What are the traits of a good car rental company? For many people, service and price are the two top determining factors of the quality of a rental car company. Others prefer to use vehicle availability as their measuring stick.

The respected car research firm of J.D. Power and Associates decided to ask 1,000 frequent users of car rental companies to rate the very best in the nation. The results bode very well for a company that has already been dominating the car rental market for years.

1. National Car Rental – Rating 809

According to the survey done by J.D. Power and Associates, customers felt that National Car Rental offered the best combination of service, price and availability for all of the brands that were available. National had a strong showing in cost, pick-up process, ease of returns, vehicle quality, reliability of the shuttle service and customer service.

2. Enterprise Rental Car – Rating 799

Enterprise Rental Car has been expanding away from their core airport business and into population areas. So far, the transition has been extremely successful as Enterprise place a very close second to National in each one of the six categories.

3. Alamo Rent A Car – Rating 782

Alamo also finished with scores that were on par with Enterprise and National. While this could be considered a coincidence, it is actually not. All three companies are owned by Enterprise Holdings. While they all operate with separate management structures, they all maintain a very similar standard of quality and customer satisfaction.

4. Hertz Rent-a-car – Rating 773

According to the survey, the national satisfaction average for all car rental companies is 775. That means the Enterprise companies were the only ones to get above average scores. Hertz has been in business since 1918 and is considered the largest car rental company in the world. But despite its history and significant resources, Hertz was only able to muster a rating of 773 in the J.D. Power survey.

5. Avis Rent-a-car System – Rating 770

Avis rounds out the top five car rental companies with a score that is only a few points off from the Hertz score. Avis is also known for its fleet of rental trucks and the company holds a significant portion of the airport car rental market.

An interesting fact from the survey shows that customers preferred a pick-up bypass system to dealing with the rental counter. It was also shown that rental companies that smiled at customers more often, were the companies that received the higher grades.

While 350 of the customers surveyed insisted that price was their determining factor, it wound up that service was actually the most important element. The companies such as National and Enterprise that excelled at customer service were the ones that got the majority of the higher scores.