How to choose the right car rental company in Uganda

Car rental in Uganda is a business that operates under limited government restrictions. Most car rental agencies are unlicensed operators. In order to choose the right car rental company, there are a number of things to consider for a hustle-free drive around Uganda.

Many of the points we would have highlighted in this article are those that address how to choose the best car rental agency among the all licensed car rental companies in Uganda. However, most of the car rental agencies in Uganda are unlicensed. Therefore before you consider who is offering the least prices, first find out whether you are dealing with a licensed operator.

If you simply prefer having a good price, it is important to put the following risks into consideration

Risks Involved in Hiring a car with a none licensed operator

Hiring a car with a non-licensed operator is very risky. There are quite a number of dangers that you ought to be ready to face in case they arise during your trip. Among these include the following:

Lack of safety standards

Non-licensed operators rarely adhere to any safety standards or regulations. It is common to find that their cars are in poor mechanical condition. The brakes are rarely checked; they are only changed when they totally wear out as well as anything else.

Lack of insurance coverage

It is common for none licensed tour operators to claim that their cars are insured. But it is only when you land in an accident that you find out that the car wasn’t insured. Though Comprehensive insurance also covers the drivers and passengers, you will be left in a position where you ought to meet all your medical bills in case of an accident.

Legal issues

As of now, the government of Uganda has not put out strict measures to limit car rentals by unlicensed tour operators. However, trouble arises when you get into a lawsuit and you end up criminally charged for aiding illegalities instead of receiving remedies for the damages caused by the unlicensed agency.

Hidden fees

Non-licensed operators may have hidden fees or charges that are not disclosed upfront, which could result in unexpected costs that you were not prepared for. Among the hidden costs include fuel, drop-off charges, extra drivers, and undisclosed charges.

How to identify unlicensed companies

In order to avoid the above risks. Here is the best way to identify none licensed car rental agencies in Uganda.

Company Registration

All companies in Uganda are registered by the Uganda registration service bureau.  When you visit their website, you can simply do a search to confirm whether the company you are dealing with in Uganda is registered or not.

If you search the Uganda registration service bureau and fail to find the company listed on their website, it means the company you are searching for is not registered.

Company Licensing

Most car rental agencies that work in the tourism industry are licensed by the Uganda tourism board. All tour operators that possess a license with the Uganda tourism board are listed on the Uganda tourism board website.

It is only licensed tour operators are allowed to buy gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking permits from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Most unlicensed car rental agencies that are not licensed by the Uganda tourism board often partners with licensed operators to help them secure gorilla trekking permits for Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national park.

Prices and huge discounts

The VAT in Uganda is 18%. On top of the VAT, there are surcharges involved in the money transfers. It is therefore wise to always deduct 20% from the amount you are paying the company if you realize that’s price given to you by the operator is less by either $30 per day; there is a likelihood you are dealing with a none tax complying agency.

For instance, the common price for a Rav4 is either $45 or $50. If you find an agency charging $30 per day. There is a huge likelihood that they are not registered. There is no possibility for a company to charge you $30 when they have to pay insurance of around $600 in a year, they have to do repairs for the car as well as pay taxes.

Physical Address

Most unlicensed car rental agencies in Uganda do not have physical addresses. Every time you have an agency with a physical address, it is one of the things that prove that you are dealing with a reliable or licensing agency.

In Uganda, all licensed agencies are required to have signage on their offices. If the company does not have any branded office photos, then that is proof that you are dealing with a none registered car rental agency.

If you take cautious steps on the above four points, then you are likely to end up with a reliable car rental agency