How to Build a Car Rental App Like Turo

In the sharing economy, the Peer-to-Peer car rental app, Turo, is quite popular. It was first launched as RelayRides in 2010 and then got rebranded in 2015. Today, Turo provides car rental services in over 7500 cities in the UK, USA and Canada.

On the Turo app, car owners lend their spare cars and earn some money for the rental duration. In the entire transaction, there’s also a commission for Turo, which is its primary source of revenue generation. It also has several other channels in its revenue model, which we will be discussing later in this blog. 

Why Launch a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Car Rental App?

There are not one but multiple reasons for which entrepreneurs and business owners show interest in developing a P2P car rental app like Turo:

  • P2P car rental businesses have an asset-light business model. Meaning, the business owner does not need to own any of the cars he lends on the platform.
  • There is an astonishing growth rate in the P2P car rental industry ($1,598.3 million industry in 2021 is projected to reach $7,225 million in 2030, almost five times its market size with a CAGR of 17.6%).
  • Scope of competition in several regions where customers are looking for more affordable Turo alternatives
  • Reduced management costs as you don’t need to worry about managing inventory and car maintenance

Popular Car Rental Mobile Apps Like Turo

There’s not just Turo, but several other businesses are also capitalizing on car rental apps. Many of them are operating in the US market. 

Founded InEst. Revenue
Turo 2010$462 million
Get Around2009$54.4 million
ZipCar2000$151.4 million
HyreCar2014$32 million
Car2Go2008$56 million
Car Next Door2011$39.6 million

How Do Car Rental Apps Like Turo Work?

For accurate car rental app development, it is first necessary to understand how a peer-to-peer car rental app works. After close analysis of several car rental apps, we have prepared an exemplary workflow model below:

  • Car owners sign up on the peer-to-peer car rental app and upload detailed car listings.
  • Customers browse those listings and select a car. 
  • They also select their rental dates with the help of a scheduling calendar.
  • To finally place the booking, customers pay the rental fee, submit a security deposit and all required documents.
  • The app owner deducts his commission from the rental fee and takes care of the security deposit. He also submits the remaining fee into the car owner’s digital account.
  • On the return of the car, the car owner inspects the vehicle for damages and reports them to the app owner.
  • The app owner uses the customer’s rental security to reimburse the car owner and returns the remaining security amount to the customer.
  • In case of no damages, the entire security amount is returned to the customer.
  • Once a customer reaches the minimum threshold amount set by the app owner, he/she can withdraw the earnings.

Depending on your business requirements, you may need to adjust the aforementioned workflow or require a custom workflow. You can also ask your custom app development company for conducting a complete business analysis to understand your requirements before moving on to the development phase.

Revenue Model of Car Rental App

On an app like Turo, one can earn through several revenue streams. This is the benefit of launching a digital business. On your P2P car rental app, you can use the following revenue streams to earn money:

  1. Collect rental commission on each and every transaction
  2. Charge car listing fees
  3. Provide sponsored listing spaces, or featured listings
  4. Display third-party apps
  5. Sell subscription packages to both customers and car owners
  6. Sell additional insurance covers to car owners
  7. Provide rental add-on options like child seats, extra mileage, driver, etc.

Important Features Required on a Car Rental App

To develop your P2P car rental app, you can refer to the following list of features.

  1. Scheduling Calendar

A schedule calendar is required on a car rental app for multiple purposes. The first one is to simply accept rental date inputs from customers. Secondly, the invoice is generated on the basis of those dates, and lastly, a scheduling calendar also prevents double booking. 

  1. Rental Agreement

Different car owners can have different policies for users. To sanction them, you will need rental agreement management options on your app. These options should allow car owners to upload their respective terms and conditions and get them eSigned by the customers at the time of booking.

  1. Document Verification

Your car rental app should also allow customers to upload their various identity and address proof documents for verification. This helps in ensuring safety and security of both the rented vehicle and customers. Furthermore, there are also some statutory document collection requirements for car rental businesses in various regions. The document verification feature will help you comply with them.

  1. Map View Filter

Customers often prefer to rent a car from their close vicinity if available. For this reason, they use a distance search filter. However, the distance filter is not helpful at times as it does not tell the accurate location. For this reason, it is better to have a map view filter on your P2P car rental app that is more accurate and reliable.

  1. Rental Add-Ons

Rental add-ons are the complementary products and services that customers demand with rental cars. Some examples of rental add-ons in the car rental industry are driver services, child seats, new tires, car fresheners, extra miles, dash cam, mini-refrigerators, etc.

  1. Multilingual and Multi-Currency Support

Tourists, immigrants and other non-native English speakers constitute a wide majority of the car rental industry’s consumer market. To make your car rental app user-friendly and easily accessible for them, it is highly recommended to have multilingual and multi-currency support.

  1. Car Inspection

The car inspection feature will allow customers to inspect and check the rented cars for any damages and report them directly through the app. In case of pre-existing damages, they can either cancel the booking or select any other car for rent. The car inspection feature is also important as car owners can mistakenly ask reimbursement for unreported pre-existing damages.

  1. Car Comparison

Cars are available for numerous purposes and with diverse specifications. To rightly and more conveniently compare cars for their requirements, customers will benefit from the car comparison feature. This feature will create automated comparison tables for different selected cars. 

  1. Discounts and Rewards

Discount and reward options are a great way to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Your app should allow you to provide discount coupons to customers and calculate reward points based on booking value and rental duration. 

  1. Multiple Payment Options

Due to the various discounts and benefits that banks and payment apps provide on their cards and eWallets, customers are attracted to use them. They can also rent out cars from your competitor if they do not find their desired payment option on your car rental app. Thus, it is always better to provide multiple payment options to customers.

