While the major aspects of travel, transport, accommodations, have gotten increasingly affordable, the small details have become a major cash drain: baggage, eating anything more than cocktail peanuts, and parking are among the regular costs for travelers.
What if you could flip one of those expenses on its head, and actually make money while you travel?
That’s the idea behind FlightCar. Combining the growing trend of peer-to peer-car sharing with centralized airport locations to facilitate it, FlightCar seems poised to be quite disruptive to both the car rental and airport parking industries.
It’s simple: You list your vehicle on the site, setting the price and mileage limits. When a driving-record vetted renter is confirmed, you drop your vehicle off at a FlightCar managed lot at the airport on your way out of town. Providing complete peace of mind on both ends, the vehicle is insured up to a million dollars and cleaned both before and after its use. When you return from your trip, it’s only a matter of catching a shuttle back to the lot and getting both your car and a check for your portion of the profit made by its rental.
As FlightCar founder Shri Ganesham said recently in Co.Exist,
I like to think about it like banking for cars. The reason banks came along is because your money’s just sitting there idly, and it makes sense for someone else to manage it for you while you’re gone. It’s the same with your car.
The potential impact is significant. Renters save as much as 50 percent over the cost of conventional rental cars, while vehicle owners stand to be $300 ahead after a two week trip, once rental profits and parking lot savings are considered. Factor in the simplicity of the transaction and its similarity to the conventional airport vehicle rental, and you have a powerful challenger to the status quo.
FlightCar also has the potential to keep new vehicles off the road, if it reduces demand for stand-alone rental cars.
Aiming for a late 2012 launch, currently in search of additional funding, FlightCar has a brilliant idea that could easily scale. With no need for obtaining and maintaining a fleet of vehicles, FlightCar’s expenses would largely be space rental and staff.
Readers: What’s your thoughts on FlightCar’s business model? Would you use the service, as a vehicle owner or renter?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, global trend tracker, 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.