Man’s BMW Is Paying For Itself
Man’s BMW Is Paying For Itself, Neil St. Clair rents his luxury sedan out to strangers online for $75 a day. Neil St. Clair owns a BMW 5 Series and if you want, he’ll let you drive it for $15 an hour or $75 a day.St. Clair — like thousands of people — doesn’t actually need his car all the time, so he’s decided to take advantage of a new peer-to-peer car sharing service that allows him to rent his car out to strangers and defray his ownership costs.
“With monthly payments and insurance, I was in the black last month,” he said. “Basically, I have the car for free.”
He made about $700 in May, he said, his first month using the site.
But for St. Clair and a lot of others, it’s not just about the money. They like the fact that their unused car is doing someone some good.
“I’m glad I can help people out when the car is just sitting there as dead weight,” said St. Clair.
St. Clair rents his car through a national company called RelayRides. A smaller competitor, Getaround, operates in California’s Bay Area, Portland, Ore. and Austin, Texas.
The rental companies each provide up to $1 million worth of liability insurance coverage on the cars during the times they are being rented. Getaround’s insurance coverage is provided by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. RelayRides’ users are covered by Hudson Insurance.
To make sure customers are protected, some states have passed laws that dictate minimum insurance requirements for peer-to-peer car-sharing companies.
Besides insurance, RelayRides and Getaround require that renters submit license information and submit to a check of their driving records before being allowed to rent cars.
Also, owners have the right to decline a rental request for any reason — or no reason — at all. St. Clair said he won’t rent to people who sound unfriendly. He figures it’s not a good sign for how they’re going to treat his car.
For St. Clair there have been occasional problems. Mostly they’ve been small nuisances like a soda bottle left in the car or the lingering smell of cigarette smoke. But others have experienced much more serious issues.