Have you heard about car sharing?

Here’s how you can make money renting out a car you barely use.

Thanks to car sharing apps, it’s never been easier to rent your car out. The concept is really simple: you register your vehicle with a car sharing service and whenever someone needs a car in your area, you can make money lending it to them for a specific period of time.

Find out how to start offsetting the costs of ownership like your rego, car insurance and depreciation with car sharing.

How does car sharing work?

To get started, you'll need to register online with a car sharing company and create a profile for your car. Most car sharing websites will:

  1. Ask some questions about the type of car you have.
  2. Get you to take some photos of your vehicle and ask you when the car is available for use.
  3. Bookings are then sorted by you through the app or the booking service itself.

Housekeeping

Car sharing services will usually make sure your vehicle is insured when it’s with the customer as well.

Some other aspects of car sharing include:

  • You can usually attach a lockbox to your vehicle, so customers can easily access the keys.
  • Car sharing is often charged by the hour.
  • Insurance and fuel costs are ordinarily included in the charges.
  • Mileage is usually capped at a daily rate with added per kilometre charges for additional travel.

What car sharing apps exist in Australia?

The trickiest part of car sharing these days is choosing from one of the various car sharing apps available. To make your decision easier, take a look at this breakdown to see what makes each car sharing app in Australia unique.

Car Next Door key features

Car Next Door operates throughout the ACT, NSW, Victoria and Queensland, especially in metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Canberra. Some of its key features include:

  • Being reimbursed for fuel. Car Next Door will reimburse you for fuel that customers use.
  • Managing your car’s availability. You can manage the car's calendar, making it available to customers when you’re not using it. You can also block out the car for times when you need it to ensure it’s not booked.
  • No key handover. Car Next Door can install your car with a GPS tracker, lockbox and calendar management system so that you don’t need to meet customers to hand the key over.
  • Setting your own rates. With Car Next Door, there’s no fixed rate you need to adhere to, allowing you to assess the demand for a vehicle in your area and set a specific price.
  • Insurance for borrowers. Membership includes insurance and roadside assistance for customers.

Drive My Car is another peer-to-peer car sharing service which operates throughout Australia. Its highlights include:

  • Long-term car sharing. You can rent your car out for a minimum of two days and up to a year, ideal if you’re travelling or working overseas for a long period of time.
  • Airport car rental. It’s also possible to rent your car out as an airport rental. You can allow Drive My Car to manage the car service for you, where Drive My Car will be able to handle the bookings and airport pick-ups for you. Alternatively, you can do the handover at the airport yourself.
  • Key handover. Since many of Drive My Car rentals are long term, a key handover allows you to meet and greet the driver of the car in person.
  • Setting your own rates and kilometres. You can set the rates for your car and agree to an included number of kilometres for each booking.
  • Insurance for customers. Drive My Car provides insurance while your car is being driven by customers.

Carhood key features

Carhood operates at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports only. Carhood operates a little differently from the other car sharing services in that it lets people parking at the airport rent their vehicles out to other members.

  • Airport car sharing. With Carhood, you're able to make money when you go on holiday. You can rent your car out to visitors coming to your city while you're away.
  • Free parking. If you sign up to become a member, you can park your car at the airport when you're travelling and get free parking.
  • Insurance for rentals. Every rental is insured up to $35 million. You still need your own car insurance for when you're driving.
  • Short- and long-term rental. You can rent your vehicle out for any length of time; it all depends on how long you're away and the demand for your car.

Go Get key features

GoGet operates in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide. As the first car sharing service in Australia, its services include:

  • Rent by the hour or day. Cars are available at an hourly or daily rate, depending on when you need the vehicle and which option is best value for you.
  • Memberships. Customers can sign up to memberships depending on how often they need a vehicle.
  • Smartcard. Customers have access to all GoGet cars with a GoGet smartcard. To get a smartcard, you’ll need to take your driver’s licence and credit card to one of the available retail outlets to get started.
  • Bills covered. GoGet pays for registration, insurance and maintenance. To fill up the tank, customers are given a fuel card.

How do I maximise my income?

Want to make the most out of car sharing? Check out these tips to maximise your income.

The weekends are always the busiest time for car sharing, as are long weekends. If you can go without it, try and make your car available for the full weekend. Even blocking it out for an hour or so can hinder your chances of a booking. The majority of people make the booking within a couple of hours of needing a car so it’s always a good idea to keep your vehicle available for last-minute sharing.

If you choose a car sharing service that allows you to set your own price, be shrewd about your pricing. Check the cars available in your area and weigh up how yours compares. It’s all about staying competitive. You can adjust your pricing if you’re not receiving the demand you’d like.

If someone has used your car, chances are they live in the area, so make sure their experience is enjoyable, as they’re likely to return. As well as keeping your car clean, equip it with things like phone chargers and holders, even a GPS device. Making their journey as smooth as possible boosts your chances of them returning to you.

You can market your car with a great profile. Take pictures of your vehicle when it’s clean and shiny and make sure you include any features your car includes, from an in-built GPS to TVs in the back for the kids.

When it comes to writing the description, ask yourself, what makes your car unique? It could be the spaciousness, the boot size or even the handy location of the car. Either way, make sure you highlight that when you write the description.

Requirements for car sharing

Specific requirements will vary between car sharing services though if your car is safe and in good shape, you generally won’t have any problems signing up. The following requirements generally apply to your vehicle.

  • It must be safe and comfortable for others to drive.
  • It needs to be available a reasonable amount of time. If you use it everyday, it’s unlikely to be rented out.
  • It must be properly registered with CTP insurance.
  • It should be located in an area of Australia where a car sharing service is available.
  • It should be made after 2000, though age limits differ with each service.
  • You won’t be accepted if you have a criminal history or a bad credit history.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Where does car sharing work best?

  • A. Car sharing is most popular and profitable in busy cities. That’s because there are plenty of people living in the city who don’t own a car. However, they often need one for short periods of time, for example, weekend trips, moving house or simply getting somewhere that has poor public transport links. Cities allow people to pick up cars near them and easily return them.

Q. Is car sharing right for me?

  • A. Car sharing is still in its infancy. If you live in a large city and own a car you don’t use all that often, it’s likely that there is a demand for your vehicle. There probably isn’t much demand outside the city and in rural areas, largely because most people still own at least one car.

Q. What happens if someone crashes my car?

  • A. With the majority of car sharing services, you will keep your own car insurance and the business you sign up with will provide insurance to cover customers driving your car. That means if someone crashes your car, the car sharing platform you’re with should cover the costs. It will sort the insurance claim, organise repairs and get your car back to you as quickly as possible.

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