Tips for making the most of your car share experience

Issued by Tarlen Carshare
Johannesburg, Jun 5, 2024
Charles Aruya, founder, Tarlen Carshare.

The founder of Tarlen Carshare, Charles Aruya, offers some practical tips to help users maximise their car sharing experience. Tarlen Carshare is a car sharing app that enables individuals to generate income from their vehicles by renting them out to potential users, thus providing a flexible and convenient solution for both car owners and renters alike.

The process of joining Tarlen Carshare is straightforward: users download the app onto their mobile phones, provide the requested information and can then either rent a car or make their car available to potential renters. Currently available in the Western Cape, there are plans afoot to grow the offering to other provinces.

Aruya starts out by explaining that renters need to be 21 years old or older to book a car, and that the cars are categorised into different bands. “Renters between the ages of 21 and 25 can only book vehicles in the economy and standard bands, and incur a driver’s fee. Renters older than 25 can book any car band of car without this fee.”

To ensure safety and reliability, all users undergo a Know Your Customer check. Aruya clarifies: “We ask them to take a photo of their face and both sides of their driver’s licence. Our systems vet them and, if approved, they can proceed to book a car. In the case of verification issues, users can reach out for manual verification. Car owners also have the option to vet renters themselves, if they wish.”

Whichever route renters take, depending on the booking preference of the car owner, they can book their car of choice instantly. The renter’s account is only debited once the booking is accepted by the host.

After a booking is confirmed, it’s crucial for the renter and car owner (host) to discuss the pickup or delivery arrangements. The app’s chat functionality facilitates these interactions.

Advice for renters

Aruya emphasises the importance of renters bringing a valid driver’s licence when picking up the car. A third party with a photocopy may not collect a vehicle on the renter’s behalf. “This is for security purposes – our insurance won’t cover a vehicle that’s rented by someone whose licence hasn’t been validated. The host must ensure that the name on the driver’s licence corresponds with the renter’s name on the app.”

Before handing over the keys, car owners need to document the vehicle’s condition, taking photos of the interior, exterior, rims and tyres, and upload them via the app. They must also document the mileage and fuel level, supported by a photo of the dashboard display. Renters follow a similar process, taking a selfie with their driver’s licence and uploading photos of the car’s condition and dashboard display.

Once both parties have completed their check-in process, Tarlen has access to the images, which can be referred back to in the event of a dispute.

Several rules are mandatory for renters, continues Aruya. They must not allow unauthorised drivers, tow anything, speed or use the vehicle for purposes other than private use (such as for a delivery or taxi service). Renters can’t keep a car past the booking period unless they extend the trip on the app. Every extension request is sent to the car owner and must be approved by him/her.

Violating any of these rules voids the Tarlen Carshare protection cover, making the renter liable for any claims.

He also warns against renters making bookings directly with hosts instead of via the app. “Doing so means that the renter evades all of the security checks that we have in place, and also doesn’t have to pay a deposit. This opens up both parties to risk. We strongly advise both host and renter against taking transactions outside of the app because then none of our guarantees hold.”

Advice for hosts

Aruya encourages hosts to treat car sharing as a business venture, saying: “Understanding hosts’ motivations helps us to meet their expectations effectively.”

He cites the example of a host who needed to be at the office during the day, which meant that nobody was available at home to check renters in and out. “We provided him with a remote check-in and check-out key box, which is essentially a lockbox that you put the car keys in. and share the code with guests.”

For car owners wanting to maximise their car sharing experience, Aruya recommends they take the time to understand the service end-to-end. “Engaging with the Tarlen Carshare team, reading all of the available literature and using the app’s inbox to communicate with renters can enhance the experience. Regular updates, including taking new photos of their vehicles and adjusting prices, can improve their offering.”

Hosts should ensure flexible mileage and can seek advice from the Tarlen Carshare team if unsure. Good photos that highlight the driving experience are crucial. Additionally offering delivery and instant bookings can increase appeal.

While the onus is on the car owner to keep the vehicle clean, the renter should return it in a similar state of cleanliness to avoid incurring a valet fee. Agreement on smoking policies is also important.

By following these tips, both car owners and renters can enjoy a seamless and rewarding car sharing experience with Tarlen Carshare.

To stay informed, users can check out Tarlen Carshare’s website for more information about car sharing, and keep an eye out for an upcoming car sharing expo that’s going to be held in the Western Cape later this year, the first of its kind in South Africa.