Starting over can be tough, but Shaunak S. pulled off big changes in not one but two areas of his life. After becoming a doctor in India and starting his residency, he realized medicine wasn’t for him. He loved helping others, but felt like something was missing. So when he immigrated to Canada in 2018, he settled in BC before enrolling in the MBA program at University Canada West and graduating in 2020.
As he started exploring his entrepreneurial side, he discovered Turo before the marketplace expanded north into Canada. Turo launched in Canada in 2016, then westward to British Columbia in 2020. It was the perfect fit for his budding ambition.
“Before Turo, I had other businesses, including a business on Amazon,” explains Shaunak. “But the thing with Amazon is that I had to spend a lot of time with packaging, shipping, and all that stuff. With hosting, all I had to do was buy a car and provide great customer service. Turo is all about experiences. One, I’m passionate about cars and second, I’m passionate about experiences, so it matches with my goals. This is more than work for me — it’s a dream job, you could say. As soon as I realized there was an Airbnb for cars, I jumped in.”
Getting a boost from the Pioneer Program
Turo naturally combined Shaunak’s love of helping people and his passion for entrepreneurship. He takes great pride in creating memorable experiences for guests and serving their transportation needs.
“I just imagine that I’m serving my customers, so they can get from point A to point B. Numbers are secondary for me.”
Even though profit is not his primary motivator, Shaunak still enjoyed a nice influx of business when starting out. Despite starting his hosting journey during the pandemic in January 2021, he still saw demand from guests in British Columbia. This prompted him to join the Turo Pioneer Program, a mentorship program for Canadian hosts interested in building a business with multiple cars on Turo. He was mentored by Elan S., a longtime host who taught him how to scale up his business and made him feel supported as he added to his portfolio.
“Turo is better than all other side hustles because of the great customer service. They’ve even launched the Pioneer Program where I had one-on-one mentorship. I learned so many things. All that stuff helped me mitigate my risks and manage my business better. With other side hustles, I don’t have that kind of support. I’m working with an e-commerce marketplace where they don’t care much about their sellers. It’s not the same with Turo. Turo cares about their hosts. Whenever I have issues, they come up with solutions. It almost feels like a family. There’s someone there to take care of you.”
Turning a love of service into a strong revenue stream
Shaunak’s approach to hosting reflects his focus on serving others. He offers a wide variety of cars to ensure he has something for everybody, including an economical Hyundai Elantra for families on a budget and a Chevrolet Corvette for people who want a flashy sports car for their business trips. In less than a year, Shaunak has built up his business enough to cover all his cars’ expenses with money left over. Thanks to his hard work, he’s projecting even more in 2021.
“Even before the Pioneer Program, with two cars I was seeing great demand, and it was just from the locals. That was enough to convince me to add more cars before joining the program. The numbers were screaming loud, ‘Add more cars, add more cars!’”
Managing “more cars” is easy when you’ve got good processes and a great support system. Shaunak’s wife helps him clean the cars and manage the “back office” elements of car sharing on Turo while Shaunak creates processes to quickly move cars in and out for guests while protecting their safety and experience.
Streamlining his processes helps him spend time doing more of what he loves. While his guests zip off to Tofino or Squamish in cars like his Audi TT Roadster, he can build up his other businesses or pursue his other passions such as studying philosophy, which he describes as a very important part of his life and one of his motivations for having financial freedom.
“We don’t know what we don’t know” Shaunak says, speaking of both his approach to business and his independent studies. “So it’s worth exploring new things”.