Getaround.com is a peer-to-peer car rental platform, headquartered in the US, which only recently came to my attention when it raised a $200m Series D funding round. I’m keen to better understand how Getaround is looking to change the ways in which we rent cars and how it differentiates itself from well established car rental companies such as Hertz and Avis:
My quick summary of Getaround before using it? – I expect a consumer driven car rental platform that gives people more flexibility with respect to renting a car when and where they want it.
How does Getaround explain itself in the first minute? – “Rent cars by the hour or day” it reads when I check Getaround’s UK site on my desktop, followed by “For moving into your new home.” Staying on the homepage for a few minutes, the secondary strap-line changes, highlighting the various use cases for Getaround, varying from “For surprising grandma on her birthday” to “For meeting a client, in time and in style”. I can’t see an obvious option for me to list my car for hire, which is surprising given that this is a peer-to-peer car rental platform.
Getting started with Getaround – I start my search by entering a location, a check-in date / time and a check-out date / time, and click “Search”:
What happens next? – The search generates 31 pages of vehicles for me to choose from. These results haven’t been filtered yet and the site offers a number of filters to apply in order to narrow down the search results.
Getaround’s filters feel pretty standard, but I’m curious what’s involved in self-service cars. Where do I pick those up? Or do they get dropped off at my exact location? What do I gain by selecting “Reserved parking”?
When I disable the “Self-service cars” filter, I can select the “instant booking” option which means that vehicles can be booked without waiting for confirmation from the owner.
I like how I can filter by “vehicle age”, presumably as a way of ensuring that I don’t hire an ancient car that might be more prone to engine failure or other issues. However, I’m not immediately clear what is meant by “acceptance rate”. Clicking on the tooltip clarifies this.
When I select a car, I land on a pretty intuitive but detailed product detail page. This page includes pictures of both the exterior and the interior of the car, information about where the car can be picked up and free mileage included. At this stage it still isn’t entirely clear to me how Getaround’s self service works, but I presume that I can go to the car at the location indicated and unlock the car with my phone (assuming this is a feature I can access via Getaround’s app once I’ve signed up and booked the car).
A quick check of the description of the Getaround app on the app store confirms my assumption around automatic unlocking the car via the app.
The page also includes customer reviews which I find particularly helpful here, given that I’ll be driving someone else’s car and would naturally be unsure about the condition of the car, responsiveness of the owner, etc.
More information about insurance and roadside cover is only a few clicks away, but I can’t help still feeling somewhat apprehensive about the ‘small print’.
It’s only when I click on the “book” call to action at the top of the page that I have to sign up for the service.
Did Getaround deliver on my initial expectations – Yes. The site felt intuitive whilst containing a good amount of detail. However, I wasn’t clear about the process involved in listing my car for hiring, and I felt that key parts of the experience – both online and offline – could be explained better.