posted on November 4th, 2019

For some people, Turo’s a way to make your car pay for itself or run errands without begging friends for a lift.

For others, like Elan S. and Ryan L., it’s a way to afford dream cars and meet fellow auto enthusiasts. 

The two Turo hosts became friends after meeting at a Turo meet-up at Bier Markt in Mississauga in April 2019. Their Turo businesses were nothing alike. Ryan only had luxury cars like an Audi R8 and Maserati Ghibli on the platform. 

Elan, on the other hand, offered modest cars suitable for running errands, but he was thinking about adding a luxury vehicle to the platform. He got to talking to Ryan, who insisted he buy one immediately.

“At that event, he actually suggested I should buy a Porsche Boxster,” recalls Elan, “and now I have a Porsche Boxster.”

Vibing with a community of fellow car fans

A common interest in cars and earning money on Turo turned Elan and Ryan into fast friends. Over the past year, they’ve swapped tricks and tips on how to maintain their cars and grow their Turo businesses. In fact, Ryan credits Elan’s previous dealership experience with helping him save money on repairs. 

“He knows more about… maintaining and servicing the cars than me,” says Ryan. “What I did before was just like toss the keys to the dealership and just have them do whatever. I’d just pay the bill. But if you want to minimize your costs you can look at sourcing the parts yourself. Finding a better shop to do the service.”

On the flip side, Elan lists one of his cars at Ryan’s address for convenience. Teamwork makes the dream work, after all. 

For Ryan and Elan, meeting other hosts and discussing everything about cars — from luxury models to routine maintenance — is an invaluable part of the Turo experience. Sure, it’s a place to make money and afford the cars you want, but it’s also a way to build community.

“That’s actually how I originally saw Turo,” Ryan says. “Just like car enthusiasts enjoying cars. And the people that I’ve bonded with the most are car enthusiasts. People who really, genuinely enjoy cars. They want to try new cars.”

For Elan, it’s the same. He’s attended almost every single Turo meet-up in the GTA since he joined the platform. These meet-ups take place across Canada and give Turo hosts a chance to meet people with similar interests, share stories, and swap tips. Elan’s also been an autophile since childhood. 

“I’ve always loved cars. One of my earliest memories is just standing in front of a speed bump, in front of the building my family lived in and just watching cars go over the speed bump.”

What’s more, Turo has helped turn their car dreams into reality. Today, owning one car can be hard to justify, especially when you’re living downtown, walking to work, or only using your car on weekends.

With Turo, Elan and Ryan were able to scale up slowly as their bookings covered their car expenses. 

Less competition, more collaboration with new Turo hosts

Since starting on the platform, both Ryan and Elan have fielded countless questions from guests about what hosting’s like. 

“The biggest question that people have is about insurance,” Elan adds. “I just say Turo takes a percentage cut to provide you with insurance and the administrative stuff for you to go about your business.”

Given the opportunity to cover car expenses — and even make a profit — you’d think there’d be some desire to protect one’s Turo turf, so to speak, but both hosts say it’s not like that at all. 

“I never feel competitive towards anyone on Turo,” Ryan insists. “I even recommend other people get the same car as me. I don’t see it as a competitive platform. I see it more as a place for car enthusiasts out there to find each other.”

“Cars, it’s just like enjoyment,” he continues. He references Elan’s recent decision to buy an upgraded exhaust for his Porsche.

“Elan doesn’t need to drive a Porsche. He can easily drive his Fiesta. But there’s a reason why he wants to spend the money on the Porsche even though he’s better off putting that money somewhere else. It’s an emotional thing.”

Elan agrees. When he first considered adding luxury cars, he did so for business purposes. Something like a Porsche would increase his special occasion bookings. Today, over half of the bookings on his Porsche are for weddings. But since buying the car, he’s come to love it for personal use. 

“The way it handles, the way it sticks to the road, the way you can throw it into any corner and just have complete confidence that the car will get through there perfectly fine. The sound.”

“I was like, ‘Wow, this is a f*cking amazing car.’”

In fact, both hosts had plans to attend a Porsche 911 launch event that evening.

Which just goes to show that while people may come to Turo to earn money and afford fabulous cars, they stick around for the strong community and quality friendships.