Congratulations!! Since you are reading this post, it’s safe to say that you are either a firm believer in the sharing economy or someone who is dipping their toes to test the waters. Either way, good for you and great for the community!
Due to Covid-19, car-sharing firms across the globe have experienced a decline in daily bookings on their platforms since renters cannot commute to work or take trips across cities. However, these companies are experiencing an uptick in local long-term bookings. For example, our local P2P car-sharing platform, Drive lah has seen increased bookings as people prefer the safety of a private car rather than public transport. Drive lah has further laid down strict guidelines to ensure that car hosts regularly sanitize the cars.
If we look globally, we see people opting for car-sharing to run daily errands or make quick visits to family members. Healthcare and front-line workers are also opting for car-sharing to maintain safe distance and respond faster to emergencies.
So, coming back to you: either you are someone who has decided to embrace the movement of shifting away from car ownership, else you are a first-time renter on car-sharing. If you are the first one, then amazing! You are contributing your share to making our cities congestion free and you are making a wise financial decision (who wants an asset that’s idle 95% of time?).
If you are a first-time user for car-sharing, let this post be a guide as to how to become a great renter and make the most of the platform. P2P car-sharing is all about the community and following some simple steps will ensure that you have a positive experience on the platform and make the most of it.
Given that P2P car-sharing is 30%-40% cheaper than traditional rental and provides the luxury of car utilization without ownership, the incentives to stay within the guidelines of the car-sharing community are stunning!
Below are some of the key steps to be a great renter:
Registration and Personal Details
When you register, you must provide your personal details which include your name, Passport or NRIC/FIN details, address, mobile number etc. Along with this, you will have to share your credit card details as payments are usually done through credit cards.
It is of key importance that you provide accurate details as the platform will run a background check to verify your details and your credit score.
This is a vital step in ensuring that there are no cases of fraudulent people getting into the platform. So, be a good lad and provide the valid details to ensure that you are approved quickly on the platform.
Also, an important aspect to understand is that if you enter wrong details, you can be liable for the insurance in case of an accident.
When you register as a renter on these platforms, make sure you fill in all your profile details including your photo. The final decision whether to rent or not is with the car owner. Hence, he/she is going to go through your profile to ensure that their car will be in safe hands.
Given that car owners have emotional attachment to their cars, they want to make sure that they accept booking requests from responsible and friendly renters.
An incomplete profile is one of the most common reasons for car owners rejecting potential renters.
Once you are approved on the platform, you are free to look at cars and request booking for the dates and the cars that you want. On these platforms, you can check for cars that fit your needs in terms of price, duration and car model. Once, you have shortlisted a few listings, send booking requests to a couple of them since there is always a chance that one of them might cancel. Don’t send booking requests to 50 listings. Send them only for the ones that you are sure about as once the host accepts the booking, the rest will be automatically cancelled.
If you have any questions related to the car or any rules set by the host, drop the host a message asking to elaborate on them.
Interaction with Hosts
If a host accepts your booking request, be proactive and friendly in reaching out to your host and thank him/her.
Drop a message which says, ‘Hey Tim, thanks for accepting my booking request. I look forward to meeting you on xx (date) at xx (time).’
This will help you make a good impression on the host. If you are traveling to a new city and renting a car, ask the host for some local places to visit. Hosts are always happy to recommend the places that they like in their city.
Keep your interactions with hosts, short and friendly and don’t message them at odd hours or ask for personal details and additional discounts.
Keep the ride clean and fun
Given that hosts are attached to their cars, make sure you get proper information on how to use all the features as well as take photos of the car when you collect it. Also, note down any dents or issues with the car at the start, so that the host and you are aware of the existing condition of the car.
Many hosts will leave some treats like chocolates or bottled water inside the car, re-stock it in case you use it. Once your ride is done and car is handed over to the host, thank them for the ride, or send a message in the app mentioning how good the car is and you enjoyed your trip.
Most importantly, leave a positive feedback and rating for the host.
In case you are going to be a few minutes late in returning the car, let the host know as most of them will not charge late fee for a few minutes.
Proactively communicate and hosts will appreciate that.
If you had a bad experience, document it with the platform so that they are aware in case a host misbehaves or causes problems. Do not directly engage in a scuffle with the host.
In summary, what are the main benefits of being a great renter?
- If you are a great renter, you will have positive reviews as well as great ratings. This ensures a higher acceptance rate for your booking requests as hosts can see at a glance that you will take good care of their car and are a responsible driver.
- Hosts at times give discounts to returning renters. So, if you and the host had a great experience, and you opt for their car once again, they would gladly offer some discount in the rental price. Also, you are more likely to get discount vouchers from the platform if you are a regular and responsible renter.
- As P2P car-sharing is all about the community, you will surely meet like-minded hosts with whom you can form friendships and help the car-sharing community become stronger and more closely knit.
So, follow the steps and make sure that you provide a positive experience for the car hosts and yourself!