After renting out my car for extra cash, I now find myself one hubcap short of a polo team (that’s 4). My first experience of peddling my car out to strangers went smoothly with a courteous, clean, and timely renter. Then one hiccup at the beginning of the second rental led to a cascade of problems, still being resolved.
I parked just outside baggage claim waiting for the second rental, ready to hand off my car and collect the extra $40 delivery fee when I realized that this renter had input the wrong pickup time by two hours. According to their flight number they wouldn’t be there for 2 hours and likely had been thinking in the wrong timezone. Unlike the big car rental companies, peer-to-peer rentals depend heavily on both the renter and the host being timely. So, I called Turo to see what I should do and was informed that if the renter did not contact Turo or myself in 15 minutes that Turo would have to cancel the trip.
Since the renter was unreachable, Turo canceled the rental and gave me the full $230 that I would have earned had the rental occurred. The idea of making $230 for driving to the airport and back sounded great, but I felt bad for the family about to go on vacation to Canada. When they finally landed and called me I informed them of what happened and told them I would refund everything except for the $40 delivery but couldn’t rent the car to them. In the short time between cancellation and them landing someone had used the instant booking feature for my car. It was going to hurt my ranking to to cancel on the new renter. So, I refunded most of the money and raised my future delivery fee to $120 as a statement that I don’t want to deliver the car unless you are willing to pay big.
Something about this next renter – let’s call her Danica Patrick – made me nervous, but I brushed it off assuming I was just being overly critical and gave her the car. Her rental agreement was originally scheduled for 3 days, but she shortly requested to extend it by about 3 days which I granted. About 3 days into Danica’s rental, another person booked the car with the $120 delivery fee included and wanted to be picked up about 9 hours after Danica was scheduled to return. At this point I was feeling like a one car mogul. As a presumptive reward I bought myself an Apple Watch with my revenue – not my profit. What blissful ignorance that was.
After being about 1.5 hours late for the return of the vehicle, Danica Patrick texted through the Turo app to inform me that her GPS was citing an arrival time of just 15 minutes away. This calmed my conclusion that she had stolen the car, used my car in a bank robbery, and framed me for the crime for which I would serve the next 20 years. However, just 8 minutes after her message the cops were at my door. Just kidding it wasn’t that bad, Mom. I received a second message saying,
“Just got a call my just was n a wreck they taking her to hospital. My ride is with. Cant wait key is under mat on drivee side.”
Personally, I drive like a grandma and never had a GPS tell me I am getting somewhere in 15 minutes and then got there in under 8. Again, my mind jumped to conclusions that this message was just another part of her plan to run off with my car. I quickly made my way outside, rejoicing at the site of my car , which looked just fine. I proceeded to the other side of the car to take the post trip photos, document mileage, and check the interior. I quickly realized a hub cap was missing, a second hubcap was damaged, the drivers side tires had gashes in them, two wheel hubs were bent on the edges, there was a thin but over 12 inch scratch along the drivers door, there were several stains on the seats, she had gone 40% over on the mileage cap, and she had taken all my toll change except for the pennies.
I had left the loose change for someone in a pinch at a toll. Now I was enraged by the picture in my head of her at the McDonald’s drive-in, missing a hubcap, paying for a burger and fries with my loose change, and spilling Coke in my car. After checking the rules for the insurance claims, I quickly realize that I would also have to miss out on the $160 from the next rental. Fortunately, when I informed the next renter that I was required to cancel on him, he was very nice. He informed me that he works for Airbnb and loves everything peer-to-peer and was very understanding to the occasional problems that can arise from peer-to-peer markets.
I think I have learned a lot from this experience but need to wait for the insurance claim payout before I can conclusively report on how I have fared financially. What I can say is this:
- If you get too worked up about people messing up your stuff, don’t rent it out!
- Don’t count your money before you know it’s profit, but you can’t make me return the watch.
- Invest in seat covers.
As always, I hate proof-reading. So, I apologize for all the errors you had to endure if you made it to this point in the page. If you find spelling, logical, or other types of errors please let me know. Also, if you find my hubcap I’ll take it back.