What you should know before requesting transport quotes

These pages cover all the information you need to know before requesting a transport quote. They will help prepare you for requesting a transport quote and provide an overview of how the transport industry works.

Before posting a travel plan it's important to understand how a transport company will be calculating your quote. Rentautobus wants to help you get the best possible deal on your ground transport. So we're going to explain exactly how a transport company turns your travel plans into a detailed quote.

How a transport company calculates your quote

Unlike booking a hotel room or a plane ticket, transport companies can't offer standard rates to every customer. They don't run a timetable of identical services or have a sequence of slightly different rooms.

The costs for every itinerary and travel plan will be different and every quote is bespoke and personalised to you. However, every transport company has a pretty simple formula that is easy to understand. In general they will be looking at four main factors:

a) The size and type of vehicle

Obviously a 70 seater deluxe coach is going to more expensive than an old 8 seater minibus. Better and bigger vehicles will cost more and that's why it's always good to know exactly how many passengers will be on your trip. If you can downsize your vehicle then your quote with invariably be cheaper.

b) The route and distance (in kms or miles)

The majority of transport companies will have a per km or per mile rate. These vary between countries and destinations and also heavily depend on the size of the vehicle. Some companies do not charge for distance when the trip is short, such as a city centre tour. In these cases they will offer a maximum number of kms or miles that can be used. However, route and distance is the major factor in multi-day transport hire.

When booking point to point trips remember that the total distance also includes the vehicle returning to the starting point. While your group may continue their trip in a new destination, your vehicle needs to return back to the company depot. In short, the company needs to calculate the cost of the fuel and the wear of the vehicle as well as the working and driving time of the chauffeurs.

c) The length of the trip (in hours or days)

Transport companies need to employ drivers for your journey. So they need to know the exact duration of your trip. Most companies will have a standard day or hour rate that may or may not include a maximum number of kilometres. EU regulations dictate how long a driver can stay at the wheel before taking a break. So longer trips incur greater costs as the transport company often must employ two drivers.

In general, the time is calculated from when the vehicle leaves the depot until it returns. So even if your group only spent two hours in the vehicle, the transport company may calculate three or four hours. One of the great advantages of using local transport companies is that you minimise this additional time.

Driving time and a driver's working hours is a major part of the cost. For example, you might request a day trip with two transfers, like going from a city to a theme park in the morning and returning in the evening. The transport company might not be able to use the vehicle or driver for other journeys and these costs must be calculated. However, if the theme park is close enough, the transport company can combine your trip with that of another client. Remember, that even if the driver isn't driving, he's still going to be working and costing money which the transport company must include in your quote.

d) Extra costs when contracting chauffeur services

There are some standard extra costs that you are going to have to pay for. The most common of these are: parking fees, highway tolls, driver meals, and overnight accommodation for drivers. In addition, if you are travelling at the weekend, at night, or on regional or national holidays, extra supplements might be applied by law. It's important that the transport company can foresee all these extra costs and add them to the quote. Note that tipping is not normally included in the quotes but very much appreciated by the drivers.

Why being flexible can save you money

A little bit of flexibility can go a long way to bringing down the costs of your ground transport. Every transport company is looking to be as efficient as possible. Perhaps if you started your trip an hour later the transport company can combine your trip with another customer's trip. Transport companies know when the roads are busiest and the journey will take the longest. If you travel in off-peak hours you can reduce the length of the trip.

Local transport companies are in a great position to provide personalised information that assists in planning your trip. They will have worked with customers who have booked similar trips to the one you are planning. So they may know inside information about how to improve your itinerary. Maybe it's good to avoid a popular attraction at peak time. Perhaps a slight change to the route can save money on kilometres. On our site you can directly negotiate with the transport company and discuss details like these.

Making good use of empty miles/kms or dead miles

Most of the best deals in chauffeured transportation are made by using dead miles or empty vehicles (also called empty legs). This is when the transport company has completed a one way trip and is returning an empty vehicle back to their base. For example, a transport company in Barcelona might take a group of clients on a multi-day coach trip that ends in Paris. The coach and drivers need to return to Barcelona. Except they don't have any passengers. So a transport company will offer an amazing deal for any passengers going from Paris to Barcelona.

Another example might be a transport company taking a group from Eindhoven Airport to Amsterdam Airport. They will then offer very competitive quotes for an Amsterdam Airport pick-up that is travelling in the direction of Eindhoven. The vehicle and driver is already there.

Sometimes we get emails from clients who are surprised about received transport quotes from companies who are based in other cities or even other countries from their departure point. We have transport companies from Barcelona , Madrid and Lisbon who quote in Paris or Amsterdam because they just delivered a group and have to wait 6 days before taking them home again. Since these vehicles and drivers have already been paid by the 1st group they can now offer other services in this destination withvery competitive pricing.

Organising meals and lodging for drivers saves you money

When booking a multi-day trip you will need to cover the costs of driver accommodation and meals. Transport companies usually apply a standard per meal and per night fee to cover these costs. However, many hotels and restaurants will offer complimentary meals and accommodation, particularly to coach and minibus drivers who accompany groups. If you're booking hotel accommodation for a large group of people you will be able to get better rates on a room than the transport company. By offering to personally organise meals and lodging you can remove a large chunk of the extra costs from your transport quote.

What if you don't have all the information to request a quote

It's very difficult for a transport company to provide a quote if they don't have all the information. Each quote a transport company provides is only applicable to the travel plan it's been created for. So it's based on the number of people, the route, the number of days, and the date of the trip. Fortunately, with Rentautobus, it's easy to change the details of your travel plan and directly negotiate a new quote with a transport company.

Maybe you are in the first part of planning a tour and want to get a rough idea of transport costs. One solution is to estimate the situation and then fine tune the details at a later date with the transport company. Another option is to ask customer service if they can do a rough estimate for you. Either way, it's good to provide as much concrete information as possible.

Ask a question or place a comment

We welcome your questions and comments about these info texts. Please feel invited to ask us any question about your private chauffeured transport search and arrangements in any of our listed countries. We’ll do our best to reply within 1 working day.

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