While doing a master’s degree in economics from the Sorbonne, Ayman projected himself into finance. He saw himself working in banking compliance for a large company. Since then, his plans have changed. In March 2020, while in master 1, he bought a used Renault Modus for 5,000 euros to rent out. Others will follow. And what should have been a side income has become a full-time professional activity.
The 24-year-old young man threw himself into the adventure with Pierre, a friend who was then working at a real estate agency. The duo rents out their vehicles on Getaround (formerly Drivy) and OuiCar, two leading private car rental platforms in the French market. Drivers can rent vehicles for a few hours, days or weeks. Among the owners registered on these sites are two profiles: those who rent out their personal vehicle that they do not use on a daily basis to write off the purchase and maintenance costs, and the others, such as Ayman and Pierre, who buy vehicles without to drive them, to make a profit.
They are located in different cities. They soon notice a strong demand and expand their fleet. Today they have no fewer than 22 vehicles (city, utility and station wagons) and are aiming for 34 in the summer. “We didn’t think it could be such a success”, laughs Pierre, 28, who has resumed work-study studies in real estate development. To support them, they employ a part-time administrative assistant.
Connected boxes for simplified management
Their vehicles are parked in Brest, Quimper, Limoges, Poitiers, Orléans, Dijon, Besançon… If this logistics is possible, it is thanks to the connected boxes provided by the platforms. It allows renters to unlock the vehicle with their smartphone, collect the keys and return them at the end of the rental without meeting anyone. Enough to provide great flexibility that traditional rental companies don’t necessarily have.
Of course, this service comes with a price. Getaround’s connected box costs 19 euros per month per vehicle – costs for owners. To take advantage of this, the vehicle must, among other things, be under 10 years old and have less than 150,000 kilometers on the odometer. Count on OuiCar 29.90 euros per month for a box.
If these boxes amputate their income, the duo will find their bill there. “It allows us a fairly passive management”, enthuse Pierre and Ayman, who still have to travel through France once a week to clean their vehicles. They can now count on the help of Ayman’s brother Mehdi, a civil servant who has joined them.
Luke, 34, prefers to do without the box and hands over the keys. He can afford it because his 15 vehicles are concentrated in the conurbation of Toulouse, near his home.
He too is dedicated to his rental business. When he started in 2019, he was a project manager in aerospace and wanted to generate additional income. Fired in the summer of 2020 amid a pandemic, he decided to devote himself to it with his wife, who gave up her job as a switchboard operator.
Their cars are rented out on OuiCar, Getaround and a site the couple created. “We make enough profit to live decently, explains Luke. I earn about the same amount as in my previous job, and my wife slightly more. » And to add: “With the difference that we now manage our time, our investments that we have a better quality of life. »
To achieve this, they dove into their savings and reinvested all their earnings into purchasing new vehicles. But not everyone who rents cars on platforms owns them.
Emile, a 27-year-old developer from Paris, did not have enough savings to buy five vehicles the way he wanted. So he found a leasing company that he rents out cars to… sublet them.
He pays 250 euros per month for each of the five rented Volkswagen Polos. In addition, 100 euros for parking in Paris and in the suburbs and 150 euros for insurance per vehicle. That costs about 500 euros per month and per vehicle. “I rent them for 50 euros a day. After the 11e rental day, so the money goes in my pocket. » In a year, he is aiming for a profit of 15,000 euros with five vehicles, or 3,000 euros per car. He plans to expand and take ownership of his fleet, with a view to: “earning enough income to hire someone to take care of it”.
Taxes and Restrictions
Taxes naturally affect profitability. Owners who lease vehicles must declare the income they derive from them for tax purposes. From 8,227 euros per year, they must register their activity (under the status of the general scheme, as a micro-entrepreneur or as a self-employed person) and pay social security contributions.
And this activity requires some logistics. Emile vacuums all his vehicles at least once a week. He must also transfer the fines he receives to the motorists and regularly visit the garage in the event of a breakdown or damage to the bodywork. Getaround and OuiCar’s insurance policies, included in the 10% commission that they deduct from the price indicated by the rental companies, generally allow him to repair his vehicles without incident.
In the event of a serious accident, the vehicles may no longer be able to enter service and will be scrapped. It happened to several of Luke’s cars, whose renters had been in an accident. “In these cases, we have to buy a car with our savings right away and wait for the insurance to pay – which takes an average of one and a half months. But if we don’t have cash, we’ll give up the cash inflow for several weeks…” Another element to keep in mind: Unlike real estate where the seller of a property can make a profit on resale, cars see their value drop.
Some people are saved from buying vehicles they would rarely use
Tom, owner of three cars
Despite these limitations, this form of investing is attractive. Tom, a 22-year-old salesman, took the plunge in the summer of 2021. He owns three vehicles bought and rented in the Vaucluse for a total of 28,000 euros. “I didn’t have enough to invest in real estate and it turned out to be a good investment! » It generates a monthly profit of about 600 euros. In addition to the monetary commitment, he emphasizes that this investment seems virtuous to him: “We prevent some people from buying vehicles that they would rarely use. »
What reassures him in this business: being able to easily backtrack if profitability collapses. “All you have to do is remove the vehicles from the platforms with a few clicks and resell them. » But this is not current. For now, the young man hopes to expand his fleet… for him too, why not make a living from it.