Natalia, a 31-year-old entrepreneur originally from Ukraine, moved to the United States in 2017. In 2018, she stumbled upon Turo, a car-sharing app that allows car owners to rent out their vehicles to customers for a daily rate. Intrigued by the idea of earning some extra cash, Natalia decided to give it a try and listed her family's 2011 Porsche Cayenne on the app.
Initially, the car was rented mostly on weekends, providing Natalia and her husband with a passive side income that helped cover some living expenses. Back then, they were handling everything themselves – from washing the car to managing bookings. At the time, Natalia's primary focus was on developing a fitness app, and Turo served as a side gig.
In 2019, Natalia and her husband noticed that their side hustle had the potential to become more profitable. They decided to finance their second car, a BMW 6 Series convertible, which quickly started generating more income. A few months later, they added a Tesla to their Turo lineup.
As the couple's fleet and income grew, they began to cover more of their family expenses with the earnings from their Turo business. However, it still wasn't enough to fully support their lifestyle.
In 2020, Natalia recognized an opportunity to scale their Turo business amid the growing demand for car rentals, driven in part by the pandemic. She and her husband decided to go all-in, investing in more cars and shifting their focus to the luxury and exotic car market, which was particularly popular in Miami.
To finance their expansion, they took out loans on most of their vehicles, allowing them to invest in high-end cars without draining their savings. They carefully selected cars with lower depreciation rates to safeguard their investment. By the end of 2020, they had amassed a fleet of 69 luxury cars, including a Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and Lamborghini.
Natalia's dedication to providing excellent customer service, maintaining a diverse fleet of unique cars, and ensuring the vehicles were always in top condition helped her Turo business flourish. In 2021, they earned an impressive $922,225 from renting out their luxury cars on the platform.
To manage the business, Natalia hired a team of employees, including car washers and a mechanic, and set up a small office and storage lot for the cars. With a focus on competitive pricing and continuous market research, she was able to sustain and grow the business.
As the demand for car-sharing services continues to rise, Natalia plans to further expand her business by adding more cars to her fleet and exploring other markets. She believes that the luxury car rental market will remain strong in the coming years, especially in popular tourist destinations like Miami.
For those considering starting a business on Turo, Natalia's advice is to be prepared to work hard, provide great customer service, and invest in the right cars. Her journey from a side hustle to a thriving luxury car rental business is a testament to the rewards that dedication and perseverance can bring.