Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental service that lets you rent cars from other drivers, or rent your car out to drivers. It’s a new way to earn some side money while you’re not using your car, so I talked to UberMan on Youtube about his experiences renting his car out on turo.
Watch the video, then check out the transcript of our conversation if you prefer to read.
Harry: All right, Randy, how you doing?
Randy: Pretty good, man. How you doing, Harry?
Harry: Doing well, just ready to learn from you, the master and have you impart your knowledge on everyone.
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Randy: Sounds good to me.
Harry: Awesome. Wanted to have you on really quick to talk about a new service. Well I guess it’s not new, but new to me, and it’s something I haven’t actually tried out myself. So I figured why not bring you on and enlighten us all about the service called Turo. So I guess in a couple sentences or less why don’t you explain what Turo is?
Randy: Turo is another on demand service where you rent your vehicle. So people with vehicles that they want to rent out post them up, and people who are looking to rent a vehicle jump on the app and rent them from you. Basically it’s Uber of cars.
Harry: Yeah, definitely. It’s kind of the way you described it, it sounds like a on demand rental car marketplace where anyone can list a car to be rented or anyone can also, on the other end on the renter’s side, just go on there and rent a car from a private owner, is that right?
Randy: That is correct.
Harry: Cool, and so how did you first get started with Turo? Was it as a renter or did you go straight to renting vehicles as sort of a fleet owner?
Randy: I went straight to renting them out. I don’t remember where I heard about the service from. It was probably somebody who commented on YouTube and asked about it, and I thought it was interesting. So I signed up and started renting. At that time I had one car so I started renting it out. It was a little over a year ago. It wasn’t called Turo back then, it was Relay Rides.
Harry: Interesting. And I think that obviously a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers are interested in this service because the thought of renting out your vehicle and not having to drive and make money by just renting out your vehicle is obviously appealing, right?
Randy: It’s a huge benefit, yes.
Harry: Awesome. Is that kind of the reason you got into it? Is there a specific reason why you decided to rent your car?
Randy: I like trying new things. That’s how I got introduced to Uber. It was something new that was in my market, nobody had heard of it, nobody knew what it was. I love trying new things, basically being a guinea pig, and trying it out so I could tell other people whether they should do it or not.
Harry: Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah I think that’s definitely a good way to look at because it is new, and it is kind of this innovative way to rent cars, so I can imagine there are some speed bumps. But at the same time high risk, but also the potential for maybe high reward, right?
Randy: Yes absolutely.
Harry: So let’s get into it. So how much are you making, how are you doing as far as renting cars on Turo right now?
Randy: Well I’ve upped my cars to four of them. For quite awhile now, I’ve been renting out two. So with two cars rented on the platform, I’ve been doing between 12 and 14 hundred a month.
Harry: Wow, awesome. So definitely some pretty good side income there.
Randy: Yes, and that’s not with the cars being rented out 30 days out of the month either. That’s approximately 50% of the time the cars are rented, the other 50% I still have them here.
Harry: Oh, cool. So you kind of get to set your schedule in advance. It sounds a lot like an Airbnb where you have a property, and you list it. In this case you have a car or multiple cars and you list it and then when they get rented you make it available to the renter. And when it’s not, you get to use it for your personal use?
Randy: Yes, and there is a schedule if you have certain times of the day you don’t want to rent to people. Certain days of the week you can’t, or if there are certain weeks that you can’t, you can just go into your schedule and adjust it accordingly.
Harry: Gotcha. And it sounds like it’s pretty easy to get started or to at least try it out, right? If you have one car that’s really all you need to get started, or is there anything else?
Randy: That’s pretty much it. You signup to Turo with a driver’s license and that’s for the people that are renting cars and the people that are renting them out. You get started with your license, you have to be approved. So not just anybody, you don’t have to worry about somebody that’s got a suspended license or something jumping on there and renting your car. They do a DMV background check and everything, so you have to have a valid license before they will approve you to drive.
