Does your car just sit in your driveway? You could be making money on it if you were willing to rent it out to strangers when you don't need it.
On Tuesday, General Motors' OnStar began implementation of its partnership with a program that lets subscribers to the service list their car as available for rental on the "RelayRides" platform.
The program allows car owners to generate revenue each month by renting out their car when they're not using it. According to the platform company, all the potential renters are screened in advance and covered by insurance. The car owner simply has to list their vehicle; decide if they want to rent to a person requesting the car (details about this person are provided); exchange keys, checking drivers license, etc.; and receive monthly deposits from RelayRides.
If you have an OnStar-enabled vehicle and trust your renter enough, you don't even need to physically exchange the keys with them. You can lock keys inside the car and the renter unlocks it via a smartphone app or by responding to a text message. Non-OnStar-enabled vehicles can be used as well but a physical exchange of keys happens in this instance.
Watch how the car-sharing program works:
"General Motors, through OnStar, and RelayRides have joined forces to create an entirely new mobility solution for U.S. drivers interested in more affordable, sustainable and collaborative automobile options," Nick Pudar, vice president OnStar Strategy and New Business Development, said in a statement. "Our exclusive relationship with RelayRides provides an exciting new choice: the first automobiles to run on collaborative consumption."
RelayRides launched in Boston in June 2010 and by March 2012 was the first service nationwide to act as a platform for key-change between renters and owners interested in car sharing.
Access to OnStar's API (application program interface) to enable renters to unlock cars without the keys in hand is only available to RelayRides now but is expected to be open to other third-party developers later this summer.
According to RelayRides' website, car "landlords" can earn $600 or more each month by lending out their car for these services. This is 60 percent of what the renters pay to RelayRides.