A WAY to ease your household budget or pay for that next holiday might be right under you nose … or in your driveway to be more precise.
Car Next Door has been dubbed the “AirBnB of cars” giving owners the chance to make some extra cash while they aren’t using their vehicle.
Car sharing services have been around for a number of years but their growing popularity is proving to be a boon for users.
According to the car sharing service the average users makes about $7000 a year but some are making triple that amount.
One such user is Karl Schaffarczyk from Melbourne who in under a year has earned about $20,000 from renting out his Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid SUV.
The lawyer from the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton has little need for his car on a daily basis so decided to rent it out to make some extra cash.
His car is rented out for under $10 an hour or under $50 for a full day. And business is booming as he explains the car is rarely at home.
“Most people rent it out for a few hours and but some have it for a full month,” says Schaffarczyk. “This Easter will be the first time I’ve used my car in a year.”
But despite the perceived inconveniences of never having the vehicle you own available Schaffarczyk isn’t phased.
“I’m very flexible. The way I view it my car is out earning money and if I have a sudden need for a car I have a membership with Car Next Door and two other similar schemes. In that time I’ve borrowed other people’s cars twice.” he says.
“So I’m never short of a car. And I find public transport significantly less stressful than driving around.”
Schaffarczyk believes that more people should join car sharing schemes and doesn’t subscribe to the conventional model of car ownership.
“Car ownership for just car ownership in inner Melbourne is just insane.”
“The way I see it I have a part time job vacuuming my car that pays quite well. My car has had earnings and it paid for me to go to Germany and Ireland while still making me money.”
But there are always a few trade-offs says Schaffarczyk. The rego for his vehicle went up by about 50 per cent to about $1400 and he does get the odd speeding fine sent his way which he then has to pass on.
But the main complaint that he and his renters have is the trouble parking the vehicle. Which on a Friday or Saturday night around Carlton can take hours.
Schaffarczyk explains that while other car share businesses have Melbourne City Council allocated spots Car Next Door isn’t allowed to be parked in those spots.
The company expects about 1.5 million Australians to be using car sharing by 2023. Car Next Door’s boss Will Davies believes that car sharing could be a congestion buster.
“The key here is changing the ‘one person, one car’ mentality – we need to make the whole network perform better and that might also mean rewarding people who are willing to share cars or not drive in peak times,” says Davies.
“Research shows that cars sit idle for 96 per cent of the time, the waste involved with that is enormous. There needs to be a real incentive to make use of the resources we already have.”
And it is sure to make solid financial sense because according to the Australian Automobile Association the average Australian household spends about $18,000 a year on transport costs. A big part of these costs are owning a vehicle and its associated costs such as depreciation, fuel, insurance and rego.
Car makers are getting on board too. Hyundai is integrating Car Next Door bookings into its next-gen infotainment technology making it easier for owners to rent out their vehicles.
To read more about car sharing we recommend you to read this: Car finance versus car sharing: whether it’s better to buy a vehicle or rent one by the hour