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We’re living in a revolutionary time for personal transportation. New technologies have converged to create a sharing economy that makes even traditional ideas such as car ownership unnecessary for some people. At the same time, new income opportunities exist due to platforms such as Uber, Lyft, and food delivery apps.
One part of this technological and transportation revolution is the increasing prevalence of peer-to-peer car-sharing apps. In previous articles, we’ve looked at Turo and Zipcar, which both offer different ways to get on-demand daily or hourly vehicle rental.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at another entrant into the car-sharing market: Getaround. We’ll look at what the service is, where it’s available, and how it can benefit both car renters and owners.
- What Is Getaround?
- Where Is Getaround Available?
- How Does Getaround Work for Renters?
- How Does Getaround Work for Car Owners?
- Getaround FAQ
Getaround is a car-sharing app founded in 2009 by Sam Zaid, Jessica Scorpio, and Elliot Kroo. Designed as an alternative to the traditional rental car market, the app has expanded to serve a dozen cities across the United States, and the company plans to keep expanding.
The best way to understand how Getaround works is to think of it like the “Airbnb of car-sharing.” The app connects car owners directly with car renters, who can rent out their vehicles at a price they set. Rentals are available by the hour, by the day, or even by the week. It’s all up to the terms that the car owner sets.
While Getaround is a useful alternative to rental cars for those who are traveling, it also aims to help reduce emissions and gridlock in cities. By giving people the option to rent cars only when they need them to perform short trips, the app could even make car ownership unnecessary for some. This means fewer cars on the roads overall and less space needed to store cars when they’re not in use.
Overall, Getaround represents an exciting opportunity for people who want to rent cars for short-term use, car owners who want to earn some extra money renting out their unused vehicles, and city governments looking for ways to reduce traffic, air pollution, and strain on existing infrastructure.
From its founding in San Francisco, California, Getaround expanded to serve Portland, Oregon. Today, the company serves a dozen markets across the U.S., including the following:
- Los Angeles
- New Jersey
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
To learn more about the cities that Getaround serves, take a look at their website.
Now that you understand what Getaround is and where it’s available, let’s look at how it works for car renters. Signing up for the service is easy. It’s free to join, and rentals start at just $5 per hour. To get started with the service, visit the Getaround homepage.
Once you’re there, click where it says “Join for free”:
You’ll need a Facebook account to sign up. This is annoying (what about potential users who don’t have Facebook?), but it’s a reality of the service. Once you give Getaround permission to use your Facebook credentials, you’ll see a screen like the one below:
You’ll need to fill in the following information:
- First name
- Last name
- Email address
- Country of citizenship (you can use Getaround if you’re not a U.S. citizen, as long as you have a license that allows you to drive in the U.S.)
- ZIP code
- How you found the company
- If you have a car you’d like to share
Once you’ve filled in these options, click “Finish signup.”
Here’s an example of what it looks like when you’re browsing available cars. In this case, we’ve chosen to look for cars in Chicago:
To book a car, follow these steps:
1. Click on the “Find cars” text at the top of the screen.
2. Enter your address into the search bar (if the location that Getaround has automatically detected isn’t correct).
3. Select your pickup and return times. This will show you cars that are available during the times you’ve selected.
4. Click the “Filter” button below just below the times you’ve selected. Choose any of the filters you like to narrow your results. You can filter by things like price, make, category, class, and transmission type. The list of available cars will automatically update with each filter you set.
5. Click on a map pin or a car in the list of results. This will show you basic info about the car.
6. Click on the car’s name to visit a page where you can see more details about the car.
6. Once you’ve chosen a car and clicked “Rent,” you will be guided through entering your payment information, driver’s license information, and finally booking the car instantly.
Note that you’ll need to pay a one-time verification fee of $10 when you book your first car. This covers the cost of verifying your driver’s license information and ensuring that you’re eligible to rent a car. You’ll also notice that Getaround charges a booking fee, which helps cover the cost of operating their platform.
If you already own a car, then Getaround might not seem like a service you should care about. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While you might not want to use Getaround to rent cars, you could use it to make extra income renting out a car you already have.
If you have a vehicle that you don’t use often, then the rest of the time it’s just sitting around gathering dust and probably costing you money in car payments. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could make some money off this car to help pay it off or even put extra money in your pocket?
This is what you get when you rent your car on Getaround. We understand that you might be hesitant to do this. After all, what do you do if someone wrecks the car? You shouldn’t worry. Getaround insures every rental up to $1 million. This means that no matter how fancy a car you’re renting, you can rest easy knowing you’ll get reimbursed if it’s damaged or totaled.
