Website makes entrepreneurs of car owners renting out their vehicles

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by JASON WHITELY

WFAA

Posted on November 24, 2012 at 1:30 AM

DALLAS -- Matthew Sparks is something of a car connoisseur, and thinks others should also experience a fully-loaded ride worth almost $90,000.

"So I figured, 'Hey, if someone wants to rent my car for an hour, take it for a spin and have some fun for a little bit, go for it," he said.

No joke.

Sparks will rent his Mercedes to you for $50 an hour through a website called Relayrides.com.

"Any opportunity to generate some revenue from an asset that's just sitting there -- why not?" Sparks said.

Alex Martinez figured the same thing.

"People renting out their own vehicles, it's kind of strange a little bit - because this is your personal belonging, you know?" Martinez said.

He put his 2010 Chevy Camaro SS up for rent for $15 an hour. Alex is between jobs right now.

"Might as well let it pay for itself, you know?" he said.

RelayRides.com is an online person-to-person car rental service. Dozens of people in North Texas listed their own vehicles -- some as low as $6.50 an hour.

Evette's 2006 Dodge Truck in Irving goes for $7.00 an hour. She has rented it out five times.

The reason so many sign up is because RelayRides covers the insurance on every rental. It puts a $1 million liability policy on each vehicle. That's how the company makes money, too -- by taking 40 percent of the price you pay to rent cars.

"On average, our rates are about 40 percent cheaper than car sharing and 20 percent cheaper than car rental," said Shelby Clark, the founder of RelayRides.com.

The company screens every renter. Speeding tickets or a DUI make you ineligible to take part.

"One of our highest earning cars is a 2006 Honda Civic in Boston," Clark told News 8 via Skype. "The guy's been on the marketplace for about a year-and-a-half and he's earned over $12,000 off his car. Which is about three times the Kelley Blue Book value of his car."

The service appears more popular in crowded cities on both coasts.

Neither Matthew nor Alex have handed over their keys yet, but say they're comfortable with this concept and stand ready to rent.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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