Harry: Gotcha. That’s probably, people who are sort of on the fence that’s got to be their biggest concern, right? I don’t want some stranger driving around in my car.
Randy: It’s basically like Uber. Passengers were scared to get in strangers’ cars, and this is kind of the same thing. People who own cars are a little nervous about letting people they don’t know just take off with their vehicle.
Harry: Right, but it sounds like you can make some real income. What type of vehicles, maybe you can give us a sample deal that you’re doing. Maybe the type of car and how much you’re renting it out for a day and that?
Randy: Well they use, very similar to Uber, they have ea dynamic pricing algorithm. But instead of surge pricing it changes day-to-day based on demand in your market from one day to the next. You get to set the minimum that you are willing to rent your car out for, and my minimums are set at 19 a day. And I don’t get to keep 19%. Similar to Uber they take a percentage too, and that comes down to the type of insurance you choose. I have the top tier insurance which covers a scratch, a ding, a stain on anything. Anything and everything. It also covers lost wages. So I get 65% of what my car is rented out for everyday. So with that being said, I rent my Elantra, typically, for $29 a day. And I get 65% of that. When there’s an issue, or if there is an issue, then I know that I’m covered with the insurance. So that works out pretty well for me.
Harry: Yeah, I mean that sounds like a profit to you of about $20 a day. And obviously like you said it’s not rented full-time, but if it were rented every single day of the month that would be $600 a month, right?
Randy: Yeah and the car payment’s $250. So, yeah.
Harry: Sounds like a pretty good deal, but I would imagine that it’s not completely passive. You can’t just put these cars on the platform. Maybe you can walk us through what the work involved in listing the car. Is it kind of front loaded, do you have to do a lot of work to list it, and then it’s just all about getting the cars to the people? Do the people come pick them up, or how does that part work?
Randy: Okay, as far as people picking the cars up, that’s again your choice. There are so many similarities between Turo and Uber, and I guess in anything that is involved in the on demand industry right now. You can choose, if you only want people to come pick the car up from you, that’s fine, but that may make your vehicle a little less attractive to renters. So potentially that could affect your ability to rent your car out.
They have a deal on there where you can basically rent on demand. Typically there is a three hour or so, six hour wait time from the time that someone rents a car until the time that you are expected to be able to deliver it. You can change that in the app to whatever you want. My cars are all listed on demand. There’s a minimum of one hour notice that has to be given to me. But when you rent on demand it basically lets a customer find your car. And some cars are not on demand. And if they’re not they can’t rent them without first getting approval from the person that’s renting out the car. So they send a request. The person renting out the car has to approve the request, and then the car is booked. I don’t do that, I allow them to find my car, click it, it’s automatically approved, and as long as I have a minimum of an hour’s notice I will get the car to them.
As far as delivering the car, you have options with that as well. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but I choose to do that because it makes my cars more attractive to renters and I’m trying to maximize my earnings. My cars are available on demand, and I will deliver the car up to 25 miles currently for free. I used to charge a $20 fee for that, $20 for picking up at the airport, things like that. And then you get into issues where if you deliver a car, a lot of people don’t have two, or three, or four cars, so how do you get to the car to the customer and get home? You can Uber, or Lyft, but if you do that you’re instantly taking money right back out of your pocket and it’s really not worth it.
So what I do is I have somebody that follows me in one of my other cars, and we will drop the car and we will just both ride back in one of my other vehicles. So that works out very well. But if you don’t have that option you can always deliver the car to the renter and then explain to them you’ve got to get home, and then they will, when you rent from Enterprise, Enterprise is a great example because they will pick you up. But even when they pick you up you still have to go back with them to the office to sign the paperwork and drop the guy off that delivered the car to you. So it’s very similar to that. I haven’t had any problems with it, but normally I try to take two cars so they can just jump in and go.