Furthermore, renting your car through the platform requires minimal work on your part. You have to set the car’s available hours and respond to rental inquiries, but beyond that, Getaround handles the rest. All it takes is a little bit of set up work up front.
You can rent any car on Getaround, provided it meets the following criteria:
- Mileage of less than 125,000
- Model year 2006 or newer
- Seats no more than 8 passengers and is a private passenger vehicle with at least 4 wheels
- The car is in safe, drivable condition
To start the process of listing your car on Getaround, visit Getaround.com/list. From there, you’ll see a screen like the one below:
You’ll need to fill in the following info:
- Car model year
- Is the car’s mileage under 125,000 miles? (the answer needs to be “Yes” for you to list your car)
- First name
- Last name
- Phone number
- ZIP code
- How you found Getaround
From there, a Getaround Product Evangelist will be in touch to help direct you through the rest of the sign-up process. Note that you’ll need a Facebook account in order to list your car on Getaround.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how to use Getaround as both a renter and a car owner, let’s address some common questions people have about the service.
1. How is Getaround different from Turo?
We’ve written about Turo before, and in many ways, the two platforms are similar. The main differences are in availability and car rental options. Getaround is available in some of the same cities as Turo (such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston), but Turo also has a presence in cities where Getaround does not. Notably, Turo is available internationally, with car rentals in Berlin, Montreal, and London (to name a few).
There’s also the difference of cars. Getaround focuses on newer vehicles. All vehicles on the platform are newer than 2006. This is great if you want to get around town or even rent a new luxury vehicle (such as a Tesla), but it won’t help you out if you want to try a classic car for a day. Turo, on the other hand, does offer classic and vintage car rentals (for a price).
2. How is Getaround different from Zipcar?
Zipcar and Getaround both offer hourly car rentals at a reasonable price, but that’s where the similarities end. The main difference is in the business model. While Getaround is a peer-to-peer car rental company, all Zipcar rentals are part of the company’s fleet. This still makes Zipcar a useful option if you want to rent a car for a couple hours, but it doesn’t offer car owners the same opportunities to rent their vehicles.
3. What vehicles can I rent with Getaround?
Getaround offers a range of great cars to renters. In addition to standard economy cars like Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics, you can rent vehicles from the following categories:
With options like these, you’ll have access to a car for every occasion.
4. What happens if my Getaround car breaks down?
In the event that your car breaks down or gets in an accident, Getaround offers free 24/7 roadside assistance. This applies so long as the incident is not in violation of Getaround terms of service. In the event that this is the case, you’ll have to pay a roadside assistance charge.
5. Do I need car insurance to use Getaround?
No, you don’t. Getaround provides you with up to $1 million in insurance coverage while you’re renting the car. This is part of what makes Getaround such an attractive and viable alternative to car ownership: No need to worry about paying for insurance.
6. Does Getaround offer a referral program?
Yes, they do. In fact, the company has two referral programs. The first allows you to earn rental credit through referring friends to the platform. Visit https://getaround.com/invite to find your unique referral link.
You can share this link with friends via Facebook, Twitter, email, or text message. When a friend signs up with your link, they’ll get $20 in rental credit for their first trip. Once your friend has completed their first Getaround trip, you’ll receive $20 in ride credit yourself.
The second referral program is the most lucrative. You can earn serious rental credit by referring car owners to offer their vehicles for rental on the Getaround platform.
You’ll use the same link to refer your friend as you would to refer someone to sign up to become a renter. When your friend successfully lists their vehicle on Getaround, you’ll receive $200 in rental credit.
7. How much can I earn listing my car on Getaround?
This depends on the car you’re renting and how much you’re charging. Getaround states that “the average owner makes $1,000s per year” offering their car for rental on the platform. However, they don’t go into much more detail than this, and they’re certainly biased. You’ll have to do the math for yourself to decide if it’s worth it to list your car.
Remember that while renters will pay for gas, you’ll be responsible for all routine maintenance. The extra miles on your car also mean it will wear out more quickly and need to be serviced more regularly, so be sure to budget for those additional costs.
Getaround Town on Your Terms
We hope you now see the fantastic opportunity that Getaround offers to both car renters and owners. From a consumer perspective, it offers a more affordable, flexible alternative to traditional car rental companies. As a car owner, it represents a chance to earn extra money renting out a vehicle you already own.
If you live in or are planning to travel to a market where Getaround operates, we recommend checking the service out. It could save (or make) you a lot of money.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.