September 5, 2018
Turo vs. The Big 3 Car Rental Companies
By Scott Ellis
As a frequent traveler, I see myself in my share of rental cars these days. There were years where I spent my days on a bus and in the venue and never touched a rental car, except for my days off. Sometimes, I would rent a car and joyride around a town.
These days, most of the artists that I work with fly to their shows and stay in hotels. This means that rental SUVs and vans become a necessity for us. This kind of travel is mostly due to my choice of wanting to be home more. Fortunately, there are plenty of artists that want the same thing. We do 3-5 shows in a row with a skeleton crew then head back home.
I enter my car rentals in the travel section of Master Tour, as you can see here.
The largest rental car companies are Enterprise Holdings (Alamo, Enterprise, National), Avis Budget (Avis, Budget, Payless), and Hertz Global Holdings (Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty).
These three companies hold 93% of the entire US fleet and 95% of all rental car revenue.
Of course, these companies are super convenient when the cars are actually at the airport, like Austin–Bergstrom International Airport, for example. Where you can walk from baggage claim, to the rental car counter, then right to your rental car outside.
But that’s not very common anymore. Because there are so many rental cars these days, this becomes a problem at airports. At almost all airports the rental cars are now offsite. You’ve generally got to take a shuttle to the rental car depot. I’ve now got to haul my butt to a rental car shuttle, get the car, and come back and pick up my artists & crew.
Phoenix Sky Harbor in particular is my worst nightmare. There are so many people waiting for the shuttle that I usually have to wait for a second shuttle to show up. Then the rental car depot is 3 miles and 10-15 minutes away. That shuttle trip feels like an eternity when you’re standing and holding onto your bags.
Turo is a San Francisco based peer-to-peer car sharing company. The company allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles via an online and mobile interface.
Turo has become quite the timesaver for me recently. I found out about it through Paul at Eventric and tried it a few times. On my last Turo rental the owner met us at baggage claim, walked us to the car, did an inspection, and gave us its keys. He left in an Uber/Lyft and we left in his Cadillac Escalade SUV. He met us curbside the next day and we handed him the keys and walked directly into check-in.
I don’t think it gets any easier than this.
So, as I’ve done in my previous posts on flights and hotels. here is a comparison.
The first shot is an Enterprise rental where I’d have to shuttle to the rental car depot (this includes CDW insurance on my corporate account). The second is a comparable SUV on Turo (which includes Premium insurance).
As you can see, the Turo rental is a much better deal. This renter isn’t even charging a delivery fee but if he was, it’d still likely be a good deal.