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Technology has presented us with a whole new range of ways to earn money and grow wealth. The gig economy and side hustle culture have truly revolutionized the way we make money.

There will always be times when we need extra funds to make ends meet or save for a large purchase. That used to mean getting a part-time job, picking up some extra shifts at work, holding a garage sale, etc. 

Today, if you need extra money, you can get a side gig, and your side gig options are literally limitless. One of those options is car sharing with Turo. It’s the one I chose, and for me, it has turned into a six-figure business.

In this post:

👩 My Story

In 2018 a fire in my restaurant forced me to close for good. I lost my source of income, my financial security, and my livelihood overnight.

After I lost my business, I was lost. My business was my long-term plan. It was how I planned to make a living, to grow my career. It was how I made my money and paid for my personal expenses. All of that went up in smoke.

When I lost my business, I went through a dark period of time, feeling lost with no hope. After a few months, I decided I needed to come up with a game plan. That’s when I decided I would direct my focus to peer-to-peer car sharing on the platform Turo.

🚗 My Turo Journey

After I lost my business in 2018, I needed to use the assets I had to generate income. I decided to lean on Turo and direct my focus to making money with this side hustle.

At the time, I already had my personal 2011 Jeep Wrangler listed on Turo, and I also had a cheap 2007 Toyota Yaris listed. Both of these cars were listed full-time on Turo and, in total, were generating between $1,000-$1,500 per month. 

I decided in January of 2019 that I would shift my focus from my lost business to growing a Turo business, and as we sit here today I have grown my Turo business into a six-figure semi-passive income stream that has helped me spin off into other businesses as well, including an online car-sharing course and a successful YouTube channel. All of this is due to car sharing and the car sharing side hustle. 

So, today I want to walk you through this. Now that you know more about me, I want to take you into a deep-dive on the Turo and Peer-to-Peer car sharing marketplace, how I turned this into a six-figure business, how I got started, and – most important – how you can do the same. 

Let’s get started. 👇

🖐️ Do you have a gig work or side hustle story to tell? Do you have words of wisdom that might help others looking to make it in the gig economy?
Find out how we can collaborate to get your story out there. Get in touch!

What is Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing?

If you don’t know what Turo or Peer-to-Peer Car sharing are, let me explain. 

In short, car sharing allows you to rent your personal car and make money doing it while providing insurance and security if something goes wrong.

We all know traditional rental car companies like Hertz, Avis, or Enterprise. Peer-to-peer car sharing is a business model along this same line. Only, you rent out your personal vehicle (or a fleet of vehicles) on an app. This is an alternative to a traditional rental car company and gives customers other options outside of the more traditional avenues like Avis, Enterprise, or Hertz.

👉 When you list your personal vehicle on a peer-to-peer car sharing platform, you allow other people to borrow that vehicle in exchange for money.

There are a handful of apps that facilitate the transactions of car-sharing. The three main players are HyreCar, Getaround, and Turo. These platforms provide key functions that are critical in a car sharing business:

  • Connecting you to people who want to rent your car.
  • Vetting customers (to some extent) to ensure they are eligible to rent your car.
  • Covering your car with insurance if the car is damaged or totaled.
  • Ensuring your car is covered with cleaning, toll charges, tickets, gas, and other costs.

In exchange for all of these features, you pay a portion of your earnings to the car sharing platform.

👉 For example, I currently list all my cars on the platform Turo. They provide me with all the benefits listed above. I provide the car and then we split all the revenue 70/30. I get 70% and Turo gets 30%. 

Car-Sharing vs Car Rental: Why Do People Choose Car Sharing?

Why would someone rent a car by car sharing with Turo when they can just rent with a traditional rental car company? That’s a good question, so let’s go over it.

Car sharing is more accessible if you are someone with less than perfect credit. For renters with poor credit or no credit score, traditional rental car companies may not even be an option.

Other real advantages of car sharing are:

  • You do not need to have a credit card.
  • It is more accessible, provides more options, and more flexibility.
  • Car sharing can be more affordable (depending on the city, car & renter).

