I’m actually fairly well pleased with Turo and my business. Thanks to Samantha Erickson my strategic account manager and a VIP support hotline things are going pretty well. I still have some operational issues to get nailed down on my end and they have some challenges of being a startup. Wrecks will happen it is just a matter of statistical probability. I’ve done over 100 rentals and it was bound to happen. Colorado in the winter it is even more likely. Damn you game theory and probability. I’m even in the middle of trying to buy another awesome car to put on the Turo platform. The cars I look for are hard to find. I look for great cars, in great shape, at great prices. I’m willing to settle for great cars, in great shape, at good prices. I’m a pretty good auto broker and am now doing it for select other people.
I now have four cars on the platform three of my own and one I manage for somebody else. BTW, they are loving the deal with the ROI and the effort that is required on their part. I count events on Turo as every time somebody rents a car I count that as an event, the same thing when they return the car. Monday and Tuesday I had a total of five events going on. The last event was happening at midnight on Monday. My Toyota Sienna was being returned. I went to bed, life is hard when I’m a stay at home dad with a baby. I woke up at around 6:00 a.m. simply to check my phone and check on the car. There is no message from the renter about where the car is parked or that it has been returned. Seeing the time and everything else involved I’m not thinking that calling the renter this early is a good idea. Time to go back to bed or putz around. I check on my robot car to have it tell me where it is. Ok it is up in the mountains skiing.
I’m pretty sure that I know what happened the renter made an “innocent” mistake. They made the reservation to be returned at 12:00 a.m aka midnight vs. 12:00 p.m. aka noon. Now I’m not sure what the rental car return policies are of Avis, Hertz, or any of the major car rental companies, I’m pretty sure it’s not just don’t worry about it. I know the Turo policies backwards and forwards. The car needs to be returned on time or there are penalties. This is designed to not be a Royal P.I.T.A. for the owner and to simply get the car returned on time to make sure the insurance policy is active and in effect. As I’m writing this blog I’m not even sure the damage was during the rental period or was it after the rental period.
Because the car is returned late as an owner I can a) do nothing b) charge an additional day of rental rate c) charge a penalty of $50 for every half hour it is late up to $200 a day. I’m not even sure the renter knows or realizes this. Mostly I see how the renter behaves and leaves the car and follows directions to figure out what I am going to do.
I send a note to the renter to find out what happened. I get a response back asking about the return procedure (dang I really need to get my procedures tightened up, especially since I’m starting to scale up.) At this point it sounds like a minor scratch and he is willing to take care of it with me directly. Said they backed into a pole and scratched the car and a minor dent. I told them that body work generally costs more than we think and more than it should. If he is willing when he gets back into Denver to go by a body shop, any of them on the way to the airport he’s welcome to get an estimate. I just need to make sure that it is legit and most importantly that I can go back to that shop to get the work done and if the renter wants to settle out of pocket then I’m willing to do that once we have a baseline. I also made sure that the renter contacted their insurance agent to check their coverage.
Sometime during his drive back to Denver he texts me a picture of the damage. I’m now cringing because the damage is on the electronic sliding door and goes back to the quarter panel. It is visible, cosmetic, pretty big, and will need to be fixed. Further information that is exchanged during our conversation is that he purchased the supplemental insurance through Turo. I’m not sure this is a good thing. I’ve had one claim on a vehicle through Turo. It was hell trying to deal with it (toned down my writing to avoid “trigger” words). The previous renter and I were able and thank goodness he was able to get his insurance company to deal with the claim. I felt pretty good that I was then dealing with State Farm insurance.
That was painful and like pulling teeth. The best piece of advice I got was I was on the phone with one really cool guy who I bonded with. His comment, “Mike every single insurance company is pretty bad, they simply don’t have and don’t hire enough staff to make things go smooth.” The environment didn’t sound as bad as the loan modification departments during the depths of the housing crisis, but it sounded close. He also said something brilliant, “You know Mike this sounds like a really cool concept. Sounds like everybody (Turo and myself) gets to make some money and the renter is getting a better deal. Why the hell is Turo trying to get into the insurance business and messing it up … well I know why.”
