On a flight to Vegas last year, Sherwyn C. decided he wanted the freedom to explore while there for a week. A quick Google search showed basic rental cars at a cringe-worthy $90 a day — until he happened upon Turo.
“This is one of the coolest experiences ever,” he remembers thinking. “I’ll never use a traditional rental car company again.” He booked a Prius, and was so pleased with both the car and his interactions with the host, that he decided to list his own car when he returned home to Boston. Although his Toyota Camry wasn’t eligible, he was determined to try out the service. So he invested in a second car and bought a Toyota Yaris.
“I liked the feeling of doing business with a small business owner, and I really wanted to be a part of the community,” he said.
Sherwyn quickly attracted local repeat guests, but his Yaris’s first couple months were so packed that they had trouble booking it. “I didn’t like the fact that I was disappointing them,” he said. So he decided to buy another car — only to discover the same demand, and the same feeling of letting people down. “All of a sudden it’s nine months later, and I have nine cars.”
Though he relies on street parking in his Mattapan neighborhood of Boston, Sherwyn has never had a problem finding space. “My cars are so busy that they’re never home,” he said. “I never have more than three on the street and they very rarely sit for more than a couple days.”
As long as demand keeps up, he plans to keep growing his fleet. And he sticks with what he knows works and what his customers like: Toyota Yarises (Yari?). “I know it very well, and when my customers come back they know exactly what to expect — kind of like McDonald’s!”
His time investment is low, too — Sherwyn only spends about 20 hours a month managing his listings outside of his full-time software developer job. Though he loves programming, he’s thinking about taking his Turo gig full time. “Being able to really meet the people you’re helping is awesome. A lot of people can’t rent from traditional companies, and when they do it’s expensive.”
He especially likes being able to help out people who may not have credit cards, have high insurance rates, or are from abroad — all of which can be prohibitive of using traditional rental companies or owning their own cars.
“I really didn’t like when someone would come and ask me for a car and I didn’t have one, because I knew they needed it, and a lot of them couldn’t rent from other places,” he said. He’s had renters from California to Puerto Rico to Spain, ranging from travelers wanting to explore New England to parents moving their kids into college. No matter where they come from, he loves being a part of the global community Turo’s connected him with and helping those people get where they need to go.
If you’re ever in Boston and need some wheels from a reliable, seasoned host, hit up Sherwyn — he won’t let you down.