Have you ever run into a transportation issue that you just needed saving from?
Recently my other company, Handsome International Men, booked an out-of-town gig, about a 90-minute drive north in Erin, Ontario. In order for us to pull this gig off, we needed between 7-8 people from the team to come out. That includes a full troupe of performers and me as the host and MC. Normally, one of the guys in the group and I would drive our own cars, and up to 9 people can easily be transported to wherever we need to go. That was the initial plan, until just a couple of weeks before the gig, when our usual driving guy found out he wouldn’t have access to his car. And since I couldn’t squish 7 muscular men in my little SUV, we were in a pickle.
In a panic, I wondered how I was going to obtain access to a vehicle big enough to transport me and seven strapping young gentlemen an hour out of the city, in a comfortable, efficient and cost-effective manner. Car rentals for big SUVs can get expensive, and there was no rental agency near where I lived. I was stumped, to the point that we even considered cancelling the gig.
Launched in Canada in 2016 (and founded in the U.S in 2009), Turo has grown into the largest car sharing network in Toronto. What makes Turo unique is that it’s a peer to peer car rental platform. Unlike traditional rental companies, Turo doesn’t maintain a fleet: the fleet is made up of its users. Turo has 350,000 Canadians using its platform, with 10,000 cars (with over 800 different makes and models) available to rent between users. Basically, if you have a car that you’re not using, you can put it on the Turo app or website and people can rent it from you when they need a vehicle for their own use. You get some money, and someone just like you gets a car to suit whatever their rental needs may be. Rental prices start as low as $15 per day, and those listing their vehicles can earn anywhere between $550 – $3,000.
Because of their peer to peer car rental system, Turo gives you a better chance of finding the vehicle to suit your needs in a location that’s more convenient for you. Unless you’re in the financial district or happened to live near a hotel with a car rental agency within it, if you live downtown, chances are you’ll be trekking to an airport or other non-downtown location to find pick up your car. Then, of course, there was the cost. Renting a big SUV or van from a traditional rental company isn’t cheap, and as a small business, we need to look for savings where we can.
With all that in mind, I jumped on the Turo app to see what I could find. And score! There it was, a beautiful Infiniti SUV that seated 8, and was just about a five-minute drive from where I lived. With my information already entered into the app, I put in my request for the rental and waited for the car owner to approve our ride. He did, literally within minutes. It was an easy and smooth transaction and I couldn’t wait to pick up our sweet ride for the night.
When our rental day came, I took the 5-minute Lyft ride to meet the car owner. Once we both checked into the trip on our apps, he took a few quick pictures of the car (similar to how you would do a walk around with a traditional rental to insure that the car returns in the same condition it left). Then, he simply handed me the keys and away I went, simply and seamlessly.
Thanks to Turo, the men of HIM and I not only didn’t have to cancel the gig, but we were able to pull it off with flying colours. The drive up north was smooth and comfortable, and the guys loved the car. We ended up having an amazing show up in Erin, where we were made to feel ever so welcome by the ladies of the town.
The next morning I brought the car back to its owner, without a scratch on her and just a few extra kilometres added to her life. The driver was satisfied and all was well. We checked out of the trip, left positive reviews for each other, and so ended my first Turo experience.
So if you’re in the market for a car rental, or in need of a vehicle at the last minute, I highly recommend checking out Turo to see what they have to offer. You help put some money in the pocket of a person just like you, you’ll likely find a rental that’s much more accessible to you, and you’ll be supporting an innovative business. In my books, those are all wins.
Thanks Turo! We couldn’t have done it without you.