[Review] Is Getaround for Everybody?
Getaround is a really fantastic app that I’m not ready for.
The concept of Getaround is really intriguing– I mean seriously intriguing. The idea is that you can rent a car for a few hours or a day, and pay hourly to do so by simply borrowing the car from someone who lives down the street.
This is a really neat business model because unlike other car sharing companies such as Zipcar or Citycar there’s a much larger abundance of cars. The cars don’t belong to the company like they do with Zipcar and Citycar. So there’s no need to find and buy parking spots, or a limit on how many cars can be available at one time. I’ve used Zipcar for awhile and love it, but making sure a car is available to use is tough.
Getaround uses your neighbors car. People, or you, sign up to loan the car out and get paid for it. This makes the cars available so much more abundant. So the problem of needing a car and then discovering they’ve all been reserved isn’t really an issue. Another plus is that the insurance is pretty much covered by the company. With Zipcar I paid a monthly insurance fee as well as a membership fee. Getaround doesn’t need a membership payment at all.
There are some downsides. Using a car that belongs to a person leads to a new array of problems. You’re dealing with different people every time and so you’re learning who is picky about what you do in their car and who isn’t. Some people don’t allow pets, and some will slap you with a cleaning fee if you make a mess. That aspect made me a little uncomfortable. I’m a clean and respectful person when carsharing, but having an actual person in the back of my mind when dealing with a car felt like more pressure. I didn’t want to damage a relationship with someone where while zipcaring I was ok with paying a fee and knowing that no one would complain to me directly or even come in contact with me. Also the profiles would get confusing. Some people would write things like, pet friendly, but the profile would also say that they didn’t allow pets and although I didn’t need to transport my pet it was still confusing. The prices are decent. Cheaper than other companies at times but also seem to depend on the owner of the car. Mostly grabbing a car off a parking lot that has a huge logo on it feels normal. Taking a car from someones parking spot felt like I was doing something wrong, even though I had permission.
My greatest issue was that a lot of drivers had minimums and maximums on how long you could borrow the car. Realistically this makes sense. These are real people and their own cars, but a minimum of three hours isn’t necessary for me when I’m making a grocery run and as a college student who is adamant on paying little. I also considered borrowing a car for a camping trip I’ll be taking soon, and getaround doesn’t seem like a great choice. Most have limits that prevent me from borrowing any car that long but also I wouldn’t want to when I knew it belonged to someone.
Ultimately Getaround is a great concept and I think I would fall deeply in love with it if it wasn’t for my current situation in life. I think these companies really develop wonderful ideas but lose a large portion of consumers because of situations that are more common than it seems. Like those who need to take their pet to the vet, or quickly pick up some things for dinner. Getaround is for the guy who wants to take a trip to that restaurant he loves with some friends or the one who has errands to get to. Overall though, $10 dollars an hour is still hard to manage.
A few reasons I used car sharing in the past were for groceries, taking pets to the vet, taking distant trips running errands, doing laundry or picking up/dropping off people to/from the airport. Getaround depends on who is around you and because of that I found in my area that it didn’t work out sometimes.
I can see Getaround being a great option for others though. For those who avoid owning a car to save money and primarily use taxi services and delivery services. There’s always that one moment when you need a car anyway. I recommend Getaround in those situations definitely. I’m a special instance when needing a car isn’t common and when it is, it’s usually an elaborate plan. Also, in the long run Getaround is cheaper. Zipcar and Citycar require memberships and other fees that build up.
I’m not signing up for Getaround quite yet, but I encourage you to take a look at it. It’s definitely the most convenient of the car sharing options.