So, car sharing provides an important alternative to traditional rental car companies. Because of this, there is a lot of value in listing cars on car sharing apps.

HyreCar vs GetAround vs Turo: Which Car Sharing Platform Is Best?

So we now know what car sharing is, but what about the various car sharing platforms out there? There are three key players in the car sharing game: Turo, GetAround, and HyreCar.

While all of these platforms complete the same basic functions, there are some differences between them.

Turo

www.turo.com

Turo is the biggest player in the peer-to-peer game. It’s been around the longest and has the largest market share, which means that it will likely be the safest option.

Turo markets itself as “better than a rental company” and often uses the phrase “own the adventure.” They position themselves as a way for normal people to rent and drive unusual cars: a Lamborghini for a night out, a Jeep Wrangler for your next road trip, a Mustang Convertible for your next trip to the beach.

Turo advertises itself as a car sharing company that lets you drive your dream car. This isn’t always the case, as there are a lot of cars on Turo that are not anyone’s dream car. For many people, it’s just a way to get a car when they need one.

Turo has strict limits on the use of vehicles. For example, a renter cannot rent your car to drive for Uber or Lyft or tow trailers or RVs with your cars. 

Turo also places limits on the vehicles they are willing to list. For example:

  • The vehicle must be 12 years old or newer upon listing.
  • Mileage must be under 130,000.
  • The vehicle can not carry more than 8 people (no busses, cargo vans…etc).
  • You must have a clean title to the vehicle.
  • An actual cash value of less than $125,000 (sorry you can’t rent out your Bugatti Veyron).

👉 Turo isn’t perfect, of course. It has had its growing pains over the years, and the customer service team is sometimes lacking. If you google “Turo Reviews,” you’ll find dozens of horror stories.
However, I am a Turo host with a fleet of 10-15 cars and over 1500 trips on the platform, and I have had a great experience with Turo. 

GetAround

www.getaround.com

GetAround is the second-largest car-sharing app by market share. They are not as popular as Turo, but that is largely due to the roll-out structure of GetAround. GetAround expanded throughout the U.S. city by city and state by state. This gradual rollout led to a slower growth curve than Turo’s, but GetAround is slowly gaining traction.

GetAround’s approach is the opposite of Turo’s. GetAround has positioned itself to be the peer-to-peer car sharing platform for the gig economy. They not only allow drivers to rent your car to use for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, etc, they actually encourage it.

So, because of this, GetAround’s target customer can use your car to commute, get from point A to point B, or drive for the gig economy. Because of these intended uses, GetAround prefers lower-end economical vehicles to higher-end luxury or specialist vehicles.

GetAround also has vehicle requirements, but they are a bit more lax than Turo’s:

  • Vehicles must be from 2007 or newer.
  • Mileage must not exceed 200,000.
  • Vehicles must have electronic locks (or the ability to add them).
  • A clean title is required.
  • No super cars or extreme luxury vehicles (examples include Porsches, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, etc)

👉 As with Turo, the app is not perfect, and reviews are mixed, but for economical and affordable cars, Getaround is a great option.

HyreCar

www.hyrecar.com

HyreCar is a bit of a black sheep when it comes to car sharing. Their market share is small, and I can’t describe them from a base of experience because I have never actually used them. I have always heard mixed reviews when it comes to HyreCar. 

HyreCar touts itself as being a “no-credit-check” option for people wanting to rent a car. Vehicles that HyreCar allows are:

  • Model year 2004 or newer.
  • 4-Door.
  • Seats and seat belt for driver and 4 passengers.
  • No commercial branding.
  • Pass Safety Inspection.

👉 HyreCar has its pros and cons, and ultimately it is the smallest player of the three. It is a platform you can explore, but I would encourage and recommend sticking to Turo and Getaround.

I wanted to lay out all three of the major players for you because I think it is important to understand your options and the pros & cons of each platform.

Turo is the platform I have had the most experience with and it’s the one I know inside and out. Because of this, for the rest of this article, I will be referring solely to Turo and how to build a car sharing business on the Turo platform.

