Zipcar’s growing success in the rental car business has encouraged the company to expand to cargo van rental services.
Aiming its sights at van rental companies, U-Haul and Budget, Zipvan will have a pilot release in the San Francisco and Oakland area, beginning with a fleet of only six Ford E-150 vans in three San Francisco neighborhoods and expanding by early January to 15 vans throughout the bay. The birthplace of the alternative rock sub-genre, grunge, Zipvan hopes to better serve young college students, local musicians, bands, and artists alike. Zipcar has long built its business by catering to college students.
While Zipvan’s starting price of $14.75/hour or $99 a day may not always undercut U-Haul, Zipvan believes its flexible options and convenience in ordering a van will ultimately make their business model more appealing. Zipvan members can skip extensive paperwork and simply log onto their account and reserve a van via four simple taps on their smartphone.
Another key differentiation between Zipvan and U-Haul is the convenience of renting either by the hour or by the day. What’s more, U-Haul and Budget usually charge a base rate while the renter will be responsible for purchasing gasoline. Zipcar, on the other hand, will include gasoline, insurance and up to 180 miles of travel per day in a complete package.
Finally, Zipcar will not apply extra fees for drivers aged 21-23. Budget Rentals, on the other hand, add on $18 per day for young drivers.
If the pilot proves successful, Zipvan will expand its service to other North American markets in 2012.