Car sharing is an easy way to mitigate the costs that come with owning a vehicle. It’s also just a great way to make a little extra cash when you need it most, especially when you’re headed out of town. But first-time car hosts often run into a few issues. And if you’re not careful, car hosting mistakes can end up costing you some cash.
Lending out your vehicle can be risky, but there are definitely big benefits. As long as you keep a few things in mind, you can reap the full rewards of car sharing. Check out some of our tips for sharing your car and read up on the car sharing mistakes to avoid.
Car sharing is a great way to make extra money on the side. But if you think buying a super discounted vehicle is going to earn you some quick cash, think again. Some car sharing programs have requirements for the make and model of the vehicles, and not all cars fit the bill.
No matter the car, all vehicles require some level of maintenance. Make sure you get a full inspection on your car before purchasing, and keep up regular inspections on it too. You don't want your car breaking down right before sharing, or worse, get a frantic call from a renter stuck on the side of the road with a broken down vehicle. Avoid possible disasters and purchase a reliable car. If not, you may not earn the money back you were hoping for.
Car sharing takes time and it also takes a bit of organization. To get the most out of your hosting, make a plan. How often can you rent your car out? When do you actually need your vehicle for personal reasons? If you have multiple cars you’re renting, how will you organize them all? When do you need to drop off the car at the pick-up point?
Don’t open yourself up to a full month of car sharing if you think you’ll need your vehicle last minute. Have a backup plan that lets you be flexible. Double check your sharing schedule with the app(s) or services you’re using to make sure you always know when you’re sharing your car.
Also keep in mind those drop-off times. It’s pretty straightforward: If you don’t drop the car off in time, the borrower can’t use it. And that means you’ll lose money and put your hosting profile in jeopardy. A classic car sharing mistake is not being prepared. Make sure you know the rules and make a plan accordingly.
When you share your car, you’ll definitely need to insure it. A common car sharing mistake is choosing the wrong insurance, and it can be costly and disastrous. Read up on the service or app you’re using. Do they help insure the vehicle? Do they cover the deductible? Who takes responsibility for a flat tire, or for something bigger like a collision?
Make sure you know how the relationship with the service, renter, and the host (that’s you!) works. Then you can make better decisions on how you want to insure your vehicle. You’ll need to determine what level of insurance policy you want and how much you want to pay up front versus a potential deductible. Car insurance policies can be confusing, especially in the car sharing world, so do your best to get informed.
No two cars are alike. Maybe your car has some quirks or particular functions that are unique. So here’s one of our best pro tips for sharing your car: Do a walk through of the vehicle with the renter before handing over the keys.
Let them know what kind of gas the car needs, or how to charge it if it’s electric. Review the start-up process—is it a traditional key ignition or a push button start? Go through the GPS system or other electronic controls your vehicle may have. And if your car happens to be manual, definitely make sure your renter knows how to operate the stick shift.
If you’ve ever rented a car, you’ve been given a daily mileage limit. Rental car companies do this for a reason, and so should you. You probably don’t want someone taking your car across the country and putting 300 miles a day on it. That can put some heavy wear and tear on your vehicle. So put limitations on the daily mileage and make sure to track and verify it at pick-up and drop-off.
When you’re sharing your car, you’ll need to drop the car at the meeting point or drop-off location. Some apps or services will limit you and tell you how much you can charge to deliver the vehicle to the location. But you need to make sure you’re covering your fees or it won’t be worth the headache.
If you have to drop the car at the airport, for example, keep in mind how much it will cost to get back home. Many airports are outside the city and can easily cost you $50 just one way. Charge accordingly and ensure the whole venture is cost-effective.
If you’re using a service that lets you control the pricing, you may be tempted to lower the price in order to share your car as much as possible. But that may not be your best bet.
Set your price higher and you’ll likely have renters who value your vehicle and take better care of it. Also, the less you share your car, the less wear and tear you’ll see on it. It’s also way less effort for you. In other words, sharing less for more money is ultimately the best option. Work smarter, not harder. If it makes sense for you, set your prices higher.
There are all sorts of mistakes to avoid when sharing your car. Our best car hosting advice is simple: share with Avail. Avail takes care of the whole car exchange process. That means we deal with all the cleaning, inspection, and customer service.
With Avail, you don’t have to choose your insurance plan—your borrowers get up to $1M in coverage from Allstate, along with 24/7 roadside assistance and customer support. Also, borrowers are automatically limited to 150 miles a day in order to protect your vehicle. And with Avail Plus Long Term Sharing, for example, you can get free pick-ups and drop-offs.
Share your car with Avail and earn money while you’re away, or make some extra cash when you don’t need your vehicle. Just set up an account, create a car profile, and tell us when and where you’ll be sharing. Sounds pretty easy to us.
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