It’s one of the earliest lessons we learn as a toddler. The seed is planted and it grows as we grow; it’s one of the most powerful things we as human being can do. Share.
I am a complete believer in the sharing economy, and an avid user. The sharing economy has made my long-time nomadic lifestyle possible in many ways. Not only did it provide me cheaper and easier ways to sleep and get around, but it also introduced me to long lasting friends, taught me about the culture of a place, and reminded me over and over again of the importance of faith every time I use Uber, Lyft, EatWith, or Airbnb.
Would you ever consider renting out one of your spare cars that is simply taking space in your garage to a complete stranger? Or would you consider renting someone’s personal car for a vacation?
I told Susan where I was going for the weekend and she enthusiastically told me about the scenic route I should take instead of going on the busy highway. She showed me on Google maps on her phone and I noted a few of the towns so I could plug it into my GPS. As Susan handed me her car keys to her 2007 Subaru Outback, she smiled and said, “Have a great trip!” I not only rented Susan’s car for the weekend through a sharing app, but I also got some great local advice!
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What is the Sharing Economy
It’s a collaborative consumption model used (mainly online) for things like peer-to-peer accommodation, travel experiences, travel advising, or car sharing. It’s simply a peer-to-peer exchange. I have something that I’m not using or knowledge you don’t have and you want that commodity or knowledge and are willing to pay for it. It’s about connecting with people.
“Sharing isn’t new. Giving someone a ride, having a guest in your spare room, running errands for someone, participating in a supper club—these are not revolutionary concepts. What is new, in the “sharing economy,” is that you are not helping a friend for free; you are providing these services to a stranger for money.” –excerpt from the Sharing Economy by By Arun Sundararajan
I know some people think of it as crowd based capitalism, but I simply think of it as the ultimate in efficiency and not letting things go to waste. The Airbnb movement started when someone had an extra room they weren’t using and they decided they could rent it out to other people who might want a unique, more local experience.
Why I Use the Sharing Economy
Because I live a minimalist life I take a lot of pride in only having things that I really use in my life. When I see things go unused – like a huge house for only a couple of people, unused rusting bikes, cars sitting in driveways, and rooms or vacation homes that are empty – I get really upset. I think of all of the people that need these things and don’t have access to them.
When the sharing economy came around I loved the idea of taking unused space or items and connecting them with the people who needed them – the ultimate in utilization and efficiency (the type A side of me loves these words!). However, the concept has been bastardized a bit as people go out and buy these goods or apartments just to put them on the sharing economy and try to make a profit. I personally feel like that misses the whole point – and instead of properly utilizing stuff in a minimalist way – instead it’s actually creating more ‘stuff’ out there and over-saturating the market.
Try Local Car Rental, The Latest in Car Sharing
Car Sharing has been around for a while now in the form of Zip Car or Car to Go. However these are both sharing apps that are company owned. A company owns all of the cars and purchased them specifically for the company to function. In fact, Zip Car is owned by Avis.
When I heard about Turo.com, a new local car rental and sharing app, I was intrigued because it was all about sharing people’s personal cars that weren’t currently in use – like Susan’s 2007 Suburu Outback! The renters are local hosts, not big companies; you simply bypass the rental counter and rent from locals.
My Local Turo Rental – Meet Betty
Recently I rented Susan’s car through Turo in Denver and went on a little Colorado weekend getaway to Rocky Mountain National Park. I don’t have a car here in Denver, so I wanted to test out Turo to see how it worked. I had never met Susan before, but I had reviewed her profile and the reviews other people had given her and her car she affectionately named Betty. The reviews were positive, so I decided I would choose Betty the Subaru to rent for my weekend away.
I know what you are thinking, how could Susan rent out her car to strangers? Isn’t she nervous about it?
“At first I was a little nervous about it but I have had people staying in my house with Airbnb, I drive with Lyft, and because I’m already part of this sharing economy I just know that 99% of people are just living their life like I am – in a normal way,” Susan explained. “I have a car just sitting here doing nothing. I’d sell it, but I’m kind of upside down on the loan because I put so many miles on it driving for Lyft. So essentially the sharing economy is helping me get out of some debt that I got myself into because of the sharing economy.”
