Table of Contents
Introduction – Getaround Review
I spend most of my ‘non-travel’ time in San Francisco. Like most city residents, I don’t own a car anymore. San Francisco has spelled out car ownership as an evil sin and the city government does everything in its power to
prohibit discourage car ownership. After $1,000 in parking tickets, I threw in the towel rather quickly.
Since I also gave up on San Francisco’s dysfunctional ‘Muni’ public transport (I never use it), I became a big user of Lyft and Uber when in the city. I have just a few complaints, but more about that another time…
However, to get out of the city – like to Palo Alto or Napa – a car is what you want. There are plenty of car-sharing services in the city, including Zipcar (owned by Avis), Enterprise CarShare (owned by Enterprise Holdings) and Getaround.
Once signed up to Getaround, you get access to an iPhone or Android app that allows you to straight away open and start the car that you have booked on the platform. That’s kind of cool as it does not require an extra ‘smart card’ like the one you get with Zipcar or Enterprise CarShare.
There is also no membership fee with Getaround and after approval you can rent within minutes.
Since Getaround relies on individual car owners to rent out their cars, the diversity of options available to you is enormous. I rented the BMW convertible pictured above and a Tesla Model S, but also lots of Nissan Micras with cat hair up to the roof. Getaround runs a review system for rentals, but they do not share reviews with the community, which is a big failing in my view; you can’t see how well a car is maintained inside or out until you are right in front of it.
The same goes for the owners – there are some super-friendly, just awesome people and then there are some plain rude, horrible people renting our their cars. Plus some owners clearly seem less than comfortable with you renting their car. I’m sure the same goes for renters, but Getaround does not share these reviews either, sadly.
Prices – Getaround Review
Getaround is expensive; small, old clunkers (often with lots of cat hair) go for $8 to $10 per hour and this does not include fuel. For a quick run to the grocery store (or taking that hairy cat to the vet), that’s OK, but for longer drives this adds up to $80 per day (the daily max fee is based on 10 hours, so for this you get the full 24 hours). For this money, Avis gives you a full-size, clean car.
However, Getaround is often available just around the corner; some areas in SF have Getaround cars covering every city block, so it’s very convenient.
The problem (albeit great news for owners of old cars) is that Getaround guarantees $6,000 in annual income in select locations, as long as your car is rented out on the platform 3 of 4 weekends every month. For that, it just needs to fulfill the minimum requirements as stated by the company. The income guarantee also leads to many owners pricing their cars out of the market, as they set up a $50 hourly rate, fully expecting no rentals, but cashing in on the $6,000 guarantee.
Some cars have dedicated parking (like with Zipcar), which costs about $200-$300 in the city, but many do not. It kind of defeats car sharing when you have to search for parking for 30 to 45 minutes when dropping off a car.
Getaround also requires you to refill the tank to the same level as when you picked up the car. Fair enough, but this adds to the price and San Francisco just has a handful of gas stations left; you try filling up in just a few minutes at one of these crowded gas stations.
Support – Getaround Review
Another issue is the less than stellar iPhone app, which is slow and clunky. Nevertheless, Getaround Support via phone and email is always available and VERY helpful.
Getaround ends up being about twice as expensive for cars you take down the freeway for a bit when compared to Zipcar or Enterprise CarShare. While some cars are as cheap as $5, they are usually full of trash, have broken shocks and plenty of that aforementioned cat hair. A modern Prius or a 2010 Audi A4 runs at ~$14 to 16 per hour plus fuel and may not have dedicated parking.
Conclusion – Getaround Review
Getaround is a great choice if you just visit one of the cities covered by the company and want to avoid full-day rentals; San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Portland, Chicago and Washington DC currently have Getaround. For most of these urban environments, a full-day classic rental is just too much.
If you would like to rent out your car with Getaround, you can get up to $500 as a sign-up bonus and $6,000 guaranteed in the first year.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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