Rental Cars Are the New Airbnb
Do-it-yourselfers want a piece of the rental-car market. Small-time entrepreneurs are amassing vehicles to rent out through car-sharing services such as Turo and Getaround, or their own websites. From a report: They aim to take on giants including Hertz and Avis Budget — assuming they can master the difficult logistics of the business. One owner said he had to retrieve a car that was stolen, driven all the way up the West Coast and abandoned at the Canadian border. Another rented out a car that was involved in a shooting. Still another said a customer totaled a Maserati by driving it into a wall.
“It can be tough if you don’t know what you’re doing,” said Jerome Mends-Cole, who rents out more than a dozen Teslas on Turo and his own website in Sacramento, Calif. “People look at it as a get rich quick thing, or a set it and forget it.” It usually isn’t. The costs of parking, cleaning, insurance and financing can quickly add up. Vehicles need to be picked up, dropped off, maintained and repaired. The expenses can quickly outpace any revenue.
Renting cars is the latest iteration of gig work, which has become a robust piece of the American economy. People who started side hustles such as renting out rooms on Airbnb or driving for Uber are now taking on the more elaborate task of maintaining inventories of cars.