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Turo app competing against traditional car rental companies

Posted: 5:27 AM, May 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-02 18:58:54Z

Until the invention of ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber, you had to rent a car or take a taxi when you traveled on the road.

Now, there's a way to make money when other people travel.

South Florida resident Rodrigo Correa has four cars in his fleet.

“This is a 2017 Jeep Wrangler.  I bought it specifically for Turo,” Correa said in an interview as WPTV drove around with him in Boca Raton. 

Turo, based in San Francisco, is an app that connects the car owner to the car renter.

He rents his Jeep for $55 per day.

His three other vehicles rent from $30 to the $50 per day. He parks them outside his Canalli Motors location in Boca Raton, where he also buys and sells cars.

He makes anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 a month just renting his vehicles.

“If you can rent the car half a month, you've already paid for your car,” Correa said. 

Turo is a marketplace disruptor, and the Washington, D.C., based American Car Rental Association has taken notice.

Greg Scott, from ACRA, which represents 98 percent of all rental car companies, says Turo is a car rental company, so they should be subject to the same rules and regulations as Enterprise, Hertz and others. 

“They are renting a car to an individual for profit.  That sounds like an awful lot like what the car rental companies do everyday at the airport, train station and on the street,” Scott said. 

Michelle Peacock, the vice president for government relations of Turo, says they don't own any fleet cars, Turo argues.

“No, no we are not a rental car company.  Our business is a platform where we connect car owners who need to use a car,” she said. 

Correa does all his business on his phone. He sets whatever he wants to charge and connects with customers. Customers say if, and where, they need to be picked up, including any of the three South Florida airports.  

“Everything is done through Turo,” said Correa.

When the car is returned, both parties leave feedback. He does the maintenance himself.

“It is time consuming.  If you want to do that as a side business it is worth it. It does work,” said Correa. 

Turo says the average car owner makes about $650 per month if the car is rented 10 days a month.  Cars range from low to high end.

ACRA has extended an invitation to Turo to join, but it doesn't look like that won't happen anytime soon.

“We're looking for parity. It's very simple. We made the comment, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, chances are it's probably a duck,” Scott said. 

“Did they say to you if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, did he use that with you?” Peacock asked WPTV. “This is a different business altogether.”