What is Carsharing?

Maybe you heard about carsharing in reference to your car sitting vacant the majority of the time.  Or maybe a friend is using a carsharing platform to rent a car for an upcoming trip?

Before we define carsharing, let’s first discuss the ‘sharing economy.’

You’ve heard of Airbnb, Uber and possibly Turo. These companies are examples of the sharing economy. They act as marketplaces where physical goods or services are shared. 

Most people point to the internet and mobile phones as catalysts for the sharing economy taking off like a rocketship. 

Don’t forget about attitudes, specifically those of Millennials and iGens. Younger people treat physical assets differently than their predecessors. They’re comfortable borrowing, renting, lending and subscribing to items and services.

Do you know Rent the Runway (RtR)? For a monthly fee women can borrow up to 4 pieces of clothing or accessories at a time. Wear it until you’re bored, return it, rinse and repeat. RtR dry cleans and presses each item so it’s fresh and ready to go.

How about TaskRabbit? Is your bathroom sink leaking? Order a TaskRabbit to look at your pipes. Don’t feel like standing in line for the new iPhone? A TaskRabbit will wait for you.

Now let’s talk about money, and how Millennial and iGen’s are priced out relative to their older counterparts. Surveys show they’re slow to form households, marry or have kids. They want to live in urban areas, which boasts the priciest cost of living anywhere. How can they afford it?

The trend of side-hustles and solopreneurs generating additional income, above and beyond their employer W2, is real. The sharing economy helps ‘gig workers’ monetize their time and assets while enabling consumers to benefit by not owning. It’s a win for everyone.

Peer-to-Peer carsharing, which started in 2000 in the US, is part of the sharing economy. An individual hosts their vehicle on a platform or marketplace. Guests reserve the vehicle and are insured by the platform.

Three benefits of carsharing for guests:

  • Unique vehicles – they’re owned by our friends and family, not corporate car rental agencies.
  • Convenient location – pick-up and drop-off near your hotel, point of attraction, your residence, etc.
  • Don’t own – no need to finance, lease or own a vehicle 
  • Environmentally friendly – most vehicles are used only 8% of the time

Three benefits of carsharing for hosts:

  • Monetization – turn that asset with wheels into side income to help cover expenses
  • Be in the car business – do you love cars?
  • Help people – play a role in your guest’s epic trips

As mentioned briefly above, carsharing provides environmental benefits like reducing the amount of cars on the road. Wouldn’t less traffic be nice? 

Could less demand for garages increase housing supply, thereby making housing more affordable?  

Carsharing is just beginning. What do you think it looks like in a few years or a decade?

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