Alex P. shares lessons from the Coast Guard with fellow hosts
These days have really reinforced the importance of being prepared for the unlikely and keeping composure in the face of uncertainty.
Turo host Alex P. understands the benefits of composure. He grew up in a military family, spending most of his formative years in Puerto Rico. After attending the Coast Guard Academy, he served two tours stationed in Boston, and first listed a car on Turo toward the end of nine years with the Coast Guard. “Turo has been a big part of my transition,” he says. Today he’s an All-Star Host with nearly 150 trips under his belt.
“I’m a car enthusiast, but I also understand that car enthusiasm can have a lasting effect on your financial health. I personally struggled with my love of cars and my quest to maintain financial responsibility,” he says. At one point he was going to swap his Challenger SRT for a Prius (gasp!), but then found out about Turo. “It’s a conflicting hobby to have, so when I found Turo, I found it to be a perfect solution in substantially cutting down the negative financial effects of car ownership and enthusiasm.”
Alex quickly got into the groove of hosting, but he often found himself without a car while his Hellcat was out on trips (he had a Charger Hellcat when he started on Turo). So he decided to get two vehicles so he had one to drive while the other was out. “Managing two listings seemed perfectly reasonable, plus I could experience two different cars at once,” he says. “Also, I had this 700-horsepower rear-wheel drive car in New England, so I decided to get a little more practical with my next cars.”
So Alex traded the Hellcat in for a BMW i8, then bought a Jaguar F-Type R. Now, these two sports cars may not seem especially practical, but with optional all-wheel drive and far more manageable power than the uproarious Hellcat, these are a little easier to drive for the average Joe. And Alex also knew that these sleekly styled cars would be a big draw for guests.
Alex finished with the Coast Guard and moved to Miami at the beginning of this year. “Miami is definitely a bigger market for high-end sports cars and exotics. For a while, I had one of the only BMW i8s in Boston, definitely the only one close to downtown,” he says. So Alex has had to adjust his approach and pay attention to the market more. “As far as quality of the vehicle and quality of the service, that all remains the same. It’s how you adjust to your environment that determines how you do.”
Communication, teamwork, & clarity
“I was getting on a roll down here in Miami, I got a few trips and was feeling good about things…” then the coronavirus took over and travel slowed to a crawl. Luckily, Alex was ready for a situation like this. He stresses the importance of being prepared for the unexpected with emergency savings, and also of making sure your spending and lifestyle are flexible enough to adapt — he’s had expenses for his two cars well under control, so he’s been able to weather this extended period of diminished bookings. “Don’t overextend yourself,” he advises. “If you aren’t living within your means, these things can ruin you.”
But just because people aren’t traveling doesn’t mean Alex is just leaving his cars to sit. “I took the opportunity to get some service done on the cars and kind of let them rest,” he says. “They’ve been refurbished a bit and are ready to go when people are ready to get back on the roads.”
To maintain positivity and productivity, Alex strongly advocates consistent and collective communication: “If there’s anything I learned from the military, it’s that communication keeps the team together and moving forward. Communication, teamwork, and clarity are the top priorities for me. I want to remind the whole Turo community to keep these things in mind.”
With a constant barrage of gloom in the news cycle and the national economy at a crawl, it can be easy to get frustrated. Turo hosts and the broader travel industry are experiencing unprecedented effects of the coronavirus, but Alex is clear about his message on how we should respond. “We have no other choice than to push forward.”
For his part, Alex recognizes the strength of a like-minded community sticking together through communication and mutual support. “I know for a fact that the service Turo provides is a superior service, I’ve always believed in that. So I want to thank all the other hosts, because we depend on each other for every single trip. Someone’s experience with one host forms how they think of the whole service, and that affects us all. So thank you to all those hosts out there putting in hard work. We’ll get through it.”