The ‘share’ economy, also known as the peer-to-peer economy, is booming and has created a wealth of opportunities for individuals. In a world where credit has become harder to come by, peer-to-peer lending has been a life saver for small businesses for example. But it’s not all about commerce, as you can also find websites specialising in skills swaps, carpooling, pet sitting or sharing a meal with complete strangers!
We recently discussed how anyone with a piece of land can offer it to park your motorhome, but it isn’t the only AirBnB-like website for vehicles.
BookAClassic, for example, is a website where car owners can advertise their classic cars to let them. It is currently available in 36 countries including Australia. The concept is simple: to put in touch people who own a classic car with people who want to hire one for a special event such as a wedding, a trade fair, a stag weekend, a birthday, an anniversary, etc… Fees are per hour so you don’t have to book an entire day.
Like many of those peer-to-peer platforms, individuals won’t be the only advertisers and professionals will also feature but it will still give people the chance to get a better deal. Finding what you are looking for is easy, just enter the area where your event will take place, the type of event and the date you need it for and all the vehicles meeting your search terms will be displayed.
A wide range of cars is on offer: iconic vintage Minis and Beetles, 1940s Land Rovers, Jaguars, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Ford Mustangs, Aston Martins and luxurious limousines, and they can be hired with or without a chauffeur. For owners feeling anxious at the thought of letting a stranger behind the wheel of their beloveds, they can let them with themselves driving it.
Classic cars too conventional for you? The website also offers motorbikes, cop cars, vans and even bright red American trucks magnificent enough to challenge Optimus Prime for the lead role in the next Transformers movie!
According to BookAclassic, they have over 20,000 vehicles on offer worldwide.
Another interesting company is Turo, formerly RelayRides, which promotes letting of everyday cars between individuals on an hourly basis.
While there are numerous websites that enable you to offer your faithful steed for hire, they are often no more than classified listings that come with no insurance whatsoever so it is up to the owner to decide whether they are prepared to take the risk of entrusting their car to complete strangers.
The strength of websites like Turo is that they take responsibility for the transaction and offer a US$1 million cover should something happen to your car when it is let. Likewise, if your car breaks down while being let, you don’t have to worry about rescuing it and its driver, 24/7 roadside assistance is also included.
Like AirBnB, you can book some cars instantly while others require the owner’s approval. Once the booking is confirmed, owner and driver agree where to collect the vehicle – some owners will even drive it to you which can be really convenient when you don’t have a car yourself.
It is easy to see the appeal of such websites. Although there is no lack of car rental companies, they sometimes lack flexibility. Outside of major cities, it can be difficult to find one at all for example, or the rental desk can be somewhere difficult to reach without a car in the first place. In addition, you never really know what car you are going to get as you hire a ‘category’ and have no say as to the car you will actually be allocated from that category. With websites like Turo, you will get the very car you have chosen. No bad surprise because the car you rented is too small to fit your luggage.
Rental companies don’t let vehicles for less than a day either so, all in all, these peer-to-peer rental websites can sometimes meet people’s needs better than a traditional car rental company.
Other companies are offering similar services but they are often limited to a few cities and, so far, Turo is the one with the largest coverage.
Another growing trend as far as cars are concerned is the rise of carpooling. While it doesn’t generate revenue for the owner as such – it is actually forbidden to profit from carpooling - passengers are asked to contribute to the petrol cost of the journey, reducing running costs for the person offering the carpool.
However, we are all told about ‘Stranger danger’ from a very young age, and getting into a car with someone you don’t know or inviting someone you don’t know in your car would normally not be a great idea. But Like Turo or BookaClassic, websites like Blablacar or Lyft offer an infrastructure that provides safety for all parties.
Blablacar, for example, claims to check the profile of every person registering and requests state-issued ID so that, should anything go wrong, there is a track record of who’s who. They even offer female drivers and passengers the option to choose female-only carpooling. According to their website, 89% of members trust Blablacar’s community, higher than colleagues trust one another (58%) and almost as much as friends trust one another (92%)! Having said that, the survey was co-funded by Blablacar so it may not be entirely impartial, but the significant success that they - and similar carpooling platforms – are experiencing certainly proves that there is undeniably trust in the system.
Sadly, those websites are very bad news for car manufacturers. According to an American study published last year, each car-sharing vehicle on the road results in 32 cars not being purchased, and it estimates that, by 2020, the car industry will have missed out on an additional 1.2 million cars sold.
If you are looking for a specialist in vehicle shipping, get in touch with us. You can call our friendly team on +64 9 309 11 63 or request a free quote online.
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