Iceland Car Rental: Supplier vs Broker

Emily Draper

10 min read
Iceland Car Rental: Supplier vs Broker

When renting a vehicle, customers often wonder whether or not it's better to book through a car rental broker or direct with other well-known car rental companies. Many assume services are cheaper when you buy straight from the source rather than the middleman.

When it comes to car hire, this is not the case. Just like people tend to get better flight deals when booking a trip through a travel agent, they tend to get better deals on car hire when booking through a broker.

In this article, we show you exactly why booking car hire through a car rental broker can be more beneficial. Expect to find out what the broker's role is, how they get better deals for their customers, and what advantages they provide customers besides better value for money.

Image of a man being surprised

Some of the insights we share may surprise you!


  • Car rental brokers act as intermediaries between customers and rental companies
  • Brokers provide marketing and booking services on behalf of rental companies
  • Rental companies use brokers to cut costs and access a common market
  • Booking through a car rental broker is often cheaper than booking directly with a rental company
  • Brokers offer additional benefits, including customer help and support, free insurance, price-match guarantees, no hidden fees, free amendments, 100% refundable deposits, and free cancellation
  • Brokers provide peace of mind and a more satisfying experience for renters
  • Brokers have a thorough knowledge of the cars they rent out and can answer questions about their performance and features.

What does a car rental broker do?

A car rental broker is an intermediary for car rental companies and their target market, car renters. In other words, car rental brokers act as sales representatives and booking agents on behalf of individual car rental companies.

In its role, the broker serves two main functions.

  • The first is to market and book rental cars on behalf of car rental companies.
  • The second is to help car renters find their ideal car at the best possible price and take care of them during their trip.

Essentially, this makes car brokers reliable market experts that are mutually beneficial to both car rental companies and car renters.

Why do Iceland car rental companies use brokers?

Car rental companies are primarily a car supply service. Its job is to supply a range of cars, 4x4s, vans, and motorhomes for customers to rent when they need temporary transport.

There is a lot of responsibility involved in owning and renting so many hire cars. This includes a full range of operational duties such as sourcing the best cars to rent out, carrying out safety tests, doing mechanical and electrical maintenance and repair work, and valeting cars when they're returned after use.

Image of types of rental cars that Northbound, a car rental broker in Iceland, offers.
Northbound offers all types of vehicles.
Since there is a lot of cost and labor involved in these operations already, it is not cost-effective for car rental companies to also manage their own marketing and booking services. It only increases the prices of their rental cars and makes them less competitive. This is where the broker comes in ? ***they do the marketing and booking services on behalf of the car rental company, allowing them to focus on operations.***

Furthermore, car rental brokers work with all of the car rental companies in each location they cover, creating a competitive common marketplace for them. If a car rental company chooses not to use a broker, it will be excluded from the common market and will likely lose out on customers. Therefore, their customer base is heavily reliant on the car rental broker.

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Why is it cheaper to book through a broker?

It's a common misconception that by cutting out the car rental broker and going straight to the source (the car rental companies) you'll get a better price for your rental car. While this does seem logical at first, it isn't actually the case.

Here's why:

As previously discussed, by providing car rental companies with marketing and booking services, car rental brokers are allowing them to cut costs. In exchange, car rental companies often authorize car rental brokers to offer better rental deals than they offer themselves, creating a win-win solution for both parties. This is why you'll often find better prices on broker websites than on individual car hire company websites.

Northbound Car Rental Reviews
Northbound car rental reviews.
However, even if the car rental broker's price for a particular vehicle matches the car rental company's price, there are multiple benefits and inclusions within the broker's price that make them the cheaper and more reliable choice overall. In other words, you're guaranteed to get more for your money when you hire a car through a car rental broker.

In the next section, we will take a closer look at the benefits and inclusions provided by car rental brokers.

Why is a car hire through a car rental broker more beneficial for renters?

We have already established that car renters benefit from booking their hire cars through brokers by receiving better deals than car hire companies can offer when booking direct. However, cheaper prices are just one of the many benefits a car renter will get when booking through a broker.

Think of the car rental company being the vehicle supplier and the car rental broker being the customer-facing storefront. As with any business, there are many advantages to buying something from a store rather than directly with the supplier because, as the customer's point of contact, it's the broker's job to act in the customers best interest to provide them with a seamless and satisfying experience.

