When Turo, a car rental marketplace that allows drivers to rent their unused cars to renters, launched as RelayRides five years ago, CEO Andre Haddad had difficulty selling people on the idea. “It’s almost better to launch now than it was five years ago. When I was trying to sell people on this platform, they said, ‘Are you crazy? You’re going to trust a stranger with the keys to your car?’” Haddad joked. “I think five years later with the growth of the sharing economy and all the attention that’s been focused on models that are similar to ours, I think we’re in a much more mature state of mind.”
That persistence is proving to pay off, as San Francisco-based Turo is officially launching across Canada. The service is now available in Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec, with a national launch planned in the coming months — making it Turo’s first international launch.
“We’ve been working on our expansion in Canada for a bit over a year. It’s been a thoughtful and methodical process,” said Haddad. “That Canadian community on Turo that travels to the US and uses us is the most significant one that we have across any country. So we were delighted with the adoption of Turo by Canadian travellers visiting the US. Frankly, they have been incredible evangelists of the company and they’ve been lobbying us to launch in Canada for many years now. We felt it was right to respond to the community that’s most passionate about Turo.”
Haddad said that the Canadian market is also a significant one, with 23 million potential vehicles available. Turo’s platform allows car owners to rent to pre-approved travellers, with owners being allowed to set minimum and maximum rent times for whatever they see fit — typically, the company sees car owners earning at least a extra $500 a month by renting out using Turo, and the company provides $2 million in liability insurance to every owner signed on to the platform, as well as 24-hour roadside assistance for drivers.
“It’s not for everyone, some people prefer to do things the traditional way and thats okay,” said Haddad. “But at least now, it’s an alternative that doesn’t sound so crazy anymore.”