Getaround is basically an Airbnb for car owners. Unlike Lyft or Uber, where the owners actually chauffeur you around, Getaround is a person-to-person carsharing service that allows owners to make their personal cars available to rent.
I’ve used the service a handful of times now and along the way, I’ve picked up some tips to make the Getaround process as simple and convenient as the service sounds like it should be.
1. New Getaround User? Get Verified First During my first couple rentals, I was able to download the app, input my credit card and start looking at cars on-the-spot. GetAround added a verification process that requires approximately 12-36 hours to approve a user. If you’re hoping to install the app and rent a car immediately as a first-time user, you’re going to get frustrated. Get verified by registering and sending over your drivers license.
First time user? You can also get $25 off by using the following promo code:
2. Use the Filters Obviously the draw of the Getaround service is the convenience of renting a car that’s not only within your budget but hopefully a car that’s nearby. The closer a car that’s within your budget, the more convenient the service is. Within the Getaround app, you can adjust the per hour cost and move the map around to see the nearest cars. In addition, you can filter cars by type, make/model, automatic or manual as well as whether the car is privately parked or parked on the street (more on that in the next tip).
3. Dedicated Parking Depending on your location, budget and patience, I always find that it’s best to rent a car with a dedicated parking spot. This is one of the ways you can use the filters within the app. You can toggle it on and off.
In larger cities, many of the cars are parked on the street so when it’s time to return the car, you’ll have to deal with a myriad of obstacles and streetsigns to consider. And many owners stipulate that the car has to be parked in legal spot for at least 24 hours and within .5 miles of where you picked it up. Here’s some common street parking concerns:
- Street cleaning
- No parking
- Loading zone
- School Zones
- Restricted Times
- Parking Meters
- Construction signs
Yeah, get a dedicated spot. ESPECIALLY if you’re returning a car to a neighborhood at a time infamous for bad parking (e.g. Mission on a Friday night at 9PM).
In San Francisco, Getaround rents out dedicated spots within parking garages, if it comes down to renting two cars; one without dedicated parking and one with, go with the dedicated parking. It makes returning the car less stressful because you don’t have to budget in an extra 15 minutes to look for a spot when you already know you have a parking spot.
4. Just 1-2 people? Rent a Smart Car If you’re not moving furniture or packing more than 2 people into a car, then rent a Smart Car. Not only do they feel like you’re driving a normal-sized car, but these little two-seaters are ALWAYS the least-expensive cars to rent from Getaround and usually by a long shot. For example, I rented a Smart Car during one of my trips for approximately $4/hour. If you think about it, that’s less than calling a Lyft or Uber, especially if you have multiple destinations to your day.
5. New User? Use a Promo Code If you’re a first time user, definitely use a promo code to get $20 off your first ride. Getaround is in a growth phase and wants more users, so thy have referral credits to entice new users to rent cars and new owners to put their cars up for rent. Conveniently, you can use this promo code to get started:
6. Give Yourself Time: Before So you’ve reserved a car or you’re nearing the end of your time with your Getaround — whatever the case, give yourself some time on both sides of the reservation to prepare and wrap up in case of unforeseen bumps in the road.
Before your reservation, get there about 10 minutes before your reservation so that you can use the app to unlock the car (I’ve run into trouble a couple times with the app contacting the system) as well as inspecting the car for damage, adjusting the mirrors, situating yourself to the nuances of the car. Here’s a list of pre-reservation tips:
- Read owner instructions
- Allow app to communicate with Getaround to unlock car
- Inspect car for damage
- Adjust mirrors/seat/steering wheel\
- Load car with luggage, etc.
- Take a photo of the mileage and how much gas there is
- Know how to get to your destination from parking space
7. Give Yourself Time: After As the reservation comes to a close, you want to give yourself as much as 20-30 minutes to return your car to the space, as it was.
- Follow all directions given by owner
- Find parking to the specification of the owner (if you don’t have dedicated spot)
- Fill the gas to the level it was at before you took it on the road
- Unload personal belongings
- Remove any trash/Starbucks cups, wrappers etc.
- Take photos of car to ensure car is being returned without damage (optional)
- Take a photo of the mileage and how much gas there is (optional)
8. Give Time To Extend It’s annoying and a waste of money when you rent out a car for 4 hours and returning it with 1:15 minutes left. What a waste. To get around this and to best use Getaround efficiently, I always rent the car for an hour or three less than how long I think I plan on using it for. With Getaround, you can usually extend the car for no fewer than 15 minutes at a nominal $1-2 per quarter hour. By “shorting” the duration, you can extend the rental to exactly how long you need it. Just make sure to remember to extend and that the car is available to be extended.
“Getaround” on Short Trips with Multiple Stops
Getaround is still a new company and they’re continually building up the service and offerings, so there’s been a couple small bumps when I used the service early on. Since I mostly used the service in San Francisco, there’s usually a good selection of cars nearby and price ranges for my needs. If you need a car for a short period of time, I highly recommend the service.
Have you used Getaround or do you have questions? I’d like to hear about your experiences with the car sharing service.