Car rental companies are the worst sometimes.
They charge high fees, make you stand in long lines, and generally have awful customer service.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to bypass the rental counter and just rent a car directly from a private individual, from someone you can trust and speak to face-to-face?
Over the years, the internet has made major changes in different industries, and the car rental service wasn’t left behind.
It’s called peer-to-peer car rental, and in this guide, we’re going to show you how it works.
How willing would you be to rent your car to a stranger? Would you even consider it?
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the specific companies you can use so that you can spend less time researching and more time renting.
Table Of Contents
What is It Peer-to-Peer Car Rental?
Peer-to-peer car rental is part of the growing sharing economy.
A peer-to-peer car rental can be defined as a car-sharing program that allows personal car owners to rent out their cars to other drivers who might need a vehicle.
The best-known sharing economy service to use as a comparison is Airbnb.
With that service, people can list part or all of their home for rent.
The owners get to set the rate, determine their rules, and communicate with potential guests.
Airbnb acts as an intermediary, providing the technological solutions, insurance, and customer support necessary to make the transaction possible.
Peer-to-peer car rental uses the same premise, except that it’s for renting cars instead of houses.
The car rental company provides the platform, insurance, and roadside assistance that make the transaction safe and easy for both renters and car owners.
Note that peer-to-peer car rental is not the same as car sharing.
With car sharing services such as Zipcar, a third-party company owns a fleet of vehicles that members of the service can use in exchange for a fee.
The company maintains the fleet and often pays for gas.
With peer-to-peer car rental, in contrast, private individuals rent their vehicles to drivers.
The company just acts as an intermediary; they don’t pay for gas, provide the vehicles, or do any maintenance.
This allows them to expand their reach much more quickly than services such as Zipcar since all they need to enter a market is a sufficient supply of interested vehicle owners and renters.
How Does Peer-to-Peer Car Rental Work?
All of the apps work using the same basic premise.
An owner lists a car on the platform, providing photos, pricing, and other key information such as fuel economy.
A user of the platform browses the app to find a car they want to rent, specifies how long they want it, and then requests to book the vehicle.
If the owner approves, then their credit card is charged and they can go pick up the vehicle at the arranged time.
They go to the owner’s location, get the car, and take their trip.
Once they’re done, they return the car.
If there are any damages to the vehicle or other issues, the owner can work with the car rental company to help figure out if the renter needs to pay for them.
There are other details that vary based on the specific rental company, but the above is more or less how it works no matter your city or the service you’re using.
Now that you understand what peer-to-peer car rental is, let’s examine some of the services you can use to do it.
While there are lots of players in this market, we’ve identified the top four companies that you can use.
We chose them based on their wide availability, reputation, and overall ease of use.
Getaround offers hourly and daily rentals in a range of cities across the United States.
Currently, the service is available in the following cities:
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey
- New York City
There is no monthly or annual fee to use Getaround.
All rentals with the company include insurance and roadside assistance.
All you have to do to sign up is enter your driver’s license and credit card information.
Getaround is notable for their focus on convenience.
They install smart technology in all vehicles on their platform that allows you to unlock the car with your phone.
This saves the car owner the trouble of having to be present when the renter picks up the car.
Turo is another app that’s been making big waves in the peer-to-peer car rental industry.
It stands out for its wide availability.
It’s currently available in more than 5,000 locations around the world.
That’s right: You aren’t just limited to the United States when you use Turo.
You can also rent cars in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Turo offers an impressive range of cars, from high-end Teslas and BMWs to practical, everyday Toyotas and Hondas.
The app also has an interface that looks very much like Airbnb, meaning that users of that service will feel right at home.
Turo is also set up to allow rentals for terms longer than by the hour or by the day.
Car owners can even offer discounts for longer rental terms, which benefits everyone involved.
On the other hand, the platform does not allow hourly rentals, meaning that it isn’t a good option if you just need to use a car for a couple hours to move a piece of furniture.
Our next pick for peer-to-peer car rental is Maven.
This app has a smaller availability than the other two we’ve discussed so far.
It’s available in these cities:
- Ann Arbor
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
Maven is notable for its focus on sustainability and reducing environmental impact.
It offers a wide range of electric and hybrid vehicles for rent, with a particularly large selection of Chevy vehicles.
Indeed, GM is the parent company for Maven, and all vehicles in use for the service are made by the company.
This limits the number of people who can list their cars on the service since all models must be made by GM.
Our final peer-to-peer car rental service is HyreCar. It’s a bit different from the other options we’ve discussed so far.
HyreCar uses the same basic business model (owners rent their cars to drivers), but it’s only for people who wish to rent cars to drive for Uber, Lyft, or a delivery service like Instacart.
The service is currently available in 35 states.
You can see a full list of available locations here.
The company claims that, after rental fees, drivers still make $1,000 per week on average.
Of course, this will vary based on your area of operation and the amount of time you have to devote to driving.
Formerly known as Drift, Avail is a car rental app that has taken P2P car rental sharing to another level in that they are located at airports.
