The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Shondell of Call Me What You Want, Even Cheap. She blogs about her recent car loan and mortgage pay off and a whole bunch more. Check out her blog right here.
Owning your own car is nice; it gives you the opportunity to go where ever you want whenever you want.
However, a car does cost money to buy and more money to keep. There is gas, insurance, servicing, and repairs, which over time, piles up to a huge amount money. If you just need a car to drive occasionally, there are several options. You can rent, borrow, buy, or you can consider car sharing.
What is car sharing?
Car sharing is a type of car renting where members rent cars for short periods of time, usually on an hourly rate. This arrangement is beneficial for people who use cars occasionally and also for those who like to change their cars quite often. The nature of the organization renting out the cars could be a private company, a cooperative, or an ad hoc grouping.
How long has it been around?
The idea of car sharing is not a new phenomenon; the concept has been around in one form or another since as early as the 1940s. It has become so widespread that there are now over a million members in cities around the world. The popularity of this model of car renting has forced even big name traditional car rental companies to start their own car sharing services to stay in business.
How does it differ from traditional car rental?
To some people, car sharing and traditional car renting sounds the same. But, car sharing should not be confused with traditional car renting. They are fundamentally different things.
- Car sharing is not limited to or by the office hours. You can rent a car at any time you like (day or night).
- You will not be provided with a chauffeur. From reservation to pickup to return, it’s self-service all the way.
- You will be able to rent a car by the minute, or by the hour or even by the day.
- You have to be pre-approved to rent the car, with background checks performed and a payment mechanism established.
- Vehicles are located at different locations throughout the service area, often in places accessible by public transit.
- Insurance is paid by the company. Every car has at least minimum liability insurance. Comprehensive and collision insurance are also common.
- Repair and maintenance are done by the company.
How does it work?
You have to make a reservation before you can use a car. You can reserve a car online, by phone, or by text message depending on the company’s reservation policy. Many companies accept all three methods. You will be required to provide the following information:
- The time you will need the car
- The duration you intend to use the car
- The type of car you want
- The place where you would like to pick up the car
After you have made the reservation, the car will be delivered to you at the time and place you have mentioned. A small card reader mounted on the windshield will keep the time. It will be your responsibility to clean and refuel the car. Some companies include the fuel costs in the rates so that the car is full when delivered to you.
What are the benefits?
Car sharing is growing in popularity because it has many benefits.
- Access to car: The first and foremost benefit of car sharing is that people who do not have a car, or can’t afford to buy a car or do not want to buy a car will get access to a car whenever they need it. In a way, it’s like owning your own car, but without the issues associated with ownership.
- Access to different cars: If you like to drive different cars every time you need one, then car sharing could be perfect for you because you can choose a different car every time you need one.
- Saves money: You can save a lot of money if you use the car only occasionally or only when you absolutely need it. You won’t have to buy insurance or pay for repairs and maintenance. This saves you a lot of money in the long run.
Car sharing can be a great way of life, especially for people who live down town and don’t need a vehicle 24/7. You will have access to a fleet of different types, brands and models of cars every time you need one without any of the hassles associated with ownership of a car. In some ways, it’s much better than owning a car.
I need a car for work so I have to own a car, but car sharing is very popular in my city.
How about you all? Would you or have you ever considered car sharing?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org