On a side note. Turo would of covered the vehicle and I feel confident enough in them as a company that I’m willing to invest ten of thousand of dollars into my rental car business with them. In the darkest days, who the hell remembers exactly what was going on. I told my wife I’m going to start another company just like Turo. Just like there is an Uber I’ll be Lyft. I’m going to take 30% of the total earnings instead of 25%. As an owner right now I would sign up right now. I was going to invest the extra money into back office, owner support, renter support, and insurance support. I said I’d give them the extra money just make my head stop hurting, irritating me, and fix my car and let’s get it rented and start making some more money!
Part of the problem is simply structural with our economy and legal system. This entire share economy is not setup for stuff like this, Lyft and Uber with their insurance, Airbnb, etc. I even got my property and casualty license in Colorado so I could find insurance and sell it. Once the company comes up with some great solutions from these issues I have a huge potential market to sell too. I was so frustrated with the insurance claim with my previous renter damaging the car that I did not buy a car I was going to buy and was preparing an exit strategy to get off the system if necessary. Turns out my problem was just with the insurance industry. When I finally got an appointment with the State Farm adjustor, they said it was the most complicated insurance file they had ever seen. What happened there needs about 10 blogs written. I didn’t have time to blog or Facebook I was busy fighting with insurance, raising a baby, and running a business. I think my ultimate advice for a renter is to try to deal with your own insurance company for the claim. I’m potentially willing to go down this route if the renter is, and most importantly their insurance company will cover you in this situation.
What really sucks is now the clock it ticking on me. I have to get this done quickly. I know that I need to file this claim within 24 hours or risk getting screwed. Well my friend let me down, dirty rat bastard, to help with all of the crap that I had to do. Two weeks ago I had a wicked fall on the ice and wrenched my back enough that I had to go to the chiropractor. My wife is at work, like she is every single day Monday through Friday from 7-4. Time to suck it up and be a man. Got to make that 31 mile drive that takes 42 minutes, and that is just one way. One of the keys to my business is to minimize this and I’ve invested thousands in technology to make this happen. I have to put the car seat in the car, with my back it weighs like 200 pounds, put the baby in (she weighs like 150 lbs.) I take the baby into Kidstown, drop off child care. Unload both again. So my back was feeling like crap anyway, this didn’t help, I also had to reschedule my chiropractor so I can get the car to get pictures and submitted within 24 hours or risk getting screwed. Setting up my own company and taking 30% is starting to look like an interesting idea again to avoid stuff like this. If this thing ends up with lawyers I’m claiming further back injury and my day care for the day was $46.24.
The irony is I get a call from WK (initials only) on my way to the airport. He is the person who coordinates the real insurance and problem issues for Turo. That is a golden number of having his cell phone. It was really nice because he was following up on a previous claim. I thought this was pretty awesome. It was in the Turo files that State Farm was handling and he wanted to make sure. I’m not sure how long WK has been in the industry or how much he knows about cars, but this guy knows his stuff. There are still two issues going on with State Farm and he gave me some advice on how to deal with them. He also stated that he added an employee who is great to help him out. I asked him point blank if he had to add that person from all the Turo business that he is getting. I heard him laugh, that’s my answer. Also gave WK a heads up on this issue and he said follow the Turo process, I’m like yes and of course. The damage on this is much easier and I’m not even sure he will be involved.
I get the car washed, thank you Waterways (where is my sponsorship or corporate deal). I then take the car by my mechanic. My Auto Parts in Englewood, owned by Dave Fyke. He is awesome and I’m not sure I’d be doing this without a trusted mechanic. I was really impressed that he saw me pulling up and came across the street. Another customer was blocking the entrance. His son Zach saw me and then said were going to have to move this car that way Henderson can come in and block the damn service door. Hey I play poker aggressively, and deal with situations aggressively at times. Parking your car in front of the service bay is a great way to get attention at auto places. Sorry Dave, old habbits die hard 😉 I’m there so he can check the issue of squeaking wheel from the last auto claim with State Farm. Hint it’s the wheel bearings. He submitted that on the claim with State Farm, the adjustor came out and said nope we don’t do that. Well the problem is that when you do all of the other stuff that was done it can cause noise/grinding in the wheel bearings. Well Dave was right and I did bring it back in. Great another call to State Farm. I hear Dave’s side of dealing with State Farm and I’m like OMG freaking insurance.
It’s after 3:00 now my baby is racking up charges by the minute at drop in day care, she has missed her normal nap time and going to get off schedule, plus she is getting over a cough and is now around a bunch of germy kids. Pick Hope up and come home. SERENITY NOW!
