Aaron is no stranger to the sharing economy. He’s been renting out a room in his house on Airbnb for a few years, so when he found himself with two cars it was a natural choice to share one through Car Next Door.
“I first came across Car Next Door when I moved to Collingwood. I saw a lot of cars with the stickers on them so I did some research on it. I thought it was a great idea but at the time I didn’t have a car I could give up to rent out.” The following year, Aaron got a work car so he found his personal car spent most of its time sitting around doing nothing.
“I thought ‘what’s the point of this car doing nothing?’, so I looked into Car Next Door again.”
“I think the idea is incredible. I love the sharing economy. I also rent out a room in my house with Airbnb. I think it’s much better to share than everyone having to own everything.”
Even before he got any bookings on his car, Aaron was able to save money as the $60 monthly membership, which includes comprehensive insurance, was cheaper than what he had been paying for insurance. The earnings he gets from renting his car out means he can keep the convenience of owning a car but make better use of it when he doesn’t need to drive it himself.
“I live in Fitzroy North now so I get the tram everywhere. I rarely need to drive and I’m a much happier person when I’m not on the road. I still need a car to visit my family who live an hour away or if I want to do a day trip on the weekend. I don’t have regular times I need to drive but I like to have the car there when I do need it.”
Having been involved in the sharing economy for a few years already, Aaron was really comfortable renting out his car as well.
“I think it’s easy for me because I’ve done Airbnb for a few years so I understand how sharing works and that you just have to put your faith in humanity.”
“I don’t have an emotional connection to my car. I know for some people their car is their baby, but a car is just car for me. I’m happy to trust that the borrowers will take care of it and so far it’s been fine. Knowing that it’s all backed up by insurance as well, I don’t see that there’s a reason for concern.”
Aaron’s met a few of his borrowers and “all of them have been lovely.” He doesn’t know what his car gets up to when it’s out and about, and he says that while sometimes he is curious about where it goes, as long as the borrowers are taking care of it that’s all that really matters.
“I tell people about Car Next Door as often as possible, and when people see the car with the stickers they ask about it. For most people the initial reaction is ‘I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t let someone drive my car’. I share a room in my house with Airbnb so I’m used to sharing with strangers and seeing it as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience.”
“When I talk about the money that I earn then people say ‘Oh, that’s really cool. You can make money every month without doing anything?’ Then when I tell them about the insurance and roadside assistance for just $60 a month, they’re really impressed.”
Aaron’s tips for maximising your earnings
Keep your car as available as possible - “I think my car has done well because I don’t need it very much, so it’s got a lot of exposure on the site because it’s nearly always available.”
Keep up with the little things - “Be on top of your car, go through the calendar and book in times to clean it and refuel it.”
Personalise your profile - “Make it fun and engaging. Put some personality in it so borrowers can see you’re a carefree, warm person and that the car is going to be good for what they need. Inject as much fun as possible into it.”