I rented out my car in Melbourne for a year. Here’s how it went.

Will anyone own a car in the future? Is that future closer than we realise? What does the future of transport look like?

A year ago I was about to sell my little car that I’ve had since I turned 18. I figured

  • I don’t drive much these days now that I live close to PT — once a fortnight on average
  • Driving isn’t a hobby for me, I’d much rather be in the passenger.
  • The parking situation is becoming a hassle
  • Cars are a terrible investment from an ROI perspective. They just cost you money — parking, fuel, servicing, registration fees and parking fines.
  • Servicing is frustrating and time consuming, so much so that one of the SPARK Deakin startups are tackling this problem — the folks at Repairy pick up your car from your house, service it and drop it back to you.

The actual costs

II worked out owning and driving a car would cost me $3500 — $4000 a year (that’s a modest estimate — $900 rego, $1500 parking, $1500 fuel, $200 servicing, $300 parking fines because I’m terrible), owning and driving less often would be around $2500.

Then I came across Car Next Door, an Australian startup that let’s you rent your car out to neighbours. So I signed up. A year on here’s what happened —

Car Next Door Income $1264.68 in one year over 28 bookings with 60% availability

My car was rented out 28 times and made $1264.68. I’ve priced my car the lowest I could, reality is if I don’t need it — I’m happy for other neighbours to use it to make their life more convenient because it makes sense. No where near this guy from Melbourne who made $20 000 a year renting out his SUV. I should point out I don’t have a fancy car -it’s a little Honda Jazz that I’ve called Jagga.

Why do people own cars?

Car ownership is about two things:

  1. Convenience — being able to drive and get from A to B whenever you want. Also those who live where there’s less public transport don’t have as much of a choice if they want to get to places quickly or at all in rural Australia (I’m originally from a small country town).
  2. Status/culture — people own nice expensive cars do so because of status and what it says about them to others. It’s part of their identity. It’s also embedded in our culture, some people just “love going for long drives”.

One time I forgot to block my car calendar on Car Next Door and needed it, as I went to cancel the booking the person renting offered to drop me to my destination. Sitting in the backseat I realised the irony — I was being driven to my destination and being paid yet it was convenient for both of us.

Even CarSales.Com are investing in the future.

Last month Ajay Bhatia, Managing Director at Car Sales agreed to catch up with me to chat about how we could build a better culture of entrepreneurship amongst students in Australia. Car Sales is Australia’s leading online automotive classifieds business with a market cap of $3.17 billion and employs over 600 people here and many more across Latin America, South Korea, China and Malaysia.

To be frank I hadn’t thought much about the future of transport until our conversation where Ajay shared some of the innovations they’re investing heavily in the broader transport space across the globe. He talked about the three major trends — ride share, electric and autonomous and touched on his views on innovation.

They’re investing in big data, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. According to Ajay, many Australian businesses are too focused on the commercial outcome and think in a straight line at the beginning, whereas some of the most interesting innovations for Car Sales have come from letting their people experiment.

It was this conversation that got me thinking about the future of transport and what that means for Australia.

Uberpool- ridesharing made even cheaper.

When I’m not taking PT I opt for ridesharing. I don’t love Uber for various reasons, I’d much rather use Shebah (Australian rideshare platform for women), but Uberpool is brilliant. It’s strange that you can get to where you’re going cheaper than public transport sometimes more conveniently.

Having tried it several times, it’s my go to option when I’m not in a rush. I’ve always wondered why airlines don’t partner with Uberpool, I once waited for 30 minutes in a line for a Taxi at Melbourne Airport and heard the person in front of me wanted to go to the exact same destination as me.

Airlines could look at offering their passengers an option of being dropped off home alongside other passengers going to the exact same destination — again better for traffic congestion, cheaper and more convenient. It would even make sense for government to seed such initiatives, they’ve already invested in 2+ lanes exclusive for those with 2 or more people in the car incentivising and encouraging this behaviour, I can’t see a reason for them not to invest in technological solutions that tackle the traffic congestion more effectivily, other than maybe it’s not a ‘sexy policy’ for upcoming elections. I’m sure you could spin it as

“We’re making sure travel from the airport doesn’t cost as much as your flight. Vote Greens”

The future is closer than we think

Convenience in the long run will trump status and change our culture — especially when it makes economical sense too. Once upon a time a lot more people loved going on horse rides. Now it’s a hobby for a small group of people, my prediction is the same will happen with car ownership in the near future. There will still always be people who like owning nice luxury cars, but it’ll be about the same number of people who go horse riding on weekends.