Most of the advice information will also apply to GetAround or HyreCar, but you may wish to seek information from experienced users if you intend to use these platforms. 

How to Start a Car Sharing Business on Turo

Now that we know what Turo is and we know what car sharing is, let’s look at how to get started with Turo and how to grow a car sharing fleet of your own. 

I’ll try to cover everything you need to know about starting a car sharing business on Turo in as much detail as possible.

Here's what you'll learn:

Choosing a Car

Before you can start making money from renting cars, you first need a car. There are two ways to rent a car on Turo.

  1. One is to rent your own car. If you have a car you aren’t using or if you don’t regularly use your primary vehicle, this is a great way to start your car sharing journey. You won’t have to worry about choosing a car because you’ll be working with what you’ve already got.
  2. If you don’t already have a car available or if you want to expand your car-sharing business, you’ll need to buy a car to share. That means you’ll be making important decisions on what car to buy!

Theoretically, you can list any car you want, but that does not mean that you will be able to rent it.

👇 If you’re thinking about renting your own car, you can skip the next three sections and go straight to listing your car on Turo.

Get to Know Your Market

Before you buy a car, you should understand who your target customer is going to be. This is because your target customer will greatly dictate what type of car you should get and what type of car does well on the Turo marketplace.

Who Is Your Target Customer?

Who is going to be renting your car? Or more specifically, who do you want to rent your car?

👉 For vacationers who want to rent your car on Spring Break, a convertible or a large SUV might be a good choice.
👉 If your target is people traveling to your city for work, a more economical car like a 4 door sedan would be appropriate.
👉 If people are renting your car to take to the mountains for their annual snowboarding trip you would probably want a 4-wheel drive SUV or crossover.

What Does Your Customer Need?

You will want to know your market. Why are people renting your cars, and what cars are needed in your area?

👉 Does it rain a lot where you live? If so, a convertible probably isn’t the best.
👉 If you live where it snows a lot, maybe a 2 wheel drive small coupe isn’t the best.
👉 A good tip is to look around where you live and see what cars other people are driving, and that can be an indicator of what car could be purchased for Turo.

These indicators will help gauge what type of car will do well in your area and what cars people will rent.

☝️ Remember, the point isn’t just to list a car on Turo. You want people to rent your car, and that will never happen if your car is impractical for your area or city.

Buying a Car for Turo

Once you know what type of car you should get, you’ll need to find a car to buy. I’ll try to cover everything you need to know about buying a car for Turo in this next section.

Here's what you'll learn:

New or Used?

The first question is whether to buy new or used?

When it comes to buying a car for Turo, regardless of what “type” of car you buy, it’s important to never (and I mean NEVER) buy a new car to list on Turo. The reason is simple: the depreciation will kill you. 

When you buy a car for Turo, it is very important to buy a car at the lowest possible point in the depreciation curve. 

This is a standard depreciation curve for a vehicle (or course, there are exceptions to this rule):

Normalized car deprecation over 20 years

A car takes the biggest hit to its value in the first year of ownership, often close to 20%. That means when you buy a new car, the second you drive it off the dealer’s lot, that car will be worth 20% LESS than what you paid for it.

That doesn’t work with Turo. We want our cars to be worth MORE than what we pay for them. How do you do that? Let me explain. 

🚗+💵-🛠=🤑
You want to make sure that the price you get for the car and your earnings from the car exceed the price you paid and any maintenance expenses. That’s how you make money!

To have a car worth more than you pay for it, you should never buy it new. You should buy it at the lowest possible point in the depreciation curve. If you look at the curve, you’ll see that after around the 7th year. Once we hit the depreciation bottom, the year by year depreciation has drastically declined.

Around the year 7 the deprecation of a car drastically declines

The first 5 years of a car’s life are where it loses the majority of its value. After it has hit the depreciating bottom, the car retains its value much better and, in some cases, can even appreciate (gain value).

⚠️ Remember that when your car exceeds the mileage or age requirement or if maintenance costs become prohibitive, you will want to sell it.

Finding the Right Car

Where do you find cars that are at or near their depreciation bottom?

