(soft music) – Have you ever had to find a rental car after a late flight? Imagine if you were renting
a stranger’s vehicle? Turo, a peer-to-peer car company, brings an element of
adventure to your trip by allowing you to rent a personal vehicle from someone looking to
make some extra money from their car. But rentals like the one I’m doing here are putting the company in the crosshairs of traditional rental car companies. So here’s how it went. After several screens
full of instructions, we find the address for our
car in a nearby parking lot. This is definitely not
quite as straightforward as renting from a traditional
car rental agency. We’re in a parking lot
that’s maybe a quarter mile away from the airport. It’s near the Sheraton hotel and we were told to find the orange cones. We found the orange cones and
we’ve actually found our car. It’s right here. Next step is to take a selfie
of myself with the car. Good shot. After verifying I’m the renter, the car’s owner electronically
unlocks the door for us. We’re checked in, we’ve
done our inspection. Let’s go. The two-day rental of this 2019 BMW X3 comes to, without insurance, $160. A comparable luxury SUV
from National Car Rental would’ve cost us 37% more. National’s quote for $220
includes $66 in taxes and fees. Turo says nowhere in the US
are those same fees and taxes being imposed on its customers. And National points out, in this example, that its contract includes
unlimited mileage, whereas our Turo rental does not. All right, we’ve got our fancy wheels. Now, tomorrow, we’re gonna
meet the owner of a car who rents it on Turo, but
it’s a really different car than the one we’ve got. (door slams) How’s it going? Jason.
– How are ya, Kris. – Good to meet you, Kris.
– Nice to meet you. – I’ve never seen a Slingshot
before, I have to say. – I haven’t either until I went to Hawaii. (laughter) – [Jason] Kris Mullins and his Slingshot is what Turo says it’s all about, extra cash for car owners and unique experiences for renters. How often are you renting this out? – [Kris] Four to six times a month. – [Jason] Mullins rents his Slingshot for around 100 bucks a day. With his monthly car payment, he paid $15,000 for the Slingshot, and other costs, he says he’s
pretty much breaking even. But he says he sees the
potential down the road to come out ahead. – The more people catch on
to it, the more subscribers, the more people that understand
what it is and are aware, the more people will be
able to rent their cars. And I don’t mind adding another car to it. – [Jason] He says he’s had
no major issues with renters. Like the established companies, Turo offers insurance to renters. It also insures the hosts
for accidents or damage that occur during the rental. But, as an example of
these cars in Denver, if a car is damaged or
stolen between rentals, it falls on owners and
their own insurance. The big car rental agencies are focusing their ire less
on individuals like Mullins and more on these types of people. Are you guys doing rental for Turo? When I returned our
BMW to the parking lot, I met Carloz Basan. – I’ve personally done
around 1,800 trips with Turo. – [Jason] He and an employee
were prepping cars for renters, assembly line style. Most of the vehicles had
lockboxes on their windows. – A lot of business travelers rent cars. – [Jason] Basan tells me he’s
among five Turo power hosts who’ve got 70 cars at this San Diego lot. So you’re making a
full-time living doing this? – It is full-time living, yes. – For Turo, is this a
problem or an opportunity? (knuckles rapping) I went to San Francisco
to meet with Andre Haddad, Turo’s CEO. He’s aggressively trying
to grow his company, now valued at more than a billion dollars. How many people do you have now? – We have a bit more than 350 people now. We’ve been growing our team
roughly 100% every year. – So this time next year, you
think you’ll have 700 people? – We might well have 700 people
this time next year, yes. – Really? Haddad shows us the six cars he owns, all of which he rents out using Turo. – So let me show you how this works. You put this button here. – [Jason] Including this Tesla Model X he bought four years ago. – I’d say the first year, when everybody wanted to drive one, I was renting it out at
more than $500 a day. – $500 a day? On this day, Haddad’s
using it to get to work. So when people describe your
company as the Airbnb of cars, what do you say? – I’d say that’s just about right. – [Jason] Like Airbnb,
Turo is the dominant player in its peer-to-peer market. – Selection, price, and
convenience I think are the reasons why we think fundamentally we are better than traditional rental car. – When you have the slogan,
Way Better Than a Rental Car, that must antagonize the incumbents, the rental car agencies. – We are not intending to antagonize them, but they are, in many ways, the
reference in people’s heads. – Do you think you’re
eating into their business? – Partly, but that’s not
really the core of Turo. I mean, our core mission
is to enable people to monetize their cars. We’ve obviously run into the antagonism and the hostility from
the rental car industry because they’re not used
to seeing competition. – It’s kind of like what Airbnb dealt with with the major hotel companies. There was a lot of pushback. In the case of Airbnb, the
hotel companies were saying, “Well, we have to pay all
these taxes, these fees, “and Airbnb hosts, they
don’t have to do that. “That’s unfair.” Is it a similar situation for you, especially when you have
people renting at airports? – Yeah, there’s absolutely
the same situation for us. – Is it fair? – What they don’t like to talk about is the significant tax subsidy they get because they actually don’t
have to pay any sales tax on any of the cars that they
purchase for their fleet. – Enterprise, which
has the world’s largest rental car fleet, calls
this argument a red herring because companies, whatever
industry they’re in, typically don’t pay sales tax on equipment they purchase for commercial
purposes, including rentals. Enterprise says peer-to-peer operators hope to avoid applicable
taxes, plain and simple. Turo’s response: What we hope to avoid is having a competitor dictate how we should be regulated and taxed. Airbnb says, since 2014,
it’s established agreements with local governments around the world and it’s collected more than $1.5 billion in transient occupancy taxes to date. With Airbnb, you had people who basically came hoteliers themselves. They would have entire buildings that they would start
renting out on Airbnb. Do you have some customers
who are creating their own mini car rental agencies at airports? – We don’t have the same kind
of scale that Airbnb has, but we have some car
enthusiasts, like myself, who have found Turo to
be a great opportunity to be able to get another car,
a third car or fourth car, because the reality is,
when you bring these cars and list them on the
app, they can generate a lot of earnings. So it’s still a small
percentage of our community that’s going out and getting a second or a third or fourth car. – Well, are people creating
businesses, entire businesses of renting cars using Turo? – I don’t think there’s
anything of that scale of, like, creating a business. – [Jason] Enterprise says that many hosts actually own or operate fleets of 10 or 15 or even more vehicles on these platforms. It’s our opinion that all
rental car transactions, including those through
peer-to-peer companies, have the same tax obligations that every other car
rental provider has today. Turo acknowledge that
some entrepreneurial hosts have embraced the economic opportunity the marketplace provides. (soft music)