Got the Drive to Make Extra Money? Rent Your Car to Strangers

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And cars are just a start. You could earn cash by renting out everything from your bathroom to your boat.

Tired of working to pay off your car while it sits parked most of the time?

Consider putting your entrepreneurial spirit in gear and driving some cash your way by renting out your car (or other idle assets) to neighbors and strangers via the internet.

One of the most interesting new options for this is Turo — a service available in many U.S. cities and several Canadian provinces — touted as the Airbnb of cars.

To list your car with Turo, post some photos of it and fill in a calendar of when and where the car is available. Set your price and parameters such as daily mileage limits. Turo says you’ll receive instant notification when someone requests or books your car. Then you can confirm or decline the trip immediately, and contact the traveler if you have any questions.

Turo also explains that once your car is booked, you coordinate where and when you’ll meet your guest. You check their license, walk them around the car, check the fuel and mileage, and “send them off on their adventure.” In addition, Turo provides a commercial insurance policy with about $1.54 million ($2 million Canadian) in liability insurance.

Turo says car owners typically receive 75 percent of the trip price, delivery fees and additional mileage charges. Earnings range from 65 percent to 90 percent depending on the insurance package selected. If the person renting the car doesn’t pay for traffic tickets or tolls incurred during their trip, Turo promises to reimburse owners for those charges after receiving the necessary documentation.

The bottom line

So just how much money can you make by listing your car on Turo? Well, a quick look at recent listings for available Turo rentals in Seattle provides some insight. Douglas offers his 2013 Hyundai Accent for $28 per day — of which he would be receiving at least $18.20 a day. Barry has listed his 2013 Audi A3 for $43 a day, which would yield at least $27.95 per day. Kelly is listing her Mini Cooper 2006 for $30 a day — of which she should get at least $19.50 per day.

Founded in San Francisco in 2009 as RelayRides, the company went national in 2012 and in 2015 rebranded itself as Turo.

“As a memorable, aspirational brand that inspires adventure, Turo positions us squarely within travel and tourism,” said Turo CEO Andre Haddad when the company rebranded itself. “We envision a world where travelers can rent the perfect vehicle for their next adventure no matter where they are — a world where car owners transform their idle cars from depreciating assets into earning engines and help fuel travelers’ adventures.

Major cities where Turo operates now include Atlanta, Miami, Boston, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., Houston and Los Angeles. The company provides service in more than 2,100 cities — and recently announced a move into some Canadian provinces.

Turo says vehicles listed must be model year 2005 or newer, have fewer than 130,000 miles/200,000 kilometers, have a clean title (e.g., not a “branded” or “salvage”), must never have been declared a total loss, and have a fair market value of up to $75,000 in the United States and 75,000 in Canadian dollars. Turo says it will also accept the Tesla S and the Tesla X.

That doesn’t mean you can’t rent out your classic car. Turo says specialty cars must be older than model year 1990, with a market value of up to $75,000. “The car must be in excellent condition (both mechanical and physical) and have all seat belts in safe, working condition,” says the company. “Any specialty car is subject to additional review.”

Owners have encountered problems, but the company says it provides support. In one case reported by Consumer Affairs, an Arizona man rented his Dodge Caravan to a woman who said she was taking it out of town to a church convention. After failing to return the minivan on time and later dodging the Dodge owner’s calls, she eventually came clean: She’d turned the minivan over to her son, who was caught driving on a suspended license. Police impounded the minivan, and a judge initially would not recognize peer-to-peer car rentals as legitimate. The company said it covered the owner’s expenses, including paying for a rental while his car was in lockup.

Ever expanding peer-to-peer earning opportunities

Trying to supplant Hertz and Avis is just one way to make money sharing what you own.

“It’s amazing to me, people are looking for ways to make money and yet there are all these idle assets that are underutilized that could mint you money,” Maynard Webb, the Yahoo chairman who funded RelayRides, told Bloomberg Business.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers study said only 7 percent of Americans are providers in the sharing economy, but of them more than 1 in 3 are age 45 and older; nearly 1 in 4 come from households where the annual income is $100,000 and up.

In a study by Radius Global Market Research, 88 percent of consumers agreed that sharing-economy companies provide income not otherwise available; more than 9 in 10 agreed they make it easier for consumers to get the products and services they want.

So what do people share? Among highlights compiled by Lifehackers and others:

What money-making sharing ideas do you have? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Geof Wheelwright contributed to this post.

Stacy Johnson

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