3 Reasons Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Beats Rental Car Agencies


RelayRides blogger Grayson Bell details the specific reasons for why peer-to-peer car sharing is a better choice than traditional car rentals. 

Let’s face it. We have all been there. You know, standing at the car rental counter either at the airport or in a city. We are looking to rent a car while getting the best deal. If you are trying to rent at an airport, then there are a few rental companies to choose from. They are all big with an assortment of vehicles to choose from. The big problem is that they all offer similar vehicles at similar prices. You might be able to save a few dollars here and there, but it won’t amount to much. This is the general problem with traditional car rental companies.

When you can only shop around at a few big companies for services, then you will most likely be stuck paying a certain price. Traditional car rental companies make it hard to choose between the two of them. They offer similar vehicles at similar prices and they are in the same places. Luckily, there is another option that you can put into the mix and it provides you with choice.

Enter Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing

You may have heard of this concept before, but if you haven’t then know it is taking the country by storm. Companies like RelayRides are providing consumers with the ultimate choice when it comes to an affordable rental a car. RelayRides provides a marketplace where people looking for a rental can find a vehicle from someone willing to rent their car. It is a great concept and here are three reasons why peer-to-peer (P2P) car sharing is a better overall deal than traditional rental companies.

No Overhead Equals a Better Price

One of the greatest advantages of the peer-to-peer model vs. the fleet model is the fact that peer-to-peer rentals can often be nearly 40 percent less than traditional fleet rentals in an apples-to-apples comparison. The reasons for this are simple: private owners do not need to be profitable, nor do they need to pass the costs for marketing, personnel and other costs associated with brick and mortar establishments on to renters.

Here is a great graphic that depicts how much a consumer can save compared to the traditional model based on the type of vehicle.

RelayRides rentals are obvious choices no matter which vehicle type you are looking to rent

RelayRides rentals are obvious choices no matter which vehicle type you are looking to rent

While renters at RelayRides are saving no matter what kind of car they choose, certain vehicles are, such as minivans, are obvious choices. The Minivan is the most expensive vehicle you can rent at a traditional car company. If you compare that to a company such as RelayRides, then you can save $113 or 69%.  The graph above really just shows you how competition can force pricing down.

More Selection and Better Choices

When you rent a car through a traditional rental company, you only get to choose from categories, including compact, midsize, luxury, SUV, minivan, and large van. While these may seem like choices, they are just segments.  Once you dig down into the cars you get to pick, the selection slims.  Most traditional agencies have agreements with the big car manufacturers.  Some places only get their cars from Chevrolet and others from Ford. While renters do see some opportunities to mix and match, they can expect to see a majority of cars from one brand. They also get deals on certain models. This leaves the consumer with little to choose from.

On the other hand, if you rent from a P2P marketplace, you can have a much wider selection.  For instance, RelayRides has over 500 makes and models in their marketplace.  This expansive selection allows the consumer to choose the right vehicle for their needs.  They also can have some better colors than just white, black, and gray. So, in the end the renter picks the exact make, model and color of the car they want.

The Convenience Factor

We are a society all about convenience. We have the Internet on our phone and we can have products delivered to our door without stepping foot in a store. We love getting things done quickly without having to sacrifice our time. Unfortunately, traditional car rental companies don’t fit into the mold of convenience.

In many cities, you have to go to a central location, such as an airport, and if you’re not traveling through an airport this isn’t very convenient—if you are traveling through an airport, RelayRides is the clear choice for airport rentals. Some traditional car rental companies have small locations throughout some cities, but they still may not be near you. This will require you to travel to them.

Have you heard of utilization rates before? This is a common rate that is used in the car rental business. Traditional car rental companies need to have cars used at a certain rate. This is to ensure that the car becomes profitable for them.  Since they had to buy the car in order to rent it, rental companies have to rent out the vehicle a certain number of times during its rental lifespan.  This means that rental companies will only have rental cars in places that can meet their utilization rate.

Peer-to-peer car sharing doesn’t have those rates. The people renting out their vehicles are not trying to turn their car into their business. They use the peer-to-peer marketplace to provide a service and to make a little extra money on the side. They don’t have to meet utilization rates.  This means that people can rent cars in urban, suburban and rural areas. RelayRides is currently in 1,900 cities and expanding. This type of growth and market share means that more and more people can be served by the peer-to-peer car sharing model.

Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing: The Obvious Choice

In the end, the choice is obvious—peer-to-peer car sharing offers affordability, choice and convenience that the traditional fleet companies cannot. When you are planning your next trip, rent from your neighbor.