Every day I get emails from people who are looking to make extra money. While there are plenty of side hustle options, many people struggle to find the right option.
Car sharing presents a great side hustle opportunity because it breaks down a few of the common barriers that hold people back from making money with most side hustles:
- You don’t need any particular skills or experience to be a car share host
- You don’t need a lot of time to make some money with car sharing.
Websites/apps like Turo and Getaround are becoming increasingly popular for people who want to rent a car, and that presents a perfect opportunity for anyone who has a car that they are willing to rent out. The peer-to-peer rental platform allows you to make extra money from an asset that you already have (your car) and with a relatively minimal time commitment on your part — turning your car into an income-producing asset.
I’ve mentioned car sharing in a few different blog posts as a way to make some extra money, but I have no experience actually doing it myself. I was excited to get in touch with Justin from Just Car Share recently. Justin has been a host on Turo for only a few months, but he’s already making a significant side income.
Last month he made $2,000 in about 9 or 10 hours of work.
Now, to be upfront, Justin’s situation may be a bit different from yours. He lives in a major city and has two nice cars that he rents. But his experience shows that there is money to be made with this side hustle, and I think you’ll find his results to be extremely interesting and inspiring.
I reached out to Justin to see if he would be willing to share his side hustle experience through an interview, and he kindly agreed. The interview is below, and you can also follow along with Justin’s progress and learn more about this side hustle at his blog, Just Car Share.
The interview is below (the bold text in Justin’s responses was added by me for emphasis).
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Justin and I live in San Francisco. Professionally I work for a global asset manager. My role involves partnering with financial advisors across Northern California. Most of my energy is spent optimizing their investment models so their clients achieve the best possible outcomes. I’ve been doing this for over 8 years.
Personally, my girlfriend and I are passionate about traveling and learning about other cultures. We’re looking forward to experiencing Taipei and Costa Rica. My favorite destination for driving so far has been Ireland. It was a fun challenge to drive on the opposite side of their tight roads (especially when a truck is approaching!).
Please give us a brief introduction to your side hustle.
I was immediately interested in Turo when I learned about it a few years ago. For those unfamiliar, Turo is the world’s largest peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace. Think of Turo as the Airbnb for road trips. Turo relies on hosts, like me, to rent vehicles to guests. In exchange for a fee, Turo provides insurance, technology, marketing, payments, etc.
I fell into the ‘Turo rabbit hole’ and started studying the platform from a side-hustle perspective about a year ago.
My first Turo hosting rental was this year (March 2019). I rented my daily driver, a 2016 BMW X5. I have to say, I didn’t know what to expect. I was anxious. Nervous. I had an attachment to my X5. Having an operational vehicle for my job is a necessity.
After a few five-star reviews and some profits in my pocket, I decided to go ‘all-in’ on a 2018 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Convertible. My first and only full-time Turo car share hosting vehicle.
In August I made $2k in profit. My August earnings recap post is available on my website.
Compared to a lot of other side hustles, this one seems relatively passive. How much time and effort are you putting into it?
My main responsibilities as a Turo host include turning the car over in between reservations. Some hosts skimp here. I’m focused on providing an extremely clean car every time. This results in positive reviews, increased reservations, and hopefully a price premium.
I estimate that I spend roughly 9-10 hours a month on Turo. You should take this number with a grain of salt. Everyone’s situation is different.
If you decide to enter the Turo game it’s valuable to have friends and family that can help out occasionally. Work trips, vacations, and last-minute commitments come up.
Can you explain the process that occurs when someone rents one of your cars?
Logistics is the name of the game with Turo. Let me walk you through a typical scenario.
Marc reserves my Mustang for 4 days in San Francisco once he’s approved as a valid guest by Turo’s third-party background checking service. As the host, I receive an SMS text alerting me that my car has been booked (Instant Book feature enabled). We message each other right in the Turo app.
Within 24 hours of the reservation, I fuel, clean and park my Mustang street side. Very importantly I document and upload my car’s condition, fuel level, and miles to the Turo app. After uploading roughly 40 pictures of the car’s condition I’m finished and the car is ready to go for Marc.
Once the reservation starts, Marc uses the Turo mobile app to locate, unlock and start my vehicle. This is possible because of a hardware device that Turo installed in my car’s OBD port (on-board diagnostics). Keep in mind that not every market supports Turo Go (remote unlock/lock/start). Marc is encouraged to take pictures of any damages or dirt he doesn’t want to be responsible for.
After the reservation, Marc replaces the fuel, cleans and parks in a similar area as pick-up.
Within 24 hours I check-out the vehicle: review for damage, fuel, miles, and cleanliness.
Are renters allowed to drive unlimited miles? Have you had issues with excessive miles being driven with your cars?
Mileage limits are set by the Turo hosts. The excess mileage rate is also determined by the host.
Most of my guests only use roughly 50% of the allocated miles.
Have you had any issues with damage or unusual wear and tear?
So far no issues other than a small windshield chip. Turo handled this claim very efficiently. I expect there to be additional issues at some point. I forecast maintenance costs into my financial projections.
Do you only use Turo, or do you also use other similar websites/apps?
Yes, I only use Turo since they request that hosts use their platform exclusively.
Did you buy your cars specifically with the intent of renting them out? If so, do you feel that it is turning out to be a good investment?
Yes, I purchased my Mustang exclusively to rent out. My utilization rate was >80% in August and I’m projecting ~90% in September. It’s been a good investment so far but it’s early days. Depreciation is a big factor. Turo hosts should account for this in their financial models.
Living in San Francisco, your experience is different than the results that other people might get in rural locations. Would you recommend this side hustle to people who aren’t in major cities?
I believe this side hustle makes more sense in a city for a few reasons:
- Most people don’t own cars
- Popular tourist destinations
- Younger demographic
Get in touch with me or review the Turo blog for market-specific insights.
Your cars are pretty nice. Do think other people would get decent results with average cars?
Every market is different and every road trip is unique so there’s no perfect car.
My advice is to find a niche and strive to become a five-star host. This means focusing on the little details and providing an exceptional experience. There’s no greater feeling than getting a repeat customer.
Also, check out Turo’s Carculator for demand estimates.
Do you have any plans or specific ideas of what you want to do with this side hustle in the future?
I’m having fun car share hosting. I plan to grow my fleet. I’m documenting my experience and providing resources and coaching at justcarshare.com.
Car share hosting is a great way to reduce the cost of car ownership. I’m passionate about helping others make smart financial decisions.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about being a car share host?
It’s really fulfilling interacting with people and being a part of their road trip experience.
I dislike retrieving a filthy car. Nothing a good detailing can’t fix… but time is money!
Thanks to Justin for taking the time to answer my questions. If you think car share hosting sounds interesting, be sure to check out Justin’s blog Just Car Share, where you can learn a lot more. And if you decide it’s for you, you can get started by applying to be a Turo host (Getaround is another site/app that’s fairly similar).
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