posted on April 14th, 2015

Car ownership is typically more expensive where Ashley Griffin and his wife, Sarah, live: Kauai, Hawaii. The climate (salty air and strong UV rays) can wear out the car body and frame quicker, requiring more regular maintenance cleaning. And since the roads aren’t great in Kauai, tires don’t last as long.

By using Turo to rent out his vehicles, Ashley has found a way not only to turn car ownership into a positive, but also to build relationships while providing unique travel experiences.

A great income supplement

Ashley and his wife now rent out two vehicles. When he first listed their vehicle for rent about a year ago, he was surprised with the positive response. So he decided to list an additional car that they drive only some of the time.

Ashley explains, “I somehow ended up with extra cars that we don’t drive all the time. So instead of them sitting around gathering dust, they are making money for me!”

Renting out their cars has created a stream of income that feels like a bonus each month. And the bonus is a hefty one: some months he and his family earn up to $600 per car. “We might spend it eating out, buying a present for our sons (they really want a camera right now, and an underwater housing, and those aren’t cheap, and skateboards don’t last for as long as you would think), take a holoholo (inter-island vacation), or buy a new surfboard.”

Rental income also helps with the substantial costs of car ownership and maintenance in Hawaii.

Giving travelers a unique experience

Ashley tries to accommodate renters in whatever way he and his wife can. This includes “providing a cooler so they don’t have to buy one, picking them up, or meeting them somewhere convenient to get the car to them. We might even allow them to just leave the car at the airport on their way out, which saves them a lot of time.”

The way they treat renters certainly adds to the renters’ experience, which has bounced back to them. “Everybody we meet when renting our cars turns out to be super nice, respectful, and responsible. We met a great couple from Canada, and ended up having them over for dinner one night. They sent us a card recently.”

A native Kauaiian, Ashley’s wife Sarah has lots of suggestions for how to enjoy the area to the fullest. “Merrimans in Poipu is hands-down best for fresh fish and farm to table. JO2 in Kapaa is a hot new little restaurant. We love it! The best beach for running: Secret Beach, in Kilauea. Best beach for tanning: Shipwreck Beach, in Poipu. For hiking, check out the Okolehau trail in Hanalei.”

Adding to this, Ashley suggests, “Take your time, don’t try to do everything and see everything in one trip. Just relax and take the day as it comes, but don’t be afraid to get out and explore. Be careful in the ocean! The surf is often underestimated here.”

Tips for improving your own rental rates

Ashley suggests that you price your car carefully for optimum income-production. “Try to get a feel for what rentals in your area cost from traditional rental companies. Charge a little bit less than that, and people will be getting a great deal and a much better experience.” He also reiterates how important photos are, and says that it would be worth it to invest in professional photography (the Turo Free Photography Program may be available in your town).

One of the things Ashley loves about Turo is renters get the chance to put money right back into the community, and it’s more like renting to a neighbor than to a stranger. If you are ever near Kauai, Hawaii, and would like this sort of experience, be sure to rent one of Ashley’s vehicles.

Amanda L. Grossman is a stretcher of paychecks and a post-it note lover. When not blogging at Turo, she's transitioning to her new Mommy-role in Houston where she lives with her husband and two cats.