About a year ago new and aspiring hosts were flocking to Turo to list their vehicles.
Now, with the cheers, fireworks, celebrations, and bank deposits of a record-breaking spring and summer for Turo hosts fading into a distant memory, and as we grind into a brutal winter slowdown in most markets, hosts are calling it quits. Their vehicles are no longer on the platform, their accounts are either paused or terminated, their deposits have stopped, and many are trying to figure out how to recover from one of the biggest financial mistakes of their lives.
Is Turo doomed? Is peer-to-peer car sharing just a passing fad that has peaked, and is now on its way out to be replaced by some other passing fad with get-rich-quick promises? What exactly went wrong? Who are all of these hosts who are now out of business, running from the repo man, and facing financial devastation? Let’s talk about each group one at a time.
They are the hosts who fell for a slick social media pitch man/woman.
You know who they are. They’re likely a lot like this guy, or wearing a lot of gold around their necks and on their wrists and fingers, standing in front of $100k vehicles, promising you that they’ll teach you all the “plays” you need to know to start depositing five figures into your bank account every month with the fleet of over-leveraged vehicles they’re trying to convince you to finance with a questionable loan application and double-digit interest rate because your credit score sucks. These are the men and women who are chasing clicks, views, and consulting fees after completing a few dozen Turo trips of their own and are now self-proclaimed “experts” ordained to show you the way.
What’s truly sad is the number of young, vulnerable and gullible ladies and gentlemen who were mesmerized by them, believed them, followed them, and are now leaving the platform in financial ruin because they buried themselves under debt they couldn’t afford to build a business that will never lead to quick riches and bling.
They are the hosts who didn’t take time to learn how this business really works.
“Turo is a passive income business right? I mean, I can just drop my vehicles around my city, or cities where I don’t even live, let Turo do its thing, I’ll do my thing, and watch money drop into my account…right?
These hosts jumped into this business without first learning all of the hands-on work that is required with every single reservation, with every single vehicle. They didn’t take into account the time to clean, prep, and document their vehicle condition before each trip or the time to inspect the vehicle at the end and submit damage and reimbursement requests and then work with body shops on repairs. They weren’t counting on having to deal with repossessing their vehicles in the middle of the night from guests who won’t return them, or retrieving them from impound after a DUI. They had no clue what to do when their vehicle was suddenly unlisted, with trips cancelled, because of a recall. Oh, and taking the time after the close of every month to build a profit and loss statement to know if they were even making or losing money…never crossed their minds.
If you’re doing Turo as a business it is actually, well, a business! And every business requires research, planning, standard operating procedures, marketing, and intelligent financial management. If you’re reading this, and planning to replace one of the hosts who has left the platform, do yourself a favor and take the time to learn what this is all about before you begin and learn the hard way.
They are the hosts who didn’t build a business plan.
“Turo is simple. I just have to get some cars, build the listings, and watch the bookings and earnings come in.”
Well, there’s some truth to this. Turo is simple and anyone can begin hosting. But the hosts now leaving the platform didn’t take the time to learn if their city is even a viable market for Turo. They didn’t bother to research which specific vehicles work well in their city and which don’t. They didn’t think through their work, family, and life demands and how managing a Turo fleet would sync with those responsibilities. They didn’t carefully survey their own financial situation and build a plan for how to acquire vehicles and scale the business over time. Who will do the hands-on work while they’re busy at their day job?
Every real business that succeeds and goes the distance begins with a well thought-out business plan and, sadly, most Turo hosts neither take the time, nor understand how to do this, and end up moving forward blindly, reacting to everything, and controlling nothing.
They are the hosts whose accounts are being terminated by Turo.
They built a fleet of cheap, high-mileage sub-prime vehicles with cosmetic, mechanical, even safety issues, targeting a sub-prime car rental customer, and the vehicles are now being unlisted because trips keep getting cancelled due to check engine lights and mid-trip breakdowns. The host reviews are consistently below five stars because guests are unhappy with the way the car smells, the vomit stains on the seats, and the way the car pulls violently to the right because it has been out of alignment since the Trump/Hillary showdown.
Or, maybe the vehicles are fine. But because the host never took the time to learn the Terms of Service, and repeatedly violates it with predatory reimbursement requests, false damage claims, and grey market transactions, they’re finding their vehicles unlisted and accounts terminated with an unceremonious sayonara email from Turo.
Turo is fine, departing hosts are not.
I recently published an article about Turo hosting in 2022 and beyond. It’s true, there are a lot of big changes coming in both the near, and the distant future. It’s true, hosts are leaving the platform. But the host exodus has nothing to do with Turo being doomed or peer-to-peer car sharing being a passing fad. It has everything to do with hosts who were neither prepared nor disciplined nor ethical enough to build a business the right way, one that will go the distance, successfully adapting and adjusting to the ever-changing economy in which we operate.
Well said Bill!! The best thing we did when we joined Turo was taking your beginners class. Looking forward to starting Season 2022. Thank you for being our mentor and friend.
Nice article, I like that guy on YouTube, funny