If you need wheels to leave town for the weekend or if your windshield looks like a spider web after this week's hailstorm, don't wait until the last minute to get a car. You will be turned down by several rental companies, and you will be among a few lucky customers at others.
Unfair Park dialed up five big-box car rental companies, and we heard a common chorus: We're swamped.
Enterprise does the majority of its business with insurance companies, which means their cars evaporated after the storm, subbing for customers' full-time vehicles currently in repair shops.
Selling out in the summer isn't uncommon, an Enterprise representative said, but after the storm, they've been solidly sold out for most of the week. Absolutely zilch remains, she said, adding that they don't know when the fleet will return because it can take from a day to over a week for repairs. It's "luck of the draw" if you approach their rental counter in the next several days.
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Budget on Ross Avenue similarly has no availability. They'll take reservations for Tuesday, but can't promise anything earlier. They also supply cars for those with insurance policies that cover rentals.
But for those desperate for a vehicle this weekend, there's hope. A representative for National said they currently have available cars, "and the rates are surprisingly low," she added. They've replenished their local fleet since yesterday, when they were completely sold out.
A Dollar representative said they have a few cars, but people better make reservations and get 'em while they're hot because availability is limited.
For those who, despite all this, are still laissez faire about renting a car for the weekend, Thrifty's got you covered. They only have compact and economy availability, but a car's a car when supply is as thin as it is now. "It's open for walk-ups," an employee who sounded far more relaxed than any of the others said, "we've got enough."