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posted on April 10th, 2017

HOSTING TIPS FROM “THE BEST KEPT URBAN SECRET ON THE EAST COAST”

When it comes to the sharing economy, this isn’t Baltimore resident Patrick C.’s first rodeo. A longtime Airbnb devotee (he started renting out his properties all the way back in 2010) and dedicated Turo host since its RelayRides days, he even has an RV for rent on Outdoorsy. With all that rental income, you’d think his sharing economy gigs were his primary source of income, but believe it or not, Patrick has a fulltime career in tech.

“I’ve been with Airbnb for several years, so I really just got used to the informal sharing community and being able to connect with people,” he recalls. Leveraging his insights into the sharing economy, he noticed the extra car just sitting in his driveway and decided to give Turo a whirl. Four years later, he’s rented out five cars on Turo, two of which — a slick and well priced BMW 3 Series and a newly listed Audi Q5 — are currently available (he’s sold the rest). He was even recently featured in a Baltimore Sun piece about his experiences in the marketplace.

Patrick’s BMW 3 Series

Tips from an experienced host

Most stoked on his BMW, he calls it a “feature car.” “It’s fast,” he notes. “People rent it because it’s their birthday or they want something a little extra special and they don’t want to pay what Enterprise would charge. You look at Enterprise and they’d be charging $150 per day for this car.”

But apart from competing on price, Patrick says communication is key for success on Turo. “Be responsive and clear with expectations” with your guests, he advises, “and pace yourself. Know what works well for your schedule.” Having a fulltime job and a jampacked schedule, he adjusted his lead time minimum to 12 hours so he could ensure he could coordinate and honor each rental request.

“I also view my sharing economy businesses as hobbies, in a way,” he notes. Instead of outsourcing services — like washing the cars or turning over his Airbnb suites — which would “defeat the purpose” and eat away at his side income, he does those things himself. “It makes me exercise and stay engaged,” and gives him both self reliance and even more pride of ownership over his shared assets.

Big on Baltimore

Starting his Turo business in Washington DC, he recently moved to Baltimore to double down on his Airbnb ventures. He recently bought a five-bedroom row house on Butcher’s Hill where he lives and rents out two suites to Airbnb travelers. The house has a rooftop terrace, a home gym, and a beautiful view of Patterson Park.

Patterson Park (Image credit: http://pattersonpark.audubon.org/)

“Baltimore is the best-kept urban secret on the East Coast,” he says. “This is my third time moving back to the Baltimore area — I love it.” He cites the proximity to DC and Philly, the stunning waterfront on the Patapsco River, the reasonable cost of living, and the abundance of street fairs between Canton and Federal Hill as major selling points for Baltimore’s loveliness. And the great sense of community — in his neighborhood alone, there’s a strong civic-minded community rallying around Patterson Park. “The neighbors created a group — Friends of Patterson Park” — to revamp the formerly rundown park. They raised $12,000 to fix a fountain, and there’s an upcoming “Sunset Wine Tasting Soirée” fundraiser to keep up the upkeep.

“Baltimore is the best-kept urban secret on the East Coast”

Next time you’re in the Baltimore area, rent one of Patrick’s cars, and if you’re a Baltimore-DC metro area local, be sure to swing by our DC event this Thursday at The Willard.

Megan is the copywriter and content tsarina at Turo. She lives to wander near and far, never met a beach (or dog) she didn’t like, and loves to talk postmodern lit and theory to anyone who’ll listen.