To do this, the car rental broker offers an extended range of services and benefits to customers that choose to book through them. This service is not provided to the same extent by car hire companies themselves because their primary focus is on car rental operations.

Let's take a deeper look at the benefits of hiring a car through a car rental broker below.

What are the benefits of hiring a car through a car rental broker?

In this section, we will show you the potential benefits you can get when hiring a car through a broker by taking a look at the benefits leading Icelandic car rental broker Northbound provides its own customers.

Customer help and support

A screenshot of Northbound\'s help center webpage.
Northbound\'s help center.
As part of the customer experience, Northbound acts as the customer's point of contact throughout the car hire process from choosing the car that's right for them to using the hire car and returning it.

This starts with free help and advice on booking your hire car. Once you're on the road, Northbound will check in with you and also provide you with weather updates that can affect driving conditions. They are also always willing to answer questions about your booking experience, vehicle and more.

Free insurance

When renting a car, it's important to have the right insurance to cover the type of trip that you're planning to take and that's why Northbound includes the most relevant insurance packages in the price of their rentals.

For example, harsh weather in Iceland can often damage vehicles, and so Northbound includes insurance for weather damage in its rental prices. Some car rental companies, on the other hand, do not include insurance in their prices; it's treated as an add-on. As a result, car renters don't buy the correct insurance to meet their needs and others go without insurance altogether. If their car gets damaged in this instance, renters will be paying out of pocket for repairs.

Screenshot of benefits that Northbound offers, such as free amendments, price match guarantee and exceptional customer service.
Northbound has many benefits.

Price match guarantee

Northbound allows you to compare prices of the same rental car offered by different car rental companies so that you can find the cheapest offer. It also promises to match prices should those provided by car rental companies and other brokers be lower for the same vehicle chosen for the same dates.

This means their customers can rest assured they aren't being overcharged or forced to book their hire car through a company with fewer benefits than Northbound.

No hidden fees and free amendments

When quoting car hire prices, Northbound guarantees they remain the same upon check-out. This means they don't lure customers in by offering a tempting pre-tax car rental price only to double it upon check-out with tax and added extras like insurance and priority services.

Also, if Northbound customers want to alter their booking for any reason, they can do so without extra cost. Car rental companies, on the other hand, might charge a processing fee to change booking details.

100% refundable deposit and free cancellation

Northbound is a fair car rental broker that ensures customers feel safe and satisfied spending their hard-earned money with them by offering a 100% refundable deposit and free cancellation. By doing so, the broker is showing it's trustworthy and always has the customer's best interest at heart and customers have the freedom to prepay their rental if they prefer to without risk.

Peace of mind

With all of its benefits combined, from providing the correct insurance for you to offering 100% refundable deposits, brokers like Northbound provide car renters peace of mind. When renting a car often involves driving in an unfamiliar vehicle in an unfamiliar place, having the safety and support of Northbound to rely on makes a huge difference to the enjoyment of your trip.

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What is a car rental broker?

A car rental broker books car hire on behalf of car rental companies and provides customers with ongoing support during the booking and when they hit the road.

Is there a better selection of cars on a car rental broker's website?

Yes, the car rental broker provides customers with search results that include the vehicles available from multiple car rental companies at once. This means customers get a much better selection of vehicle options by searching on a broker's site rather than a car rental company's site.

If I hire a car through a broker, am I renting from them or the car hire company?

If you use a broker to hire a car, you'll still be renting it off the car hire company (like Hertz), the broker is simply arranging the transaction for you and taking care of your other car hire needs for example, communication, assisting with disputes and etc.

Is it better to hire a car from the rental company itself?

No, car hire rental company prices are often not as competitive as broker prices, and they don't provide the same level of customer service. It is also worth noting that if the rental company charges you for something you don't agree with, there's no third party to assist you in fighting those charges.

Are car rental brokers knowledgeable about the cars they rent for rental companies?

Although Northbound and other car rental brokers do not own the vehicles they rent out, they have a thorough knowledge of each of them. Feel free to ask your broker anything about the cars they have available for hire from engine size and performance to boot capacity and legroom.

#1 Car Rental Broker in Iceland