If you’re looking to make a little extra cash, consider listing your vehicle on Turo. With rental prices through the roof, it’s a no-brainer. How’s this for a side hustle: my friend Stuart is making an extra $5,000 a month right now, just by renting his 11-year-old Lexus on the internet. There’s no reason why you can’t do the same thing. Here’s how to get up and running.
Think of Turo as the Airbnb for cars. The website connects owners with renters, and provides some of the tools both parties need—liability insurance, assured transactions, dispute arbitration—to make the arrangement safe and easy for everyone involved.
If you’re a renter, just look up a destination and/or type of vehicle (maybe a 4×4, so you can go on an adventurous camping trip), and you’ll find people renting out cars, vans, and trucks they own. Compared to traditional rental-car agencies, those vehicles might be more affordable or offer a level of specialization that’s hard to find elsewhere.
If you own a vehicle that you’re not driving every day, Turo connects you with people who may want to rent that vehicle, offering you the ability to earn a little extra money.
Or a lot. By identifying specific needs in a specific location, and listing a vehicle that fills them, Stuart has been able to capitalize on a unique market. His 2010 Lexus GX460, which is lightly modified with nice suspension and all-terrain tires, is the ideal 4×4 for those traveling to Montana, where he lives part-time, to enjoy a camping trip. Because it can seat up to seven, he’s also able to capitalize on the demand for family-friendly vehicles for parents with kids visiting Yellowstone or Glacier National Parks.
To rent your car on Turo, the vehicle needs to be newer than 13 years old and have fewer than 130,000 miles. It can’t ever have been declared a total loss in an accident or be operating under a salvage title. Maintenance must be up-to-date, and owners are asked to verify that the cars they’re listing are in safe condition.
We’re in the midst of suppressed supply and increased demand. At the beginning of the pandemic, large rental companies were forced to sell off much of their fleets. Fast-forward to today: supply-chain issues are leading to shortages of the computer chips necessary to build modern cars, which means companies are now struggling to rebuild those fleets to meet rebounding demand. Most international travel is still restricted, distributing demand that once went to Italy or Canada, say, to states with large swaths of natural beauty. States like Montana.
Renting a basic sedan at Bozeman International Airport can now cost over $1,000 a day. But even at that price, a Toyota Camry isn’t going to carry a family larger than five or be able to reach remote off-road campsites. This situation is the same in other mountain towns, and even in major cities, where drivers may not have access to the kind of vehicles they want to take on their newly outdoorsy vacations. Enter Turo.
How Much Money Can You Make?
Stuart splits his time between my basement in Montana and his home in suburban Orange County, California. He’s been wanting to keep a car up here for a while, so he can fly rather than drive when he visits. But he couldn’t financially justify purchasing the kind of reliable, capable vehicle he’d want just to keep her—until he found Turo.
This summer there was a wedding he didn’t want to miss. A very unexciting rental vehicle would have cost him around $5,000, just for a week. He started to research the rental-car market and realized that rather than spend that kind of change, he could be making it instead.
So Stuart went shopping. The end result was the Lexus GX460, one of the most capable and desirable 4×4’s currently available. By buying it in California, where demand for the vehicle is lower, Stuart found a nicely modified one with low miles for just $21,000. He’s currently renting that on Turo, at the Bozeman airport, for $256 a day. Factoring in his maintenance costs, a few days a month of his own use, and downtime for cleaning between rentals (plus hiring someone to clean and park it), he’s clearing about $5,000 a month. Three months in, he’s close to paying the car off and turning an actual profit on the entire endeavor.
Is all the effort required to make that money really worth it? What are the challenges Stuart has faced along the way? And what are the downsides you might run into if you decide to rent out your own vehicle on Turo? I sat down with Stuart and got the lowdown on all those questions and more. Watch this video, below, and you’ll have all the tools you need to make bank on Turo, too.
To hear directly from Wes and Stuart, and learn the ins and out of this vehicle, check out this Outside+ exclusive video walk-through.