Rent Out Your Car for Extra Cash
With urban dwelling on the rise and gas prices sitting stubbornly above the four-dollar mark across much of America, car sharing is catching on as a smart alternative to traditional vehicle ownership. While services like Zipcar have helped pave the way for by-the-hour car rentals, San Francisco-based start-up RelayRides has taken things one step further by providing a platform for vehicle owners to rent out their rides to other licensed drivers. Launched in 2010 by Harvard Business School grad Shelby Clark, RelayRides boasts some 20,000 members sharing 1,000 vehicles — and hopes to continue expanding its fleet as more and more drivers open up to the possibilities of peer-to-peer car rentals.
With the service, car owners can post photos of their vehicles online and set a daily or hourly rate (usually between $5 and $20 an hour). Owners receive 60 per cent of the rental profits, while the remaining 40 per cent goes toward insurance, technology and support. While the idea of sharing your car with a complete stranger can be scary, RelayRides has done its best to mitigate fears by providing $1 million in liability coverage for every rental and the option to review potential renters before handing over the keys. Furthermore, owners will be reimbursed for any charges incurred by the renter, such as parking tickets or cleaning fees. Launching a car sharing service is still risky business — 34 per cent of similar companies failed between 1994 and 2008. However, RelayRides have hit upon a winning formula by providing a service that is both convenient and safe for owners and renters alike. For more information, visit www.relayrides.com