I grew up always obsessed with cars. Ever since I got my license, I always was buying and selling my cars to have new variety. I’ve always known I wanted to work with cars, and in the past few years, that interest has evolved into an affinity for electric vehicles. Now I work in the EV industry for a small, but growing company that builds mostly charging equipment.
Why car sharing?
I don’t remember how I first heard about Turo, but I got the idea into my head about 10 months ago. I thought it would be a great side gig to make a little bit of extra money each month. I ran the idea by my family last Christmas, and they thought it sounded like a great idea.
Originally I wanted to buy an EV to list (since that’s what I’m really into), but I determined it wouldn’t be a money maker… So I did a whole lot of research to figure out what would get good utility, and I settled on a Mustang Convertible in January 2019.
Since then, that car was totaled (not on a trip, but while I was driving the car on my way to work one day). I replaced it with another, slightly newer Mustang, and things have been going smoothly since. I also now have a pair of budget cars (02′ Corolla, and 02′ Taurus) listed on a platform called Fluid Truck Share.
Can you provide an overview of your car sharing operation? Fleet size, employees, location, etc.
Currently, I have 3 cars, and I’m in north San Diego county.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
First off, to me, this is more of a side gig than a business (at least right now anyways). I don’t plan to continue growing a whole lot, maybe 1 or 2 cars at the most.
But what I do to make sure I’m profitable is I keep track of ALL my expenses and earnings in a spreadsheet. I try to make sure that my car’s are all set up in ways that I always have time to get them prepped for renters, even with my regular full time job.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Do your research. I hear about lots of people wanting to get into Turo, but not knowing what car’s to get, and how to start out. It kinda all depends on your market, but all the information is right there.
There’s no perfect way of estimating your revenue, but looking at the existing cars on the marketplace and seeing how they do is the best place to start.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started car sharing?
I wish I would’ve been a little bit more informed as to the shortfalls of carsharing. However, I guess if I had I wouldn’t have gotten into it in the first place… So maybe I’m glad I didn’t know, haha.
What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn as a car share host?
Not everyone is going to treat your car as you would like (as a matter of fact, probably most people won’t). As long as you accept that, and you are fine with it, then you’ll be ok.
When you’re renting out cars to strangers, eventually they are going to get damaged and abused. Expect the worst, but hope for the best.
How do you stand out from all the other car sharing hosts?
I think I stand out in the way that I am trying to run it like a business in terms of the ways that I keep track of everything, and try to keep everything as smooth as possible. But I’m not trying to grow too fast, nor do I want to grow to a point where it becomes a real business. I’m content with keeping it as a side gig, and nothing more.
What’s one trend that excites you related to car sharing, mobility, cars, transportation, etc.?
Car sharing seems to be catching on as more people learn about it, and that brings in more customers. However, that also means more competition… I would really like to eventually pivot to my original goal of having an EV fleet, and as green mobility continues to grow, that may come in the not too distant future.
What’s one thing you’d change about car sharing?
My main experience is with Turo so far, and thankfully I haven’t had any major damage claims before. However, based on other hosts experiences it seems that their claims and trust & safety departments are severely lacking. It typically takes months for major damage/totaled vehicles to get paid out, with the respective departments often going weeks being unresponsive.
So in essence, the customer service/support side of things needs to be improved for hosts.
Describe the cars in your fleet and generally why you chose them.
I have 3 cars, one on Turo, and 2 on Fluid.
On Turo, I have my 2017 Ford Mustang Ecoboost convertible. In my market (San Diego), these cars are really popular. I did a lot of research before picking this car, and determined it would be the best value for money in terms of utility.
On Fluid, I have a 2002 Toyota Corolla (base CE model), and a 2002 Ford Taurus SES (top end model). The Corolla was kind of a fluke since I actually got in a trade for an old enduro motorcycle, and my original plan was to just flip the car, but then I found out about Fluid.
Within a week or so of listing it, I got a booking for a whole month. During that time I had TONS of inquiries from people wanting to rent it, so just recently, I also added the Taurus as well so that I could have another budget offering.
What is your favorite car? Why?
My favorite would probably be the Mustang of course, which is great fun to drive, and I love to get a chance to cruise and put the top down whenever I get the chance.
How can people connect with you?
Facebook: Alex Bessinger
Direct message on Fluid (just search for a Corolla or Taurus in San Marcos California)
I’m Justin. Welcome to Just Car Share.
This is where I document my firsthand experience with peer to peer car share hosting.
I’m happy to answer questions, provide coaching, or share advice. I don’t charge anything.