My significant other and I normally drive to Empire, however our car is very small, and barely fits the two of us and kit in.
Ideally we would like to be able to offer lifts to our friends who live near us.
We’ve looked into hiring a bigger car/van thing and also a trailer, but both seem very expensive.
What’s the most cost effective way to do up our capacity?
I have had good experience with hiring vans from Enterprise. If you can club together the people it can be cost-effective to hire a van for all your kit and then place the maximum number of people in cars. Vans seat three, so seven or eight people is a good minimum number.
The trick with any car or van hire is to acquire liability insurance from a third party and not the hire company. This is phenomenally cheaper (~£24 for a weekend on a van third-party; reducing the excess to a reasonable amount via the hire company may cost that much or more per day!).
If you have someone with the right category of licence then a minibus can be a very good option, if that someone has links to a school, scout group or similar then it gets even more cost effective.
Trailers are expensive, surprisingly so. Don’t knock livestock trailers, you get a lot more trailer for your money compared to a touring trailer (but you need to store it, or clean it thoroughly before putting kit in)
I’ll echo Dre’s advice about hiring a van, I’ve hired the last few from Enterprise as well and they work out roughly the same price as a large car I’ve found and can shift three people plus a lot of kit. You can also find local van hire firms that will be cheaper.
Btw Dre how do you go about getting third party liability? I didn’t even know you could do that as I normally wing it and just get the minimal amount of cover and make sure I drive carefully fingers crossed. I suspect if I was driving a lot more people’s kit though I wouldn’t be so casual about that .
As I’m bringing up a large group tent, tables, chairs and set dressing I normally ask my lot for £5 each to offset the cost of the van and split the rest of the cost between the three of us. Normally works out reasonable, but then I do have a large group.
You can shop around of course (and should) but basically they cover you up to about £3k in excess. Enterprise’s excesses have gone up recently so I highly recommend this course of action. Make absolutely sure that you book the insurance BEFORE you pick up the vehicle or you will not be covered!
100x this. Excess cover from third party suppliers online is always the best way to save money on any form of vehicle hire. Annual policies can also be bought which can also make more frequent hires even cheaper. Van hire is definitely one where local mom and pop places can be much better value than the big chains.
Category B covers up to 8 seats inclusive, so you presumably need a category D1 licence for a vehicle with 9 seats. I believe licences prior to 1999 cover this however, but anything newer than that won’t by default.
The magic number for weight is 3,500kg laden. Any more than that and you need a special addition to your licence. 3,500kg is a lot though!