I have a number of side gigs that I have started since I decided to try to turn my time into money, but one of the most profitable ways I have found to make extra money is renting my car on Turo (formerly known as Relay Rides). I first heard about the service through a friend when I was on vacation. I mentioned that I had just recently purchased a car, but had barely driven it yet because I had been carpooling with a neighbor and traveling a lot. he told me that there was a website and app called Turo (Relay Rides at that time) where you could rent your car to others for any period of time for a rate that you determine. What?! Making money on my car without actually doing any work? This seemed too good to be true.
What is Turo?
Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental service that replaces the traditional rental process by allowing every day people to rent their cars to each other.
How much money can you make?
This is the beauty of it. The price that you rent your car for is completely up to you. You have two options after listing your car with Turo: you can either set your own pricing, or allow them to dynamically set prices for you based on supply and demand. The cool part about this is that if there are times that you don’t REALLY want to rent your car, you can still list it for a higher amount that you know you would accept should someone decide they want to rent it. With my car, I typically price it between $45-90 per day, depending on the season and how much I will need my car during that period. If it is a weekend, I am out of town, or I can carpool to work with a friend, then I am comfortable renting it for a lower rate. However, at other times, I know that I will have to use public transportation or pay for an Uber or Lyft, so I’ll intentionally price my car higher to cover my own transportation costs, plus give me enough profit on top of that.
As far as fees, Turo takes 15% of the reservation cost and you keep 85%.
What if someone messes up your car?
Part of my shift to the stealthy wealthy mentality is rethinking the idea of ownership. I have always taken a lot of pride in my vehicles, maintained them and even formed a bond with them. However, I realize that even though the car is in my name, the purpose of the vehicle is simply to get me from point A to point B. If I can still get to point B and make some money in the process, even better. This mentality has allowed me to let go of the idea that “some stranger is driving my car” and embrace the fact that my biggest expense outside of my mortgage is now an income producing asset instead of simply a liability. This makes me a lot more comfortable with the idea that someone could be eating, driving fast, putting their golf clubs in the back seat or [insert more fear-inducing action here] in my car. Plus, you always have the ability to assess cleaning fees or let drivers know that it is part of your policy that they clean the car on the inside and out before returning it. To date, I have never had more than a little bit of dirt on the floor mats.
What are the risks with Turo?
This is the first question that people ask me when I tell them that I rent my car out on Turo and rightfully so. The good news is that Turo has a 1 million dollar liability insurance policy that covers drivers while they are renting your car. When you rent the car, you are responsible for printing out an insurance card that they can use (the same card can be used for every driver, so it doesn’t create much work for you) and providing it to the driver. The policy includes coverage of your vehicle, the driver and even roadside assistance. Be sure to review the policy in full before you decide to rent your car, but know that you are not on your own if someone crashes your vehicle.
Does Turo only work for expensive cars?
A quick search right now in my home city shows everything from a 2008 Toyota Yaris being rented for $30 per day to a Dodge Viper for $215 per day. The Yaris has been rented 28 times and the Viper has been rented only twice. As you will likely see in your own research, more practical cars can perform much better on Turo because they fit within a renter’s budget and rent more frequently. Minivans, hybrids and older trucks seem to garner good rates and get rented very frequently. As long as you set your listing up in the right way, price your car fairly and provide solid customer service, you will have the ability to make extra money on Turo.
My experience renting on Turo
I have rented my car 15 times and earned $3,375.00 after Turo fees. Obviously, this is not a ton of money, but when you consider that this covers the cost of my car and my insurance each month, it is a pretty smokin’ deal. I have never had a bad experience with a renter and have actually met some really cool people. I elected to meet at my house or at the airport for drop-off and have probably ended up dropping the car off at the airport about 25% of the time. One of the great benefits of renting my car on Turo has not only been the extra money that it has earned me, but also the tax benefits. I am able to deduct the mileage that is driven while someone has my car as well as expenses related to the rental like car washes, or rides back to my house after dropping the car at the airport. Just another way of taking what is typically a huge expense for most people and turning it into something that is working for me.
Turo is awesome! How do I get started?
You can get started right away by going to Turo.com and listing your vehicle. The following information will be required:
- Email Address
- Phone Number
- Car make and model
- Transmission Type
- License plate number
- Street Address where the car can be picked up
- Photos of the car
- A title and description for your car
Tips for listing on Turo
- Take good photos. Make sure that you are taking photos with a decent camera (even a smart phone will work) in a well lit area. Clean your car before you take photos.
- Write a good description. Think about the things that people are going to want to see when they consider your car. You have a lot of characters to use when entering your title and description, so don’t sell yourself short.
- Respond quickly to inquiries. Even if you are not going to rent to the person, make sure that you respond right away. This will help your profile in the long run and show that you are a responsible car owner who provides good customer service.
- Set the ground rules. When dropping your car off, don’t hesitate to let people know if you have rules for them. I printed out a one-page guide to the car that I laminated and keep in the glove box with contact numbers, information about unique elements of my car and a few rules for taking care of the vehicle.
- Make the pricing work for you. Do your research and make sure that you understand the market for your vehicle, but ultimately, you need to make sure that the pricing works for you. Consider the cost of the mileage on your vehicle as well as your time and the Turo fees when setting your rental price.