- Tesla; Turo; Melia Robinson/Business Insider
- Turo is a car-rental service most easily described as “Airbnb for cars.”
- Its CEO, Andre Haddad, lists five of his vehicles, including the “trifecta of Teslas,” on the Turo app. He’s earned $11,000 renting them out so far in 2018.
- Haddad said he believes shared vehicles are the future of driving, because people will want to make their self-driving cars go to work for them.
Over the last Fourth of July weekend, Andre Haddad handed over the keys to his cars to seven strangers. While he barbecued with family at home, his Audi R8 and three Teslas carried guests where they needed to go. By Sunday night, they were back in his driveway.
Haddad rents out the vehicles on Turo, a person-to-person car-sharing service most easily described as “Airbnb for cars,” where Haddad has been CEO since 2011.
“I’m a car enthusiast. I have the trifecta of Teslas,” Haddad told Business Insider.
And he puts those cars to work. So far in 2018, Haddad said he’s earned a little over $11,000 renting five luxury vehicles on Turo. He’s on track to beat his 2017 earnings.
Turo is changing the economics of owning a car in pricey cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston. Car owners list their vehicles on the platform and lease them by the day for a fee. According to Turo, the average host makes $625 a month on Turo, more than enough to cover the national average monthly car payment on a new vehicle.
Haddad, who was a veteran executive at eBay before joining Turo as CEO, believes that someday about half of the cars on the road will be shared vehicles. He said drivers will use services like Turo – or its competitors Getaround, Zipcar, and traditional can-rental companies – to get from point A to B because of the cost and environmental savings.
“The norm, I think, is going to be shared vehicles, not fully owned vehicles,” Haddad said. “That’s exciting for us, and it’s exciting for people who have for a long time expected that the vehicle will cost them money and depreciate. Now it can pay for itself.”
- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
According to Haddad, the rise of autonomous vehicles will be the catalyst for this change. The person who leases their self-driving car on Turo will be able to monitor their car’s location through GPS and lock and unlock it remotely via the Turo app.
“In that scenario, it will be amazing to own an autonomous vehicle, because it can go work for the owner while they’re asleep,” Haddad said.
He added: “Obviously, we’re not there yet. It’s a bit ‘science-fiction-ey.’ But I can see a path to getting us there … over a long-term horizon, ten years from now or so.”
Turo is having its best year on the books, with seven million people signed up on Turo and two million users joining in 2018 alone. Usage is also rising. So far this year, there have been 4.9 million days booked across the quarter-million vehicles on the service.
Business Insider spoke to several Turo “power hosts” who said renting their cars to strangers on Turo completely covers the cost of car ownership. One user even bought a Tesla Model 3 after seeing how much money she could make leasing her old Toyota Corolla. Both cars pay for themselves through her earnings on Turo, this host said.
“It’s like having a free car in the city,” another host said.