Along with these aforementioned features, the app for your P2P car rental business should also have basic features such as multiple login options, a search option, price and rating filters, rating and review options, push notifications, 

Important Features Required on Admin Dashboard Panel

While the P2P car rental app will be the front-end and main touchpoint for your customers, for adequately managing business operations, you will also require an admin dashboard that you can access directly from your computer. Your admin dashboard should have the following features:

  1. User Management

On a P2P app, you will need comprehensive user management options to manage both customer and car owner profiles. Under the user management tab, you should be able to access the various details of users, check their order history, submitted rental security, and available rental fleet. Furthermore, the option to approve or reject listings will also be helpful. 

  1. Rental Security Management

Rental security is collected from customers to reimburse car owners in case of any damages. However, the entire security is first managed itself on the platform by the app owner. It is also used in several other cases as well, which are late cancellations or late returns.

  1. Catalog Management

Catalog management features will give you access to the various brands and car makes available on your peer-to-peer car rental platform. You can also create various custom filters, create categories, review images, pricing, description, quantity etc. It is through the catalog management tab only that you can approve/reject or enable/disable a listing. 

  1. Late Cancellations/Returns

Late booking cancellations cause monetary losses to car owners in terms of order processing costs. To recover those, you should be able to define late cancellation periods with corresponding penalties on your app. Similarly, late returns not only extend rental duration but also affect the fulfillment rate of the next booking. Thus, the same can be done for preventing late returns as well.

  1. Booking Management

The booking management features on your admin panel should allow you to check all existing, pending and completed car rental bookings. Furthermore, these should have the option to manually cancel or update a booking so that you can handle operations better. 

  1. Quotation Management

Your admin dashboard panel should have a quotation management module to accept quotation requests and negotiate the same. This feature is most useful while accepting big ticket orders or bookings for multiple cars.

  1. Rental Buffer Period

Rental buffer period is important in car rental businesses so that car owners get enough time to inspect their vehicles for any damages or required maintenance before the car can be lent again. 

  1. Reviews and Ratings Management

User reviews and ratings are important for any peer-to-peer marketplace. They provide visitors with trustable first-hand information about the rented product. You can benefit from providing the option to review and rate cars and car owners on your car rental platform. Some key features that should be included in your reviews and ratings tab are ban offensive words, enable/disable comments, approve/reject comments, etc.

  1. Tiered Pricing

The tiered pricing module on a car rental store allows car owners to upload daily, weekly and monthly pricing to manipulate ticket size. This is a good pricing strategy in the car rental industry as consumers find renting for a week a more economic option then extending rental duration.

  1. Rental Duration Discount

Apart from tiered pricing, the P2P car rental business owner should also be able to provide duration discounts to encourage long-term rentals. In the rental duration discount feature, the business owner should be given the provision to set fixed or percentage discounts for varying rental durations. 

Developing your P2P Car Rental Mobile App

There are two main approaches to develop a mobile app, which are the waterfall development method and agile development method. Along with the method, you also need to select the type of mobile app that you want to develop, which can either be a native mobile app or hybrid mobile app. Below, we have explained all these fundamentals:

Waterfall Development and Agile Development

  • Waterfall Development: The waterfall development method follows a linear approach to app development where all the requirements of the business owner are first collected in an Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document and executed in different stages of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). It is not possible to revisit a previous stage in the waterfall method, which means the requirements once defined cannot be changed. This is the major downfall of this method. 
  • Agile Development: The agile development method includes app development in several sprints or iterations. It starts with basic primary features for development and then based on early adopter reviews, moves on to the second sprint. A major benefit of using agile development methodology is that it gives the flexibility to add or remove features anytime. However, there is also a drawback, which is the long development time.

For your car rental app, if you know all the requirements clearly then feel free to go forward with waterfall development. It will be faster than agile development but may involve upfront payment. On the other hand, if you want to test the market first and develop your app based on changing consumer demands and trends, then agile development is the best option for you. In agile development, you also pay for each and every sprint instead of paying a big upfront payment

Hybrid and Native Mobile Apps 

  • Hybrid Mobile Apps: Hybrid mobile apps are developed to function across multiple operating systems. This means that the developer only needs to write the code once, which is more economical. Moreover, all users will get the same user-experience on any mobile device they use. However, as the hybrid app is not dedicated to a single operating system, there can be minor lags and unresponsiveness due to the disregard towards the device specifications and platform. 
  • Native Mobile Apps: Native mobile apps are dedicated towards their respective software systems. For this reason, they are more responsive and have better looks and feel, almost close to pre-installed apps. They also function better in poor connectivity and use the device’s specifications to the fullest. The only drawback to native apps is that you will need to prepare different codes for every operating system you target.

For a superior experience, we suggest you to go with different Native mobile apps of iOS and Android operating systems. If you are low on budget, then you can go forward with a single car rental hybrid mobile app as well.

The Bottom Line 

Be it car rental or any startup, all businesses look daunting at first but it is only when you take your first actions that you get the motivation to continue forward. In the end, the result is a legally and publicly recognized business venture on which you can work to grow and call your own. 

To make a great start, it will also be better to get a technology partner who can not only provide you with a P2P car rental app but also resolve post-deployment issues at no extra charge. You can check out the mobile app development services of FATbit Technologies, which is a tech leader in the ecommerce industry. It has more than 17 years of experience in helping entrepreneurs launch online business ventures like car rental, food delivery, eCommerce marketplaces, gigs marketplaces and more.

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