SAN ANTONIO — Jason Bixler turned his obsession with Tesla vehicles into a business. He bought a two Teslas to rent out for a profit.
“My colleagues and stuff, they would say, ‘Why do want to do that?’” Bixler recalled. “’People destroy rentals.’”
The husband and father of two rented a Tesla Model X to go to Oklahoma through Turo. He was sold on the Tesla and Turo.
He bought the $125,000 Model X as a business investment. He became a host for Turo, which allows qualified vehicle owners to rent their personal vehicles to qualified motorists.
“Basically, it’s kind of like the AirBNB for cars,” Bixler said.
Turo, founded in 2009, is an online and mobile vehicle rental company. Private owners make their vehicles available at a designated price and mileage. Renters can roll out in any vehicle from a Toyota Camry to a Tesla. The benefit for the vehicle’s owner is extra income to offset auto expenses the car would never make parked.
“Because on the weekend, I’m spending time with my family and it’s just sitting in the garage,” Bixler said.
His Tesla Model X, purchased a year ago, is popular with his renters.
“I get a lot of people renting my Tesla Model X here for weddings, for proms,” he said. “Actually, someone is renting my Model 3 next week to propose to his girlfriend.”
Bixler bought a $58,000 Tesla Model 3 as second investment vehicle.
Turo offers a $1 million liability insurance on the vehicles. The company also offers insurance for the renters. Bixler was still nervous the first time he rented his Model X.
“I was constantly checking. I can check the Tesla app to see where my car is and what it is doing,” he said. “So the first time, I was frequently checking on my car like a child.”
Bixler admits that Turo rentals don’t cover his car note. His pays nearly $2,000 a month for the Model X. The IT engineer makes about $500 a month off the Model X. Both of his vehicles have earned him nearly $11,000 this year.
He said that the biggest drawback is delivering his vehicles. The requests may not come at the most convenient time. Customers can pick up their Turo rental or ask for delivery.
According to Bixler, he’s had one horror story as a host. A renter abandoned the electric luxury car with the stench of marijuana and no juice. Bixler said that the penalties ran the renter more than $700.
As a host Bixler, takes more than 50 pictures of his vehicles for each rental and gives renters a tutorial on his cars.
Keith Galloway is among the people that rent Turo vehicles.
“I work in technology, so for me to be able to do things from the comfort of my office or my phone and not having to go anywhere is so much better,” said Galloway, who has rented Bixler’s Telsa to go to Dallas. “I’ve rented Jeeps. I’ve rented sports cars. I’ve rented lots of fun things.”
Galloway is sold on the Turo experience.
“You get a much cleaner car,” Galloway said. “You get a car that’s much nicer, a higher end car, for probably less money or a very comparable price.”