“DriveMyCar” – Would Americans Get Out of Their Cars – And Lend Them to Strangers?


Cars. For the moment, society is still heavily dependent on them—in fact many families have multiple cars that often sit idle. Plus, the recession has forced consumers to spend more conservatively, so a person-to-person car rental service like Australia’s DriveMyCar just might take off in the US.

Compared to much of the world, we Americans are decidedly protective of our rides. We’ve wrapped up our identities with them. So could this idea succeed here? Let’s take a look at the service and see.

As mentioned in Springwise, the set up sounds airtight: The owner of the vehicle pays an annual fee for having the vehicle on the DriveMyCar site, with the option to show numerous views of the vehicle, and set minimum standards for the potential renter.

The owner is further protected when a booking is made, as the renter’s driving record is sent, and the owner still has the option to accept or decline the renter. Once agreed, the rental fee paid includes insurance and a 15% commission going to DriveMyCar. The owner is further looked after, as DriveMyCar handles insurance claims and nonpayment.

That’s all fine, but would this translate in the US market? Having a look at the DriveMyCar site, I’m inclined to say yes, except in states that only allow insurance policy-holders to drive personal vehicles. Why? Have a look at its site: It wastes no time in making a straight-for-the-jugular benefit clear in an unmissable rolling marquee, from the graphic to the left, saying, “EARN BIG $$ RENT YOUR CAR!” Then it addresses renters, saying, “RENT PRIVATELY – SAVE UP TO 60% ON CAR RENTAL – Search Now!”

It goes on to address the insurance aspect, and that the company guarantees the lowest price.
With that, I think just about anybody would have no qualm renting through this system. And you’ll notice that the environmental benefits of car sharing are not mentioned. At all. I think this is a wise move, as the majority of people have their immediate needs in mind, and the environment would be a distraction, to some.

Sure, there are those of us that are aware of the value of making maximum use of a smaller number of vehicles, but in this case, making the renting of a vehicle cheap for the renter, profitable to the owner, and safe, convenient and close for both is what will see this kind of venture succeeding.

This system reminds me of the burgeoning vacation rental market, which is commonly people renting a place on their property, or something they maintain near where they live. Their locations vary tremendously as do costs, but one can generally find a place for much less then the prevailing hotel costs in that city.

Readers: Do you think this kind of car share scheme would work in the US, or wherever else in the world you are? What would need to change if not?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing. || ==> For more, see GreenSmithConsulting.com