On the blog, I've explored every which way side hustlers may be able to make money. And if I've learned anything over the past couple of years, it is that there are more strategies out there than anybody would believe.
One of the more popular strategies I've spent some time on is how people can make money with their car.
Today, I want to go into more detail regarding one of the popular ways people can make money with their cars - renting out their cars through Turo.
What is Turo?
Turo is a car rental platform that allows those with cars, trucks, or other vehicles to rent them to those who need to rent a vehicle for a period of time. The platform is not unlike car rental companies like National, Avis, or Budget, but rather than renting a car from a corporation, Turo allows peer-to-peer rentals.
Listings can be created and reserved right through the platform in just a few minutes of your time.
By offering rentals, Turo allows car owners to earn money to help offset their bills or even to start/grow a small business.
How does Turo work for hosts?
Turo works a little differently depending on whether you're looking to rent your vehicle out or rent somebody else's vehicle to use.
As a side hustle, renting out your vehicle on Turo couldn't be much easier. Before you can ger started, you'll need to meet a few main eligibility criteria to be a host, including:
Be at least 21 years old
Have a valid driver's license
Have an eligible vehicle and insurance (more here in a minute)
Your car will also need to meet a number of requirements in order to rent it out in the United States. For example, your car must:
Be from model year 2006 or newer
Have less than 130,000 miles on it
Be registered in your name (or whoever plans to be the host)
Be free from any mechanical problems
Be up to date in any inspection requirements in your state
Those looking to rent out luxury cars may be subject to additional and more heavily scrutinized requirements, so I don't recommend you list any luxury cars on Turo.
How does insurance work with Turo?
As a Turo host, you cannot list your car to be rented without it being covered by an insurance policy. When it comes to your rentals, you have two options. You may either:
Rent out your car using your own insurance policy
Purchase a different insurance policy through Turo directly
Regardless of whether you use your policy or not, you'll need to make sure that your policy:
Has collision insurance that insures your vehicle up to its total cash value
Assure that your liability insurance meets your state's minimum
Send Turo proof of your car's insurance
Let's visit Turo's vehicle protection options now.
There are currently five plans, named:
Essentially, the number in the name of the plan corresponds to the percentage of the trip price you'll still receive in the event of an accident. As you see above, each of the plans has a different deductible level and reimbursement options available. All do come with a standard $750,000 in third-party liability insurance.
The Turo website offers a great website to help you determine what your best insurance option is, if you opt to skip using your own.
Is buying Turo's insurance worth it?
In many cases, you may need to buy insurance through the platform, as many insurance policies follow the driver, rather than the vehicle. This means that your car may not be covered in the event that somebody else drives it.
But if your existing policy does, then you'll have a decision to make. I recommend that you
Personally, I'd rather find a way to build my business around the higher costs of using Turo's insurance, just for the peace of mind.
Creating a Turo listing
Once you clear all of these procedural hurdles, your next step is to create a listing. At this point, Turo will ask you for details about your car's exact make, model, and year. You'll also be asked to write a description about your vehicle and its features, so if your car has any fancy bells and whistles that could be valuable to renters, like navigation, you should absolutely call them out.
You'll also need to upload high quality photos of your car, from both the inside and the outside.
Before you finalize your listing, you'll need to pick a pricing model that works for you. You'll want to pick a daily price that is within the range of your competition, but you also don't want to undercut them, or you're likely to lose money after considering factors like vehicle depreciation.
Out of curiosity, I browsed available cars and prices in my area. Prices varied somewhat, but here is a sampling (all prices per day):
A 2019 Ford Mustang for $99
A 2017 Chrysler Pacifica for $57
A 2018 Tesla Model X for $155
A 2012 Toyota Prius for $56
A 2022 Toyota Corolla for $64
It seems that in many parts of the country, sedans can earn you between $50 and $70 per day, while SUVs and luxury cars can earn you somewhere in the $70 to $130 range.
Rent your vehicle
With your listing and pricing figured out, it is time to wait for rentals to flow in. In time, you'll start to learn the cadence of how often your cars will be rented and how you may be able to tinker with your pricing over time.
How does Turo work for renters?
Likewise, the process is just as simple for renters too. After you download the app, you can browse available cars in your area given your date and geographic location preferences.
Before you officially reserve your wheels, you'll need to make sure that you're eligible to rent from the platform. Generally, these requirements mirror the same criteria used to vet hosts. For example, you'll need:
To be at least 21 years of age
Hold a valid driver's license
Proof of a good auto insurance score (as calculated by one of the major credit bureaus)
Other than this, renters can just use the platform to schedule a rental based on their location, including certain airport offerings!
Ridester has an awesome article out there for those looking for more information from a renter perspective.
How to start a Turo business
Starting a Turo business, where you rent out more than one vehicle at a time, can be a great way for you to start building a small business on the side.
Plus, getting started is really easy to do! Just follow these x basic steps:
Register your existing vehicle
Price your rental effectively
Grow your rental inventory
1. Register to rent out your existing vehicle
When getting your business off the ground, I'm going to assume that you already have a vehicle that is eligible for rentals through the Turo platform.
