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posted on January 7, 2021

Meet the powerhouse Denver couple sharing a portfolio of Jeeps

Justin and Meagan have spent years building up a diverse investment portfolio, always searching for creative opportunities to build income beyond their day jobs, and pave the way for a worry-free future. The recently engaged couple (they just got engaged in October!) have had distinct paths to arrive at this investor mindset — Meagan has investing in her DNA, hailing from an entrepreneurial family, while Justin is always brainstorming ways to bolster his nine-to-five income with passive income. And now that they’ve united forces, skill sets, and interests (they’re both car enthusiasts), their outlook has never been stronger. They’ve created Just In Time Jeeps, a wonderfully well oiled, profitable team operation out of Denver, CO, where they now share five Jeeps and a Ford truck.

How it started

They were in a rideshare coming home from the airport one day, when the driver started talking about Turo, what he called “Airbnb for cars”. Always on the lookout for innovative investment opportunities, Justin’s interest was piqued. He started doing some research, reading reviews, combing the internet for feedback, and decided they’d give it a whirl with Meagan’s Jeep. “If the Jeep worked,” he recalls, “we’d buy another to add to the platform” and see how scaling up worked. “And that particular car just took off!”

“We looked at it as an investment opportunity — we asked ourselves, what is the cash-on-cash return rate if we were to buy a car to start sharing? Should we buy it outright, or lease it?” After a bit of number crunching, they decided to buy the next car outright. That way, “the cash we earned was revenue,” Justin notes. Plus both of them love cars, so the recipe seemed promising.

How it scaled

Through the prism of treating Turo as an investment venture, they started charting their course toward maximum impact with minimal effort. For them, that meant scaling their portfolio of cars up mindfully, so they were getting a strong ROI while balancing their time wisely, since they both maintain nine-to-five senior management jobs and an array of other ventures (including property management, drop shipping, and more). “If we could make $1,000 [per car] per month, that would be ideal for us.”

So they set their targets, crunched the numbers, and got to work. And now, a little over a year later, “we have a total of five Jeeps,” Meagan says. “The profits are great for us,” Justin reports. “We can pay off one Jeep a year, and if we had less expensive cars we’d be able to pay them off quicker.”

“The profits are great for us — we can pay off one Jeep a year, and if we had less expensive cars we’d be able to pay them off quicker.”

In terms of business size, they determined their scale by evaluating effort to impact. Pre-pandemic times, they had a service to support facilitating the pickups and dropoffs. In the months since the pandemic, they’ve been managing their operations themselves. “We don’t want it to be too intensive because we do have full-time jobs,” so a handful of cars seems to be the sweet spot for them to get a sizable return on their investment while still maintaining the lifestyle they want.

Car sharing as a business venture

Reflecting on choosing car sharing as a component of their investment strategy, Meagan notes, “I really like it because it diversifies what we do, it’s like Airbnb but it’s much less expensive. You can buy a Jeep, but it’s nowhere close to what you’d need to put down on a house — but you can make the same amount per month.”

“It’s way less money you’re putting into it,” Justin adds. “You really only have to put a certain amount into this and you can make crazy returns — one month we made 40% [in profit]!” Meagan notes. They jumped on car sharing as an opportunity because of “the percentages you actually make, versus other investments. It hits on all cylinders for us as an investment,” Justin reports.

“I really like it because it diversifies what we do, it’s like Airbnb but it’s much less expensive. You can buy a Jeep, but it’s nowhere close to what you’d need to put down on a house — but you can make the same amount per month.”

“But it’s not completely hands-off,” they caution. Meagan has a more flexible work schedule, so she takes care of messaging and coordinating with guests. They use Spiffy as a cleaning service to clean the cars between trips — highlighting cleanliness as an essential aspect for anyone considering a car sharing venture — and they’ve “made a lot of friends” who manage parking lots and car washes. While there’s a bit of upfront work to set up your flow of business, “once you figure out the rhythm of it, it’s much more hands-off,” they share.

Also, “it’s not just an investment, it’s a lifestyle for us — we love cars, so it’s a way to justify having a more expensive vehicle.” They love Jeeps, and they treasure the days that they’re not booked so they can have them to themselves. Meagan’s “obsessed with Jeeps” — that first one they shared on Turo was totally customized — “it was my baby!” she shared. Their latest treat was a Torch Red C8 Corvette — “we were able to buy it with our profits from Turo so it was our splurge… it’s Justin’s baby, he loves that car!” Meagan says. 

The secret sauce for any consumer business

Justin and Meagan both hail from careers oriented around customer service, so customer service is the cornerstone of their business ethos. “We take it personally,” they share. “Our goal was to provide a better experience — if you go to a rental car company, you get a base-model Jeep. For the same price with us, you can get a Rubicon.” But building on the value they’re providing to their customers’ wallets, they also strive to provide value to their customer’s experiences, operating by the golden rule. “We make sure we put ourselves in their shoes. We respond quickly, our cars are clean. We want to provide an exceptional experience that promotes Turo well — when they have an exceptional experience they’ll want to rent from you again.”

Recommendations from the pros

Their recommendations for entrepreneurs looking to try Turo on for size are simple and wise: 

  1. Find something you’re passionate about — it will help you focus. “We’re passionate about people, about coming up with solutions, and cars. I want to help people, and I want to make more money,” Meagan reflects. “People shy away from that, thinking it can seem greedy. But really it just opens up possibilities to spend time with family, to not worry about finances.”
  2. Look at your competition and stay competitive. Differentiate yourself, whether by value, experience, selection. And don’t underestimate the importance of cleaning. “Clean your cars,” Justin advises. “It’s super, super imperative. If you provide a clean car, you’ll get good reviews, and [your customer] will come back.”
  3. You have to fail to learn, “and it’s OK to fail a bit. You have to educate yourself, talk to other Turo hosts, network, so you can feel confident going into it.”
  4. Start mindfully — for younger folks who may not know a lot about investing, “work on saving first,” Meagan advises. “Once you save enough, you can put some money into an investment and give it a try,” but she advises against investing before you have a base built up to protect yourself.

“It’s not just an investment, it’s a lifestyle for us — we love cars, so it’s a way to justify having a more expensive vehicle.”

Invest creatively, build wealth mindfully

Justin and Meagan have used Turo to diversify their investment portfolio and help fuel their desired lifestyle. “I have an expensive jewelry habit,” Meagan jokes, but joking aside, they view the Turo opportunity as a fresh approach to bolster their annual income, both for the near-term benefits — like “going out to dinner, or taking a vacation” — and the long-term benefits of paving the way for their future.

Ready to take the next step for your car sharing investment?

Megan is the copywriter and content tsarina at Turo. She lives to wander near and far, never met a beach (or dog) she didn’t like, and loves to talk postmodern lit and theory to anyone who’ll listen.