You can check out websites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist and find cars that are available for sale. A good rule of thumb for finding the depreciation bottom is seeing what the average lowest price you find for a car is.

👉 For example:

You may see an older Ford vehicle listed for $4,000.
You may see a lot of these Fords listed for $4,000.
Some are in better condition than others, some are maybe a year or two older, some are a bit higher mileage, but it seems like regardless of the condition, the lowest you can find this car priced at is around $4,000.

This is a good indicator that the depreciation bottom for this car is $4,000, and if you can buy this car at this price, you are getting a pretty good deal. 

This is just one example, but if you follow this rule of thumb you have a great chance of being set up for success in your car-sharing journey.

In addition to buying cars at their depreciation bottom, it is also important to buy cars below market value. You see, just because a car has hit its depreciation bottom does not mean you are automatically going to be getting a good deal on that car. That’s where market value comes into play.

👉 Market value is the price of a car on average in any given market.

To determine the market value, you can turn to resources like Kelley Blue Book or even simply do your own market research. To do market research, all you have to do is go online to various websites and look up the specific type of car you are looking for.

What’s the advertised price? Is this above or below the average price for this model and year? What would be considered a good deal?

Before you go to buy your car, you should know how much the average price for that car in your market is, you should know how much you expect to pay for the car, and you should know what fair market value is.

☝️ To get the best deal, you’ll want to try to pay below market value. Never pay over market value. That is setting yourself up to lose money later on down the road.

Dealer or Private Seller?

You’ll need to decide whether you want to buy your used car from a dealership or a private party. 

The problem with dealerships is that very rarely (if ever) will you be able to buy a car for below market value from a dealer. Because of this, it is almost always a better idea to buy your used car from a private party.

💡 Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are great places to do this.

With these platforms, you can easily find cars below market value, and you can buy them for lower prices than you would get from a dealership.

❗️ The most important things to remember

When buying a car for Turo here are the important things to keep in mind:

  • Purchase a car that matches your market, target customer, and caters to your guest and what they will be using your car for.
  • Buy used at the bottom of the depreciation curve.
  • Buy below market value.
  • BEFORE you go to look at a car, do your research. Know what car you want, the fair market value price of that car, and also have an idea of how much you are willing to pay and offer for that car.

Pre-Purchase Inspection

If you find the car you want to purchase and have a good idea of what you want to pay for the car and what you should pay for the car, you need to check the vehicle in person.

There are a few things you should do and some things that I do every time I go look at a vehicle.

First, run the CarFax. The importance of this step cannot be overstated. Running the CarFax will allow you to see the maintenance and accident history of the vehicle. You will learn how many miles the car should have (rolled back and inaccurate mileage is a very real problem in the world of used cars). It will tell you how many owners the car has had and the status of the title. 

These are all critical things to know before buying a vehicle, and running the CarFax is a necessary step of the buying process.

In order to run the CarFax, all you need to do is ask the seller for the VIN or vehicle identification number and then go to CarFax.com and buy the report. This does cost money, but it is a worthwhile investment for your Turo side hustle.

🛒 A single CarFax report costs $39.99. Three will cost you $59.99, and six sell for $99.99.

Once you have run the CarFax you can now go and meet the seller.

Now, when it comes to actually seeing the car in person, I encourage you to bring someone along with you who knows about cars. If you don’t have a person in your life who can play that role, that is okay, but it is best to at least have 1 other person with you. For example, I bring my fiance and business partner with me every time I go look at a car.

When looking at a vehicle to buy, here are some things to do.

Pre-Purchase Checklist

  • Look at the car in a well-lit area.
  • Bring a scan tool to check for engine issues. Scan tools are $20 from Amazon, but if you don’t want to purchase your own, then you can drive the car you’re looking at to any major auto parts store. They can scan the car for you for free.
  • Look at the body of the car. Are there any dents, dings, scratches? How does the car compare to what it looked like in photos?
  • How are the tires? Are they cracked? How is the tread?
  • Open the engine bay. Does the engine make any loud noises that sound out of place? Do you notice knocking, excessive shaking, or squeaking?
  • Is there any oil residue in the engine bay? This could be a major red flag.
  • Open the oil cap and check the dipstick. You want your oil to have a syrup-like consistency, not a muddy consistency.
  • When on your test drive, how does the car drive? Does it drive straight? Does it accelerate okay?
  • When driving, does the car accelerates rapidly (I am talking pedal to the floor). Does the car accelerate as expected?
  • Lastly, try sudden braking – brake hard and fast – how does the car stop?

