How does Fetch handle reservations and vehicle availability? Scheduling and availability planning isn’t an easy problem. It’s rife with trade-offs and without a perfect solution. How do we guarantee availability while also providing flexibility if your plans change?
When renting a truck or cargo, there are currently two options that vendors offer for procuring your vehicle:
1. Reserve a vehicle for an entire day, without a guarantee.
With this approach, renters are required to rent a vehicle for an entire day. Most truck and van rental companies also will not guarantee availability of specific vehicles. Just like airlines, truck rental companies will typically overbook vehicles. This leaves you hoping that your desired truck or van will be still be available when arriving for pick up.
The advantage of reservations is that they do typically provide some amount of confidence that your vehicle will be available for you. However, requiring the one-day minimum-rental period isn’t efficient for customers with jobs only requiring a one or two-hour rental.
2. Rent a vehicle by the hour, on a first-come first-serve basis.
In this model, trucks or vans are only available on a walk-in basis; truck availability is never guaranteed and reservations are not allowed. Renters may arrive to find that all vehicles are currently rented and without any sense of when the vehicles will again be available.
The advantage of this model is that once a vehicle is rented, paying by the hour means you can keep the vehicle out as long as your job requires, without fear of a late-return fee.
What if a hybrid model existed?
With both of the above models, there are very clear advantages and disadvantages. At Fetch, our primary concerns for customers are:
- Guaranteeing availability
- Not overbooking trucks or reservations
- Providing hourly and daily rental options
- Providing flexibility to change or extend rentals as needed
We’ve tested and refined our reservation process. We think it provides the right balance between security and flexibility. Here’s how it works:
- Reserve a truck for pickup. Modify, reschedule or cancel your reservation up to 24 hours prior to your start time without penalty.
- If your plans change at the last minute and you need to cancel, you’ll receive a credit to redeem for a future rental. (Since we don’t overbook rentals, renters are responsible for reservations within 24 hours of the start time.)
- After picking up your truck, if you need to extend your rental, you’ll be able to do so as long as your truck or van has not been reserved by another renter. If your truck rental is ineligible for extension, and it isn’t returned on time, there’s a $30 late-return fee. (We charge this late-return fee for a few reasons. First, we typically provide the renter that cannot pick up their vehicle on time a discount to help offset their inconvenience. Secondly, the late-return fee incentivizes on-time returns.)
While this system isn’t perfect, it covers the key tenets we want to provide customers:
- Predictability in knowing your truck will be available when you reserved it
- Flexibility to modify your reservation at no cost (up to 24 hours prior)
- Options for extending your rental time
- Hourly and daily rental pricing
We continue to try to improve our reservation model, and we welcome feedback from customers and partners.