Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RelayRides - How Am I Doing? (4 Months In)

So my car has been listed on RelayRides for almost four months now.  This time, I'm going to go through how much money I've made so far on RelayRides as well as my expected expenses to give you an idea of where things stand today.  I'm also going to talk about the "new" car I bought!

My experience on RelayRides has been a mixed bag so far.  That being said, I think I'll be sticking with it for a while - I bought another car about a month ago! The reason behind this decision was that I figured I should be able to **hopefully** cover my expenses for the unused vehicle, which would allow me to keep it for a rainy day.  Why, you ask?

Well, I'm a fan of the less practical cars.  Namely, I love the little roadster convertible, the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

 Isn't this just the cutest little car? 

I actually owned one for about three years.  I didn't sell it because I was sick of it, but because I decided to try going car-less.  It was a failed experiment...heat, humidity, hills, rain, and public transportation all make me unhappy!  Thus, I made it about 6 months without a car when I bought my Mazda 3.  At that point, I decided practicality was in order.

Since then, I've gotten married and am now the step-mom to a wonderful 7-year-old little girl.  So, you can see how my cute little roadster could cause some difficulties in transportation!

This time, I decided if my RelayRides experiment went well, I would buy another Miata and rent out the Mazda3, keeping it in case I needed it.  This time, I'd get one used and cheap.

I did just that this July, buying a 2007 Mazda MX-5 Miata with about 72K miles.  And I got it cheap.  As a CPA who is constantly thinking money and savings, this made me very happy.

There was only one problem.  The convertible top was torn!  My husband, being both amazing and super mechanically inclined, solved this and spent an entire day (10+ hours) replacing my top.  This turned an $1,800 expense (the quote I got) into a $700 expense!  (How's that saying go again?  Oh, yeah.  "A dollar saved is a dollar earned.")

My little Miata has been working great since then and I've been loving every second driving it.  Almost makes my hour long commute in Atlanta traffic bearable!

Now, back to RelayRides.  For the gritty details.

How Much Have I Made?
I've only rented the car out six times so far.  Why?  
  1. Until I bought the Miata, I could only rent when I was willing to bike/ride MARTA (awful public transportation of Atlanta) to work.  
  2. I wasn't sure how to rent the car when I couldn't be there for pick-up or drop-off (to hand over the keys). 
  3. I got married in June!
  4.  One of my renters had an unfortunate "incident" (the car was hit or they hit something), which required it being out of commission for two weeks!
That being said, I have made a total of $1,387.75 in the last four months.  This includes regular rental fees, as well as mileage overages, late fees and delivery fees.  Thus, on average, I've made $231 per rental.  Adjusting out the (unusual) overage fees from my first renter, it's an average of $156.25 per rental.  

However, to fully grasp what this means, you have to look at your Net Income.

 Here's a snapshot of the expenses I anticipate each month for my car, assuming it's only used for RelayRides (i.e., no personal gas expense, etc.)

Gasoline                                                            5
Insurance                                                         79
Oil Changes                                                     23
Other/Miscellaneous                                       30

Depreciation                                                  150

TOTAL COSTS                                       $  288

A few notes about the above costs:
  1. They're estimates!
  2. Remember to factor in your depreciation on the car.  Cars go down in value every month.  How much it depreciates will depend on a variety of factors.  I recommend using the car depreciation calculator found at Money-Zine as a starting point. 
  3. Oil changes are expensive on my car (about $70 each).  Factor these in as your renters will use a lot of miles!
  4. Insurance is important.  If anything went seriously wrong, you want good insurance.  I don't want to solely rely on RelayRides.  That, and you're required to have at least the minimum level of insurance to rent through their platform.
So, bringing it full circle, looking at the definition of of Net Income (Gross Revenues less Expenses), I am currently in the black.

Gross Revenues                             $  1,387.75
Expenses ($288 * 4 months)            (1,152.00)
Net Income                                    $      235.75

Clearly, this has not been a "get rich quick" scheme for me.  But, it is paying for my car.  That, and I can write off a lot of expenses, including all the mileage driven by renters.  If you're renting or considering renting your car on RelayRides, talk to your accountant/CPA to ensure you're taking all the appropriate deductions!

Until next time - happy rides!

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