It works very well, they can follow you back, and what I do is, I do not start the mileage against them because they do have mileage caps. I don’t start recording the mileage until they leave my house and the car. If I need a ride back, I can’t very well charge them mileage for me needing a ride home.
Randy: I think there was another part of that question that I missed, the first half of it. What was it?
Harry: No, I think you pretty much covered it. One of the things that you said that stood out to me is you are doing certain things like making your cars available on demand, to enhance your listing. And that’s one of the nice things about a service like Turo is that you can make your listings standout compared to other listings, right?
Randy: Yes. And you can do it all from your smart phone. It’s very user friendly, it’s very streamlined. You can just open up the Turo app. You can list your cars, take pictures of your cars. When your cars are rented out, I highly recommend, and so does Turo, that you take as many pictures as you want to. Take pictures of everything, and definitely it there’s any pre-existing damage you want pictures of that too. You need to have these pictures because if an insurance case comes up, and you say hey this was there after the customer brought it up, it’s good to have pictures, or brought the car back, it’s good to have pictures showing there wasn’t damage when the car was taken.
Harry: Yeah definitely. And you bring up a good point because it isn’t all just sit back and let the money roll in, right? Issues do come up from time to time, as I think any landlord can probably tell you. I know you’ve had a couple come up. Do you want to just briefly go over kind of the issues you’ve dealt with and we can learn from your mistakes or what you did right?
Randy: Sure. I went out, I had decided that Turo was doing very well on my first car. My first car is a 2015 Elantra and it was doing very well. So I decided to go out and purchase another car. I went out and got a 2015 Hyundai Sonata, and the first person that rented it ended up pretty much destroying it. I mean the amount of the damage to the interior, and the scratches all over the body and stuff, I couldn’t continue renting it out. Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t really paid a lot of attention to how Turo’s insurance works.
So when I picked the car up from here, she was crying, and she was like, “I loaned it to my abusive boyfriend because he would have hit me, and I can’t believe he did this to me.” And she’s holding her little, not a baby but a toddler, and I felt bad. And I was like, “Look, there’s going to be a $500 deductible at a minimum to get this thing fixed.” And she was like, “I promise you, I promise you if you could just wait til Friday, I’ll take care of it. I will. I’ll cover everything.” So I waited til Friday. Couldn’t get back in touch with her. She changed her number on me. So I contacted Turo, and I thought no problem, they’ll take care of it. Then Turo informed me that you only have 24 hours from the time the car is returned to report any damage. Otherwise, it’s on you.
Randy: I got lucky on that car. I was able to get rid of the car and I was able to take her to small claims court. I sued her. Unfortunately, the judge only awarded me like $360. I collected half of that from her and I haven’t heard from her since.
Harry: Gotcha. So you [crosstalk 00:12:05]
Randy: That’s like a worst case scenario type thing. I’ve rented I think close to 50 times now, and that’s the only real issue that I’ve had. I did have one, a very recent customer rent out my Elantra, and a little over 24 hours after she took the car from me, she called me and said that something under the car was dragging the ground and she thought that one of my previous renter’s had hit something and damaged the car. And you’re going to get this. If someone damages your car they’re probably not going to want to take responsibility for it. So I explained to her that I drove the car prior to her having it. I drove it to her and dropped it off with here, and there was nothing dragging the ground, and the previous renters reported nothing dragging the ground, so it was probably her that hit something. When I got the car back, she had taken it to a shop, which I didn’t approve, that’s one of the things that really bugged me, is because they have possession of your car, if they want to take it somewhere I guess they can.
She took it to a shop, had mechanic take off the splash shield, which as we found out later, she hit an armadillo and it shattered just a plastic cover under the car. It was a total of like $179 to replace everything. So it wasn’t a big deal, but I didn’t like that she took my car without my permission to some third-party mechanic when I take my car to the dealer. As it turned out, as soon as I got my car back I reported the issue to Turo, and they since I had already gotten an estimate and everything even before I contacted them, they reimbursed me immediately. I mean the money was just like that, no questions asked. No problems.
