San Francisco-based start-up RelayRides has created a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace that uses technology and a hefty insurance policy to make cooperative car sharing profitable for automobile owners.
RelayRides, which launched in 2010, invites car owners to share their vehicles with their “friends and neighbors” when they are not in use. Owners post their screened and equipped cars on the website and set their own hourly, daily and weekends rates, at a minimum of $5/hour. Screened borrowers can then search through for something that fits their schedule and preference.
RelayRides installs a device that allows them to unlock the car, immobilize the engine for anyone but the reservation holder, and track the car’s location. Owners sacrifice some freedom for the chance to make some bucks, as even they need to have a reservation in the RelayRides system to use the car. Like anyone else in the system, owners can always borrow someone else’s car if they are in a bind.
According to RelayRides, average owners make $200 to $300/month, with some outliers making up to $1000/month. RelayRides takes a 35 percent cut to cover their expenses and the owner pays for gas.
The company tries to address all major worries up front: they will insure your car up to $1 million to take care of borrower mishaps, they will fine those who make a mess or leave your lights on, and they screen driving records to make sure all RelayRides members are safe drivers (no more than two minor violations in the past year, and no major violations). They suggest, but do not require, that owners only offer cars that are a maximum of 10 years old and have less than 80,000 miles on them.
Currently only available in San Francisco and the Boston area, the company is hoping to expand throughout the country in 2012. This month, they announced a partnership with GM, who will make it easy for current GM owners to sync their cars with the RelayRide system.
For more information about carsharing, check out FutureofCarsharing’s infographic which, among other cool fact, shows that over 500,000 people participated in carsharing in 2010.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/relayrides_puts_your_car_to_work/4474
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