Car Rental or Leasing Agent
Car Rental or Leasing Agent
Education and Training High school or college plus training
Salary Varies—see profile
Employment Outlook Very good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Car rental agents usually work for large national companies and are stationed at airports, bus and train terminals, and car rental offices. They specialize in renting vehicles to travelers and others who need cars for short periods, such as businesspeople, vacationers, and drivers whose cars are being repaired.
Agents fill out forms, check driver's licenses, and collect deposits in cash or by credit card. When cars are returned, agents prepare the final bills for rental fees and mileage charges. Most of the mathematical computations have been computerized.
Supervisors, called station managers, run rental offices and supervise and train rental agents. Customer service representatives handle customers' complaints or problems.
Car leasing agents are usually salespeople who sell leasing services to individuals and businesses that need cars for long-term use. Many businesses and some individuals find it more economical to lease cars or trucks than to purchase them, partly because leasing companies often pay for repairs and maintenance on their vehicles. Customers pay a fixed leasing charge in return for the use of the vehicles and whatever services are listed in the lease. If customers lease fleets of trucks, salespeople negotiate the total price of the lease. Many salespeople get commissions on the leases they sell.
Car leasing salespeople work out of the regional offices of large leasing companies and in the leasing departments of large car dealerships. Many travel extensively to sell leasing services. They work under the supervision of sales managers and regional managers.
Many other people are employed in the business of renting cars and trucks. Some specialize in renting moving vans or construction equipment, while others maintain and repair the rental cars and trucks.
Education and Training Requirements
Car rental agents must have high school diplomas or the equivalent. Most of the large rental companies have short training programs.
Leasing salespeople must be college graduates with at least one year of sales experience; however, companies occasionally hire applicants who have only one or two years of college education but have been salespeople for several years. The large leasing companies have formal training programs that lead to assignments in specific sales territories.
Getting the Job
Job seekers can apply directly to rental and leasing companies. College placement offices, job fairs, newspaper classified ads, and Internet job sites are all sources of employment leads.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
A car rental agent can become a station manager or a customer service representative. Experienced representatives sometimes move into the training departments of large rental companies.
Car leasing salespeople can become sales managers and regional managers. Some salespeople advance to supervisory jobs in the main offices of large leasing companies.
The employment outlook for car rental representatives and leasing salespeople is very good through 2014. Car and truck rental and leasing services are growing rapidly, creating new jobs. Despite overall growth in the industry, however, most openings occur as representatives are promoted or leave the field.
Car rental agents usually work behind well-lighted, well-ventilated counters in airports and terminals. Some work in offices near car rental lots. They must maintain a professional manner and be patient, for their customers are often stressed from traveling. Many agents work part time. Evening, weekend, and holiday hours may be required.
Car leasing people spend much of their time on the road calling on customers. Because commissions make up part of their salaries, they work under pressure to sell as many leasing services as possible. The job can be stressful. Some workers are members of labor unions.
Earnings and Benefits
Wages and benefits vary widely, depending on location and union membership. In 2004 the median income for car rental agents was $10.42 per hour. The starting salary was usually $5.15 per hour, which is minimum wage in most states. Salaries for car leasing salespeople may fluctuate, depending on the commissions they are paid. In 2004 the median wage for car leasing agents was $17.87 per hour.
Where to Go for More Information
American Automotive Leasing Association
675 N. Washington St., Ste. 410
Alexandria, VA 22314
American Car Rental Association
1225 I St. NW, Ste. 500
Washington, DC 20005-3914
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, AFL-CIO
25 Louisiana Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001-2198