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How Does Turo Work? – Kelley Blue Book

Quick Facts About Turo

  • The peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace lets car owners and enthusiasts rent their vehicles to others in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., and France.
  • Turo’s rental marketplace is safe to use, and listings include everything from luxury sports cars to the latest electric vehicles, SUVs, minivans, vans, cargo vans, and more.
  •  Using Turo is an excellent way for car buyers to test drive a vehicle for an extended period to see if it works for their lifestyle. 

Turo is a peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace that lets car owners and enthusiasts rent their vehicles to others around the globe. The Turo marketplace, often called “the Airbnb of cars,” is an alternative to renting from a vehicle rental agency at an airport or anywhere you travel or need a vehicle. For car buyers, Turo is a great way to test drive a vehicle for an extended period to decide if it fits their needs and lifestyle before making a big purchase decision. 

Sometimes, renting from Turo can be cheaper than from larger car rental companies.

Another perk to renters is that owners often drive the vehicle directly to you or drop it at a pre-determined location like an airport or train station. Read on to learn how Turo works for renters and owners.

How Turo Works

Turo’s rental marketplace is safe to use, and listings include everything from Lamborghini luxury sports cars to the latest electric vehicles, SUVs, minivans, cargo vans, and more. Turo has expanded from its home base in the United States to offer rentals in France, Australia, the United Kingdom, and select provinces in Canada. Here’s how it works for car owners and renters. 

Renters

  • Sign up for the service online, including securely adding your driver’s license information to your profile, showing you’re approved to drive.
  • Choose the vehicle you want to rent, select insurance coverage, and meet the host to get the car. 
  • Turo lets you cancel your rental up to 24 hours in advance with a full refund.
  • Once you pick up the car, check in on the Turo app.
  • For your protection, the app requires you to take photos of the vehicle inside and out before you drive away. When you check the car using the app, you submit another set of images to prove you turned in the car and show the return condition. 
  • Owners can rate the renters, just as renters rate owners and their vehicles.
  • While Turo operates in 50 states, cars may not be available in every location where you need one.
  • Watch out for extra costs such as pickup and trip fees. See the example below.

PRO TIP: I recently rented a 2023 Volkswagen Jetta from a host who met me in front of my terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The check-in was fast, the car was immaculate, and up to 400 miles were included. The overall Turo rental cost was cheaper than that of well-known agencies at the airport. The total cost was $171.08. The cost breakdown: A rental cost of 2 days at $43, plus a pickup fee of $40. I opted for minimum insurance protection, or $21.50 (2 days at $10.75). The trip fee was $15. It was simple to use the app. The car came with an EZ-Pass for the toll roads, which I was billed for later if I used the service (and I did). When it was time to return the car, I communicated closely with the owner, who met me at my terminal when I was ready to return the vehicle. The owner was on time. There was no rental bus to the airport terminal needed. Also, the wonderful host, who has a fleet of cars, offered a 10% discount for a return rental within three months.

Owners

Car owners can rent out their first vehicle on the marketplace once they set up a Turo account.

  • Listings are free, and Turo vets all renters for car owners. 
  • To get your marketplace listing ready, you’ll need photos of the car inside and out, your license plate number, and your vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Owners can set their prices, rules, and availability.
  • Turo pays owners 60% to 90% of the trip price by direct deposit.
  • A third-party company protects owner vehicles with a standard $750,000 liability insurance protection plan.
  • Once a vehicle is listed, owners can grow their business with more cars to rent if they so choose. 
  • According to Turo, owners of vehicles valued between $25,000 and $35,000 can make an estimated average of $10,516 (for one car) to $94,642 (for nine vehicles), not including vehicle maintenance, cleaning, insurance, and deductibles. 
  • Peer-to-peer car-sharing legislation in some states could affect your business. Read Turo’s information about these regulations and understand the laws governing where you operate your car-sharing business.  
  • Starting in 2023, most Turo hosts making over $600 yearly will receive a 1099-K tax form to file with the Internal Revenue Service.

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Is Turo Legit?

San Francisco-based Turo is a legitimate peer-to-peer car rental company matching car owners to willing renters. Shelby Clark founded it in 2009 as RelayRides. The company has had plans to go public since 2021. Turo recently filed paperwork for its initial public offering.

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