Friday, April 24, 2015

Foray into RelayRides

I made the leap of faith, so to speak, and rented my car through RelayRides for the first time today. I've been meaning to try out RelayRides for some time now. Basically, it's a service that connects people that have a spare vehicle/one that they don't need to use all the time, directly with renters. RelayRides runs each potential renters' driving record and credit before approving them and also requires certain information from the owners. Then the owner can list their car for rent at whatever price they think is appropriate. RelayRides also provides a $1M insurance policy so the owner doesn't have to worry about liability.

I thought about trying it a couple of years ago and got cold feet worrying about the renter. This time, I decided I would jump in with both feet.

Here's the link to my car listed on RelayRides.

I relisted my car a few days ago (you can deactivate/reactivate your listing as desired), and tried to set the rental price at something I knew would be enough to make it worthwhile for me. I commute about 10 miles each way to work, so going without a car is not super simple.

In Atlanta the public transportation system is called MARTA and is mediocre at best. We have a small subway system with a line that runs North-South and one going West-East. And then a bunch of bus systems.

My job is only about 1/2 a mile from one of the subway stations, but my house is a good 2-3 miles away...which is where things get a little tricky. To do this, I would have to commit to actually using my bicycle. I've been thinking about it for a while, but it's sort of scary to challenge the status quo.

So, I listed my car for an amount I thought would actually entice me to rent it out. $39/day, $175/week and $600/month. RelayRides takes a 25% cut of those amounts, so my actual "take home" amount would be $29.25/day, $131.25/week, or $450/month. My monthly costs over the last year, excluding depreciation (which wouldn't really be relevant for car sharing purposes since I would have it either way by virtue of owning a car) were as follows:

I didn't include a car payment since my car is paid off.

So, in simple terms, I would have a free car if I brought in $219/month in RelayRide rent, so I could average renting it about a week per month, at the daily rate, two weeks per month at the weekly rate or 6 months per year at the monthly rate.

As it happened, my first renter travels back and forth from California for work and needed the car for at least a week. It happened pretty quick - he put in a request yesterday morning, we talked via RelayRides and on the phone, and once the logistics were figured out, all that was left was to figure out a good meeting point this morning!

I had to drag my booty out of bed earlier than I like today to clean out the car. I was traveling for work yesterday until about 10pm, which made it impossible to prepare the car ahead of time. I made sure all my personal stuff was out, gave it a quick wash (the car wash wasn't open early enough to take it in!) and stuffed my bicycle into the car (yay for hatchbacks!) before I headed out.

The renter and I chatted for a while, I verified who he was to his driver's license, checked the car for damage and mileage levels, and then he was on his way. As far as first impressions go, he seemed nice and I feel pretty good about this rental experience. He works in the television industry and was listed on IMdB!

I'm excited about being car free for a while and expanding my horizons, while making a few bucks. Hopefully I'll have good things to report once I get the car back.

Has anybody else tried out RelayRides? You can share your impressions or experiences in a comment below.

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