RelayRides blogger Amanda L. Grossman shares how member David Kim makes thousands managing a micro fleet of vehicles.
When I first learned that there are people renting out not one vehicle, not two vehicles, but a fleet of vehicles on RelayRides, I was intrigued.
Where did they find a fleet of vehicles for renting? How did they manage all of the rentals? And most importantly, is there good money to be made doing this?
Fortunately for me, David Kim, a resident fleet-renter on RelayRides, was more than happy to answer all of my questions about his side business (that is quickly blossoming into something more!).
It Started with One Vehicle
In July of 2013, David became a RelayRides member by renting out one spare vehicle. This was a big deal in and of itself, as he was originally going to sell the car before conducting research online and finding a profitable alternative.
After a short period of time, David found his first renter who rented his vehicle for an amazing four months. This got David thinking, and he realized that there was a real need (not to mention opportunity) for long term car rentals. What a sweet discovery!
Soon after listing his main truck, David added a second, fuel-efficient car to his list that he had purchased for everyday driving. And then…he kept adding more.
Creating a Fleet, and Keeping Up with Upkeep Costs
David did not stop at listing two vehicles. In fact, he has a total of 5 vehicle rentals available now. He explains, “Over the last 12 months I managed to add more cars into my fleet by looking at craigslist and finding good reliable cars that I thought would be suitable to rent out. The Z3 came from a purchase on Craigslist. The Accord, Civic and Tacoma were all purchased from friends looking to sell their cars. Buying the car from friends and knowing the history helped with the reliability question.”
One of the questions that went through my mind is how much it costs to maintain these five vehicles, and if the profits (discussed below) are worth it when these costs are factored in. David says, ” The cars that I have are fairly easy to maintain and I have since found a reputable mechanic to make sure all my cars are in great condition. So far, the maintenance costs have been manageable. Each car individually is still very profitable and I keep a strict spreadsheet monitoring the income and expenses every month.”
Let’s Talk Numbers: How Much Can a Fleet of Vehicles Bring in?
What if I told you David is almost paying his rent each month from his fleet of vehicles…in pricey San Francisco? In February of this year, David earned about $1500. And his numbers just keep rising month after month. Pretty soon he’ll be paying his entire rent bill each month!
Managing Rentals for a Fleet of Vehicles by Yourself
Over the last six months, David added five additional vehicles to his rental offerings. Managing a total of six vehicles (plus working full-time) has meant that David needed to come up with some good systems.
For example, David explains, “Recently I partnered with a company called Spoton Parking and have secured a dedicated parking spot for all my cars in very convenient locations. Repeat renters seem to enjoy that they don’t have to look for parking and know where the car will be.” In order to make this as convenient as possible for both he and renters, he provides a lockbox so renters can get to the cars at their convenience.
David also takes full advantage of the RelayRides App in order to efficiently answer questions and approve/deny rental requests.
David’s Tips on Earning More Money
David’s biggest recommendation for owners, “is to be as communicative and responsive as possible. People like to know you can be easily reached and can answer their questions as soon as possible.” Personally, David tries to answer all requests immediately.
His stellar customer service does not end there. “I do my best to keep the cars clean as possible as well. After every renter books the car, I send a template of detailed instructions explaining how to access the car, the features, toll instructions and drop off instructions. All my renters know they can reach me anytime and seem very happy at my responsiveness.”
David truly enjoys working with RelayRides because it is a people-to-people business where he can meet people, help them out, and easily communicate with renters. He knows that happy clients will refer their friends to his fleet, and is excited about growing together with RelayRides itself. And growing he will continue to do; David recently purchased a 2013 Fiat Abarth with his earnings, and plans on listing this for rent soon.
If you are in the San Francisco area and would like to rent one of David’s vehicles, then check out his fleet.