These are just a few things that you should look out for when buying a used car. 

⚠️ If you don’t feel comfortable doing a pre-purchase inspection, take the car to a trusted mechanic and pay to have the car inspected. A pre-purchase inspection could potentially save you thousands later on down the road.

Paying for the Car

The last question of the car buying process is whether to pay cash or finance your purchase.

This is a debated topic amongst Turo hosts because most savvy business owners say that smart entrepreneurs use other people’s money to make money. This is true, but I don’t think it necessarily applies to Turo.

Let me explain.

Turo is a great platform, and I think it is an amazing side hustle. Still, no matter how successful you are on the Turo, how much you make or how many cars you have, the Turo platform will never be yours. It will never belong to you. Because of this, there will always be an element of the Turo business that you will never control.

Turo has control. They decide the policies. They decide the rules. They decide who stays or goes.

Because of this, I advise against financing Turo cars.

☝️ I believe that relying too much on debt in a business model you can’t control is a mistake, and it can set you up for failure. If you are just starting out and you cannot afford to buy your cars outright, then I don’t think it is a terrible idea to finance your first one or two cars, but I certainly wouldn’t finance a fleet of vehicles.

👉 Rather than financing, I recommend buying low-cost vehicles around the $5,000 mark.

Listing Your Car on Turo

Once you have a good car that you’ve purchased for a good price, the rest is easy. Let’s dig into the fun stuff: renting out the car.

Once you have your car, it is time to list it. Listing the car is pretty straightforward, you simply go onto the Turo website and click “Become a Host.”

From there you follow the prompts outlined by Turo, this includes things like giving your information as well as information for the car. You will have to take some car photos, get the VIN and license plate information for your car, and also select how much you want to list your car for, among other things.

Starting out on Turo involves some trial and error.

Pricing is adjustable, so see what other cars in your area cost and then rent your car for something similar (or even $1-$2 lower to attract more renters).

Provide an honest, truthful description of the vehicle and set expectations with the prospective renter so you’re set up for success.

👉 For example, let’s say that you are renting out a 2010 Ford Fusion on the Turo platform. This could be a good description:

This lovely 2010 Ford Fusion is a perfect car to take you where you need to go. This car gets great gas mileage and offers features including Bluetooth, cruise control, automatic locks and windows, and USB charging. This car does have some wear and tear on the exterior of the car, but it is an incredible value for the renter on a budget.

Pair a straightforward and honest description with some good photos (no need to hire a professional photographer, smartphone photos are perfectly fine) and a competitive price, and you are ready for success!

Choosing Your Insurance Coverage

The last step of the process of renting your car on Turo is choosing your insurance coverage. This is important because it will dictate how much you will earn each trip and how much coverage you will have in case of an accident or total loss of your vehicle. Accidents do happen, so it is important to be covered.

Turo offers five different host protection plans. Below is a brief rundown of Turo insurance coverage directly from Turo’s website:

PlanFeatures
60 plan✅ Earn 60% of the trip price
✅ Up to $750,000 in third-party liability insurance
✅ Turo pays 100% of eligible damage costs
✅ No deductible
✅ Includes exterior wear and tear reimbursement
✅ Includes loss of hosting income during repair OR $50/day replacement vehicle reimbursement (10 day max)
70 plan✅ Earn 70% of the trip price
✅ Up to $750,000 in third-party liability insurance
✅ Turo pays 100% of eligible damage costs above the deductible
✅ $250 deductible

