Getaround Aims to be Airbnb of Car Sharing
D.C. has a new car sharing service. Getaround, a San Francisco based company, officially launched in the District this week. Unlike competitors Car2Go and Zipcar, Getaround doesn’t have its own fleet of vehicles. Instead it relies upon private owners who want to rent out their vehicles when they are not in use – think of it like an Airbnb for cars. Getaround posits that the “average car [sits] idle 22 hours each day.” The company wants to put those cars to use rather than add new ones to the roadways.
At the start of its D.C. service, Getaround has 4,000 registered users and 30 cars available to rent via its app (available in the AppStore and on GooglePlay). For renters, the service is free to join and there are no monthly membership fees. Drivers pay as they go – by the hour or day.
To sign-up, users must log-in via a Facebook account, which the company requires as part of its identity verification process, and submit their drivers license information. Getaround then does a quick background check to ensure users are who they say they are and have a safe driving record, using “Facebook, the credit bureau, and 16 other points of reference,” according to Getaround’s website. After downloading the Getaround app, registered users can then search, rent, and pay for vehicles. The app also provides for keyless entry, avoiding the need for a key handoff. Rental rates start at $5 per hour, and depend upon the make, quality, and style of the car.
Getaround charges car owners a $99 fee to install its Connect™ technology, which allows for keyless entry, GPS tracking, tamper protection, and other safeguards. After a 30-day free trial, owners then pay $20 per month to participate in the service. Getaround also takes a 40 percent commission on rental earnings. The company projects that active car owners can earn $10,000 annually.
For those wary of allowing a complete stranger to drive off with their car, the new service aims to put owners at ease. In addition to Connect™ and driver verification, Getaround provides complete insurance coverage and 24 hour roadside assistance when cars are rented.
Want to learn more or just celebrate another car sharing venture? Getaround is hosting a launch party on May 28 at 8:00 p.m. at Union Market. Sign up online to attend. Getaround is also offering a $50 credit to new users in D.C. If you sign up, let us know about your experience.