How Turo Local Car Rentals Work
It’s pretty simple to get started. There’s an online website and an app to download.
Set up a profile. This is always the cornerstone to any sharing app. You definitely want a complete profile, add a picture, and the more info you can add about yourself the better. Owners like to know who they are renting their personal car to! In this step, there is a verification process that happens confirming your identity, ensuring you have a valid driver’s license and reviewing your traveler’s auto insurance score.
Pick a car. There are tons to choose from – old classics, sports cars, trucks, SUV’s – pretty much anything you can imagine. You can put in some filters like cost, mileage, car type, and year to start to narrow things down. You can also filter cars owners who will pick you up/deliver the car, or allows pets, etc.
Pick an insurance. Just like any car rental process, you do need to get some sort of insurance for the rental. If you already have car insurance, I would recommend that you’ll still need to check directly with your insurance company or policy for this information prior to making your decision. And if you normally rely upon your credit card for car coverage, it’s doubtful that your credit card company would cover you in this situation, as they don’t consider Turo a ‘rental car company’.
You’ll likely have to get one of the choices of Turo insurance options. They have a premium package and a basic package depending on how much coverage you want. The car owner is also required to have specific Turo insurance for the car for them to be able to list it. So – there’s plenty of coverage if something goes wrong. I personally found the rates to be typical to regular rental company insurance rates.
Another good reason to get one of the Turo insurance options is because with it they offer 24 hour road side assistance. You can be connected with a dispatcher who will be able to send out a service provider if there is an incident with your rental vehicle 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Turo only offers roadside assistance for eligible trips in the United States and Canada.
Do note that if you are renting outside of the US, you’ll want to read up on those special insurance circumstances. They rent in the US and Canada – but the Canadian insurance rules are different so take note.
Reserve/Pay for the car. Once you pick the car, insurance, and dates you are ready to pay for the car. I found that rental rates to be similar or less than normal rentals in Denver AND there were no taxes and fees (besides the small Turo fee). That’s where the real benefit comes in – you save money in lower rates and no additional taxes and fees.
Pick up the car or have it delivered. The day has come for your trip. You’ll likely have been conversing with the owner already about pickup, so now you simply have to get your car. Some owners offer airport pickup (they leave the car at the airport for you when you arrive) at the local major airport, and some will deliver the car to you residentially (and you may have to drop them back off at their home). Since Susan was a Lyft driver, I just had her pick me up and take me to her car for a small Lyft fee.
Take pictures when you take possession. Just like a regular rental – you’ll want to inspect the car and document any dings/or issues you note. You’ll want to note the Fuel gage and the Owner will verify your driver’s license. You can use the Turo phone app to store and share the pictures with the owner, and while you are on your trip I found the app was the easiest way to converse with the owner for any reason.
Drive! Have fun and enjoy your car and trip! I had no issues on my weekend in the Rocky Mountains. I took Susan’s advice on the scenic route and had a great trip! It was just like driving any other rental car, however Susan’s car was a little older – but it worked great!
Drop off the car. Drop it back off with the owner at the agreed upon time, but make sure you fill it up with fuel to it’s original level again before you turn it in!
Write a review on the app about your experience. You are not done when you turn in the car, you need to fill out a review about your experience; this is the cornerstone to how the sharing economy works – the review process. It helps the people coming after you to trust the system. Reviews really are the moral compass of the sharing economy – so make sure you fill something out about your experience!
Get $25 Off Your First Turo Rental
If you want to check Turo out for yourself, I”ll give you $25 off your first Turo Trip! Just click the button below, set up a profile, and then on your next trip see if they have a rental that you want to purchase and try it out yourself!
I had a great trip and I loved driving Susan’s little Subaru Outback around the mountains! Turo is growing and currently in 4,700 cities and 300+ airports across the US, Canada, and the UK. So set up an account, and check it out for your next trip to save money on rentals!
Do you love meeting locals when you travel?
Learn more about tips on how to travel more local in my Local Travel Series teaching you how to use Airbnb, Eatwith and more!