✅ $30/day replacement vehicle reimbursement during repair (10 day max)
❌ Doesn’t include exterior wear and tear reimbursement
❌ Doesn’t include loss of hosting income during repair
75 plan✅ Earn 75% of the trip price
✅ Up to $750,000 in third-party liability insurance
✅ Turo pays 100% of eligible damage costs above the deductible
✅ $750 deductible
❌ No replacement vehicle reimbursement during repair
❌ Doesn’t include exterior wear and tear reimbursement
❌ Doesn’t include loss of hosting income during repair
80 plan✅ Earn 80% of the trip price
✅ Up to $750,000 in third-party liability insurance
✅ Turo pays 100% of eligible damage costs above the deductible
✅ 1,625 deductible
❌ No replacement vehicle reimbursement during repair
❌ Doesn’t include exterior wear and tear reimbursement
❌ Doesn’t include loss of hosting income during repair
85 plan✅ Earn 85% of the trip price
✅ Up to $750,000 in third-party liability insurance
✅ Turo pays 100% of eligible damage costs above the deductible
✅ $2,500 deductible
❌ No replacement vehicle reimbursement during repair
❌ Doesn’t include exterior wear and tear reimbursement
❌ Doesn’t include loss of hosting income during repair

The Turo plan you choose is really up to you, your risk tolerance, and your financial situation. There is no “good” or “bad” coverage policy. It is 100% dictated by what you decide is best for you and your personal situation. 

⚠️ Whichever policy you choose though, it is crucial to understand the ins and outs of that policy. What does the policy cover? Are there things that aren’t covered? What do you have to do to be covered? What are the terms of service? Knowing these details is very, very important.

Once you’ve followed the Turo prompts and steps, you’ve taken photos, you’ve chosen your protection package, you’ve figured out your price – that’s it! You’re ready to get your car listed on Turo.

Getting Your First Rental

Now for the exciting part: time to start making money from your Turo car!

Once your car is listed, Turo does the heavy lifting of actually getting it rented. As long as your car has good photos and is listed at a competitive price, your car will get rented out. It is just a matter of time.

But, once that day finally comes and it is ready to be rented there are some very important things to do.

When you get a Turo rental, you will receive a Turo notification of the rental, when the rental is, who it is with and for what time. You will also be able to access this same info in the Turo app as well as the Turo website.

Once you get this notification it is time to start prepping for the rental.

Step 1

Make Sure the Car is Clean

The first step in prepping your car for a rental is to make sure the car is clean and running smoothly. Make sure there are no mechanical issues with the car, make sure the car is clean, make sure it is ready to go.

This can be as simple as vacuuming the car and wiping it down with disinfectant or it can be as detailed as taking it to a car wash.

Step 2

Take Photos

Per the Turo Terms of Service (which I HIGHLY recommend you read), you need to take photos of the car before and after the rental for you to be covered under insurance. So, no more than 24 hours before the rental, make sure to take photos of the car. 

💡 Take photos of the tires, the wheels, the front, back, sides, trunk, roof, windshield, odometer, center console…..everywhere. There is no such thing as too many photos.

Once you have taken these photos you will upload them to the app. You will also want to note the gas level of the car as well as the odometer reading on the car. Take photos of these as well.

Step 3

Confirm Guest Identity

At some point, before you give the guest the keys to the car, you will need to confirm their identity. You could ask the guest to send you photos of their ID along with a selfie photo of them holding their ID next to their face. Or you could meet the guest in person before the rental and confirm their ID in person.

Whichever route you choose, it is crucial to confirm the identity and eligibility of the person who is renting your car. Basically, you’ll want to make sure the person who is renting your car is the same person who owns the Turo account that rented your car.

This needs to be done no more than 24 hours before the rental.

Step 4

Hand Over the Keys

Next is the process of actually handing over the keys. There are two ways to do this. One is to meet the guest in person and give them the keys. This can be time-consuming and make this business model more of a job and less of a passive revenue stream. It means you have to meet the guest at each and every rental, which can be hard to do.

The second option (and the one I recommend) is the remote method. This is where you actually do not meet the guest in person. Instead, you have a lock-box system set up at your car, and when it is time for the guest to get the keys and after you have verified their identity, you give them the lockbox code, the guest grabs the keys, and they are all set.

