Since rental cars are scarce, enterprising car owners have built up their own small fleets of cars, renting them out to travelers at a higher price.
A snapshot: If you need a car in Boston for a weekend getaway in mid-October, you can rent a Ford Fiesta hatchback from Budget for around $ 500 – or pay the same for a Maserati Quattroporte from Turo.com, a carpooling site.
Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.
Why is this important: Turo and other peer-to-peer carsharing services like Getaround and Avail have made the average Joe or Jane with a few under-used vehicles at home able to compete with the big car rental companies.
The big picture: The the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the rental car industry.
Car rental companies sold hundreds of thousands of vehicles when people stopped traveling, but now cannot replenish their fleets fast enough, due to supply constraints in the auto industry.
That’s when private car owners stepped in, through sites like Turo and Getaround.
The plot: Turo used to market itself as a side business for people to earn extra income, or as a way for car buyers to stretch their budgets to afford a more sophisticated model.
But now, Turo helps enterprising small business owners manage multi-vehicle fleets.
Lazaro Vento is an example: he lists 22 vehicles for rent in Miami, including a Ferrari, a Tesla and several BMW, Audi and Jeep.
In a particularly good month lately, he pocketed a profit of $ 30,000.
Seven years ago he was broke living on a friend’s couch. Today, he manages nearly 100 Airbnb properties, as well as his fleet of Turo cars, sometimes bundling them together.
“When you get to a place, the car is waiting for you – it really makes you feel like a VIP,” he tells Axios.
Go back: Turo CEO Andre Haddad has seen the same dynamic unfold in previous stints at iBazaar and eBay.
“One of the universal truths about online marketplaces is that they usually start with consumers and then find a way to migrate to small businesses,” he tells Axios.
Airbnb, for example, started out by letting people rent out their couches or spare rooms to travelers. Today, many of its properties are professionally managed.
What to watch: Last month, Turo confidentially filed an IPO application with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The bottom line: Carsharing in North America is expected to exceed $ 4.8 billion by the end of 2024, by graphic search – good news for entrepreneurs looking to pocket a little extra cash.
Like this article ? Get more Axios and subscribe for free to Axios Markets.