Car rentals like Airbnb? Some say it could be short-term answer for skyrocketing prices

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Car prices have skyrocketed due to the chip shortage and anyone who is selling their car is benefiting greatly from marked-up prices. In addition, people who continue to work from home due to the pandemic have found a unique way to get in on the action, profiting by renting out their car that would have otherwise just been sitting in their driveway unused.

Meteorologist Sean Kelly spoke with Pat Notti, the vice president of marketplace and operations of Getaround, to see how more and more people seem to be taking advantage of this situation. Getaround is an app where you can rent out your car or borrow someone else’s.

“Guests can book and unlock right from their phone,” Notti said. He mentioned how his company could be the answer to car shortages at traditional car rental companies.

“So it’s as easy as looking on the app, finding a car that’s in your neighborhood, walking to it, unlocking it, and being on your way,” he said. 

Getaround even offers insurance for each vehicle hosted through the app.

Notti said there are endless possibilities. From putting up just one car on the app, to buying your own fleet of cars and then posting them up online for rent. You could essentially start your own business.

Grant Feek, the CEO of TRED, highlights a few risks of renting out your car.

“It’s sort of like anyone who has rented out a home on Airbnb,” he said.

“Any time you rent out an asset, you expose it to wear and tear, to damage and you need to be careful that you are insured through the platform … you are obviously going to have more mileage on your vehicle,” he said.

The more times you rent your car, Feek said, the more you devalue the car — that is if it gets placed on your car history record. With that said, he says the positives do seem to outweigh the negatives. 

“On the flip side of that, you’re going to make so much more income renting your car out, that you are going to more than make up any loss in value,” he said.

KXAN reporter Kaitlyn Karmout shared her experience using a similar car rental service called Turo while on the coast of California. She said she loved being able to choose what type of car she and her friends wanted to rent which the app made easy.

She said some of the major practical issues with using a service like this, in comparison to a standard car rental place, is more than often you’ll have to spend money getting to the owner’s place where the car is currently sitting. Many times, that could be far away from the airport in a neighborhood you may be unfamiliar with, so the money you would have saved choosing a peer-to-peer rental service could potentially be washed out.

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