That’s all there is to it. Your car is now on its first rental! But, what about when it is returned?

When returning the car, the same process happens but in a different order.

Step 1

The Guest Returns the Car

Once the rental is over, the guest will return the car, typically to the same location they picked it up at. This is the end of the rental.

Step 1

Take Photos of the Car and Log Gas/Mileage

Within 24 hours (no later!), you will need to go to the car, take photos of the car, and inspect it for any damage. If there is any damage, this will need to be reported and documented to Turo within 24 Hours. 

You will then log mileage and gas to ensure that the gas levels were returned to where they were pre-rental (the guest is responsible for gas), and you will need to ensure the guest did not go over the mileage limit.

👉 If the guest goes over the mileage limit you could be eligible for reimbursement.

Step 3

Rinse and Repeat!

That’s all there is to it! Once you’ve followed this process, you now know the step-by-step process of renting your car out on Turo, and once you are ready to move onto your next rental, you will just continue this process over and over again.

Car Sharing Business Expenses

Car sharing involves cars, and if you’ve ever owned a car, you know that there are some complexities to owning even one car, let alone a fleet of low-priced used cars. Let’s look at some common issues.

Like any business, a peer-to-peer car sharing business model has costs. Here are some typical expenses of a Turo fleet

  1. Insurance. You are still required to have insurance on your vehicles per your state guidelines. The cost of this will be dictated by the car and your own driving record.
  2. Maintenance. There will, of course, be maintenance on your vehicles. I will go deeper into that in a moment.
  3. Repairs. Your vehicles will inevitably get damaged, and repairing them will cost you money.
  4. Parking. Depending on where you store your vehicles, you may need to rent commercial parking. I rent a commercial lot for $100 per month to store my cars when they are not being rented out.

For the most part, the cost of doing business will mostly come down to storage (if applicable), insurance, maintenance, and repairs. The cost of these items will be dictated by what car you own and who rents your vehicles. For example, a Toyota is going to have significantly less maintenance cost than a Mercedes. 

The last hidden expense you should keep in mind is depreciation. If you buy cars at the depreciation bottom (as mentioned earlier), depreciation is not much of an issue. But if you buy cars brand new, depreciation will be a massive cost that will eat into your bottom line.

💡 You can often cut expenses by working with shops directly.

For example, you could negotiate a “house account” with a local car wash or tire repair shop. Buying oil and tires wholesale directly from the retailer rather than from third-party distributors will reduce your costs. There are a lot of ways you can cut expenses without cutting the quality of the vehicle. You just need to get creative.

Maintenance and Repairs

Maintenance and repairs are going to be a huge part of running your Turo business. Let’s first talk about maintenance. 

Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, it isn’t uncommon to have to do maintenance a bit more often than you would normally do because your cars are being driven more frequently, and it isn’t entirely uncommon for cars to be abused on rentals.

Below are some common maintenance issues that will come up with your fleet.

  • Oil & Filter Changes. This is just your standard oil change. You can do this yourself for between $30-$40, depending on the car.
  • Alignment. Tires will become unaligned as guests hit curbs and potholes in your cars. This isn’t something you will need to do all the time, but expect to do it multiple times a year.
  • Tires. Tires get worn more quickly when they are being driven on rental cars. Replacing tires will be inevitable.
  • Suspension Components. On all of my cars, replacing suspension components has become a regular part of the routine. For example, sway bar end links, inner tie rods, outer tie rods, etc., are all components I have had to replace on all of my cars.

These are just a few examples of the maintenance issues that could come up with your Turo vehicles. All the costs associated with these maintenance issues will be dictated by your own abilities. 

🛠 Do it Yourself

I work on all my cars myself, and it wasn’t until recently that I brought on my partner to help me run our Turo business full time, but between the two of us, we do nearly 100% of our repairs and maintenance ourselves out of our home garage. 

This will save you a ton of money because parts are significantly cheaper when buying them from an online retailer (for example, RockAuto is a great online retailer to buy quality parts for cheap). You can save a ton of money on labor by learning how to do these repairs independently.

