How to make money when you don't use your car
GenialMove and Auting are the first Italian startups to set up car sharing schemes between individuals. Expected earnings from sharing are in the region of 30 euro a day
Eva Alberti • Wired
Give your car to a complete strangers for a few days, rather than keeping safe in the box, and earn enough cash to repay fixed costs such as insurance premiums: this is peer-to-peer car sharing. In Italy, two platforms have been looking at this new market niche.
The first is Auting, a Bologna-based company, on the market since May 2017, with five thousand users and a fleet of almost a thousand vehicles. The second, GenialMove, is based in Milan, and has been active since last November. "The first few car sharing attempts have been made and the service is working", explains Matteo Minotti, one of the founders of GenialMove. "The strong point of our offer are lower prices compared to traditional rentals", which are the main direct competitors of P2P car sharing companies.
The business model is based on sharing one’s vehicle, otherwise unused for a while. Through an online platform the car is made available to people who need it at a specific time and place. To join just register with your data. "Payment is made online through our platform and we hold a 30% commission from the owner and 5% from the driver", explains Matteo Menarini of Auting. The same goes for GenialMove, which has a 30% total commission, 20% from the owner and 10% from the customer. Even if the owner will ultimately decide the price, the platform is free to gives suggestions based on prices for similar cars. On average the platforms estimate an average earning for the owner in the region of 30 euro a day.
Therefore, a 20-day loan period would suffice to repay an average Italian insurance policy (of around € 575, according to the Facile.it Observatory). But is it all legal? Yes, even though Article 84 of the highway code can create a few doubts. According to Menarini, "immediately after we devised the business plan we checked and it is possible". The fact is that this new type of activity hasn’t been regulated yet. "We consider it a loan with expenses reimbursement. Which is not a catch but a rule we have adopted", he points out. But what happens if the borrower has an accident? This is perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome in the heads of potential users: "We often find ourselves up against a radical cultural change", explains Menarini, "hence the reason to reassure the owner with regard to civil liability and possible damages".
Both platforms rely on Reale Mutua insurance. The Turin-based insurance company, as explained by the head of innovation strategies, Matteo Cattaneo, has always had an interest in the car sharing world and operates alongside other platforms such as Gnammo, a home restaurant platform, and Paladin, a P2P general goods hire service. The policy offers a casco insurance policy with an additional formula that prevents the premium from increasing in the event of a claim. "Insurance is automatically applied upon reservation", says GenialMove, "but to become an owner it is essential that one’s car insurance allows for any driver with a suitable licence". This is the only condition required, in addition to being 21 years of age and, of course, the ownership of the car. To be a borrower, on the other hand, all you need is a valid licence for at least three years.
In Italy, according to Menarini, there is room for further growth, seeing that the demand is greater than the offer, though current data are still too few for a comprehensive assessment. "Geographically speaking the population is scattered throughout the country, with large concentrations in Milan, Turin, Bologna and Rome and in popular tourist destinations". The typical driver is between 20 and 35 years old and is well acquainted with smart mobility. The owners, on the other hand, are older and are willing to share their vehicle with many “borrowers”: "But we are still talking about a niche market though things could change quickly".
Both platforms are planning to launch a dedicated app in the future. "At the moment, our goal is to create a user base", Auting staff confirm: "We’ll think about the bottom-line starting next year". Even GenialMove admits that to date, profits are minimal, but we are looking at reaching the breakeven point within a year and a half, tops!