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If you’ve ever rented a car, you know how frustrating the process can be. You have to go to the car rental place, stand in a long line, fill out endless paperwork, and then end up paying way more than you expected for the car. You would like to think that, in a time when you can order food using your smartphone and get almost anything delivered in minutes, someone would have come up with an alternative to traditional car rental.
As it turns out, a lot of very smart people have been working hard to solve this problem. The solution has emerged in the form of peer-to-peer car-sharing services. With these services, private car owners list their vehicles on the platform. Renters can then browse the available vehicles, choose the one they want, and then rent and pay for the car rental all through a convenient mobile application or website.
Compared to the process you’d endure at a car rental company like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz, or Avis, the new car sharing services feel futuristic. Just as Airbnb revolutionized accommodation rentals, so are the new car sharing companies revolutionizing car rental.
As it turns out, however, there’s not just one company offering peer-to-peer car rental. With lots of competition between the players in the game, it can be hard to know which company you should choose the next time you need a rental car. To make things easier, we’ve put together this comparison of two of the most popular peer-to-peer car rental services: Turo and Getaround.
We’ll compare the two services based on the following criteria:
If you’d like to skip to a particular section, just click one of the links above.
Let’s start with where each of the services is available, as nothing else we’ll discuss matters if you can’t access Turo or Getaround in your area.
Though it began in San Francisco, Getaround is now available in a range of cities throughout the U.S. Here are some of the top markets for the service:
- Los Angeles
- New Jersey
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
Within each of these markets, you’ll find cars parked at convenient locations such as airports, shopping center parking lots, and convention centers. So whether you’re traveling to one of the above cities or live in one of them, Getaround is available to serve you. You can view a complete list of cities where Getaround is available here.
Turo is also available in cities throughout the U.S., but the service doesn’t stop there. You’ll also find it in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In each of these countries, car rentals are available pretty much wherever people live and use the service. This is reassuring, as you’re not limited to just large cities if you need a car rental.
Overall, then, Turo is the clear winner in terms of availability. This could change as Getaround expands to additional markets, but for the moment Turo is your best bet if you’re in need of car rental across the U.S. and several other countries.
If you’re under 21 and have tried to rent a car, you may have found yourself denied (despite being legally old enough to do almost everything else). Car rental companies are allowed to set their own requirements for customers (so long as doing so does not violate certain anti-discrimination laws). Turo and Getaround are no different, although they do differ from each other (and from traditional car rental companies) in terms of their requirements.
To rent a car from Turo, you need to meet the following general requirements:
- Have a Turo account
- Be at least 21
- Hold a current, valid driver’s license
- Have a text-enabled mobile phone in your name
- Have a clean driving record and criminal history
- If under 25, be able to prove that you’ve been driving for at least 2 years
For Getaround, on the other hand, these are the requirements you need to meet:
- Be at least 19. If you are under 21, you must have a clean driving record
- Be at least 25 for specialty vehicles
- Have held a license for a minimum of two years
- Have had two or fewer minor violations or at-fault accidents in the past three years
- Have not had a DUI or drug-related incident in the past seven years
- Pass an instant driver record check before the first time you rent (Getaround uses local DMV offices to do this)
While the two services are very similar in their requirements, Getaround is a better option because it allows younger drivers on the platform. Note that you may still have to pay additional fees if you’re under 25 (we discuss this in more detail in the following section).
You won’t be getting your rental for free, as you can imagine, but you should still get the best deal possible. Between Getaround and Turo, which is cheaper?
In terms of the actual rental cost, the two companies are virtually identical. Car owners set the rental price that they want to charge, so prices can vary widely. The price also varies based on the rental period (whether you choose hourly, daily, or weekly car rental). Therefore, it’s more useful to compare the additional fees that the companies charge.
