posted on January 30th, 2017

When Marcie M. moved back to her hometown of Miami after years and years of being on the go with the Air Force — from Korea to Italy to California to Tennessee — she was floored to see how much the city had changed, both the neighborhoods, and the cost of living. With two young kids, Nico, 10, and Tony, 7, in tow, she needed to get creative to make ends meet.

From Airbnb superhost to Turo ambassador

“I had stayed at an Airbnb in grad school, and it got me thinking about using it as a strategy to alleviate the cost of living,” she notes, having found Miami “unreasonably unaffordable”. So she started renting out a spare room on Airbnb to get a little extra income, and it was an instant hit. She even became an Airbnb superhost. “I had a ton of international guests staying at my house, from Europe and South America, but they would struggle to find a rental car. Sometimes they were bold enough to ask to use my car, but I didn’t feel comfortable letting them drive it without insurance. I figured there must be a business similar to Airbnb for rental cars, so I literally googled ‘Airbnb for rental cars’ and discovered Turo!” Marcie says. Two cars later, the rest is history.

Marcie would share her Turo referral code with her Airbnb guests, and even drive them to pick up their rental cars from other Turo owners. She became a true Turo ambassador, sharing best practices with and creating lovely experiences for her Turo and Airbnb guests.

Trading in the old minivan

After starting a thriving business renting out her Fiat 500 (her “little red Italian sports car”), she looked into retiring her old minivan and trading up for something a little nicer. She did a ton of research, and ended up choosing an SUV that would work well for both her family and her Turo guests — a 2017 Volvo XC90. With the safety standards and international appeal of the Volvo brand, Marcie also chose a model loaded with bells and whistles like pilot assist technology and WiFi. By adding even more helpful gadgets like a SunPass for Miami’s toll roads and an iPhone charger for her guests, she listed a brand new, beautiful car on Turo, and enjoyed a brand new, beautiful car to drive her boys around.

Tips from a super mom

Being a single mother of two, working full time, maintaining her role as an Air Force Reservist, and managing her Turo and Airbnb businesses, Marcie definitely does not idle away her days. How does this super mom do it? With an outlook as sunny as the Miami skies.

“I’d say cleanliness and communication are key,” she says with regard to her Turo business. She keeps both of her cars immaculate, and she tries to be as helpful as possible for her guests, whether that means explaining the ins and outs of her high-tech Volvo or letting her Fiat renters know where to find the best drive to enjoy the sunset. “That’s definitely not something you get from the rental car company or the hotel concierge,” she notes, which can be “very transactional.” “If you rent a car from me, I’ll go over the features with you, let you know how to deactivate them if you don’t want them, give you recommendations for exploring the city. I’ll offer my advice if you want it, but [talking to you] also makes me feel better about renting you my car. I’ve even stayed in touch with some of my past guests!”

And keeping up the business has become a family affair. “Even my kids get in on it! They’ll wash and clean the car, and they sometimes explain the features to our guests — I barely even need to talk!” she jokes.

Share and share alike

“It really just makes sense,” Marcie muses, reflecting on the sharing economy. “They really are idle assets — whether you have a spare car, a spare room, spare time — so why not put them to use?” And in a tourist hotspot like Miami, locals can create their own cottage industries with their idle assets while providing a sunny and warm experience to visitors looking for a little sun and warmth.

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.