Is it a good idea to rent out my car?

How would you feel about letting a stranger drive off with your car?  I’m currently considering renting out my car on the days that I’m not using it, especially on the weekends and I’m just not sure yet whether it is a good idea or not!  We have two cars and we need to use both of them during the week, but we rarely need to use both of them on the weekend.
At first thought it sounds a bit scary.  What about insurance or roadside assistance? What if the driver wrecks my car? How do I know I can trust them? What about petrol costs?

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I’ve been looking into easyCar Club (see their site here). It is free to list your car on the site (they take commission on every rental). They give you free RAC cover for a year which covers the person renting out the car and the car owner.  Fully comprehensive insurance for the driver and the owner is arranged by EasyCar when the car is rented out, which is totally independent of the owners usual insurance.  It covers providing a courtesy car if needed. Also owners can review drivers on the site, which may help to provide reassurance about how trustworthy they are. Drivers have to replace the petrol they have used before they return the car.

This is all great, but is it worth it?

Over the last few days I have been washing and waxing my car. I was supposed to do that last week – read more here – but everything takes longer than I think it will! This is a pretty momentous event as my car has not been washed since I got it a few years ago and I have never waxed a car in my life! Usually I just think there are better things to do in life than wash cars and it is a waste of water and isn’t that what rain is for :).  I was going to wash it with a sponge and water in a bucket (low on water usage), but it has been so cold recently I decided to use the jet wash at my local petrol station (not so great for water usage and I felt a bit guilty about this).  It took me a little while to work out what to do with it. It is a bit complicated at first glance as it has various different setting and different brushes and it doesn’t tell you which brush to use on which setting and you have a set amount of time to do everything in.  I also wasn’t too excited about using the bottle of car wax stuff we have at home which says toxic on it!  I’ve done it now though!

After all that effort, my car still doesn’t look that great. We went through a phase when our kids would run to get into my husbands car and fling open the car door and bash it straight into my car which is usually parked next to it.  So I have a series of small dents and bashes which are showing up really nicely now 🙂  I tried using a chipstick thing but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything, so I’m not sure if I need to take it somewhere to be sorted out professionally… Plus I haven’t even got started on the inside yet. There is a muddy boot print on the back of one of the car seats and there seems to be popcorn in every nook and cranny (I often give them homemade, slightly salted popcorn as a snack after school in the car on the way home)!

So my question is – would I have to go to this level of effort every time I rent the car out? Would I have to wash and hoover the car each time? Ideally my car would just generally be cleaner and I would only feed my kids snacks that aren’t messy and I would make sure no muddy shoes went in the car every again, but in real life will that really happen??

If I was earning huge bucks then it might be worth it.  I looked at some similar cars to mine being rented out on easyCar Club though and I think my car could be rented out for around £12 a day- that seems like a very small amount of money to me, to watch someone drive off with my car!  It cost me £3 to wash my car and if I did that every time I’m only getting £9 a day!!!  If I did rent out my car at £12 a day, 2 days a week for a year (and didn’t have any costs) I could make £1248 a year.  At £9 a day taking into account the £3 – I would be making £936 a year.  This money is taxable too (although this wouldn’t affect me because I’m not earning enough, it may make it less attractive for someone who is).  This is before I take into account the mileage that could be added to my car.  I can’t see anything on the easyCar Club site about mileage, but people may well want to visit relatives far away on weekends and add quite a lot of mileage to my car.  The more miles my car has on it, the more it loses value and the quicker it will need servicing and repair… I don’t know quite how to quantify this cost, but it will definitely eat into the money made…

£1248 over the course of the year is still quite a lot of money though and in slightly warmer weather I can stick to washing my car with a bucket of water and a sponge.  Plus if I found some local people who regularly want to borrow my car and I build up a relationship with them then it might seem more worth it (plus I could find out where they want to drive the car to and make sure I only lend it to people who want to drive locally).

The other thing on my side is that my car is quite old and isn’t worth that much.  I am just within the limit for easyCar Club’s rules – it has to be 10 years old or younger and have no more than 120,000 miles on the clock.

On balance I’m not entirely convinced it will be worth it, but I won’t know for sure until I try so I am going to give it a chance (once I’ve finished cleaning my car) and see what happens! What do you think – would you be comfortable doing this?  Do you think it would be worth it?

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