It’s an oft-repeated fact in the world of peer-to-peer car sharing: cars are idle 92% of the time. Why not make some cash while they’re just sitting around? That’s what services like Relayrides and Getaround, which let users rent out their vehicles by the hour, make possible. Getaround, a Bay Area-based peer-to-peer carsharing service that just raised $13.9 million in Series A funding from Marissa Mayer, Ashton Kutcher, Innovation Endeavors, and others, announced this week that it’s going beyond the hourly model to allow people with truly idle vehicles to rent out their cars by the month.
"We see this as a pretty big innovation and something that a lot of car-owners have been asking for," says Jessica Scorpio, founder of Getaround. The new service, dubbed Getaway, launches this week in Chicago and San Francisco—it has been pilot tested in the latter city for months. Getaround takes care of all the logistics, including maintenance and cleaning. All Getaway cars are equipped with the Getaround CarKit, an in-car GPS-equipped electronic device that lets customers lock and unlock rental vehicles with a smartphone interface.
Ideal Getaway users will have a car available for at least six months that’s not more than five years old and has been driven less than 100,000 miles. It’s potentially useful for any number of situations: people taking long-term vacations, business trips, or military deployments, for example. Scorpio cites the example of one pilot tester who took an extended honeymoon in Southeast Asia; after making $1,600 renting with Getaway, he had the chance to extend it even longer.
Scorpio estimates that car-owners can make up to $1,000 a month with the new service. And just in case they’re unsure about committing, Getaround offers a $1,000 guarantee for the first three months that a car is in service. "Our customer happiness team will help set pricing and parking location," says Scorpio. "All [Getaway] cars are in accessible and dedicated parking spots."
No word on where exactly Getaway will expand to next, but Getaround is already operating in the Bay Area; Portland, Oregon; Austin, TX; and parts of San Diego. Chances are, the service will soon end up in those locations. "We’ll expand to where there’s demand for the service, and we’ll offer Getaway alongside," says Scorpio.