This policy allows vehicle owners to drop off their vehicles at an airport before leaving the city, for example, for a vacation.
Avail then lists this vehicle among the available ones in that specific airport for travelers coming into the city using the same airport.
They also have drop-off spots all around the country, making it easier for people to share cars.
They offer very competitive prices; you can rent a car for as low as $25 an hour.
The service is available near airports in eight major cities.
- Salt Lake City
- Dallas-Fort Worth
- Free parking and car wash for owners
- It is a good way to make extra money when traveling
- Drivers aged 18-25 do not pay fees
- Traveling schedules between owner and renter can clash
The global rental car company has been at the forefront in providing car rental assistance in more than 8,000 locations globally.
The US-based company has its headquarters in Clayton, Missouri.
Using their app, you can view the cars, make reservations, ask for roadside assistance, and even get directions.
- 24/7 roadside assistance is available
- You can rack up points for free rental days
- They have a user-friendly app
- Available all around the world
- Relatively expensive compared to other P2P car rentals
Outdoorsy is an online P2P rental platform dedicated to riding recreation vehicles such as motorhomes and campervans to drivers.
The service offers insurance coverage to both the renter and owner for peace of mind.
The policy covers roadside assistance and DV checks too.
After choosing a car, you can either have it delivered to you or pick it up at a designated position.
- It serves as a recreational life hack for people without recreational vehicles.
- You can choose a recreational vehicle with all the amenities you want within a short time.
- They offer favorable insurance policies
- Mostly deals with recreational vehicles
Snappcar mostly operates in European countries.
The good thing about Snappcar is that riders can further connect with drivers and discuss further decisions.
The Netherlands-based company offers car options such as camper vans, hatchbacks, convertibles, moving vans, etc.
- You will deal with a trustworthy community as all users have been pre-checked thoroughly.
- All risk insurance is available
- It is a cheap option
- The company hasn’t streamlined the renting process enough
Drivy is a new and revolutionary company based in the UK.
They have more than 60,000 cars on their lists, which gives you a variety to choose from.
The app itself is easy to use and quite efficient.
They have even included the map visibility and one-tap payment buttons.
- The new four-hour price offer allows you to rent a car for less than 4 hours.
- The company only operates in selected European countries
Fleet-based car-sharing Vs. Peer-to-Peer car-sharing
Ideally, fleet-based car-sharing and peer-to-peer car-sharing services have the same aim; availing cars to needy drivers on the get-go.
Therefore, it is possible to come across a few similarities between the two.
For example, both services require you as the lender to already be covered by auto insurance.
However, one of the main differences between these two modes of car-sharing lies in the access of the cars.
Take fleet-based car-sharing, for example.
Here, the agencies, such as general motors, offering car rental services operate in a physical location with a fleet of cars waiting.
On the other hand, peer-to-peer sharing doesn’t have a specific physical site where you visit and choose a favorite among the available choices.
Instead, you might have to meet at the owner’s home or agree on a specific spot.
Another notable difference is the cost of renting a car.
On average, it was found that peer-to-peer car-sharing is approximately 33% less expensive.
This price is a bargain because you might be getting the same service, or even better.
Compared to fleet-based car-sharing, peer-to-peer car-sharing service providers do not have a lot of operational costs since they are not ‘land based’.
However, the overall price you pay for a rental car will depend on your time with the car too.
Each of these car rental services has advantages and disadvantages.
Below are some benefits of fleet-based car-sharing.
- Professional vehicle maintenance.
- Convenient car availability
- Hourly rates for people who want to spend less time with the car.
The disadvantages of using a traditional rental car company include:
- Additional fees such as parking charges and registration fees.
- There is a limited selection of cars.
Using peer-to-peer car rental has advantages such as:
- A wide range of cars to choose from
- Transparent pricing without additional costs
- Most peer-to-peer car rentals allow airport access and out-of-town travel
- Significantly lower prices.
peer-to-peer car rental is a relatively new service.
The only recurring disadvantage is increased maintenance.
If you are a lender, you definitely have to maintain your car regularly and ensure it is in good condition at all times.
However, it doesn’t sound much of a disadvantage anyway.
Who doesn’t like owning a well-maintained car nonetheless
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there risks in choosing an option outside of traditional car rental companies?
The answer to this question might depend on where you come from.
However, the risks of choosing an option outside a traditional rental company are nearly identical to selecting the p2p one.
All you have to do is conduct proper research before using any service.
How far in advance should I book a car rental?
If you are going for an average car during a normal time of the year, you can book a car within a four-week time frame.
However, there are some months when the vehicles might be fully booked, especially during peak season.
It would therefore be best if you booked 2-3 months earlier.
Should I add car insurance?
You do not need to add insurance when renting a car. The company has that catered for already.
However, please review the insurance policy of your car of choice, as some might be quite minimal.
Long Live Peer-to-Peer Car Rental
We hope this article has given you an idea of the many peer-to-peer car rental services out there.
Car rental companies are worried about these new apps, and they should be.
They’re truly disrupting the industry in a way that benefits renters and vehicle owners.