RelayRides blogger Nicholas Pell catches up with Heather Huizing to learn how she is being eco-conscious while making enough extra money to pay her car bill.
Unlike most major cities, never having access to a car just isn’t an option in Los Angeles. While there’s buses and something resembling a subway system, you’re going to need a car to get from place to place. Fortunately, with RelayRides peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace, you don’t need to own a car to have the benefits of one. We spoke to Heather Huizing of Highland Park about being a RelayRides renter in the City of Angels.
Huizing, 37, is the communications manager for a nonprofit in the city. She was attracted to RelayRides for a number of reasons. “I’m the type of person who needs multiple reasons to do something,” says Huizing, who says that she doesn’t just rent her 2007 Toyota Yaris for the money. “I needed to believe in it as well.” Huizing, who describes herself as “a little bit green” with “an interest in taking care of creation” was trying to rely more on public transportation and cycling than her car. RelayRides provided a ready-made means for her to do just this, at a worthwhile profit.
All told, she pulls in about $220 per month–sometimes more and sometimes less. When asked what she spends the money on she laughs and says “bills.” Specifically, renting through RelayRides allows her to pay her car note every month, with a little more left over after that. Not using her car on most days also allows her to spend less money on gas.
Huizing found that her experiences living in Africa made it easier for her to rent out her car through RelayRides. “When I lived there, I discovered that you can’t hold onto your possessions too tightly,” she says. “I lived in a hut in the bush!” She believes these communal experiences makes her more comfortable letting people she’s never met borrow her possessions for a small fee.
When asked about places to visit in Los Angeles, she says “the sky’s the limit in LA,” noting that you are always close to the beach, mountains, or desert, no matter where you are in the city. She’s outdoorsy and loves visiting Joshua Tree, as well as Griffith Park. But she also says “I’m the type of person who doesn’t like eating in the same restaurants,” citing her interest in exploring new places and seeing new things. San Diego and Santa Barbara are two urban road trips she recommends to people looking to get out of LA for a bit. “There’s all sorts of stuff you can do in a 100 to 200-mile radius of Los Angeles,” she says.
While she’s done a bit of advertising on social media and Craigslist, most of her rentals come from the RelayRides website itself. She’s got no secrets–just high ratings from renters and low prices. “I don’t even have the lowest prices,” she explains, adding “I think people mostly look at the ratings.” She gets great ratings by going a little above and beyond on service. “If people live within a couple miles of me, I offer to pick them up and drop them off. If they don’t, I’ll do that at the nearest Metro station.”
For those renting out their cars, Huizing thinks that it’s good to be very up front about what you expect from those renting your car. “Put rules in your description.”
Heather Huizing is an excellent example of how you can make extra cash with a car that would otherwise just be sitting around your driveway all day. In her case, it’s a no brainer—other people are paying her car bill every month. You can make extra money for bills too by renting your car out through RelayRides.