Borrowers usually give us really great feedback about neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing. They are happy and grateful that you’ve trusted them with your car, and helped them to do all of the ordinary and amazing things they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise, from getting their kids to sport practice, to training as a paramedic, competing in lifesaving competitions, teaching disadvantaged kids in hard-to-reach suburbs, or conducting wedding ceremonies (and that’s just a few of the inspiring stories we’ve heard from our members).
But on the occasions when we do hear less-than-glowing reviews, it’s often to do with a car’s cleanliness. If a Borrower finds your car dirty, they’re less likely to book it again. In fact, they may give up on the concept of neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing altogether.
To keep your loyal borrowers coming back (which is the key to getting steady monthly income from renting your car out so you can save money), you'll need to keep on top of the cleaning routine. And of course, in a neighbour-to-neighbour network of shared cars, keeping them clean is a responsibility of both borrowers and owners.
Here’s how it works.
What you can expect
When you rent your car out, you are entitled to expect that Borrowers will return your car as clean and tidy as it was when they collected it. But if you've ever found your car messy after a booking, you may also have been unsure how to handle the situation.
"I have a regular borrower who often goes to the beach, and the car comes back sandy," says Jane, who rents her car out in Brunswick.
"I don't feel like I should say anything to him, because he's a really good frequent user and I don't want him to stop booking my car."
What to do if a Borrower leaves a mess
If a Borrower brings your car back messy, the first thing to do is contact them. Often, they won't have meant to leave the mess. A friendly message goes a long way. Try something like:
"Hi, hope you had a great trip in my red Toyota Yaris on Sunday! I noticed that there was a bit of a mess when you brought it back, though. Are you able to drop by and clean it up?" or "I've cleaned it up, but please remember to check the car when you drop it back and leave it clean for the next Borrower."
If you have no luck (or if it’s a really serious mess, or they have smoked in the car), please take a photo and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with details of the time and date you found the mess. We will generally issue a first warning and make a note on their file so that if they do it again, they will be fined. However, if your car needs professional cleaning, we will charge the Borrower and pass the amount on to you to cover any cleaning costs.
See the Fee Schedule for more detail on cleaning fees that a Borrower may be charged.
1: Keep your car nice
For many of us, keeping our car clean and tidy and free of clutter all the time takes practice. Some tips for keeping your car clean:
- Keep a bag or small bin in your car, and take any rubbish with you after each trip.
- Put a bottle of soapy water and a cloth in the boot, for quick and easy spot cleaning.
- Re-fill the windscreen wiper solution, and give the windscreen a quick clean with the squeegee when you refuel.
- Get a hand-vac for quick interior cleaning. If this is not feasible, make sure you have an extension cord for your home vacuum. If that doesn’t work either, find out where your nearest self-serve car wash is, and swing past regularly to do a quick vacuum for a couple of dollars, or book in a mobile cleaner (see below for details on Car Next Door member discounts).
Borrowers expect to find cars in a reasonably clean and tidy state. If a Borrower turns up to drive and finds that they car is unacceptably dirty, then you will incur a fee as set out in our Fee Schedule (and you’re likely to lose that Borrower’s custom!)
"I've got my cleaning routine down to five minutes," says Joy from Annandale. "I actually find it kind of relaxing. I vacuum, wipe it down, and give it a spray with Oakwood car air freshener. My regular borrowers really appreciate getting into a clean car, and they leave it really clean in return."
How to book a mobile car cleaner from $35
If you get too busy to clean your car (or would just rather spend your time doing something else), you can arrange a mobile car cleaner to come and clean your car at Car Next Door's special discounted rates. You don't even need to be there to meet them - they can get in to your car using the Lockbox with a code you send them.
2: Don’t smoke in vehicles – even your own.
Smoked-in vehicles smell really bad, and generate a lot of Borrower complaints. Please don’t smoke in yours (or let your passengers light up). If a Borrower smokes in your vehicle, let us know – they will need to pay for cleaning the vehicle, and will most likely have their membership cancelled.
3: If you carry pets in your vehicle, let borrowers know.
If you carry animals in your car, please include that information in your Car Profile (some people are allergic). If you want to allow other members to carry their pets in the vehicle, then you can nominate it as ‘pet friendly’.