In addition to rental costs, Turo charges the following fees (where applicable):
- Booking fee — Up to 25% of the trip price
- Under 25 fee — 30% of the trip price or up to $25 per day, whichever is greater
- Additional mileage fee — Varies from $0.01 to $3.00 per additional mile, up to $1,000 (the car owner sets the fee upfront) + $10 admin fee
- Late return fee — $50 per hour, up to $200 + $25 admin fee
- Fuel replacement fee — Cost of fuel + $25 admin fee
- Tolls — Cost of toll + $10 admin fee
- Tickets — Cost of ticket + $25 admin fee
- Cleaning, pet, or smoking fee — $30, $50, $100, $150, or $250 (depending on the severity) + $25 admin fee
- Security deposit — In some cases (varies based on type of car rental)
Getaround, meanwhile, charges these fees in addition to the rental cost:
- Booking fee — 3% of trip price ($1.00 minimum)
- Under 25 fee — Varies based on age:
- Age 19 — 75% of trip price
- Age 20 — 45% of trip price
- Age 21 — 25% of trip price
- Age 22 — 15% of trip price
- Age 23 — 10% of trip price
- Age 24 — 5% of trip price
- Additional mileage fee — $0.50 per mile for standard trips and $5.00 per mile for specialty trips (such as luxury vehicles)
- Damage fee — $1,000 for standard trips and $2,500 for specialty trips
- Improper return fee — $50
- Late return fee — $50 per hour up to $500 + hourly rental rate of the car
- Fuel replacement fee — Cost of fuel + $15 fuel fee
- Toll fee — Cost of toll + $1.50 toll fee
- Citation fee — Highest amount on citation + $25 citation fee
- Smoking fee — $500
- License fee — $10 (a one-time fee to cover driver record processing)
- Cleaning fee — $100
- Security deposit — $150 for first-time renters (this is charged to the credit card on file and refunded after the successful completion of your first rental)
In addition to the above fees, all rentals through both Turo and Getaround include state-minimum liability insurance coverage. You should check to see what your personal insurance policy covers with regards to car rentals, as neither company provides damage coverage to renters out of the box (though car owners may offer it in some cases).
In terms of which offers a better price, it depends on which factors you look at. Assuming that you’re not going to incur any additional charges due to improper procedures or violations of traffic laws, Getaround is a better deal due to its lower booking fee and lower Under 25 fees. Getaround also costs less in terms of most of its fees (with the exception of the smoking fee and the presence of some additional fees such as a security deposit and the license fee).
Ease of Use
Which company is easier to use as a customer? After all, the whole reason we’re interested in these companies is that they provide an alternative to the traditional rental process. If the company doesn’t deliver on this front, then it’s not worth using.
Both companies use the same basic business model. Using the service’s website or mobile app, you can browse a list of cars available in your target destination. You can then filter them based on criteria like price, car model, and distance from your location. Once you’ve made your decision, you send a request to book the car. Assuming the owner approves your request, you can then proceed to the pickup location, get the keys, and be on your way.
There are some details in which the two services differ, however. Starting with Getaround, the company focuses especially on convenience for both car owners and renters. One way they deliver this convenience is through technology called Getaround Connect™.
They install this device into each Getaround car, after which car owners and renters can lock and unlock the vehicle using their smartphones. This eliminates the need for an exchange of keys or for the owner and renter to ever meet in person. It can speed up the rental process significantly, especially if the renter’s and owner’s schedules don’t align.
Turo also offers some convenient features, however. The most significant is the option to have your rental car delivered to your location. This isn’t available with all rentals, but when available, it can take the form of either city delivery or airport delivery. In city delivery, the renter and car owner meet at a predetermined location (such as the renter’s hotel).
In airport delivery, the car owner delivers the vehicle to a predetermined location at the airport. This could be as convenient as curbside pickup, but it could also mean that the car owner leaves their vehicle in an airport parking lot with the keys in a lockbox attached to the vehicle.
Overall, we think that Getaround and Turo are equal in their ease of use. They offer different options that may be more convenient for some renters than others, but both offer immense improvement on traditional car rental.
Customer service is the final thing we’ll consider. You hope that you never have issues with your car rental, but it’s reassuring to know that you have support from the company in the event that something does go wrong.
Both Turo and Getaround offer chat-based customer service via their apps, as well as support phone numbers that you can call. Both also maintain extensive help centers where you can find answers to common questions about using the services. We therefore think the two companies are even in terms of the support they offer.
Take Your Car Rental Into the 21st Century
Peer-to-peer car rental is an exciting new business model. We hope that the model continues to gain traction, as it’s such a great improvement over the long wait times and poor customer experience of other car rental companies. In fact, the other car rental companies better watch out, as Turo and Getaround could put them out of business before too long.
Of course, Turo and Getaround are just a couple of the ways you can get transportation without having to own your own car. We also recommend looking into Zipcar. Zipcar offers a similar service, except that the company owns all the vehicles (and the focus is more on hourly rentals).
If you prefer not to drive, then Uber and Lyft are both options that offer the speed and convenience of a car without the need to park or drive yourself around. You can order a ride to your location using your smartphone, and it will arrive in minutes (all while getting you to your destination faster than public transit or walking).
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.