How to Rent Out Your Own Car — and Possibly Park for Free at the Airport — Revisited

A lthough it had issues with internal turmoil and being significantly restructured, FlightCar was listed at number 12 of the 14 hottest on-demand startup companies of Forbes for 2015 with a valuation of $103 million — only to close not long after that on Thursday, July 14, 2016.

FlightCar “sold its technology platform to Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, after a surprise announcement to staff”, according to this article written by Bruce Brown of Digital Trends.

How to Rent Out Your Own Car — and Possibly Park for Free at the Airport — Revisited

“One way to trim the costs of parking at or near the airport is to use a service where you not only can park your car for free; but you can actually profit from it” is what I wrote in this article pertaining to renting your personal car back on Wednesday, January 6, 2016. “Car rental platforms for individual owner services use a private car — which would normally be parked idle at an airport for the duration that its owner is away on a trip — and rent it out for use to someone who needs use of a car while they are visiting the location where the car is based and registered. The idea is that it is a win-win-win system: the car owner profits from the use of his or her car, which can be as much as several hundred dollars per month; the visitor has a vehicle to rent for purportedly a less expensive rate than a typical car rental; and the company which arranges the rental profits as well.”

The vehicles used must meet minimum requirements — so if you have a car which is 15 years old; does not have a “clean” title; and has logged 250,000 miles, you will not be able to take advantage of this service.

Potential renters of your vehicle must meet minimum requirements as well, as the car is not rented to just anyone who wants to rent one.

Insurance coverage is available to both the owner of the vehicle as well as the renter. The owner of the vehicle does not have to pay for insurance coverage, of which the car is covered up to its full value or up to $1,000,000.00; whereas the renter can choose to pay extra for insurance — as well as choose the amount of coverage desired.

Despite the demise of FlightCar only six months and eight days after that article was written, “TravelCar has launched in its first U.S. city” in Los Angeles, according to this article written by Gary Leff of View From The Wing — but Turo is still in business and is the leader in this specific niche of the rental car industry.

Turo

Turo — which was originally known as RelayRides — rents the private vehicles of car owners in hundreds of locations throughout the United States and the District of Columbia.

If your car is worth $75,000.00 and you rent it for 30 days out of each month, you can supposedly earn up to a maximum of $47,208.00 per year; but of course that means that you will only have five days out of the year that you can drive your car — but you could also supposedly pay off your car within two years. Of course, that does not include costs from such expenses as primary automobile insurance, maintenance and cleaning fees to keep your car looking brand new.

You used to be able to park for free at Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport while your car is rented — but Turo seems to have since eliminated that option; while TravelCar offers parking at the airport, train station, seaport or city center.

By the way, smoking is not permitted at any time in any vehicle you rent through Turo; and pets are not allowed without explicit consent from the owner.

Professional photography of your car is complimentary when you list your car for rent.

  • Turo will cover any basic maintenance needs on cars during long-term — meaning one month or more — parking reservations. Basic maintenance includes:
    • Oil and filter changes
    • Tire rotation
    • Tire tread depth inspection
    • Windshield wiper maintenance
    • Basic mechanical inspections
  • There are three ways to which you can rent out your car with Turo:
    • Deliver your car to custom locations around town, within a set radius
    • Deliver your car to nearby airports
    • Travelers pick up the car at your location
  • You can opt for the folioing options of picking up a car you rented through Turo:
    • Local pickup
    • City delivery
    • Airport delivery

 

Outside of the United States

A similar business model exists in the form of companies such as Car Next Door in Australia and easyCar Club — yes, with that same familiar orange as easyJet — in the United Kingdom.

Summary

I am not sure of a number of implications which could occur as a result of renting your car for profit, as I have never used such a service. What if your car is involved in a traffic violation while you are away? Would renting your car for profit violate the terms of your automobile insurance policy? How do you report the income of renting your car for tax purposes?

Despite the safeguards and protections supposedly built into this business model, it seems rather risky to me in more ways than one. For example — during July of 2015 — a woman reported that her car was stolen after she left it with FlightCar; and that was only part of the problems she experienced. A man was without his car for at least a month after it was impounded because the renter of his car violated the policies of Turo — as well as laws imposed by the government. I personally would not consider trying it at this time even though you could earn money renting your car while parking your car free of charge near the airport while you are traveling.

Whether you decide to use your car to rent through either Turo or TravelCar or rent a vehicle from either of these companies, ensure that you have carefully researched the policies and history of each company so that you may arrive at an informed decision — as well as be as knowledgeable as possible pertaining to what you are about to experience.

In other words: do your homework; and do it thoroughly.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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