Airbnb for cars: Here is how you can rent your car for extra income

HOUSTON – Between working from home and shutdowns, most people are driving a lot less these days. Instead of just letting the car sit in the driveway, some are using their vehicles to earn extra income.

Since the pandemic started, George Johnson has met a steady stream of people who want to rent his vehicles.

“Mostly you know, business people,” Johnson explained. “They might have their car in the shop. And they want to get a rental... something nice that they don’t have.”

Johnson rents three of his luxury vehicles on the website Turo. It’s the world’s largest peer-to-peer car-sharing site. Johnson rents out a 2018 RangeRover, a ZO6 Corvette and a Mercedes Benz S-Class.

“I’ve had weeks that I’ve made $2,500, $3,000, specific holidays that we have had come through that the cars are booked up for the whole week... those are like $3,000 weeks,” Johnson said.

I get it. Most of us don’t have three luxury cars sitting around to rent out. But on Turo, in the Houston area, We found everything from this Nissan Versa going for $32 a day to this Maclaren for $1,200.

It’s like Airbnb for cars.

“Once you’ve created your listing, you can then choose your pricing, you can decide how much you would like to earn with your car. You can choose your price per day, per week, per month,” said Andre Haddad, the CEO of Turo.

Turo insures your vehicle through Liberty Mutual. The premiums are taken out of the money you make renting it. Johnson made enough money that he purchased his Mercedes just to rent it out as an income stream.

“So I’m making my car notes and there’s a nice amount of money left over for profits,” he said.

Turo hosts your listing and lets you deal with delivering the car to renters, but peer-to-peer car rental company Avail does all of the work for you.

“We really want to make this as much of a hands-off experience as possible,” explained Avail’s Alex David. “So that people can make money off of an underutilized asset without much hassle.”

Avail is ideal for people flying out of town. You drop your car off at Avail near Bush Intercontinental Airport. They clean it, list it for rent while you’re gone. If it gets rented, you pick up your car and your money when you get back.

“This is a really easy way to take an asset that you’re not using 100% of the time anyway, and put it to great use and get some dollars back into your pocket,” said David.

You can expect to make about $25 a day and if Avail doesn’t rent your car while you’re gone, you get free airport parking and a free car wash.

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Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.