Idle cars become moneymakers for SXSW

Idle cars become moneymakers for SXSW story image

By Bettie Cross, KEYE-TV

South By Southwest is a week away so it's time for thousands to try to cash-in on their homes and, now, cars. Renting your home during big Austin events is old news. What's new, is renting your car.

"This is a sedan. It's a 2005 G35 Infiniti. It was just sitting here being underutilized," said Chalu Harden of Austin. "It spent a lot of time in my driveway."

So, Harden decided to put the idle car to work. With the help of RelayRides the sedan has shifted out of park.

"If I accepted every rental request that I get this particular car would be rented out two to three weeks a month," said Harden.

RelayRides is a person-to-person car sharing marketplace. Owners list their cars and decide who can rent and when. Insurance and roadside assistance are included.

"This car rents from between $35 and $39 a day," said Harden.

And whoever gets behind the wheel has their driving record screened.

"The strangers that I have (rent my car) would probably be more qualified than some of my friends and family that I already let drives the car," said Harden.

Eileen Rice rented Harden's car because it was within biking distance.

"You can search by cars that are closer to you. So it's just really convenient," said Rice.

She also thinks it's cheaper than using a car rental company. Car owners and renters keep each other honest through an online rating system.

"I haven't had one issue," said Harden.

Harden says peer-to-peer rentals have turned her once idle car into a moneymaker. And for Eileen, it's now less of a hassle to swap two wheels for four.

As for SXSW, Harden is already booked.

While a RelayRides rental includes insurance, car owners should check with their insurance companies to see if there are any potential conflicts with their policies.

Idle cars become moneymakers for SXSW
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