Member Profile: Lean, Green, Money Making Machine

RelayRides blogger Nicholas Pell chats with member Lee Colleton about how car owners can easily make more cash from their cars and how to have a green commute

Lee Colleton, a 34-year-old systems administrator at Google, started using RelayRides back in October. His earnings have increased dramatically every month. Colleton is passionate about changing the way society uses cars–and is making a handsome second income doing so. We sat down to talk to him about his interest in the sharing economy and alternative fuels, as well as how he’s substantially increased his RelayRides earnings in such a short period of time.

Want to rent a green, inexpensive BioDiesel? RelayRides has you covered. Good luck trying to find one at a traditional rental car agency

Innovative Marketing Means Big Earnings

Lee has aggressively marketed his car and the proof is in the monthly check. His first month at RelayRides he didn’t even make $20. By his second month, however, he’d leveled up significantly, raking in $120. By February, a mere three months later he made nearly $450, showing an increase each subsequent month. “It offsets the cost of owning a car from registration to insurance to gas,” he says, “anything beyond that goes into the kids’ college fund.”

So how does Colleton do it? He’s active on Twitter, Facebook and (of course) Google Plus. Colleton also leverages neighborhood mailing lists to target his area through NextDoor.com “Those have definitely been fruitful,” he says, but his biggest boost has come from advertising on Waze.

Waze is a social app providing better directions than a traditional mapping app ever could. It relies upon information gained from other users to help you find the fastest commute possible, reducing the time you spend in your car. Colleton put an ad on the app for the minimum amount: fifty dollars. “I got so many requests that I had to turn the ad off,” he says. “It’s counterintuitive because you wouldn’t think it would work on people already in a car.” However, Colleton notes that, “they could be paying too much, either through renting by the minute or getting bad gas mileage.”

Keeping Commutes Green and Making Extra Cash with RelayRides

Lee has two cars listed on the RelayRides Marketplace. The first is his daily driver, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, a fully electric car appropriate for driving around the city. The second is a Volkswagen Jetta that runs entirely on biodiesel, great for making long-distance drives on the cheap; In fact, it even comes with twice the daily mileage allowance of a typical RelayRides car. “The electric is my new car,” says Colleton, “I held onto the Jetta for the occasional trip to California to see my family or for exploring the Olympic Peninsula.”

RelayRides isn’t Colleton’s only foray into the world of collaborative consumption. He’s also a Sidecar driver, something he learned about through a Burning Man mailing list. He was a friend of one of the founders and jumped at the chance to show off his electric car. “People often confuse car sharing and ride sharing,” he says. “I car share with the car I barely use and ride share with my daily driver.” He’s done over 100 Sidecar rides with two or three people in the car. “It’s not just profitable, it’s great outreach for electric vehicles.”

A New Kind of Rental Fleet

Lee’s unique cars highlight one of the great aspects of RelayRides’ marketplace over traditional rental car companies–access to a unique selection of cars. Those looking for an interesting and ecological way to get around should consider the RelayRides Marketplace.

For those renting their cars out on RelayRides, Lee provides an excellent example of how with just a little bit of effort you can start making decent money off your car. “You’re just wasting money if you have a car you don’t use much and you aren’t renting it out,” Colleton says. The best thing is that you can recoup some of your marketing costs with RelayRides as well, so it’s really a no-brainer

List your car on the RelayRides Marketplace today. By spending just a little bit of time listing features, posting pictures and marketing you can have your car start paying for itself.