Member Profile: Justin Sakofs in Chicago


RelayRides blogger Eric Rosenberg caught up with member Justin Sakofs, who rents out his second car every weekend to earn a little extra income for his Chicago area family.

When I caught up with Justin, he was doing the things that the average American family does on a typical Wednesday evening. He had spent the day at work, came home, and put his children to bed. But as an observant Jew, Justin’s weekend schedule is a little different than the average American’s—his beliefs don’t allow him to use his car about 24 hours each week. Because of this period of time when he knows his family will not be using his car, he is happy to rent it out for extra income with RelayRides.

How Justin Uses RelayRides

Justin recently moved to Chicago from the East Coast, where he had read about RelayRides but never signed up as a customer. For work reasons, he recently bought a second car for his family that he uses for his weekday commute.

Justin and his family are observant Jews who follow the customs of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. From Friday sundown until Saturday sundown, Justin’s family follows Shabbat laws that forbid using electricity, spending money, and driving a car, amongst other things. With the extra car sitting in the driveway, Justin decided to put the car to work to help pay for itself.

For the last five weeks, a local basketball referee has come to his home on Friday after work, picked up the spare car, and used it to get around town to basketball games. Justin doesn’t mind that he keeps the car until Sunday, as it gives the family more time to spend together. “It means we get to do things as a family on Sunday, which I can’t complain about.”

Is it Hard Work To Rent Out Your Car?

Because of Justin’s family’s religious observance, it is important that they don’t do any business transactions on Shabbat, and they found a renter that is respectful of those beliefs and is always there on time. As long as he picks up the keys before sundown, everything works great. “What are you going to do with it when it is sitting idle? I figured RelayRides was going to be a great option.”

Justin lists his car as available from his own home, so the renter just swings by to pick up the keys. They have had great renters who let Justin know about any issues with the car when returning it. A couple of weeks ago, he had to refill the windshield wiper fluid. A very small (and tax deductible) cost to make extra income from his car.

How Much Does He Make Each Weekend?

Justin’s family just bought a new house, and anyone who has ever owned a home knows that the costs can add up quick. That can take away from other savings or financial goals.

Justin’s family makes about $60 each weekend when someone rents their second car. That adds up to $240 per month in extra income with very little effort. “It could start to turn into our son’s college fund, which is peanuts right now but we can invest and it can grow.”

He says the best part is that it is like finding an extra $20 that you had left in a pair of pants and sent through the wash. It is extra gravy for a rainy day. 

Why Does He Like RelayRides?

The car had been listed for a few weeks when someone wanted to use the car, and they got into a regular routine. Each time when the car is dropped off, the renter says he will be in touch on Thursday to make pickup plans for the next weekend.

The renter has taken good care of the car, had great communication, and a way to “meet cool people.”

If you want to rent Justin’s Nissan Altima in Skokie, Illinois, you can see the listing right here. For a car near you, browse the listing and rent a car today.