- After getting laid off, Levelll Riddle started driving for Uber and Lyft to pay his bills.
- In 2021, he rented out five vehicles on the car-sharing app Turo to generate additional income.
- Last year, Riddle earned $72,020 in income on Turo.
This as-told-to essay is based on an interview with Lavell Riddle, a 40-year-old Turo host in Detroit who started a side hustle on the car-rental app in 2021.
Turo is a car-sharing app that allows people to rent out their cars to customers for a daily rate.
Last year, Riddle earned $72,020 in income from renting out six cars on Turo, which Insider verified with documentation. His vehicles include a Jeep Compass, Kia Sportage, and Honda HR-V.
The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I’m a big car fanatic and drive for a living
In 2016, I got laid off from my job in sales management, so I started driving for Uber and Lyft to pay my bills. I started off with the leased car I used to go to work. Eventually, I bought a vehicle that was dedicated to driving people.
I also started a small black-car service that usually takes people to and from airports and business events. My vehicles have dual purposes, so when I don’t have any bookings, I can pick up ride-hailing gigs.
I bought a house using the income I made from Uber and Lyft, but at that time, I was burned out. One of my friends had just bought a personal vehicle and another vehicle to throw on Turo. He showed me the financials, and I saw that it made sense.
As soon as I closed on my house, I bought five vehicles. I used my personal credit as a personal guarantor for my business credit. I got loans for the vehicles, and because I had good credit, I didn’t put any money down. I entered this business with zero money out of my pocket.
I started as a Turo host in 2021. Now I can have my assets working, even when I’m sleeping, on vacation, or just tired of working.
I had a competitive advantage starting with so many cars
For Turo, each region has a different customer. Here in Detroit, people don’t fly here to take a bunch of Instagrams of fancy cars — they’re people who fly in for business or just need a vehicle to get them to work.
So I got a lot of small SUVs and a sedan. I call them the bread-and-butter vehicles. They’re new but nothing glamorous and have all-wheel drive.
My Jeep Compass worked great for me, so I later purchased the 2019 version of the same Jeep. Now I have six cars on Turo. I had a competitive advantage of starting with so many vehicles.
The average period a car is rented out is about three to four days, but sometimes it’s as long as three or four months. I get a lot of clients who come back and book for longer periods.
In Michigan, rates follow the school schedule
In Michigan, the slow season is when the kids go back to school. During this time, my rates during the week and sometimes the weekend will be about $45 to $60 a day to be competitive in the market. During the busiest season, my rates go from around $55 to $75 during the week, and it goes up to $15 on the weekend.
I got into Turo to help people and make extra money. But I didn’t realize how much it was solving problems for people until I became a host and heard the testimonies customers told me.
People actually needed these vehicles, especially when there were no rental vehicles in my market and car prices were so expensive. It gives people an affordable way to go to work, get around, or go on vacations.