Would You Rent Your Car to a Neighbor? RelayRides Offers Rentals from Local Car Owners [Video]

By Devon Glenn 

If you need a car for the weekend, a car rental service called RelayRides can match you with a car owner in your neighborhood. This must be an East Coast thing, because some people (namely Southern Californians) would rather die than give up their cars.

But in areas with better public transportation, many cars sit idle in the garage for most of the week while their owners take the train to work. For those people, the service is a chance to make some extra income from their cars to cover the cost of ownership.

RelayRides is similar to a vacation rental service like Airbnb. It’s free to list your car on the site, but once the car is rented, the company takes a cut of the fees for arranging the deal and an additional cut for insurance.  Owners can make around $1,000 a month.

For the renters, the service is a friendly alternative to a Zipcar membership for people who would normally rent a car for a road trip or a grocery run and don’t live near a pickup location. The car owners will often give it a personal touch by leaving the renters things like sunglasses and CDs in the glove compartment – one driver even leaves freshly baked cookies.

The whole operation sounds surprisingly safe. The vehicles must have fewer than 120,000 miles, be less than 12 years old, and have a fair market value of no more than $50,000. Car owners are also encouraged to pass a 14-point safety inspection once a year.

RelayRides CEO Shelby Clark said that the service is fully insured and that the company will kick out any drivers who don’t follow the rules. In the video, Clark sits down with “The Valley Girl Show” host Jesse Draper to talk logistics, safety, and the company’s partnership with GM.

Image by Cartoonresource via Shutterstock.