Harry: Cool. So it definitely sounds like most of your rentals have gone off just fine, but there are a few, definitely read the fine print kind of like with anything and make sure you stay on top of these renters, because if something does happen then obviously they’re going to try and not be responsible for it or whatever. Some people might.
Randy: And there is a cleaning fee, again similar to Uber it’s $150. I had one passenger that took my car for a weekend to Dallas, came back and there was some kind of, I don’t know what it was. Some kind of greasy substance all over my door handles, and the doors. It was just everywhere. The car was, I get cars back dirty, that’s another inconvenience. I’ve got a monthly subscription to car washes for all four of my cars so I just drive them over there, and they clean the cars for me. But a lot of time you’ll get your cars back and if they take them on a road trip or something you’ll get them back fairly dirty with bugs and stuff embedded all over them.
But the interior’s almost always been pretty clean, just a vacuuming is all that’s been needed. But in this particular case it was filthy. And I contacted Turo and I sent them pictures. They reimbursed me $150 immediately. I was able to take the car and get a full detail. A full steam clean of the interior, deodorization, they washed, waxed it, steam cleaned the engine for $175. So that also worked out very well.
Harry: Gotcha. So it sounds like sort of like managing an Airbnb property or managing an apartment. There’s definitely some work every time there’s turnover, but obviously there’s some pretty good potential income. I know that I’ve heard from a few viewers who have said will this even work in my city, I’m in this small mid-sized city. You’re not in that big of a city and it seems to be working out for you okay right?
Randy: Yeah it is. It is. Just like anything else, when I started with Turo it was new, and there were no cars in my market. Now it’s become saturated. I recently realized that my cars weren’t renting out as quickly as they used to, and I couldn’t figure out why. Well I was using Turo’s dynamic pricing where they automatically take care of the pricing for me. And it was about $46-$49 a day is what my cars were being rented out for, but they stopped getting rented. So what I learned from that is that when I jumped onto Turo as a person needing a car, I realized that there are several people with newer model cars renting them out for 25 bucks a day. So when you’ve got other cars comparable to what you have, and they’re available at a cheaper price, of course nobody’s going to rent your car for $49 a day when they can get it half price.
So that’s one of the things you have to keep track of how many cars are in your market, what are they being rented out for, what condition are they in. And then find out are they renting on demand, how long does it take them to get the car to you if you need it. And you need to beat that, and that’s what I do. So I’ve dropped the prices on all my cars, lower than almost everybody else so that my cars are at the top of the list. And the hope is to kind of push them out of the way.
I’m still making decent money, but I’m not making what I was. But at the same time, my cars are being rented out more. According to an accountant that I talked to, the mileage is tax-deductible. I can’t guarantee that, but that’s what I was told is that it’s the same thing as business mileage. So if this is true, you can still get the 54 cents per mile on top of what you’re getting paid from Turo as well. So it can help offset other income. Referal bonuses or things of that nature.
Harry: Interesting. Cool. Awesome. Well thank you for sharing all those tips with us. So I’ll leave some links below in the show notes for people who want to check out Turo, but it definitely seems to me that if someone’s on the fence of renting it might even be a good idea to try it out as a renter before you go and rent your car because there’s a lot you can learn just from renting a vehicle on Turo too, right?
Randy: Yeah, you can learn a lot as a renter. Just like with anything else it’s always good to try it out before you make a decision to jump into it. It’s a lot of fun, and there’s referral signups for Turo as well. I think I’ve gotten like $400 worth of ride credits. So I you can build those up you can rent other people’s cars for free and just cruise around and enjoy them.
Harry: Awesome. Cool well thanks for coming on, Randy I really appreciate it. For everyone watching feel free to like, comment, subscribe to the channel. Look forward to hearing from you soon.
Randy: All right. Thank you, Harry. Have a good one.
I hope you guys enjoyed the video, and please feel free to leave any questions or comments. Take care!
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