Carhood currently operates in Melbourne and Brisbane, and has just launched in Sydney, offering a potentially lucrative solution for car owners that includes renting out your car while you're abroad.
The lure of escaping exorbitant airport parking costs would be reason enough for many to consider services like Carhood. Add in the fact your car is cleaned, you get dropped at your departure terminal, and you make money while you are away, and the deal can look rather compelling.
The point of concern for many, of course, is in letting other people drive your car, but Carhood has an insurance policy intended to offer peace-of-mind for owners of the vehicles used.
Here's how it works:
- drive your car to Carhood (conveniently located near airports in all three capital cities)
- a thorough check for existing damage and roadworthiness is conducted on your car
- you are then chauffeured to the airport in your own car (no need to haul your luggage around)
- your car goes back to Carhood where it is detailed (for free)
- your car is then hired out during your time away and you're paid 25 per cent of the rental fees
- If you fly in to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, you can hire a car through Carhood at the other end
Even if your car spends most of the time in the Carhood garage you'll still get paid $250 each month. No need, then, to sell your car if you are travelling for months.
And here is where Ford comes in.
According to Ford Australia, businesses like Carhood - alongside other new and growing outfits in the realm of ride-sharing and parking/mobility services like Uber and GoGet - are changing the face of mobility.
Each is invested in exploring and changing the way we use and share our vehicles. And so is Ford, the car maker claims.
Ford is the exclusive automotive partner of Carhood, and the arrangement gives 'blue oval' owners a few distinct perks when it comes to using the service.
Ford owners will get an extra 10 per cent of the rental income of their own car - an increase from 25 to 35 per cent - as well as a 10 per cent discount if they choose to rent a Ford vehicle through Carhood.
Ford is also providing new-model vehicles that will be available for hire in the more traditional Hertz, Thrifty or Budget business models.
"It’s a million dollar investment for us, to support and co-promote with Carhood, mobility solution while providing vehicles that people may not have experienced before," said Ford Australia CEO Graeme Whickman at the partnership's launch this week.
"So we can get people into a Ford vehicle, to experience some of the pretty cool technology - MyKey through to Sync 2 - and they’re getting a very interesting technology and connectivity experience along with a very interesting mobility-based, app-based solution as well.
"So there’s a lot of synergy wrapped up in the product and the service," Whickman said.
"I talk about core and emerging, so we have one foot in today around our core product so cars, trucks and SUVs, and then we have the emerging part, one foot in the tomorrow, which is around being a mobility supplier of solutions."
Carhood was born in 2014, when co-founders Steve Johnson and Christian Schaefer decided that paying more for airport parking than flights, was a problem that needed a solution.
They launched in February 2015 in Melbourne, and soon after opened a facility in Brisbane. Sydney has been operating for the past month and there are plans to expand to Perth and the Gold Coast by the end of the year.
Currently around 70 per cent of the vehicles left under the care of Carhood are hired out, and prices vary car-to-car but start from $14 a day. Executive director and co-founder Johnson said the focus is very much on the community of users.
"You’re renting someone else’s car, so it’s a feel-good thing because you know some of that money goes back to the owner. You’re building a community, and that’s what Ford is trying to do as well, build a community of Ford owners and renters," Johnson said.
Instead of paying parking fees, those that use this service could turn a profit. Not a bad proposition.