Review: Turo, the Airbnb of cars

It’s widely available and cheaper than most rental services. But should you use it?

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Owning a car is notoriously expensive, but did you know you can actually make money with your car? Turo (formerly RelayRides) bills themselves as the Airbnb for cars is a service that allows you to rent out your car for cash!

That’s right, when you’re not using your vehicle, you can rent it out to other Turo members. It’s estimated the average owner makes an additional $540 a month letting others use their car, but that depends on how often you make it available.

Alternatively, if you need a vehicle when you’re on vacation, Turo is a good and often cheaper alternative to your traditional car rental company. Read below for my Turo review.

Founded in 2009, Turo is a car rental marketplace where you can rent any car you want, wherever you want it, and when you want it. Owners of the cars can earn extra money when they’re not using their car which can then be used for anything they want. Let’s look at some of Turo’s main features.

  • Available in 3500+ Cities
  • Pick up at 300+ airports
  • More than 800 makes and models of cars available
  • $2 million insurance policy for users

Turo has seen rapid growth in the last few years. Originally it was available just in the U.S. but it’s now expanded to Canada, and the U.K. The appeal of the service should be obvious, rent out your car to make some extra money, or rent a car to save money.

Some people may find it weird to be renting cars directly from others, but we all had similar thoughts about Airbnb when it launched. The sharing economy applies to just about everything these days, so it’s only natural that a major service came to car rentals. Plus, as an owner, it’s a lot easier to make money this way than driving for Uber.

Using Turo?

It’s pretty straight forward. You put in your requirements and Toro will show you what’s available.

I did a quick search online for cars in Scottsdale and Orlando through various car rental agencies. I then ran the same search through Turo and confirmed that prices were anywhere from 25% – 50% cheaper even after taxes.

Of course the other advantage is that you can bypass the pickup counter at some airports. While I was searching vehicles in Orlando, Turo had 10 cars available right at the airport while many others could be delivered directly for free.

While browsing cars available in my hometown of Toronto, I came across some pretty sweet rides I could rent including a Porsche Boxster, BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XF, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and much more for pretty reasonable prices. These would be perfect to rent for special occasions, and way cheaper than renting from exotic car companies.

Those listing their cars are obviously hoping to make additional money, but some of turned it into a full-time business. There are people out there who literally own multiple cars and just rent them out on Turo. Doing this full-time won’t appeal to most people, but it’s definitely a good side hustle.

How Turo works?

It’s a pretty simple process and is broken down for people who want to rent a car or want to list their car.

Renting a car: After creating an account, your identity and eligibility will need to be confirmed before you can rent a car. Once you’re approved, find a car by searching dates, location, price, model, features, etc. After finding the perfect car, book it! Owners still have up to 8 hours to approve the booking, but there are instant bookings available. Once accepted, a pick up location will be picked if it isn’t already determined.

Listing your car: Once your account is setup, you’ll need to describe your vehicle and upload images. Turo has guidelines for pricing, but it’s really up to you to decide what to charge. You’ll want to keep your calendar up to date and respond as soon as you can to any requests.

What about damages to your car?

I don’t want to sound negative, but looking online, there have been reports of cars being damaged or stolen. Turo does have a two million dollar insurance package available to renters, but I would look into the fine details and find out what exactly your vehicle is covered for.

If you’re considering renting out your car, it might be a good idea to install a car tracker on it for added peace of mind.

I should note that there will always be negative instances with any kind of service so you just need to decide if you’re comfortable with the risks. At the very least, do your due diligence.

Final word

Turo is a service I’m very excited about. I was an early adopter of Airbnb since I was looking for ways to save money when I travel. Turo will allow me to save even more money and if I so desire, I can rent out my car to make money.

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at Moneywehave.com.  He has been quoted in The Financial Post, The Toronto Star and more. You can follow him on Twitter: @barrychoi

This article was originally published on MoneyWeHave.com

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