Would you drive a “wrapped” rental car to save money?

by Car Negotiation Coach

get paid to drive a wrapped carYou bet your ass I would!  If I was renting a car in a strange town and I could save a couple hundred bucks by driving a moving ad,  I’d do it in a heartbeat.  Who cares what people think!  I’d even try to get paid to drive a wrapped car in my own town.

A car wrap is simply an enormous advertisement that can cover the doors, hood, roof, or trunk of a car.  The car rental fee is subsidized by the advertiser in order to have a travelling ad rolling throughout major metropolitans areas.

Between August 10th and November 8th, Budget Rental Car is offering wrapped rental cars to Atlanta drivers.   Budget is offering 15 full-size sedans and 10 intermediate SUV’s in the discount program.  The cars are covered in ads for Sheets Brand Energy Strips.

I went to the Budget website to see just how big a discount I could get.  I entered two identical reservations for Labor Day weekend picking up at Hartsfield airport on 9/1 and returning on 9/5.  For a full-size car, the estimated fee for the weekend was $433.  For a “sponsored rental”, in this case a wrapped Kia Optima, the weekend would cost $165.  That’s a savings of $268 for a 4 day rental!

I think this program is a huge win for the consumer, the advertising agency, and Budget Rental car which is getting quite a buzz.

How much would you need to save in order to drive a car wrapped in ads?  Would you only do it on vacation or in your home town too?

Photo: Wrap Media Group

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Although I very rarely rent cars in the U.S. I would definitely rent a wrapped car to save that much money.


Yup, for sure I would do it to save money .. how much? Even a buck, but the more saved the better. My only concern is that it really does scream “VISITOR” and maybe that makes you more of a target?! Hard to say. Sometimes the license plate is a tip off too, so it may be a non-issue.

I’d do it whenever I could, home town even. One thing that bugs me is when the car dealer puts their ads on my new car (sticker and license plate frame). When I bought my last one a few years ago I made them take them off before accepting the car. “If you want me to advertise for you, let’s talk compensation” was my attitude. They took them off.

Car Negotiation Coach

Bill, I never even considered you might stand out as a tourist and be a target for thiefs. Great point!

And yeah, when I bought my last car I made the dealer take off their dealership sticker before accepting it….absolutely no reason you need to advertise on your car for free!


Being a ‘target’ probably depends a lot upon where you are traveling. Canada? I wouldn’t worry. Some places in the US? I would be concerned. Unfortunately the wrapping works best in large, high density urban areas which is where I would be most concerned. Unless I was renting there and going out to the country.

On the other hand, maybe wrapping works as a deterrent? Would any self-respecting thief rip off a wrapped car? I have no idea.

Just don’t leave any valuables in the car, regardless, is always a good plan.

Tony Cars

Not just to save money. Imagine how easy it is to find the car in the parking lot. When you drive a rental, it’s hard enough just remembering what the car looked like, never mind finding it. Wrap me up!

Jon -- Free Money Wisdom

What an awesome idea! I would definitely be game to do it as long as the ad was moral. I wouldn’t help anyone advertise for some skeezy company. But yeah, to save a couple hundred or more I would definitely do it for an ethical company!


I don’t rent cars very often, but I would definitely consider it to save money as long as it wasn’t for something embarrassing. I’ve seen a few cars wrapped in Captain Morgan ads around the city and it’s not that weird. -Sydney

Car Negotiation Coach

@tony- great idea…a looped audio advertisement would help with that too…..sorta like the Blues Brother’s megaphone.

@jon- yes, there are some types of ads i’d probably avoid too.

@sydney- i heard some companies offer free trinkets and promos to drivers too. Load me up w/ some Captain Morgan’s Private Stock….that’s the good stuff!

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