Turo, formerly Relay Rides is a car rental company that started in San Francisco, CA in 2009. The company nationally launched in March of 2012, and has built a community similar to a car version of Air BNB. Car owners can rent out their vehicles to people looking to rent.
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Turo rents vehicles priced approximately 40% lower than other car rental options. They are supported by top-tier investors, including: August Capital, Google Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Canaan Partners, and Trinity Ventures. Turo is currently available in over 2,500 cities, and over 300 airports throughout the United States. To cater to one's individual preferences, the company offers over 800 different car models to choose from.
In order to sign up for a car, it is as simple as signing into one's Facebook or email account. The first time one signs up for a car, all they have to do is plug in some general information, choose a car, rental date, and time. One can either decline additional insurance, or purchase the Basic or Premium option, each with varying physical damage and liability protection.
The price ranges depending on what car one gets. In addition to these fees, buyers may be charged fees for additional miles, parking tickets and cleaning fees. To get the car's trip price, one must multiply the relevant trip rate advertised on the vehicle by the duration. There are also the following fees:
- Trip Fee - 10% of trip price
- Protection Fee - varies by if one chooses a premium (40% of car's rate), basic (15% of car's rate), or the decline option
- Young Driver Fee-20% fee of the trip price for people under age 25
- Delivery Fee-varies based on owner's settings
- Airport Fee-10% fee of trip price if the rented vehicle is involved in the Turo Airport Lot program
In order to get the car and the keys, all the renter needs to do is meet the owner and show them their license. Some owners will even deliver the car right to the renter. Returning the car is simple, as the renter just needs to return the car with a tank full of gas to where it was initially picked up. Other benefits of using Turo include:
- Turo has an easy, user-friendly, and customizable rental sign up.
- Cars available to rent in more than 2,500 cities.
- There is no membership fee, and cars run for a flat rate of $40 a day.
- All cars covered by Turo's fleet-wide insurance policy.
Renters can choose from cars, SUVs, minivans, trucks, convertibles, hybrids and vans. One can also filter by long term rentals, vehicle make, all-wheel drives, and more. There are more than 800 models and makes to choose from.
- Car retrieval
Since Turo does not operate with clients out of a specific agency, they utilize car owners that do not use their cars on an everyday basis. One has to meet the car owner, personally, in order to pick up the car. Renters may have to go out of their way to retrieve the car if there is not a Turo at the airport one flew into.
Having the cars all owned by people rather than an agency creates the possibility of inconsistency. Some owners may allow renters to drive 200 miles a day, while other may allow 100. Each owner has their own set of restrictions, so Turo does not have an overall list of rules for the available cars. Each renter must show the owner their driver's license, which does have personal information that people may not feel comfortable giving out to a random person. The downside to using Turo includes the following drawbacks:
- Since Turo does not own the cars, rules and regulations are inconsistent.
- Turo does not offer cars in New York.
- People under 21 years of age cannot rent a car, and people under age 25 have to pay additional fees. In fact, people under 25 may need to demonstrate at least two years of current US licensed driving history, and potentially can only rent out certain cars because they are considered "high-risk."
Insurance is also available to renters. There are several different packages each with varying physical damage and liability protection. There is $1 million in liability insurance on every rental. Their Premium package has a $500 deductible, and their basic package has a $3,000 deductible.