By Alicia Busick | TDL | 1/4/15
ANCHORAGE – It’s the new way to rent a car in the 21st century and a growing marketplace for smart spending; the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) or share economy. For the last decade, P2P business has been changing the way people buy goods and services; people can monetize down time of items not in use and buyers are to able comb through comparable rates. RelayRides, a peer-to-peer car rental alternative, is offering a very different way to plan your automotive travel by using another person’s vehicle. With inflation and cost of housing on the rise, everyone appreciates some extra cash in their pockets, “Owners make an average of $250 [monthly] on RelayRides” states Steve Webb, Director of Community for RelayRides.
The P2P industry offers a chance to boost savings for the savvy shopper and increase earnings for peer lenders. Webb shared the numbers, “RelayRides provides rentals for an average of 35% less than at traditional rental car companies.”
In a quick search, there was an obvious difference in cost.
The total cost for a one day rental from a traditional car rental service was $58.49 based in the 94128 zip code.
In comparison for the same date and zip code, RelayRides’ base price was only $27 per day and included delivery of the car for free. Owners are responsible for taxes and fees. The business is much like other P2P where the owners are contractors.
A Different Way to Rent
The need and the demand for P2P is here. Whether it’s saving up for a wedding, saving for retirement or being able to remain a Stay-at-Home Parent, RelayRides has a blog that includes reasons why people use their service.
One blogger and LA model, Amanda Vieregge, turned the car rental alternative into a full time business opportunity; she started a fleet of high end rentals.
“…you are your own boss. I am only 24 and still not set on what I want to do yet but one thing I do know is I definitely want to be my own boss,” Amanda stated.
RelayRides was started in the US in 2010 by Shelby Clark, then a student at Harvard Business School, the company grew from operating in Boston and San Francisco to providing service in over 2,500 cities and at 300 airports and over 800 makes and models currently available. It also boasts availability at San Francisco’s airport and LAX.
The Way RelayRides Works
An owner with an available and eligible vehicle can rent out their car, truck or SUV to a prescreened renter. Both use the RelayRides software app to facilitate the service as well as payment. With insurance up to $1 million in coverage and 24/7 roadside assistance, renters might also enjoy the convenience of a rental coming to them, “we offer delivery options for renters to have the cars they rent delivered to where they are by participating owners–a service that is quite unique,” says Webb.
The service increases the chance that people can connect more with their own backyard; Webb explains “…our members enjoy the benefits of renting from a neighbor. This sense of community is one of the things our renters cite as being a reason why they love us.”
With the drop in gas prices and more affordable methods for driving, this summer can offer a boost to travel. In San Francisco and LAX, RelayRides was able to reserve parking just for their clients. Owners can enjoy free parking and a car wash while renters can hop a shuttle to a reserved vehicle. For travel outside SFO or LAX, you can use RelayRides to search for your transportation needs. Each vehicle typically belongs to one owner and requests can take a few hours to a day to process requests. Average response times are posted with the owner’s bio. The car/owner bio page includes the car’s photo, description and customer reviews. The variety of vehicles and prices can range, from a mini-van to luxury Escalades, from the average of $30 a day to over $100.
The Signup Process
Take note, the signup and search process can take time. A last minute trip may not provide an approval for renting or an available vehicle. Owners create their own schedules and can block availability for particular dates. Some owners require a minimum rental period. The search can be customized down to make, model, rental period, features such as hybrid and even long term rentals. Need an all wheel drive with a ski rack for that awesome trip planned to Alyeska? Check RelayRides.
The screening for renters is stringent; RelayRides prides themselves on being able to provide trustworthy drivers to their vehicle lenders. The authorization requires text verification, driver’s license number, the last four of your social (if applicable) and a completed credit related survey to prove your identity. If information is listed incorrectly on a credit report, the signup process might be delayed. The information given also authorizes RelayRides to check your driving history. Once admitted, you are a verified renter eligible for RelayRides services.
So what kind of car can you expect to rent? RelayRides has some criteria for owners:
Vehicle must be a model year 2003 or newer. (Some older models have been grandfathered in)
Have fewer than 100,000 miles
Have a fair market value of up to $75,000
Obtain a mechanical and safety inspection at least every year
Unlike other rental companies, RelayRides does not require a minimum age of 25.
You must hold a current, valid driver’s license.
You must be at least 21 years of age.
Your driving history may not show certain violations: Read More.
If you are under 25, you must demonstrate at least two years of current, U.S.-licensed driving history.
For more information on RelayRides visit: www.relayrides.com
From a legal standpoint, the P2P hasn’t always been readily accepted by local legislation it wishes to serve, “Due to unique aspects of New York’s insurance law, we are not active in the state,” Webb stated.