MONTREALER SANDY W. DOES IT RIGHT
Making your personal car available for others to rent is not a lightly-made decision, but, armed with the right information, hosting your car on Turo can easily be an exciting and profitable adventure. Montreal owner Alexander W., who goes by Sandy, works in real estate but manages a few Turo listings on the side. Sandy’s adventure as a Turo host can serve as a roadmap for how to successfully navigate the Turo landscape, from listing to optimization.
Like many, Sandy heard about “the Airbnb of cars” through local media coming off the heels of Turo’s Canadian launch last April. It just so happened that he was in the market for a new car, and thought that Turo might present an opportunity for him to get a car that he wouldn’t otherwise splurge on. He spent a bit of time attentively researching the best ways to go about becoming a Turo host. Which cars perform well in his area? What pricing strategy should he employ to optimize his returns? What car would suit both his needs and the needs of his potential guests? After doing his due diligence, he purchased a 2013 Audi A4 and listed it last October.
Within the first month, the revenue from renting out his A4 easily covered the associated costs of ownership, and Sandy was thrilled that he had made a good investment. Soon after, he decided to scale up his operation, and added a Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 Sport. The CLA proved popular for its style and sporty performance, and Sandy added a third car, a BMW 328i with Xdrive, BMW’s all-wheel-drive system.
In fact, each of Sandy’s cars come with all-wheel drive, a feature that is highly recommended if not mandatory for driving in Canada’s harsh winters. All of his cars are also available with winter tires, which is by far the best upgrade one can make to prepare a car for icy or wet conditions. Many Canadians, well-versed in the ways of winter driving, have winter tires that they employ during the cold season. In Quebec, where the roads are famously rough, personal vehicles are required by law to wear grippy winter-ready rubber from December 15 to March 15, so Sandy has it covered.
Like many other owners, Sandy gets a number of repeat customers with whom he’s built good working relationships. He figures many of them are young entrepreneurs and people who don’t necessarily see the value of owning their own car. He says he’s “been lucky” to build the relationships he has, with “very wonderful people, who are nice to deal with.” One regular guest even popped a tire on one of his cars, and paid for the replacement out of his own pocket. Customer loyalty!
So far, a majority of his guests have been locals, but Sandy is looking forward to the uptick in tourism during the balmy summer months. He recognizes the advantages he can provide to travelers through his personal touch, great service, and ability to speak both English and French. “I get to compete on the same playing field as the regular rental agencies. But I can provide a more seamless experience for the user, with more direct communication,” which makes the experience better for everyone.
If you’re on the fence about listing your vehicle, take a few pages out of Sandy’s book and, as Ryan M. says, give it a try! With some research and commitment, you can help fuel adventures while making some extra cash.