Our 2 Experiences Using iMoova Vehicle Relocation Service
A campervan for $1. Sounds too good to be true, right? What if I let you know that we also got a car for $5 per day.
We first learned about iMoova.com by reading about it on another travel blogger web site – unfortunately, we can’t remember which one so thank you to whomever that was! The way it works is that car and camper rental companies sell vehicle relocation services through iMoova. They’re currently located in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK and Europe.
What is a vehicle relocation?
A vehicle relocation is when a car rental company needs a vehicle back at a different location from where it is currently located. For example, they may have a car in Sydney, Australia, but need to get that vehicle back to Brisbane, Australia (over 900 km away). Rather than pay an employee to drive the vehicle, they allow people to do the relocation for the company for ridiculously low prices, like $5 per day. There are restrictions though. For example, you may only have 3 days to make the trip and are given a 1200 km mileage allowance…versus unlimited, like a typical rental.
Experience #1 = Car for $5 per day
The above scenario sounds great, right? That’s exactly what we did for our first experience with iMoova.
We signed up with iMoova to be notified when there would be a relocation available within the timeframe that we wanted to travel from Brisbane to Sydney.
iMoova sent us an email letting us know that a relocation was available for $5 per day and that we would have 3 days and 1200 km (300 km extra versus the actual distance) to do the relocation. Great!
We signed up and paid iMoova a $25 booking fee along with the specific date/time that we would pick up the car and quickly received a verification email.
We picked up our car (a Hyundai Accent) at Europcar (a large car rental company here in Australia). The process was the exact same as if we were renting a car. The only difference was that we were paying $5 per day and had a return deadline.
Our Total Cost for a 3 Day Car Rental
iMoova Fee: $25 AUD (Australian Dollar)
Europcar $5/day Relocation: $16.50 AUD (includes tax)
Europcar $5.23/day Second Driver: $17.66 AUD (includes tax and credit card fee)
GRAND TOTAL: $59.16 AUD (around $44 USD)
Nice! In terms of insurance, our credit card and travel insurance both include Collision Damage Waivers which had us covered so we did not need to purchase the additional coverage offered by Europcar.
What would it have cost normally?
I just did a price check on the Europcar web site for a Tuesday to Friday one-way Hyundai Accent rental from Brisbane to Sydney.
$834.11 AUD (around $625 USD)
This does not include the credit card fee and second driver fee. It does, however, include a $350 AUD fee for a one-way car rental…this is a fairly common fee for companies to charge.
So, we basically saved around $580 USD by using iMoova.
None with the car rental (we did have a few with the camper van experience…see below). It felt exactly like a typical car rental experience, just a whole lot less expensive and a specific timeline we needed to return the car within.
Experience #2: Campervan for $1 per day
Yep. Not a typo. We secured a Toyota Hiace campervan through Apollo Motorhomes (another big rental company in Australia) for $1 per day. It was part of their “Hippie Camper” line, which is where their older campervans go to retire. Ours had around 300,000 km on it, but ran great…two thumbs up for Toyota!
Was the process the same?
Yes. As with the car, we signed up with iMoova to be notified when a campervan was available between Brisbane and Cairns.
They let us know that one was available for $1 per day within our time window.
We signed up to pick up the campervan in Brisbane at 10:00am on Tuesday and return it to Sydney 2:30pm on Friday.
What was different?
The iMoova fee was a bit higher ($75 AUD) since it was a campervan…no biggie. Makes sense. The process with them with identical, otherwise.
Our credit card and travel insurance do not include Collision Damage Waiver coverage on campervans, so we did purchase this at $20 AUD per day, along with another coverage (tire and windshield) at $7 AUD per day.
We purchased a linen package for $10 AUD so that we had blankets, towels, etc., for the trip.
What were the negatives you mentioned above?
The Apollo agent we had was not very friendly or helpful. Our campervan had more personality. We think that added to the feeling of being at a used car lot where someone is trying to upsell you.
For example, they offer a “toll package” that gives you $50 AUD of tolls for $39 AUD. That’s fine if you need tolls. We didn’t think we were going to hit any toll roads on the way up, but weren’t 100% sure since we don’t know the area. We told her we would just pay the tolls along the way or at the end if needed. Guess what that cost would have been? The toll, plus $75 AUD per toll. That’s not a typo. Seventy-five dollars. Um, ok. I guess we’ll get the $39 AUD package. We get incentivizing the package, but seriously…$75 AUD per toll? The other car rental companies we dealt with in Australia charge a flat fee (around $4 AUD) if you go through a toll, plus the cost of the toll. However, that $4 flat fee covers you for 24 hours.
Another one was the $75 AUD cleaning fee option. She said the campervan had to be returned like they provide it…clean. She also advised that most car cleaning services charge $79 AUD to wash a campervan, but we can pay them $75 AUD and not have to worry about it.
First of all, cleaning rental vehicles should be a cost of doing business for a rental company. As in, built in to your operating costs.
Second of all, the day I pay someone $75 AUD (or $79 AUD) to scrub down a van is the day I don’t have the willpower to pay $6 AUD at a drive-up self-wash carwash (which is what we did) or ask a nice guy to borrow his hose.
Needless to say, we declined that one.
Finally, we arrived to Apollo promptly at 10:00am, anticipating it would be a quick and painless process like a typical car rental (Europcar above had us in and out). Nope. We didn’t get out of there until almost 11:30am. I understand they may have been busy, but that is too long. Plus, our relocation time started at 10:00am, not 11:30am, and they did not extend our relocation end time. As a result, we lost valuable drive time on an already tight schedule.
Several other people there, including a nice family from Australia, were making the same observations and said this was not typical of their experience renting campervans with other companies.
Despite the negatives, it was still a good financial deal.
iMoova Fee: $75 AUD
Apollo $1/day Relocation: $4 AUD
Apollo $27/day Insurance: $108 AUD
Apollo Linen Package: $10.00 AUD
Apollo Toll Package: $39.00 AUD
Apollo Misc Fees: $17.72 AUD
GRAND TOTAL: $252.72 AUD (around $190 USD)
It’s hard to quite nail down a comparison because I couldn’t find this particular vehicle on their web site for a similar travel duration, but a one-way campervan rental with a similar vehicle would be around $800-$900 AUD, not counting insurance, a second driver, etc. This also includes a $300 AUD one way fee.
We saved around $650 USD. Our cost was less than the one-way fee alone!
Not Enough Time for the Campervan Relocation
This was our fault. Doing the trip from Brisbane to Cairns in that short of a timeframe was too much driving. We covered 1700 km in 3 nights. It was beautiful country, but that was a lot of driving! It would have been nicer over 4 or 5 nights. With a future relocation, we’ll see if we can extend a day or two, even if we need to do that at the typical rate.
We should note that the Apollo agent at the other end (in Cairns) was far nicer and friendly. She had us squared away and out of there in 5 minutes. Perhaps we hit the Brisbane group on a bad day.
Ok, this is getting long…wrap it up!
Will we do a car relocation again?
Will we do a campervan relocation again?
Maybe. It depends on the amount of time we have. Plus, fuel was way more expensive than a car so by the time you pay for the extra fuel, insurance, campsites (if you can’t find a free one), etc., you’re probably not doing much better than a car relocation with AirBnB accommodations! Of course, part of the campervan is the experience!
Will we use iMoova again?
Yes, but we’ll also contact the rental companies directly to see if we can secure a relocation through them and avoid the iMoova fee. With that being said, iMoova is very easy to work with and it is nice that they do the hunting for you!
We have certainly learned how to drive on the left side of the road. Gotta love those “bum ticklers”! 🙂
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