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posted on November 1st, 2018

You’ve accepted your first trip request, now what?

If you’re new to hosting on Turo, and a guest has just booked your car for the first time, congratulations! You’re already on your way to becoming a five-star host. For now, it’s normal to be a little nervous — as with most things, sharing your car on Turo gets easier with practice. So we’re here to walk you through hosting your first trip to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Any time a guest books your car, sends you a message, or makes any changes to their trip, you will be notified via the app. The app also guides you through the process when you’re checking your guests in and out of trips. But you should be comfortable and feel confident all along the way. Follow these steps and your first trip as a Turo host will be a breeze.

1. Communicate with your guest

Once a guest has booked your car, you’ll get a text notifying you of the request or booking, depending on if you have Book Instantly turned on (if you’ve opted out of SMS messaging for the app, you won’t receive these texts). Send your guest a message to welcome them and confirm the start time of the trip. Make sure to give any special instructions on getting to your meeting point, whether it’s your home, workplace, or a nearby neutral site you’ve agreed upon. If you’re meeting your guest at the airport, find out when they’re scheduled to land and plan accordingly.

2. Prepare your car

Check that everything with your vehicle is in good working order and no warning lights are on (tire pressure, oil level, etc.). Make sure it’s clean on the inside and outside — it’s a good idea to vacuum the carpets and give the exterior a quick rinse so that your vehicle is at its squeaky-clean best for your guest. A little effort here goes a long way.

3. Take good pre-trip photos

Take photos to document your vehicle’s condition before the trip starts. You can take the pre-trip photos within 24 hours of check-in, so you can do this step before meeting your guest to speed things along. The Trip photos feature in the Turo app will guide you through the process, or simply upload your photos to the Trip photos section of the trip.

Take clear, well-lit photos of your vehicle from all angles, including the interior, capturing any pre-existing damage or wear. With the ignition on, take a photo of the gauge cluster to record your vehicle’s pre-trip mileage and fuel level — you’ll need this to determine how far your guest drives and confirm you’re delivering the car with a full tank. The app requires you upload six photos, but we recommend taking as many as possible, within reason. There’s no such thing as too many Trip photos.

Not only are pre-trip photos mandatory to begin the trip, they are essential in ensuring you’re covered in the event of an issue before, during, or after a trip. Anything that isn’t documented in a photograph will not be eligible for coverage, so it’s important to make sure even small details like side mirrors and the lower front bumper are clearly visible.

4. Be on time

From two hours before the trip starts, you’ll have the option to share your location with your guest in the trip details tab. When it’s time for your guest to pick up your vehicle, be at the agreed-upon location on time. The Turo app will guide you through the entire check-in process for your convenience. Note that even if you’ve already uploaded the pre-trip photos, your guest may choose to upload their own photos just in case.

Walk your guest through any features of your car that may need explaining and answer any questions they might have. Advise them on things like what fuel grade to use when filling up, how to connect to Bluetooth, or how to use the navigation system.

5. Verify your guest’s driver’s license

As a host, you must confirm the identity of your guest and the validity of their driver’s license before the trip starts. When you ask to see their license, make sure their name matches the name on the trip, the photo matches the person presenting you the license, and it is not expired. Typically, Turo only accepts permanent licenses, but a valid, active temporary license is acceptable. Passports and other forms of photo ID are not acceptable in place of a driver’s license — Turo guests must be licensed to drive a motor vehicle and have a valid license with them.

Licenses from other states or countries are perfectly acceptable. Please remember, discrimination of any kind is not tolerated in the Turo community, and hosts may not decline or cancel reservations based on race, religion, ethnicity, age, nationality, or any other factors stated in our Nondiscrimination policy. If you’re not confident about your guest’s identity or the validity of their license, do not hand over your keys. Contact Customer Support during business hours with any doubts or questions, but please be mindful of your guest’s time.

6. Be responsive during the trip

As a general rule, it’s important to be as responsive and clear as possible when communicating with guests at all times. If your guest has a question during their trip, they may message you through the Turo app. Hosts and guests are also able to see each other’s phone numbers in the trip’s information on your dashboard — double check that your guest is able to locate your number so that they can contact you directly.

7. Finish strong

When it’s time for your guest to return the vehicle, be on time and communicate clearly just as you did before the trip. The app will remind your guest of when they need to return the car, but it’s always a good idea to send them a message to confirm the place and time. Starting one hour before the trip ends, you’ll again have the option to share your location to help your guest find you.

When your guest has returned your car, the Turo app will prompt you to take more pictures to document the condition after the trip. Capture anything that looks different than it did before the trip — again, anything that isn’t documented in photographs will not be eligible for coverage. Take a picture to record the new mileage reading and fuel level. If your tank is not full or your guest went over their mileage limit, you can request reimbursements for gas and additional miles through the reimbursement tool.

You can also use the reimbursement tool to request reimbursements for tickets and tolls up to 90 days after the trip ends, as well as for cleaning and smoking fees up to $50. Make sure you take photos of anything that requires a reimbursement so that it can be seen by your guest and verified by Turo Customer Support.

Lastly, don’t forget to give your guest a rating and review! The app will prompt your guest to write a review for you as well. Please be honest — neither you nor your guest will see each other’s reviews until both are submitted. Reviews are an important part of how our community builds trust and are extremely helpful for your future guests.

Steven is an avid car guy and content specialist at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.