Has anyone ever heard of Turo? (AirBnb but for cars)

After doing some research, this app/website Turo looks pretty interesting. Forbes included it among 14 "hottest on-demand startups" in 2015. Its pretty much the AirBnB version of car renting, where you rent directly for the owner/host using the website or an app.

Although there are obviously risks associated (someone crashes, dings, steals the car, etc.). From what I read, it looks like Turo insures each vehicle up to 1 million and has great customer service for when things go wrong.

I was thinking I could maybe buy or lease a car, and have rented it out offset costs (payment, maintenance, etc) and pocket the rest. I am not saying I would do it full time, but it seems like a great way to own a car for virtually free and little work.

What do you guys think?

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Comments (43)

Feb 26, 2019 - 3:04pm

not enough people use it...too easy for small damage to go un-noticed so they have a problem with people listing vehicles for rent. low supply keeps prices high...and ride sharing (uber) has reduced rental car demand...which is why they have trouble growing.

just google it...you're welcome
Feb 26, 2019 - 3:41pm

Yea i def see that, I think people who rent out luxury or sports cars are making most of the profit. People who want to rent a plain honda or toyota econ box can just go to Avis or Hertz.

People who pay $600 a month for a Jaguar F type and charge $170 a day to rent def are making a nice profit

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Feb 26, 2019 - 3:46pm

They do.

"When you drive your car, you're covered under your existing policy. However, when a guest uses your car through the Turo marketplace, we make available a liability insurance policy to protect both you and your guest. ..."

I did some research and apparently Turo is really good with reimbursement in case of any accidents/theft/losses

Feb 28, 2019 - 3:35pm

Craigslist personals thought of that over a decade ago.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
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Mar 6, 2019 - 11:53pm
I'm actually a squirrel:

Wow what's next, AirBnB for your wife?

Rule of Three Fs, dude!

I have a friend who lives in the country, and it's supposed to be an hour from 42nd Street. A lie! The only thing that's an hour from 42nd Street is 43rd Street!
Feb 26, 2019 - 6:04pm

Doug de Muro is sponsored by Turo, and a lot of the interesting cars he reviews are borrowed. Check him out on YouTube if you're interested in cars. For me personally, I can't think of a better way to drive awesome cars even if its just for a weekend. Work of a genius.

Feb 26, 2019 - 7:52pm

I looked into it, too, for my expensive car, but if I recall you have to up your insurance to another level (or you pay for it through Turo). When I ran the numbers, the amount I would net back at the end of the month wasn't worth the hassle.


Feb 26, 2019 - 8:20pm

Heard of it yeah. Never used it myself, but during my summer internship one of my VP's used it to rent an I8 to drive to a client's HQ for a facilities check with a potential bidder - all being charged to the client account ofc.

Feb 26, 2019 - 8:30pm

I've used it a few times (as a driver). It worked fine- about how you'd expect. I think it serves a certain niche for car-free urban dwellers. Zipcar is good for a few hours, but starts getting expensive after that. Uber is good for local trips, but not for longer ones. Turo seams to be a little cheaper than normal rental car services, and possibly more flexible depending on your location and timing.

Agreed that it would be better if there were more cars listed. It does work, though.

Feb 28, 2019 - 5:02am

Watching the DeMuro videos is a good idea. But also watch the Ed Bolian ones. His posit is that most people on Turo way, way underestimate the maintenance and depreciation rates and have nowhere near high enough compensation on Turo. According to Ed, most owners on there are actually losing money, it's just happening slowly so you don't notice.

Plus Turo doesn't really seem like a "part time" thing. You have to be able to meet your clients at any given time and also be able to track your car during use (most Turo owners add some sort of telemetry solution to the cars).

Feb 28, 2019 - 8:50am

In order for Turo to work, they would have to make it automatic....similar to zipcar.

Install access device that user can use to unlock / drive car with app
Vehicle GPS location visible on app
When owner does not want vehicle to be available, it would not be visible on the app

That would make the user experience seamless.
Without these features, i don't see the service gaining traction

just google it...you're welcome
Mar 1, 2019 - 10:36am

Wasn't there a service that had that already? I can't remember the name (and I think they closed) but it was nearly similar to what you describe. They pitched as "your car can make you money while you work!" because someone could use your car during the day after having picked it up from wherever you last parked it.

Most Helpful
Feb 28, 2019 - 8:46am

I've used it. Maybe it's improved in the 2 years since, but I found that they had very little infrastructure or service in place.

Very little was formalized. For example, I got a check engine light during the rental, and being a higher-end car I had to take action on that. Would've been nice if the app had a formalized process like I click something for service, owner is notified etc. Instead I had to deal "manually" with the owner, like we had to talk about the situation and luckily he knew right away that he needs to handle it. And luckily he had a flexible schedule. But could've been a real pain otherwise. And I still had to drive up to his place to meet him, no convenience credit for that.

