On the red curb

Parking is a big struggle for me as a Turo car share host. I want to share a recent drop-off fiasco that came with a $700 price tag…

First I’ll share what happened, then I’ll list a few solutions related to Turo parking. 

If you have any additional recommendations please do share. 

Turo parking gone bad

A Turo guest reserved my BMW X5 for a wine tasting trip to Napa.

To set the stage it’s important to note that I was out of town for work.

An hour before the reservation ended I suggested that the guest pay attention to street parking signs. The San Francisco meter maids love giving out tickets, and they’re not cheap…

You can probably guess what happened… 

  • At 8 AM the guest parked street-side with the meters going live at 9 AM. This meter had a two-hour parking limit. 
  • Half the front tire was on a ‘red curb’ and impeding a driveway. Not good. 
My BMW X5 near the red curb

I was monitoring the situation remotely and attempted to warn the guest. Radio silence.

There was no doubt in my mind that I’d come to find a parking ticket (~$75).

It was worse.

An angry San Francisco resident called the police. My car was issued a $110 citation for partially blocking a driveway.

But that’s not all.

It was towed to the San Francisco AutoReturn where it cost $689.25 to get it back (including the citation).

BMW X5 Tow Bill - $689.25
Google reviews for San Francisco AutoReturn
Great reviews for San Francisco AutoReturn…

Who’s responsible?

“Guests are responsible for returning a car that’s parked on the street to a legal parking spot where it’ll be safe from tickets and tows for up to 24 hours after the end of the trip.” 

Turo Support Website

The guest was definitely responsible based on Turo’s policy (see above). Needless to say, it didn’t bring me joy to see a $700 towing bill in addition to the trip cost. I ended up waiving the reimbursement fees (tolls and fuel). 

As a car share host I’m striving for that ‘WOW guest experience’ while earning profits. It’s a side-hustle for a reason, right? My logic is that positive reviews are instrumental to getting reservations which lead to earnings. 

Following? If my guests have a poor experience and fail to submit positive reviews it ultimately dings me.

It’s all about the positive reviews. Keep ‘em rolling in…

Avoiding Turo parking mishaps

Turo parking is a challenge. Good communication and being transparent is key. Here’s some ways hosts can go above and beyond.

Communication

Most of my guests are from out of town. Others don’t live in San Francisco or even a city. They aren’t familiar with street parking signs, parking permit areas, street cleaning schedules, etc. 

It’s good practice to communicate in advance what’s expected in terms of parking. 

I really enjoy StreetSmarts and their automated messaging features. I’ll dig into that in a later blog post. Or just contact me and I’d be happy to explain how StreetSmarts is making my life as a car share host a lot more practical.

Park for guests

Sometimes Turo parking isn’t a stress-free experience.

Imagine having to search endlessly for street parking in order to end a reservation.

If I’m home I’ll offer to physically park the car. That’s the ‘WOW Experience’ that’s rewarded with positive reviews. Hopefully.

Timing is everything

I don’t do this but it’s an option.

Schedule reservations to end after-hours or when parking is plentiful. Maybe it’s during the day when everyone’s at work. Or maybe it’s at night when everyone’s gone home. You get the idea.

Get a garage

I’m lucky to have one garage spot in San Francisco. Dedicated spots in SF range from $200-400 depending on the location, valet, services, etc. Having a garage spot for each car in my fleet is not practical (and not a good business decision). 

Consider this: my Mustang has a utilization rate of 90% (September). It’s only parked and not generating revenue 3 or 4 days out of the month. A monthly dedicated garage pass doesn’t make sense.

Go to suburbia

Demand might drop-off outside the city but Turo parking should be plentiful. Would the neighbors mind? I personally don’t have experience with this.

Turo reimbursement process

The reimbursement process with Turo isn’t difficult. The main thing is emailing receipts. I did this the evening that I retrieved my car on September 11. 

Turo states that “refunds may take up to 10 business days but are often completed within three to five business days.”

I still haven’t received my reimbursement. It’s September 22 as I’m writing this.

Conclusion

The silver lining is that this guest requested to rent my car again despite this experience.

If you’re on the fence about car share hosting don’t worry. Things like this will certainly happen but it’s not a big deal. 

If you’re currently car sharing consider ways to reduce guest frustrations. It will ultimately help you achieve better reviews, more reservations, and higher earnings.

Please get in touch if you want to discuss your situation specifically. 

As always, comments and feedback are welcomed.

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