That’s not to say that you have to repair your cars yourself. As mentioned earlier, you can create a relationship with a shop and see if you can work out a deal to get your labor done at a discount.

I have done this with my own Turo business when I have had repairs that needed to be done that were out of my expertise. For example, replacing an entire transmission is something I don’t know how to do, and I would get a shop I have a relationship with to do the job for me at a discount.

📚 Learn About Cars

Maintenance is an unavoidable issue when it comes to Turo, so I encourage anyone who wants to own a Turo fleet to learn as much about cars as possible. You don’t need to do 100% of your maintenance as much as possible, but you should be able to know what needs to be done to your car and a reasonable price to complete that job, and you should have some general knowledge of what the job entails. YouTube is your friend when it comes to learning this stuff.

Repairs

As for repairs, this is another one that is bound to become an issue at some point. Guests will damage your cars. It isn’t a matter of if. It is a matter of when.

When it comes to damage to your vehicle, as long as you have done your part in protecting yourself with Turo rentals (i.e., following the terms of service), then you will be covered, and you should be reimbursed when it comes to any Turo damage.

Depending on the type of damage you have to your car, you may need to take the car to a shop, or you could try to repair the car yourself. This will be dictated by the damage to the vehicle as well as your own abilities. But regardless, you should be reimbursed for any damage that does occur (but cases do vary, so read the terms of service!).

Retiring Cars

Eventually, you will need to retire a car on Turo.

When should you sell it to get a new one? This is a question that doesn’t have a clear-cut answer, but my best answer would be: When the car stops making money.

There is no clear-cut way to tell when a car should no longer be listed. Some people like to sell them when they are older and getting outdated. Some like to sell them to make room for newer refreshed cars and let other people drive them into the ground.

I like to sell mine when the maintenance is becoming too much for the car, and it simply doesn’t make sense to keep it any longer.

Sometimes I will sell my cars after a couple of years on the platform, sometimes I will never sell them, and they will get totaled on a trip, and that is when they get taken off. It really does depend on the vehicle and your ability to complete maintenance and repairs on that vehicle.

🧮️ At the end of the day, car sharing with Turo is a numbers game. It is important to keep track of all the expenses associated with your cars. That way, you know when a car is getting too expensive to justify keeping.

Accounting (Earnings, Taxes, etc.)

Now, of course, like any business, there are accounting issues that need to be considered when it comes to Turo.

Let’s first talk about income potential.

There is no way to predict how much you can expect to make by car sharing with Turo because it will be determined by the vehicle you own, the expenses of the vehicle, how much it’s rented for, how often it’s rented, any overage charges on the car (damage claims, cleaning fees, smoking fees…etc.), where you’re located and more.

Many factors go into play when deciding how much you can make from Turo, and many of these factors vary greatly from host to host.

💡 My recommendation would be, grow slowly until you know your market, know your vehicles…etc. Once you gain some experience, you will know how much you should expect to make per vehicle.

As for accounting, one of the biggest recommendations that I give to any new Turo host is to get a good accountant. Get into the habit of tracking expenses, profit, and keeping a detailed P&L. Find an accountant you trust and one that is familiar with peer-to-peer car sharing. 

💡 Getting a good accountant who is familiar with peer-to-peer car sharing is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business.

Closing

This process I have laid out is easier said than done. There are some challenges in car sharing with Turo, for example, if your car gets damaged, trashed, or stolen.

There are always issues that come up with any side hustle and car sharing with Turo is no different. The best thing any car sharing host can do for themselves and their business is to know the terms of service. Always know what you are getting into when it comes to Turo, know and understand the rules, know what you need to do to be protected — this is so incredibly important.

Turo is a wonderful side hustle, and car-sharing is a great and lucrative business model. I truly believe that anyone can succeed at it. It really comes down to just a few steps:

  • Know the terms of service.
  • Buy cars at the right price.
  • Follow the process.

If you do this, you can truly change your life with a Turo and Car-Sharing side hustle.

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If you still have any questions about starting a car sharing business with Turo, let us know in the comments section below!