Retirement’s on the horizon with help from Turo
Everything Phillip T. does is for his three girls.
“When you have kids, you’re not important anymore. Everything you do is to leave something for them at the end of the day.”
After 25 years of working as a mechanic and business owner in Laval, he’s ready to start thinking about retirement, which he plans to enter in the next five years, but he wants to continue bringing in some money for his daughters.
“Retirement doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll stop working. It just means that I don’t have to work. It’s a big difference.”
Turo wasn’t always part of his plan for financial independence, but it entered the picture at the perfect time. Last year, Phillip bought a 2020 Ford Fusion that he didn’t need to drive often. While pondering ways to make the most of the car, he remembered a conversation he’d had with a customer a year prior. As fate would have it, that same customer came back right around the time Phillip was trying to find a purpose for his Ford.
“I asked, ‘How’s everything going on Turo?’ and he said ‘Everything’s good. No problems.’,” recalls Phillip. “I said, ‘Okay, you know what? Maybe I should try it out with my car.’”
He listed his new Ford Fusion in July of 2020, and within a couple of hours his first trip was booked.
“I was like, ‘Hold on, I’m not ready for this yet. What am I supposed to do exactly?’” says Phillip. “‘How do you get the car ready? What am I supposed to do? How do you meet the guest?’”
As a business owner and seasoned mechanic who spent his days fixing things, uncertainty didn’t prevent Phillip from following through on that first trip. He read as much as he could about how to get started, met the guest, and gave him a quick tour of the car.
“The process was very easy.”
Turo ended up proving to be the perfect side business for Phillip. He had extra space to store his cars at his shop, not to mention the expertise to maintain them. Very soon, he found his car was on the road with guests more often than it was with him in the garage. He figured he could do more with hosting, but he hadn’t started thinking about building a business with multiple cars just yet.
“The Fusion did really well, even during the pandemic, which was very surprising. The vehicle was gone pretty much all summer. It quieted down a bit in October and then it got booked and I didn’t really see it much until February.”
With only one car, Phillip managed to earn $12,000 after expenses, in just six months.
Learning to build a business through the Pioneer Program
Phillip liked that he could pump up his savings account with his earnings and didn’t think too much of expansion. That was until he heard about the Pioneer Program, where newer hosts are paired with an experienced host who offers one-on-one mentorship sessions about building a business on Turo. Fittingly, he was partnered with Philipp B., an experienced Montreal host with a large portfolio of cars, who was able to give him guidance and shed a light on these burning questions about how to scale his hosting operation.
“He gave me some insights and ideas,” says Phillip of his experience with his mentor. “I saw the potential to upscale a bit and maybe make this into a business. My car was already gone all the time. I figured, ‘Why not? This is a good opportunity. The car is getting booked a lot. People are taking very good care of the car, and any minor issues I may have, I contact Turo and I get very good support.’”
His mentor advised him to start scaling his business in March when the country would start re-opening, the weather would get warmer, and people would be more open to travel.
“I added a Cadillac CTS. Then a BMW 5 Series. Right now, that’s my best car on the platform. It comes back and right away somebody else books it to take a few hours later. I added a Mazda 3. Then I sold it and replaced it with a Dodge Caravan because by doing some research I realized that Caravans seem to do really well, especially with July coming up and people asking for vehicles to move stuff. Then I purchased a Ford Explorer, a 2021 Dodge Charger, and a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.”
So far, scaling suits him. As the owner of his shop, he has the flexibility to leave when he needs to drop off or pick up cars. Plus, his experience as a mechanic allows him to be discerning when buying cars. He’s particular about avoiding cars that will give him major issues over the long term.
“You have to be careful and really plan it out when you’re trying to scale up on the Turo platform and make sure that you can continue serving your customers properly.”
The new electric Mach-E has drawn particular interest even off the platform. “I get pulled over all the time on the road by people saying, ‘How do you like this car? How much is it?’”
Diversification has been an important strategy for Phillip. Eager to offer something for everybody, he has a mix of economy cars for people on a budget, and pricier, flashier cars like his BMW 5 Series, which people can book and show off.
This variety has allowed him to serve the needs of different guests. Recently, one guest booked a car of his for a long trip — over 1,000 kilometres — to attend a work meeting. He picked one of Phillip’s more fuel-efficient vehicles and drove that instead of racking up kilometers on his own gas guzzler. “I do offer unlimited mileage,” explains Phillip. “Why not?”
Easing into retirement with Turo
The best part about hosting for Phillip is the fact that he’s found a way to use his ample knowledge of cars to make money while slowly easing out of the more labour-intensive mechanic work.
“I like the car industry. I just don’t want to be so hands-on into the mechanical side of things anymore.”
When asked what his favourite part of hosting is, he holds up his phone in response.
“My favourite thing is this right here. Everytime it goes ‘cha-ching’ I’m like, ‘Okay! Money in the bank.’”
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