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posted on November 11th, 2016

Putting Benzes to work

Robert M. is the owner of four Mercedes-Benz vehicles, but he isn’t your typical gearhead. His interest in cars is fairly recent and was piqued in a very practical way. He lives in downtown Denver, CO, and is also a member of the Air Force Reserve. As a dedicated bicycle commuter, once a month, Robert would need to rent a car to drive out to the base in Aurora. “But there was one weekend when I had to get out to the base and the rental car company options were all bad,” he says.

So Robert got online, found Turo, and was able to rent an Audi A4 for $40 dollars a day. It was both cheaper and nicer than the usual rental car experience, and this registered in Robert’s whirring business brain. He’d never been interested in owning a car before because it didn’t seem like a smart investment. Plus Robert and Amberly, his wife, could use car shares when they really needed one. “I wanted to cover my costs and live in the black,” Robert explains.

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It’s safe to say that Robert is a tried and true sharing economy enthusiast because it suits his lifestyle. “I want to spend my money on experiences. I don’t get a lot of expensive things for myself that don’t bring in revenue.” He was able to cover costs on his house by renting on Airbnb, and his experience with Turo introduced the idea that he could own a car that paid for itself.

After taking look at the numbers, Amberly and Robert got their first car. “We were cautious about it because we didn’t want to get into a situation where there were too many payments to handle.” But then, if they were going to buy a car to rent out, why not get a super nice one? Which was how they ended up with a brand new Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. “The CLA was just being introduced to appeal to a younger demographic, and it was more sporty than previous Mercedes models that were mostly going for luxury.”

The car was a big hit. “It was rented out all the time,” Robert reports. “The money hasn’t been an issue.” With that in mind he and Amberly have gone ahead and added three more Mercedes to their fleet: a C-Class, and GLC-Class and GLA-Class SUVs, well-suited for outdoor adventures. They’ve also started renting vehicles on a site dedicated to campers, and Robert says he’s looking into renting sailboats — “It’s pretty lucrative since people pay by the hour.”

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As for the experience of renting on Turo, Robert enjoys meeting the people who come from all over to explore Denver and rent his cars. “There’s a good 20–30 min drive to our place, and we get to talk with them a lot,” says Robert. “We had one guy recently who was in the Army, thirteen years now. He talked about the military and some of his interesting work with computer systems.” Robert also loves Denver and is happy to give travelers tips. “We tell them about going to Boulder or Red Rocks, but we send everyone to Falling Rock Tap House because they have every Colorado brewery on tap.”

If you’re in Denver and you need a classy ride, some beer recommendations (Robert’s personal fave is Crooked Stave’s sour beers), or maybe a even a boat, Robert and Amberly have you covered.

Kamala Puligandla is a writer and an editorial assistant at Turo. She is always on the hunt for a strange story, a great snack, and the perfect outdoor spot to consume them.