to the cardholders in collaboration with the insurance companies. But be sure to call and check first.


Ideally, the quote you are given includes unlimited mileage, allowing you to use the car as much as you want without accruing extra fees. However, some rental companies assess additional daily mileage charges, while others may provide only for a limited number of miles before they begin to charge a mileage fee.

Your One-Stop Solution: ETHOZCab

The first and foremost concern to hirers is cost, and that’s why many gravitate towards cheap old cars. But new cars don’t always have to be more expensive.

ETHOZCab provide rental of new cars from as low as $50 daily. As compared to other hidden costs by other rental companies, ETHOZCab offers attractive rental packages with a fixed rental rates and a refundable deposit to hirers operating as private hire chauffeur.

Moving on, because ETHOZCab is not an exclusive partner for either Grab nor Uber, you can easily rent a car and leverage on both platforms, doubling your income! You will also be glad to know that EthozCab provides unlimited mileage so apart from the upfront payment, you’re purely earning with this car. On your off days, you can even take the car out for a spin!

The earning potential doesn’t stop there. Under a 6-months rental contract with ETHOZCab, you earn $600 rebate which is equivalent to a week of free rental! You can be rest assured that your car will still look as good as new at the end of these 6 months thanks to the regular maintenance. ETHOZCab will make arrangements for servicing to ensure your vehicle remains well-maintained. And because we understand that sending your car for servicing might result in lesser income for you, ETHOZCab lets you earn servicing rebates to make up for time lost.

The other thing you might be worried about is insurance coverage. Well, be rest assured that ETHOZCab provides a comprehensive insurance coverage. The basic motor insurance covers third-party liability such as damage to other vehicles involved in an accident, injuries to third-party car drivers and passengers, etc. There is also the accident excess. In laymen terms, it is an amount of money aka deductible the insured person has to bear. As compared to other rental contracts that may require the insured persons to more than 1 set of excess claims, ETHOZCab’s excess is capped at a specific amount.

Other benefits of renting from ETHOZCab is the provision of a 24-hour emergency hotline for any assistance by the road so you’re not stranded in the middle of nowhere.


Why Rent from ETHOZCab?

It’s all about value. With over 35 years of experience in the business, ETHOZ are known for our reliability, high service standards and our professionalism.

As one of the cheapest private hire rentals of new vehicles in the industry, ETHOZCab offers attractive rental packages to interested hirers whom are operating as private hire chauffeurs. ETHOZCab offer high professional standard in service and support to cater for our hirers transport needs. For more information, do visit our page or contact us at 6654 8888.

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