Recently I decided to list my vehicle, a 2021 Jeep Wrangler on Turo. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. One which I learned a lot that could benefit others if you were to ever consider using this app yourself.
If you aren’t familiar, Turo is to cars what AirBnB is to houses. It’s a way of renting out your vehicle to other people. Turo serves as the marketplace to list your vehicle. There are a lot of options when people are looking for vehicles to rent to help them sort out and find the right one. Some of these can include costs, vehicle location, and more.
The first thing you do when listing your vehicle is of course to create an account on Turo. You’ll have to verify information about yourself and then write a lot of information about your vehicle that will help someone when searching to find yours.
They do have minimums that they require for vehicles also. Not older than 12 years, no more than 130,000 miles, and more. My car met all the requirements to be listed, so no issue there. They will require you to get a yearly mechanical inspection also that you’ll submit through the app too.
One of the cool things about Turo is that guests that rent your car actually purchase insurance at the same time to cover your vehicle. As a host, you also choose coverage yourself. This is in addition to normal car insurance that you should keep on your vehicle.
There are 5 plan options that are based on taking a cut of your earnings. They start with the most coverage which leaves you with 60% of your earnings, all the way to the least coverage which leaves you with 90% of your earnings. I chose the middle-of-the-road policy which was 75%. It included a $250 deductible and $750,000 in liability coverage.
Another ongoing expense was that of keeping your car ready to rent. Before listing it I had it professionally detailed for $180. I ended up paying for a car wash membership so I could wash the car every time it came back. They also had rags to wipe it down and vacuums to clean it out. This added $15 a month to my expenses plus I bought additional cleaning supplies to make sure all touch surfaces were very clean and the wheels shine because it just helped the Jeep to look that much better.
The last thing I did before listing was to take pictures of the Jeep. I used my iPhone and snapped about 20 pictures of the interior and exterior to show that it was in excellent shape and clean both inside and out.
After all this, I was ready to list the vehicle. Within 24 hours I had my first rental booked.
The first person rented the Jeep for a week and then actually extended their rental another 3 days. I had offered in my listing to deliver the vehicle to the airport which she chose to have me do for an additional $30. I put the vehicle in the lot and locked the key in a lockbox on the door handle at the appropriate time. I messaged her the Jeep location along with the code. She ended up driving the vehicle 898 miles and I made $505.12 from that trip.
The hardest part about this I learned was getting someone to pick me up at the airport and then take me back to get the Jeep when it was turned in. That took a lot of time out of my day and someone else’s.
The second person rented the Jeep for a one-day trip to Atlanta. With this one, I delivered it to their house a day early and then picked it up at their house. Again I had to find someone to help me do both of these things.
They drove 401 miles and I made $80.44.
The third person rented for 5 days and again I dropped the vehicle off at the airport. They drove a total of 190 miles and I made $233.55. He messaged me though before his rental and requested that I waive the $30 drop-off fee in exchange for driving less than 200 miles. I agreed and Venmo’d that to him after the vehicle was returned.
After this being the third time that I had delivered the vehicle I upped the fee to $50 in order to try and have to do this less or at least make it more worth it.
The fourth person rented for three days for a trip to the beach. They drove 1,535 miles on the trip and I made $288.23.
When they returned the vehicle there were suction cup marks on the windshield that I noticed that I can only imagine were GoPro’s. Maybe they did a road trip vlog? Maybe they shot a music video? I have no idea, but somewhere out there is probably a video that was shot in my Jeep.
The beach was a popular destination for the vehicle which is where it went again for trip five for four days. They put 1290 miles on the vehicle and I made $208.47.
This is also where things got really weird and I’m pretty sure someone smoked in the vehicle. If they didn’t smoke, then they smoked outside of it and then they reeked of smoke still when they got back in.
Turo vehicles are all supposed to be non-smoking. If you can prove someone smoked in the vehicle they can be kicked out of using the app in the future. Unfortunately, though Turo has made the rules nearly impossible to enforce. You basically have to get them to say they smoked in the vehicle.
I messaged the renter and of course, they denied it. After this, they rated my Jeep as 4 stars for cleanliness which dropped me below the VIP rankings and moved my vehicle down in search.
On the sixth trip, a person rented the Jeep for another two-day trip to the beach. They drove 599 miles and I made $151.87. They had a blast because it was covered in sand when it was returned which wasn’t a big deal because it all vacuumed right out.
On my seventh trip, the person rented it for two days. Because of all the miles being added up, I changed it from unlimited miles to 200 a day. They drove a reasonable 351 miles and I made $136.50.
When I rented it out to person eight, I didn’t know this would be my last person. I had another six rentals out there ready to go. This person did nothing wrong and drove it only 69 miles.
I made $60.56
Really after the fifth person, I saw this going downhill. It started to become cumbersome having to clean the vehicle all the time and having to find someone to help me pick it up or deliver it.
I reached out to the other people and let them know I was removing it from the marketplace because I wanted to protect the vehicle from any other potential damage. The biggest problem though really was that I couldn’t get over looking at the amount of money made versus the amount of miles put on my vehicle. It was not a sustainable model at all.
Over 8 trips, I made $1634.74 in a 6-week period. Compared to my expenses including the car payment, insurance, cleaning, and maintenance, this is about a break-even situation. The only benefit is that someone else is making your car payment. The negative to that is someone else doesn’t really care about your car. Even if you did this for long enough to pay off the car, it would be in very rough shape.
I know some people would say get a car with a lesser payment. I thought about that, but there are a ton of Toyota Corollas out there on Turo. The draw and why I kept the Jeep rented out so much I believe was because it was a Jeep. Before I owned a Jeep, I used Turo myself while on vacation to rent a Jeep. It’s a novelty vehicle for sure.
Over 8 trips, the vehicle racked up 5333 miles. At the federal mileage rate of 0.625 which it is currently, that would be $3,333.13. That is a far stretch from what I made. It actually makes for a strong usage case for a Turo user versus a host. If you get paid mileage, find an unlimited mileage vehicle on Turo and rent it with your own money. Then submit your miles to your employer. You would still make money in nearly all cases off the mileage but not put the wear and tear on your own vehicle.
With all of these factors and trips in mind, I will not say that Turo is a waste. I would just say to go into it with your eyes open. Set up rules to protect your vehicle and be very aware of Turo’s rules that aren’t always favorable to the host. And by no means would I ever list your daily driver on the service!
My Jeep remains off for Turo now and is available for friends and family to use any time they like. They just have to sign my 16-page contract and take a 30-minute lesson on removing the top. It ain’t easy!