Also, definitely get the insurance if you're a renter. Amex insurance doesn't cover Turo. I got the higher-deductible insurance that exposes me to a few thousand dollars of risk, because I knew I'd be careful with the car (garage at all times etc) and it was a better bet to take some exposure and save a few hundred.

Nonetheless, several hours after I returned it the owner had photos of some big scratches that I never saw when I had the car. He claimed I just didn't see them because of dust but bottom line is that he inspected the car in front of me and saw no scratches then, so it's shady at best. Turo was completely unhelpful in this process, and charged my credit card for the damage after not giving me any legit chance to tell my side of the story. And then ignored me when I tried to reach the various departments to dispute it.

Thankfully Turo is disorganized enough that when I fought the charges with Amex, Turo didn't respond to Amex so Amex credited me back. But the communication was awful throughout that process.

This was all 2 years ago, maybe improved since but be careful. Read up on upcoming plans from GM and maybe others to have their own car rental platforms for owners, probably will be tighter operations than Turo.

Feb 28, 2019 - 9:04am

I've actually used it as a customer, was helpful when I needed to make a bunch of errands and didn't have car. 60/Day was going to be less than the Uber's which at a minimum are over 10. Also another time I was going to a somewhat remote area and was unsure there would be Uber's for the return so rather than risk it, thought this made more sense

Feb 28, 2019 - 9:52am

I rented my car on it once before I sold it. Made $100 for 24 hours off of a 10 year old convertible. I'd love to be able to do it more often and longer term but it does seem that the service is pretty thin, not enough active users in my area.

I did read this story about how a guy has a Model X and Model S on Turo and they are both paid for through it. Maintenance is pretty minimal as electric cars don't need oil changes every so often, etc. I'd love to do something like that, I think he was based in Seattle.

Feb 28, 2019 - 9:53am

Call your local Police Station and ask the chief about AirBnB. Many trap house busts are nonresidents utilizing AirBnB.

I could see Turo being a great segway for traffickers who need a clean license plate to move weight.


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Feb 28, 2019 - 10:01am

I had an analyst in Phoenix who between he and a roommate they had 4 cars. 2 average cars, camry/accord iirc that they each owned and then a leased mustang and something else a little nicer.

All cars were always available on Turo but they only rented them when it was convenient for one of them to arrange.

He said that after all expenses - lease costs, repairs, all gas, washes, etc... (not sure if he counted depreciation on the owned cars) they both had $0 automobile expenses and made a few hundred each a month

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy
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Feb 28, 2019 - 11:19pm

I had an analyst in Phoenix who between he and a roommate they had 4 cars. 2 average cars, camry/accord iirc that they each owned and then a leased mustang and something else a little nicer.

All cars were always available on Turo but they only rented them when it was convenient for one of them to arrange.

He said that after all expenses - lease costs, repairs, all gas, washes, etc... (not sure if he counted depreciation on the owned cars) they both had $0 automobile expenses and made a few hundred each a month

Think about all the mental bandwidth expended on making a few hundred dollars a month. That's ultimately why I chose not to rent out my car. My mental bandwidth that I apply to my side biz is so much more valuable.


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Mar 1, 2019 - 9:44am

I don't completely disagree and I don't personally do it. I was just providing the perspective of the one person I know who did it.

That being said, it was worth it to him. He only did it when convenient for him or the roommate (convenience is obviously a relative opinion). Also, this covered ALL of their auto expenses, so there's probably a few hundred dollars of implied benefit their as well. For someone at the analyst level (Corp Fin, not IB) if he derived $500/month value that's not insignificant for him.

This kid was particularly a hustler, he and his roommate were planning to save the Turo money and turn it into a rental property and scale from there. Can't knock that.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy
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Feb 28, 2019 - 10:10am

I had a friend who was a Hertz manager. He said finding contraband in rentals (guns, drugs, paraphernalia, etc.) was not uncommon. In one instance a car was rented out a few times with a gun under the seat before a customer discovered it. Prints traced it to a renter over a week prior.


Feb 28, 2019 - 1:37pm

I have used a similar company called Drivy when on vacation in France and Spain. Everything went smoothly and the good thing about it is that there's no young driver surcharge. Not sure whether it is a good deal for owners, but I like the concept.

Homeowners were sceptical about AirBnB in the beginning as well, but once the critical number of users was reached network effects kicked in and it became appealing to both owners and renters. Can see the same happening here.

Obstacles are the things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.
Feb 28, 2019 - 3:51pm

How is this different than getaround?

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