Before you can start raking in the dough, though, you'll need to establish your profile, register your vehicle, and finish up all your paperwork. This means things like verifying your identification, providing info about your car, and completing your proof of insurance should all be at the top of your list.
Use the process I outlined above to help! And once you're done, you can move on to pricing your rental.
2. Price your rental
Your goal here is not to create a business out of thin air or to maximize your rental fees per day, though both of those things would be nice are added bonuses.
Rather, you'll want to focus on renting out your car for as many days per month as possible. Here's why.
If you have a car payment, you'll want to earn at least as much as your monthly payment, but ideally, you'll be able to earn more. Any dollar above and beyond can go towards financing your next vehicle purchase, which you'll need to grow your operation.
The math doesn't need to be as overwhelming as it seems either. I drive a 2019 Honda Accord with a $400 monthly payment. If I'm able to rent my car for twenty out of the thirty days in a month, at $40 per day on average, I'll be able to afford my car payment and another similar Accord at another $400 per month. Then, I can have two cars on the road making me money.
3. Grow your inventory
To make serious money, you're going to need more cars, and they'll also need to be rented out on a regular basis too. But before you head out to your favorite dealership to buy a new car or two, I challenge you to think of this.
Do you even want to buy new cars just to rent them out to strangers you don't know? And even more, is doing so a smart business decision?
It can be funny to think about, but the best way to grow your Turo business is to find good value in serviceable vehicles that you can rely on. Here's what I mean.
Just as how you shouldn't buy a luxury car to rent out, you also shouldn't just buy a beater, even if the price is right. For one, if it dies quickly, it will have been a bad purchase. But secondly, you'll still need to meet Turo's renter requirements.
In most instances, generic Toyota or Honda sedans with about 100,000 miles, or a little more, on them can work really well. Not too flashy, but a sign of quality.
How many cars should you buy?
as a rule of thumb, I generally don't recommend that you but more cars than your current business can cover in its cash flow.
This means that the rental money you earn each month should be at least as much as your monthly payments to hold your inventory.
With enough rental days, which is still a variable, a Turo business is one that should be operated in the black at worst, rather than the red.
Then, once you have revenue growth, you can use it to immediately increase your inventory or pay off car loans, both of which should help your margins.
This can sometimes be the slow way to grow your business, but it is also financially responsible.
4. Rent out the new cars
Your new inventory isn't going to make you money sitting parked in your driveway. It needs to be out on the road, driven by somebody else. So, in the same way that you created a listing for your first car, you now want to do so for the additions to your fleet.
Your other goal is to continue renting out as many cars as you can for as many days.
One thing that you should be conscious of is how easy/hard it is for you to rent out your cars. If you live an area without tons of demand, this could dampen your profits, but you may also find another way to make money with these cars, like flipping.
You see the pattern in the process by now.
The extent to which you're able to scale your Turo business will depend on the size of your fleet, but you also want to make sure you're expanding your operation in a cost conscious and conservative manner.
Tips to increase your Turo earnings
Now, I want to share a few tips with you to help you increase your earnings and help your business grow.
1. Pick the right cars
Remember - the cars in your fleet can make a huge difference in how much you're able to earn on Turo. It is a delicate bouncing act between beater and new car, while also paying attention to platform requirements and accounting for rental price differences for differing makes/models.
Before you buy any car, you should check to see what comparable vehicles in your area rent for. Then, estimate and research the number of days per month you think you'll be able to rent it to see if your estimated revenue exceeds your monthly payment.
If it does, you'll turn a profit!
2. Optimize your listings
Your listings are really important, particularly if you live in an suburban or urban area with lots of competition for rental days. Luckily, it isn't hard to get your listings to stand out from the crowd.
To optimize your listings, focus on the minutia. Pay attention to things like:
Building trust with target customers
Writing comprehensive and detailed descriptions
Marketing your rentals outside of the Turo platform
Additionally, it is good practice to offer additional features and perks that make your customer's rental experience more seamless. This may entail car seat options, covered fuel, or even delivery to your customer's location.
Any or all of these perks can really help you stand out from the crowd.
3. Provide excellent customer service
Furthermore, since your customers will be able to rate their experience with you, and these ratings will be available for anyone to see, you'll need to focus on providing good customer service.
Always get back to renter inquiries as quickly as you can, for one. The Turo rental requirements stipulate that you respond to your customers, so you'll want to be sure that you do so.
In addition to the promptness, you can also offer flexible rental periods (by hour, day, week, or month, etc.), and offer discounts for those that schedule multiday rentals.
Finally, when issues do inevitably pop up, do everything you can to handle them quickly and professionally. Make every effort you can to make a situation right. It just may make the difference between a positive review and a negative one.
Additionally, on an unrelated note, you likely don't bank on further boosting your revenue by selling your inventory off. Cars tend to depreciate really quickly, so you'll want to keep your existing inventory making money for as long as possible.
Then, under the assumption that you'll need to scrap cars from time to time, you can then take some of your profit and invest in newer cars.
Turo can be an excellent way for side hustlers with a vehicle to make some extra money. And while this will be easier in some parts of the country than others, renters should feel secure knowing they are protected by Turo's insurance and other protections.
Have you ever, or would you rent out your vehicle through Turo?
Tell me why or why not in the comments below!
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