Can I actually make money by car-sharing? Turo offers a way

yellow car in a field borrowed with a car share app like Turo loaned out for extra income

With large car-sharing communities established in the US, UK and Canada, Turo has brought its business to the Australian marketplace. 

This is perhaps timely with car supply still struggling and fuel costs soaring, and many Aussies are looking for alternatives.Some have cars sitting under-used and there’s also the rising cost of living creating a growing desire for supplemental income. 

So what exactly is Turo, how does it work? We take a look.

Car rentals by another name - what is Turo?

Turo is an international peer-to-peer car sharing platform. You can rent a car for a predetermined period of time, and then return it afterwards. These rentals are more similar to a traditional car rental, in that discounts are applied for longer term rentals. The key difference is that these cars are owned by local “hosts”, rather than a rental company or single organisation.

It’s currently in more than 9,500 cities with more than 250,000 vehicles, and has been used by over 2.3 million guests.

But at Mozo, we’re interested in you getting the most for your money. So immediately we find ourselves asking the question: is there any validity to using your own car for a platform like Turo? And if so, what about adding extra cars to your collection?

Can I earn money and is it worth the risk?

Earning money with cars is somewhat different to earning money from investment property as cars are depreciating assets, and the value involved is much lower (generally speaking). However, the idea of earning with a car sharing platform is very similar to earning rent from a property you own, or operating an Airbnb.

Turo reports that the average income earned from sharing 1 car is $19,112. For 5 cars, the figure goes to $95,560.

If you have a personal car in your driveway, sitting largely unused and it meets the criteria for listing, there’s no real harm in earning some extra income with a platform like Turo. This could be a much more manageable way to add cash to your back pocket than juggling a side hustle, for example.

However, there is always a level of risk involved in putting your car into the hands of others. In this particular case, there is a level of car insurance included. Even without the worry of damage to your vehicle, services like this rely heavily on customer rating in order to distribute payment. Wear and tear to your car, an inconvenient location, or even an air freshener smell that the customer doesn’t fancy could result in your score dropping and your payments being impacted.

A little something extra is always appreciated, but remember that the above figures are earning averages. The desirability of your car’s make and model will have a significant impact on the money you can earn.

Using car loans for car sharing platforms

Where significant risk comes in is with taking out a car loan in order to share multiple cars. Early adopters and savvy users in tourist-dense cities might find themselves able to list multiple cars successfully. But this is unlikely to have the same success in more sparse areas, less frequented by tourists looking to rent cars. 

Taking out a loan that is dependent on the payment of others is always going to carry risk, so it’s something to weigh up carefully as you consider it. As we’ve seen in the case of Airbnb, sometimes these investments can pay off - and sometimes, like in the pandemic, they can come at difficult times.

If you do find yourself in need of a car loan, you can start comparing them below. Alternatively, find the cream of the crop with the Best Car Loans.

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Last updated 19 July 2024 Important disclosures and comparison rate warning*
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