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September 16, 2020

What is the Difference Between Peer-to-Peer and Fleet-based Car Sharing?

Car sharing meets the needs of those who need access to a car but who aren’t well-served by traditional car rentals. With car sharing, drivers can find and borrow a car quickly (even within a few hours) and enjoy lower rates and more transparent pricing than most conventional rental companies offer.

What are the Different Types of Car Sharing Services?

There are two different types of car sharing services: fleet-based and peer-to-peer car sharing. Fleet-based car sharing services own the vehicles that are shared by users of the service. Peer-to-peer car rental companies, on the other hand, don’t own their vehicles. Instead, they facilitate car sharing between car owners and drivers, usually through a mobile app.

Fleet-based Car Sharing

Fleet-based car sharing was pioneered by companies like Zipcar and adopted by traditional rental companies such as Enterprise. While these companies each have their own policies, here are some of the typical pros of using them, as well as a few of the drawbacks:

Pros:

  • Professionally maintained vehicles. Drivers have the assurance that they're driving vehicles maintained by the service.
  • Car availability. The fleet car company may have an easier time ensuring car availability.
  • Peace of mind. Drivers may feel more comfortable driving a car that doesn’t belong to another person.
  • Hourly rates. Some companies offer hourly rates for individuals who just need a car for a specific errand or to get to an appointment.

Cons: 

  • Non-transparent pricing. Fleet car sharing companies may lack transparent pricing and include extra charges, such as membership fees. Some may also have dynamic parking, why means the prices are constantly changing, making budgeting difficult.
  • Limited selection. Fleet-based car services often have a limited range of makes of a vehicle, so it can be difficult for users to find a car that suits their specific needs.
  • Not traveler-friendly. Many fleet car services are geared toward local commuters and residents, rather than travelers. Lack of airport access can make it challenging for a visitor to coordinate a shared car for their trip.
male customer holding phone in parking lot

Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

Peer-to-peer car sharing is a newer car share model that has been embraced by companies like Avail and Turo. Here are some advantages of peer-to-peer companies and factors to consider:

Pros:

  • Lower prices. Many peer-to-peer companies can offer lower rates to drivers because the company doesn’t have the overhead cost of maintaining a fleet of vehicles.
  • More transparent pricing. The peer-to-peer model of car sharing often allows for a more transparent pricing model, one that avoids extra and unexpected fees and charges.
  • Airport access. Many peer-to-peer car share services offer airport access and actively solicit car owners who travel out of town with some frequency. Cars are dropped off at airports when owners travel so that incoming travelers can pick them up for use during their own trips.
  • Vehicle variety. Peer-to-peer car share services can offer a huge range of vehicles, allowing drivers to select the car or van that best meets their needs. Some drivers even use car sharing services as an opportunity to take an extended test drive of a model that they’ve been thinking of buying.

Cons:

  • Vehicle consistency: While some car sharers enjoy the treasure hunt of being able to select the vehicles that they drive, others prefer the consistency of a particular make and model.
  • Increased maintenance: Car owners are responsible for keeping their vehicles clean and well-maintained at all times. While they get paid, they do have to consider the extra time and energy it takes.

What Sets Avail Car Sharing Apart?

Avail car sharing offers drivers several advantages over other car share and rental companies:

  • Avail is available at several large airports across the country. No waiting in line for a cab or rental car after a long flight: Grab your luggage, take the shuttle to airport parking, get in your car and drive off.
  • Honest pricing. You’ll know the full price you’ll pay upfront when you reserve your car through the Avail app or website
  • All cars have been inspected and photographed before they’re made available to drivers.
  • Allstate insurance coverage plus 24/7 roadside assistance and customer service are included when you rent a car through Avail.

Learn More About How Car Sharing Works

Interested in renting your next car with Avail? Learn more about how it works by visiting our website and downloading our mobile app.

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