HOW DARREN G. DISCOVERED COMMUNITY IN LOS ANGELES
The decision to let strangers drive your brand-new Tesla is not necessarily an easy one to make. Especially when the Model X has just been released, and your Model X is one of the first in Los Angeles.
But ask any Tesla owner about their car and see if they don’t love sharing about it. Darren G., who originally joined Turo in 2014 (then RelayRides) for the opportunity to rent, loved his Tesla so much he thought he should share it. He wasn’t sure he trusted other people driving his baby, however.
One night, he saw a news report featuring Turo CEO, Andre Haddad, speaking about how he lists his own cars for rent on the marketplace. “And I thought, if he’s comfortable enough to rent out his own car, maybe there’s something to this,” Darren said. “It made me feel a lot better about putting up my own car, I’ll be honest with you. There’s this really interesting anxiety that occurs when you hand over the keys of your car to a relative stranger, and it took a little for me to get over that and relax.”
Quick on the uptake
Darren listed his Model X, which he reckons was the first one available to rent in Los Angeles, and it “went incredibly well.” It went so well that he listed his other cars, including this Cadillac CTS. With the cars away with customers, they quickly found that they needed another car to drive their kids around. Nine cars later, Darren is one of the LA area’s superstar hosts with over 250 trips hosted.
Before he was sharing his stellar fleet with Turo, however, Darren worked from home managing his real estate and software businesses. And when he added hosting with Turo to his plate, he was new to Los Angeles. As he added cars, he got more serious about managing his listings, and soon was interacting with all sorts of people around LA. He had discovered the joys of the community, and was hooked. Turo turned out to be a great way to meet people!
Darren found that there were built-in shared interests within the Turo community, and he has made many friends sharing his cars, including a now-close friend who has rented his BMW M5 over a half dozen times. From these locals and more senior transplants who drive his cars, Darren has learned the ins and outs of living in the City of Angels.
Darren is loving the LA scene and the eclectic group of customers he gets with his luxury vehicles. “You never know who you’re going to get,” Darren says. “It could be a celebrity, a pro athlete, a Fortune 500 CEO, a Dubai oil executive. Living in the heart of LA, there’s so many walks of life.”
He’s shared his cars for a wide range of uses as well — from guests renting his cars for magazine photo shoots to upscale date nights or business trips. One customer rented his bright blue Porsche Boxster four separate times to be used in a movie. Darren won’t say the title, but says he’ll be invited to the premiere when the film is done.
For Darren, the most remarkable result of sharing his cars has been the amount of people who love their experience so much they go out and buy one. “I couldn’t tell you how many people have bought a Tesla after renting my Model X. They wanted to see what it’s like to live with an electric car for a week. Where else can you do that?”
Finding a Family
As he’s gained more experience, Darren has become both more savvy and comfortable with the process. He notes that a vast majority of trips go smoothly and without hiccups. But if there are any issues that come up, the customers “have been extremely honorable” and considerate. “It restored my faith in humanity a little because there’s a lot of good people out there.”
When asked which of his cars is his favorite, Darren couldn’t answer. He bounced around from one car to the next, extolling their virtues and raving about their strengths. The Range Rover is ridiculously luxurious and comfortable. The Tesla’s autopilot is out of a science-fiction movie. The M5 gets his family around “so easily”. The Boxster is perfect for a sunny afternoon cruise. “I wish I could combine them all.”
And while Darren loves cars and is enthusiastic about each and every one of his vehicles, it’s the community aspect that he enjoys most about Turo. “I never even thought that I would be sharing my cars with locals,” he said. “Or that people would do extended test drives. Those things didn’t cross my mind. Or how many amazing families and people I get to meet. I’ve been invited to breakfast!” Darren relishes these interactions and the relationships he’s formed. “That’s the cool part of this — because I’m new here and I don’t work in a social setting. It’s been a win in every column.”
Darren loves that he has built his own community by sharing his cars. At least in part, he’s discovered Los Angeles through the Turo community. “I couldn’t be happier with this. It feels like a family.”