Cars cost you money whether you’re driving them or not – with insurance, tax and more coming in no matter how many miles you do.
But if yours is sitting idle on the kerb, you can actually rent it out to someone looking to borrow one – and earn some money while you’re at it.
That’s exactly what Sana Shaikh has spent the past two years doing after spotting an ad on Facebook .
Since then, the interpreter from Northolt, Middlesex, has made an incredible £25,000 from renting out cars to strangers – enough for her to completely renovate a property and move into it.
“I started car sharing to make a little extra money on the side, but it was so easy that I decided to step up my offering and purchased more cars to list on the platform,” Sana said.
“I know that month-in, month-out, I will take at least £1,000 worth of bookings,” she added.
The cars cost her about £350 a month to tax and insure, meaning she makes a tidy £650 a month profit from them.
“I just have to make sure my cars are well located, affordably priced and regularly available for rental,” Sana said.
She’s not alone either.
Edward Baillie, an addictions counsellor from Wandsworth, London, rents out his Audi A4 for £70 a day and can make up to £400 a month from it.
It let the Londoner – who needs to use the car for work periodically, but hardly at all when he’s at home – completely cover the costs of owning it.
“Without [renting my car], it simply would not have been worthwhile to keep the vehicle – even though I need it to commute,” he said.
And that freedom has been a huge help in setting up his counselling service, New dimension.
“Being able to share my belongings with others for a small fee is great for them and me and has been integral to launching this project which is so dear to my heart,” Edward said.
Edward and Sana both rent their cars out on Drivy – which lets you choose between handing the keys over to someone, or having a box installed that lets them unlock your car, drive it and lock it afterwards using their app.
Drivy launched in November 2017 and has more than 3,000 cars listed all over the UK.
But there are plenty of other options out there.
Hiyacar also lets you list your car , as well as set your own price, with the option for a keyless entry via its app.
The company visit you, collects a spare key fob and uses it to build a unique keyless box, which is then installed free.
Then there’s Turo, which lets you list your car for hire in the same way Airbnb lets you list your home.
What about insurance?
All the companies offer their own insurance while someone else is driving your car, meaning yours shouldn’t be affected, although you do need to keep it insured while it’s listed on the site.
But there is a word of warning here, check the policy on your own car carefully before signing up – or better yet ring them or drop them an email – because there are times when it could be affected.
GoCompare car insurance spokesman Matt Oliver said: “In principle, peer-to-peer car sharing works in a similar way to hiring a car. The driver will have specific insurance separate to their own car policy, which is designed to cover the arrangement. However, in reality, your insurers may see things very differently.”
When Mirror Money spoke to some insurers, they said it directly contravened their policies – some even mentioning peer-to-peer directly.
“Your contract with your car insurer is based largely on them knowing it is you or a named driver who is driving your car, not a complete stranger,” Oliver told Mirror Money.
“Also, some insurers will have an issue with you making money from sharing your car or leaving your keys in the car, which some platforms encourage. So even though there will be additional cover from the peer-to-peer platform, your main insurer is likely to want to know all about it.”
He advised people to talk to their insurer and check it’s OK before signing up.
You’ll also need to double-check things like annual mileage, and where you keep the car parked is accurate – because while someone else might be covered while they drive it, it’s your responsibility while they’re not.
It’s also worth checking the details on the car hire platform’s insurance too.
“Bear in mind there will also be terms and conditions associated with the platform’s own insurance. For example, it may be your responsibility to check the driver’s age and driving history and agree any damage to your car before you share it each time,” Oliver said.