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posted on May 3rd, 2016

Dream car driving

Let’s be real: if someone handed you the keys to a shiny convertible roadster, you’d take them, right? And if taking the keys involved sharing the vehicle with other people, it’s still a pretty easy call: hand ‘em over and let’s get on the road!

When DC-area analyst Justin Steimle was in the market for a new vehicle to trade up from his ‘97 Mustang, he knew he wanted a BMW Z4. But he also wanted to be careful to avoid the “car mistake” of investing in a high-end car in his early 20s and falling into debt. Having had a little experience with renting his Mustang through Turo previously, he realized that he could afford his dream car if he rented it out to help cover the payments. He considered, “Would I take a Z4 for really cheap if I had to share it with other people? And that question was very easy to answer, so I decided ok, let’s give it a shot.”

So, a little over a year ago, Justin started supplementing his payments on the Z4 with income from renting on Turo, which allowed him to get around in the roadster he’d always wanted and meet some interesting people along the way.

Minor hitch

Justin realized that there was potential for damage to his new car by renting it out — in any driving situation there’s a margin for error and unlucky circumstances, so, while rare, accidents can happen. In Justin’s case, the second time he rented it out, he got a call that the driver had scraped the car.

Luckily, clear heads and helpful mediation from Turo made what could have been a nightmare into a painless process. Justin, the driver, and the Turo claims team coordinated together to reach an amicable, simple solution for all, and in the end, the Z4 was fixed without the financial burden being placed on Justin.

Considering whether to continue renting his car afterwards, Justin weighed his options: “I sort of had a gut check at that point, whether or not I wanted to keep going with this. I’d had one great renter who took great care of it, then this guy ended up damaging it,” he explained. Ultimately, he decided that the benefits of renting far overshadowed the risks, since the incident had been such a breeze to deal with.

Though he has had one more minor incident with damage, he explained that in both instances, “Turo made it simple,” by giving him all his options and staying in contact throughout the process. To ensure any unfortunate incidents go smoothly, he recommends keeping careful documentation of the car’s condition using the “Trip Photos” feature in the Turo app, and by taking videos to make any damages irrefutable and easy to resolve.

Smooth sailing

Justin’s positive experiences sharing his ride with other luxury-minded drivers have far outweighed that initial trying moment. Some notable renters include the mayor of Alexandria, VA and an international businessman who wanted a car sleek enough to take him to a meeting at the Pentagon.

The mayor of Alexandria used the Z4 as her parade vehicle in a Scottish Christmas Parade, which Justin coincidentally ended up attending with friends. Seeing his car in a parade was a perk of renting it out. He notes, “I got a two-day rental and the car wasn’t driven that far, so the per mile rate was great. One of the biggest things I’ve learned with a car like this is, I want to [rent it] with profitability in mind. And what I’m seeing is, during the months that I’m renting it out, the car payments are pretty much covered, which is pretty awesome.”

To give the full luxury experience to his renters, Justin has also mastered the art of the little touches — if you find yourself in his Z4, you’ll also find spare sunglasses and sunscreen so you can take full advantage of riding with the top down, a Tide-to-go pen, and even a little extra cash for emergencies. He explains his philosophy as, “If you’re going to get a luxury car, you should get a luxury experience.”

Virginia is equally enamored with words and globetrotting. Whenever possible, she likes to combine the two through travel writing to help other wanderers discover and fall in love with the world.