This is a recently new idea I’ve started playing around with.For the past half year, Getaround, the personal car sharing service, has been having a pretty unprecedentedly generous guarantee on earnings: If you live in certain zip codes in San Francisco, they’ll guarantee you earn $6000 in your first 12 months on Getaround, or they’ll pay you the difference.
What’s the fine print? You have to have at least 3/4ths of your weekend days available for rent on Getaround – and that’s it. In other words, you have to have your car available for rent 78 days of the year, and you get it the other 287 days, and they’ll pay you $6000. That’s $77 per day you have the car available for rent – not bad.
The car also has to be 2005 or newer, and have less than 125,000 on its odometer. They’ll give it a free courtesy inspection to make sure the car is mechanically sound and safe to drive, and then you’re good to go.
This lends itself to an interesting arbitrage opportunity. You can actually buy, outright, a car that meets these criteria for less than Getaround is willing to pay you for renting that car to them for 78 days over the course of a year. And then, after that year, you have a car that is already mostly depreciated by the time you bought it and so available to sell for close to your own purchase price – and you also have a free car that you’re free to use yourself for any trips on those other 287 days (also, your car won’t be rented every single day, so in practice you’ll have even more availability with the car).
Here’s Getaround’s guarantee page with all the terms and conditions: https://help.getaround.com/hc/en-us/articles/204371664-Guaranteed-earnings-and-30-day-free-trial
The offer was to expire on December 31st, 2015, but now goes till February 29th, 2016 – and may be extended even further.
And here are 1100+ cars that fulfill these conditions available for sale on Craigslist in the Bay Area right now: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/cta?search_distance_type=mi&min_price=2000&max_price=6000&min_auto_year=2005&max_auto_miles=125000
Daria and I are personally planning to take advantage of this offer, and have our eyes on a nice 2006 convertible Mini Cooper. Fingers crossed.
What I’m going to try to do is actually have the car fully inspected for free by Getaround before I buy it – thereby killing two birds in one stone: ensuring that the car is mechanically sound before purchase for free and also ensuring that it qualifies for Getaround’s $6000 guarantee before purchase.
I’ll see how this plays out in practice and report back. Wanted to give y’all the heads up too in case you were interested in doing this.
Say, $4000 to buy a car, $500 for title and registration and purchase taxes, $1000 for insurance, $500-1000 for maintenance: comes out to $6000-6,500 for the first year – just about the same amount Getaround will pay you. And then, every year thereafter, they expect you’ll earn an average of $6000 (or more, if you rent more days), so your return on investment is basically breakeven after a year not even taking into account the asset value and all profit thereafter. Not bad!