It's a great concept, especially as a lot of motorists' cars are simply parked while the owner is at work. With Whipcar, owners can register their car on the online service, wait for a user to request availability and rent their car out to them for a fee.
It sounds a little dodgy at first, but apparently Whipcar provides full comprehensive insurance for owner's car for the period of it being rented. Five pounds is added to the final agreed amount for the user, to cover the insurance. A 500-pound excess is also in place for the user in the event of an incident
For owners wanting to rent out their car, it works like this: The owner registers the car and the location on Whipcar online, and submits a few images and details about the car. Whipcar then does police background checks to make sure the car is legitimate. The owner then puts a price on the car and waits for users to request it for a particular period (a day, half day, four days, etc.) via text.
If the owner accepts, the user is debited an agreed amount and then an email confirms the booking. The owner then takes the car to a meeting location, both parties inspect the car prior, and then the user takes the car. On return, the owner is sent a text one hour before meeting, the car is inspected again, and the owner collects his or her car.
For users, it works like this: First, you need to be at least 21 years of age. You then register online at Whipcar, including your licence details. Whipcar does background checks with the police and the DVLA (roads and traffic government authority). The user then finds a suitable car in their location, and if they are happy with the price put up by the consumer on that day, sends a request to the owner. The owner is also sent the last four digits of the user's licence number to confirm upon meeting.
It's sound like a great concept, especially with the cost of owning a car rising and rising, owners can redeem some of those costs back by providing transport to those that need it. All different models of car can be rented out, from vans to sports cars, to large luxury cars. And the owner can charge accordingly.
What do you think, could we do with something like this in Australia? Would it work and would you use it?