New car rental trend that made one man $25,000

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - In the sharing economy where people have become comfortable renting out a room in their house through Airbnb, now a new trend is developing: people renting out their cars.

These services can be especially helpful to people whose cars flooded in Houston. If your local rental car business doesn't’t have what you need, you can check out what your neighbor has to offer. 

When Brian Rose bought his Tesla Model S two years ago, he took out a loan with a monthly payment of $1,500. He cut the cost by renting out his Tesla a few days each month to total strangers.

"I've had about 60 trips over the last two years and it's basically helped pay off all of the payments or depreciation on it so it's as if I got to drive it for free up until now."

Rose rents out his Tesla through Turo.

What is Turo?

Turo is a car share company that features more than 160,000 vehicles on its app and web site.

Everything from a high-end BMW to a more basic Toyota Corolla are all rented out by their owners, known as hosts.  

"A lot of our hosts have realized that for practically no costs, they can actually afford to own a nice car and make that ownership experience much more pleasant for their wallet," Turo CEO Andre Haddad said.

The site has 198 vehicles available in the Houston area. The prices range from $26 a day for a 2009 Scion to $899 a day for a 2014 Mercedes Benz S-l Class. 

How it's catching on

German automaker Daimler Benz is investing Turo, which now has more than four million members.

The growth in car-sharing has also caught the attention of General Motors, which started Maven and is expanding to cities around the U.S.

What started almost 20 years ago with Zipcar offering hourly rentals, has grown in popularity, partially because of the rising cost and hassle of owning a vehicle has convinced many they're better off renting for a day or two whenever they need a car or truck.

It's good news for Rose, who said he's made about $25,000 renting out his car.

What about insurance?

Like rental car companies, Turo offers to cover any damage renters might cause to your car.
 

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