Now it is back to the normal pattern of life. I’ve got more stuff to do, mostly get an estimate for when I submit my claim. My advice for anyone involved in an insurance accident or claim take your car to a mechanic or body shop and don’t just let them tell you what it is. With this information I at least have some idea and the renter does as well. This claim goes beyond hey here’s a few hundred bucks and forget about it. I go down my local John Elway Chevy dealership on Broadway. I choose this place because 1) Thanks for winning the Superbowl 2) I really want to check out GM cars for the wifi and see the latest telematics why I wait 3) very few new car dealers even have a body shop (FFTKT) 4) The renter would recognize it and not think I’m pulling some type of scam. 5) Taking it to a dealership if they say it is going to cost x it is very likely that anywhere else in town is not going to charge more than x.
I wait patiently for my wife to get home. Off at 4:00 and twenty minutes to drive home. We do a tag team like sprinters handing off a baton and I try to accomplish things before businesses close at 5:00. I go to John Elway Chevrolet find the body shop and go inside. I’m very calm and in a good state of mind. I really, really, really wanted to get an estimate submitted with my claims. The receptionist is like do you have an appointment. I’m like no I have a wrecked car, I just need an estimate. She is willing to get me in at 4:00 tomorrow. I’m like for an estimate? Now I’m about on a warpath and concerned it is exactly 4:30. I ask where is the next closest body shop. She is clueless. Now I’m in the zone of being pissed off and getting ready to tell her off, but there is zero time for emotions I need to solve my problem. I reach a good comprimise. I’m 6’2″ and 230 lbs., I have a loud voice naturally and can raise my volume. I get on my phone and call the next body shop right in front of her in the lobby, it is clear by body language I’m not moving and going to make this call. Google helps me find it in 1.2 seconds. My voice might be a little bit loud 😉 I’m ticked because they take appointments from 8:00-4:30. Can’t talk my way in, but I get first spot in the morning. I politely tell the receptionist that FYI there is a body shop one block south of her and another one two blocks north.
As I leave I call the other body shop and am able to get in there right away. I like the place because it looks like a place that works and fixes cars. They have 8 bays. You even have to honk the horn and then they open the door to let you in. Good I don’t need overhead of a parking lot or a customer waiting area. I get the estimate, I’m not sure I want to go to this place. My biggest concern is turnaround time. I ask them how long they will need it and it is at least four days of work and they can’t get it in for a week. Well I get an estimate to send into Turo and something to send to the renter. I did my part now I’ve just got to communicate with the renter. I’ve got a lot to communicate 😉
Well Mr. Renter the ball is in your court. I filed a claim with Turo, I simply had to within 24 hours to make sure I don’t get screwed. I’m certain that it is stuck in the system while I let you figure out how you want to handle it. Here are your options a) let Turo deal with it b) let or try to get your insurance to handle it or c) pay cash.
HERE ARE MY MAIN CONCERNS
SPEED – Today is February 24th which is Wednesday. The car goes out on Sunday February 28th first thing in the morning. This means that if Turo or Mr. Renters insurance company needs to see it to do an appraisal or inspection we have two days to get this done! Potentially on Saturday I still have the car if you need me to take some pics. After that point this car is rented NON-STOP. The next business day I will have the car is Monday March 21st. I can’t wait that long for this to be hanging.
IF YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY HANDLES IT –
See speed. Other issues that I would want to know about before I agree.
Rental car – I need one while this is being fixed. State Farm screwed me. Turo will cover me.
Diminished value – Car is in a wreck with a claim. When I go to sell it that will affect its value. Will your company cover a diminished value?
Lost rental income – I even got a rental request for today and tomorrow while I was writing this. I had to say no simply so I can potentially deal with this before March busy season. $126.75 lost income.
IF YOU PAY CASH TO SETTLE THIS –
What happens if they find something else wrong when repairing or if the estimate is wrong?
I have already sent the renter a copy of the estimate. Not sure if this is near where you thought it would be. I actually thought potentially higher. Think I found a good shop at least for pricing, That is the floor and minimum I’m willing to take.
Rental car for 4 days minimum. Lost income? The late fee or additional rental day?
Make an offer.
NOTE Turo claims has been very responsive and they are ready to go. I put them on hold to see what you want to do. I’m sorry this happened to you, I’m sorry this happened to me 😉 I just want me car fixed and back running on the Turo platform. I’m going to try to make this as painless as possible for Mr. Renter. Let me know what you want to do.