For the past 6 months I have been leasing out my car on both Getaround and Turo. For those of you who aren’t familiar with these companies, both of them offer the ability for car owners to rent out their vehicles to anyone for a price. You can think of it a lot like AirBNB for your car.
However, both companies take very different approaches to accomplishing this. Which one you consider ‘better’ largely depends on whether you’re the person who is lending or the person being lent the car. Today, I will break down the differences from the provider’s (person lending their car) perspective.
|Rental Period||1 Day||1 Hour|
|Car Access||Person-to-Person||Auto lock/unlock in app|
|Insurance||Liberty Mutual||Third Party Administrator of claims on behalf of some carrier you’ve never heard of|
|Price||Set by Owner||Set by Algorithm|
|Miles||Set by Owner||200|
|Tolls||Reimbursement Form||Auto-deduct by plate|
|People on Platform||Caring & friendly||Don’t care|
But first, some history: Turo has been in this game for much longer than Getaround. They initially started as “RelayRides” with a similar app-based experience as their more recent competitor. Since then, Turo has pivoted their service based on analytics and insights from years in the business. Spoiler: I think this is why Turo is the champion here.
First of all – the people. As a car owner, you typically don’t just let anyone drive your car. But that is precisely what is happening on these platforms. In my roughly 6-months worth of experience interacting with individuals on both platforms , I can honestly and easily say that Turo users are much nicer, caring, and considerate.
Example: on Turo, I have had multiple people return my car cleaner and with more gas than when it was rented. Turo users enjoy the car and fluctuate with its speeds (I rent out a 2014 Chevy Camaro) – but always take care of it and are great communicators. Getaround drivers, by contrast and generalization, return the car dirty and tank empty after driving it well in excess of the speed limit. They rarely communicate and appear to treat the car much like a faceless rental – which is nothing crazy, but without the care that I have come to expect from Turo.
It is no surprise then, that my one accident occurred with a Getaround driver. That accident was 2 weeks ago, and I am still waiting for my car to be returned to me. So let’s talk about the worst case scenario: insurance and the claims experience.
When I was notified that my car had been in an accident I was on the other side of the country in San Francisco. That feeling of dread was more than distracting as I was stuck far away with no control over the situation. Getaround contacted me to let me know what had happened (awesome) and said they would take care of it. The next day, I got an email from another Getaround employee saying that they sent someone out to drive my car to the shop – but that the driver couldn’t drive a stick shift, and therefore couldn’t bring my car in. Remember – my car is listed as a stick shift on their website, so they should know this.
The next day, a new driver came and successfully brought my car to the shop. However, Getaround then informed me that I had gone through a toll (even though I never remove my EZ pass) and needed to pay them, plus a small admin fee. Needless to say, this was not a great experience. To their credit, they realized this mistake and credited my account $10.
A few more days went by and I got home from my trip. After reaching out for an update on the status of my car, I was informed that the shop found additional damage while undergoing repairs. They now needed to wait for the insurance company to come out and inspect the car again. It appears that their insurance setup could use some work as it involves third party services. While not uncommon, this creates additional lag through handoffs and approvals between 3 companies and the shop before work can get done. All of this just adds up to more time before my car comes back.
But, there is a loss-of-use clause!!! As a provider, I am entitled to $25/day while my car is being repaired – but only up to the highest payout over the past 3 months. My highest payout was $200. My payments on the car are $550. It has been 2 weeks. Do the math, and you’ll realize that I am losing money on this deal. So the claims experience – between the miscommunications and many parties – is less than ideal.
So while we’re crunching the numbers, which one really makes sense finically? Again, I would have to roll with Turo – though this may be a personal preference. On Turo, I am able to set my own price OR use their algorithm to adjust based on the market around me. My choice is to set my own price because I value consistency and mentally have a price point at which the hassle of renting out the car is worth a certain cost. You don’t get this with Getaround.
Additionally, Getaround cars can be rented for as short as an hour and can happen immediately. This means that you always have to keep your car clean, filled with gas, and ready to go. You also have to micromanage your schedule to be sure that nobody tries to rent your car while you’re at the grocery store. This can be annoying – for little reward. I have received as little as $5 because someone wanted to rent my car for an hour, while driving ~50 miles during that time. To me, it’s just not worth it – especially when calculating the wear and tear toward the vehicle, the risk, your inability to use it, and need to keep it clean and full constantly.
Turo – on the other hand – gives you advance notice that your car will be rented out and does not allow for rentals any shorter than 1 day. This is fantastic for owners – but is a hassle for users. But from this perspective, I’m okay with that. 🙂
The one point where Getaround shines is with its ability to have renters open and use the car via the app. This allows for a completely hands-off rental experience for the owners. With Turo, there is a key handoff from owner to lessee which means that you should physically be around for the exchange. This can be difficult as oftentimes people want to rent the car while I am at work. This means less rides or clunky workarounds like leaving the keys in a hidden location.
Yet, I have grown to appreciate the key handoff over time. I have gotten to know some of the drivers – many of whom are visitors and travelers – and this helps to build up rapport between us. I truly believe that this is intentionally done by Turo as it directly impacts the amount of care the car is given. Even when hiding the key for a remote pickup, I can tell the car has been well taken care of, as this is truly a human-to-human experience and not an app-based transaction.
After speaking with Turo reps, I understood this decision perfectly. In their original app-unlock model, thieves would look up cars on the platforms, seek them out, break in – and because the keys are inside – they would drive away with the vehicle. This is no good.
So in addition to reducing theft, the key handoff also increased the level of vehicle care.
Overall, while Turo seems much more manual, it is enacted with great purpose. Turo enables the owner to feel as though they maintain control of their vehicle even at times when it is not fully theirs. It is clear that they have done their research and truly aim to create a great experience for the provider. I just hope that the demand side continues to strengthen, even with increased pricing pressure from lesser rivals like Getaround.