We are often asked by our clients if we can utilize Turo, Getaround or other peer-sourced car rental platforms to help secure certain vehicles for their programs. One would think that an Airbnb-like business for cars would help us – and our customers – save both time and money. But is it too good to be true? We wanted to know more, so we did a little digging into the details. While it sounds like a simple solution, here are eight reasons why it doesn’t work for us … or for our clients.
#1 – No guaranteed delivery or availability – companies make no guarantee that the vehicles, services or features will meet the renter’s specific requirements. Specifically, Turo makes no warranty regarding the “quality of any listings, vehicles, hosts, guests, or the accuracy, timeliness, truthfulness, completeness, or reliability of any content obtained through the Services.” Not having the reassurance that a vehicle will be available and delivered when promised is too risky for us and our clients.
#2 – No vehicle history – most platforms do not require this information to list a vehicle for rental, making it near impossible to verify any detailed specs or flag any potential issues. If the unit has any structural damage or unknown defects, it could skew testing or benchmarking results. Most of our clients need vehicles with very specific trims, features and accessories. Additionally, renters are typically unable to contact the owner until after the reservation is confirmed, making it even more challenging to properly communicate and confirm vehicle details.
#3 – No commercial use of vehicles – vehicles are intended for personal transportation only. This is explicitly written into most platforms’ rules and regulations. Cars are also not allowed on a racetrack or at a closed-course event, even if the renter allows it. Nor are rented vehicles allowed in a photoshoot, promotional campaign or marketing event.
#4 – No back-up plan – if a vehicle malfunctions, does not meet requirements or the rental is simply cancelled for any reason, there is no back-up plan or access to additional units and could leave customers without a vehicle. These carsharing platforms are not rental car companies and do not manage a fleet of vehicles, and expressly do not take responsibility for any vehicle failures or deficiencies.
#5 – Strictly no tampering – not surprising, but absolutely no alterations, additions or improvements of any kind can be made to any vehicle at any time during a rental.
#6 – Only a single car can be rented at a time – multiple pending trip requests with overlapping times are prohibited. This can be challenging – and ultimately result in no alternate solution – if a client is planning a multiple-city tour or simply needs more than one car at an event.
#7 – No multiple drivers – typically, the rental agreement will only allow the vehicle to be driven by a single designated driver. Some go as far as prohibiting additional drivers, even if permitted by the owner. This would not be an option for a Ride & Drive event or engineering team’s market research.
#8 – No quality control – probably the most concerning issue overall, there is virtually no quality control with the vehicles listed on these platforms and very limited customer service. The business model is built on letting hosts manage their rentals directly with their renters. On most platforms, the owner is allowed to cancel the reservation at their own discretion. If that happens, there is no one to help locate a replacement vehicle. Vehicles could also have unknown issues, unpleasant smells, a dirty interior, etc. Furthermore, owners can install tracking software allowing them to know where the vehicles are during the rental without the renter being made aware.
Our final take: we think the concept is cool for everyday consumers, but simply does not work for our business where vehicle specs need to be confirmed and there needs to be a high level of quality control and guarantees in place. Our clients are planning complex training programs, conducting crucial benchmarking tests or require vehicles to show up on time and in perfect condition for an experiential marketing event. Peer-to-peer carsharing simply doesn’t cut it.
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