RelayRides blogger Sydney Jarod, catches up to renter Sue Yerou about her experience with RelayRides, including why she loves the marketplace, tips for renters and suggestions for owners.
Sue Yerou is a New Yorker who learned that she didn’t need to own a car while living in Australia, so when the personal style consultant moved to San Francisco, she decided she wanted to rent—instead of own—her next car.
“San Francisco is such a small city,” she says, “and I didn’t want to have the expense of a car: the monthly payments, the insurance and the maintenance. Plus, I hated ‘parking ballet—where you have to move your car in the morning to make way for street sweepers.”
However, she found that traditional car rental options were inconvenient in a city like San Francisco that shuts down in the evening. “I did not like the fact that things close very early here,” she says. “If you have to hire a car here, you have to be there to pick up the car by 5pm.”
Luckily, she found RelayRides, which offers peer-to-peer car rental with flexible pick-up options, and she now rents a RelayRides car about twice a week to help her meet with clients across the Bay Area.
“RelayRides was more competitively priced than Zipcar, and it’s just so convenient and affordable.” she says. In fact, in an apples-to-apples comparison between RelayRides and traditional car companies, RelayRides is 20-30% cheaper than traditional rental services—and it’s on average 40-50% cheaper than Zipcar.
“Plus,” she adds, “the car I have been renting most frequently is literally a block from my house.”
A frequent renter on the RelayRides marketplace, Sue knows how to evaluate the right car to rent. “Honestly, it’s proximity first, then price,” she says.
When Sue finds a great fit one nearby that she likes, she’ll do anything to keep it. When RelayRider Caterina Rindi thought she needed to move from her nearby Potrero Hill apartment to a new place—possibly even outside of the neighborhood—her regular customer Sue tried to find an apartment for her on Craiglist, highlighting not only Sue’s appreciation of Caterina’s car, but also the personal connections that grow within the marketplace.
“I loved her black Toyota Prius because she kept it very clean,” she says. “The car was light, so it was also very easy to manage with the hills. Plus, Caterina has been great. I’ve invited her to my home and to parties.”
Price is always important too, and Sue knows what works for her. “A $50 daily rate!” she says with a laugh in her New York accent. “Anything around that price-range will immediately get my attention.”
Advanced planning is still needed though to find the right car at the right price. Sue tries to plan her rentals two weeks in advance but she usually ends up arranging a car about three days before she needs it. “I’m not that good on that,” she says. “If I am making last minute plans, I might miss out on a car near me, which means I’ll have to travel out of my neighborhood to get a car.”
She also looks for car owners with good reviews, high response rates, low response times and a long rental history.
Sue’s rental history has taught her a thing or two about car owners, too, and she wishes to offer them some advice on how to be successful with RelayRides.
Join the community and list your car online! This means more variety and greater likelihood of finding the perfect car nearby for renters.
Respond to every request you receive as soon as possible. Renters should always be looking for cars with low response times and high response rates. If you want your car yo be the most popular vehicle in the neighborhood, be quick about getting your response to people’ requests back to them.
Write more detail about your vehicles including any tips on how to operate the car. For example, Sue grew comfortable renting a Prius after reading the owner’s description of how to use the push-button ignition system.
Include great photos of your car along with pictures of what makes your car special–the better you can convey how special your car is, the greater likelihood that people will go out of their way to rent it.
Promote your car! If you have a great ride for rent, but are not doing your part to get the word out to friends and neighbors, you are missing out. Check out these great posts for how to promote your ride.
Offer renters interesting features in your car; for example, some power-charger cords for mobile devices. Sue has been really impressed by conscientious owners who have left charges for her to use.
Meanwhile, Sue promises that she’ll always fill up the gas tank and try to leave a honest review of her experience with the owner and car. This final important step as a member of the RelayRides community is the least she can do to help her live the car-renters lifestyle she wants—affordably and conveniently.