In these financial times, anything you can do to make a bit of extra cash probably feels worth considering, whether that’s yet another side hustle or a foray into the sharing economy, which allows you to capitalize on renting out your home, spare room, swimming pool, RV, or personal vehicle.
If you don’t drive often or travel a lot, your vehicle could provide some passive income instead of gathering dust while losing value in your driveway or garage. The occasional spin can also be good for your car: It’s recommended that you drive at least once every two to three weeks to keep the battery charged, fluids moving, tire pressure up, and element damage to a minimum.
There are a handful of car-sharing services that make it relatively easy to list and rent out your vehicle when it’s not in use. Here’s how to earn cash on your car.
Select a car-sharing service
There are a few car-sharing services that, similar to Airbnb, allow people to book online and offer a cut of the user payment, as well as various protections for vehicle owners.
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- Turo: Turo is a peer-to-peer service that offers car rentals in all 50 states plus the UK and Canada. Cars listed with Turo must meet certain requirements, like having fewer than 130,000 miles, a clean title, and an age of no more than 12 years. Hosts get 60%–90% of the trip cost based on the vehicle protection plan selected (a lower take-home percentage buys you a lower—or no—deductible, as well as better coverage for wear and tear and liability).
- Getaround: Getaround is similar to Turo with operations in 20 states. Vehicles must be less than 10 years old and have fewer than 125,000 miles, though cars that don’t meet those requirements may be eligible upon inspection. Getaround keeps 40% of trip payments and charges hosts both a setup fee of $99 and a monthly fee of $20. Part of Getaround’s model is power hosting, a type of small business for those who own multiple cars (up to a whole fleet) available to rent.
- HyreCar: HyreCar connects private owners specifically with delivery drivers and gig workers who don’t have qualifying vehicles for Lyft, Uber, or other services. Obviously, your vehicle has to meet those standards, which vary by company. You respond to driver requests and coordinate document verification and key exchanges. You’ll get 75%–85% of the rental fee, again depending on which protection plan you want. HyreCar also reimburses for cleaning.
- Avail: Avail connects drivers to cars at 15 U.S. airports (and offers pick-up and drop-off in downtown Denver and Chicago). Cars must be 2013 or newer and have fewer than 125,000 miles. Most cars earn you $20 per day, with large SUVs netting $25 daily. Avail takes care of all of the driver communication, so all you have to do is drop your vehicle off.
If you’re not sure which service to select, you’ll want to consider factors like which one is available in your city, how much insurance coverage is offered, the ease of logistics (do you have to exchange keys or communicate with renters?), how much user support is provided in case of issues with drivers, and how much you’ll make per rental.
Calculate how much you’ll make
What you make renting out your car obviously depends on a lot of things. For one, if you have a monthly car payment, your profit will be lower—if you own your car outright, it’s all cash. It also depends on how often your car is booked, how much the service pays out, and what other expenses you have related to your vehicle. (The annual cost to own and operate a car varies widely.)
Turo has a calculator tool that shows average annual earnings for different vehicles in different cities with varying values and loan payments. The tool assumes vehicles are rented for at least seven days per month over three months. Earnings in Atlanta for cars with an MSRP of $10,000—$30,000 earn from just over $6,000 to more than $13,000, for example.
Weigh all the risks
Obviously, entrusting your vehicle to strangers isn’t without risk. If you care a lot about how your car is driven and how passengers treat the interior, car sharing probably isn’t for you. Rental services usually provide cleaning and insurance, but you can’t control whether and how much mess or damage occurs, and even if repairs are covered, you still have to invest time and effort to get things fixed.
While your car being driven rather than sitting idle is generally a good thing, it does add mileage and wear and tear. Plus, if you need your car in a pinch, it might not be available.