Carhood Review - Free Parking at Brisbane/Melbourne/Sydney Airport
Disclaimer: I am sharing a referral link in this post. By using my referral link, both you and I receive a benefit that you otherwise would not get if you signed up without my referral. The benefit is as follows: You receive $15 credit off your first Carhood ride. As the referrer, I will get $15 credit off my next Carhood ride when you rent a vehicle. I will then get $60 credit if you share your car on Carhood.
Update, 31/10/2017: Their Sydney location moved to 39/41 Sir Joseph Banks Street, Botany since 24 July 2017. I have not used them since this review so I am unable to provide any update on what the new venue is like!
Carhood offering free airport parking is awesome. In addition, you get a free clean and a portion of the rental cost paid to you if your car is rented out. Their free parking service will probably be of most benefit to those who would ordinarily drive to the airport and pay for long-term parking anyway. It also means you've got your own car to drive home in after the rental period as well!
While the positives are quite obvious, there are some drawbacks which you need to be aware of:
- You have no control over the type of renter you'll get
- Your vehicle is effectively being managed/looked after by a third party business whilst you are away
- You need to factor in additional time before your flight, and after your arrival as they are not physically located at the airport unlike the larger, more recognised car rental companies.
- There is some admin work involved - think about if your outbound or return flight gets cancelled/delayed
In my honest objective opinion, the advantages of Carhood are generally greater as a renter than as a sharer. In my post last week, I discussed the other side of Carhood, i.e. how it works as a renter.
Review of Carhood as a Sharer
Carhood market themselves as offering free parking at the airport. I have used their service three times, all as a sharer.
The truth is, "free parking at the airprt" is probably a little misleading. They currently service the three main airports of Australia: Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
The way it works is as follows:
You want free parking at the airport while you're away on holiday? Sure.. but...
- You have to park your car with Carhood which is near the airport, and to get the free parking, you must share your vehicle on Carhood's website for others to rent the car.
- In return, you get the following:
- Free parking near the airport
- A lift to and from the airport (usually) in your own vehicle
- A free car wash if it is rented out
- 25% of the rental amount paid by the renter for the vehicle
They have an extensive FAQ section which answers a lot of the common concerns you would have in relation to sharing your vehicle and renting a vehicle, such as...
- What kind of drivers are there on Carhood?
- What sort of insurance is provided?
- What happens if the person renting gets a fine whilst driving my vehicle?
- Do I pay for tolls?
- Do I pay for petrol?
I won't answer these here, because as I said, their FAQ section is fairly extensive and answers these and will add unnecessary length to an already long post.
In my opinion, Carhood's concept is great. It's another addition to the sharing economy (think Uber, Airbnb). There are certain limitations you need to be aware of which I will discuss below.
- Free parking near the airport - particularly attractive if you live a distance away from one of the major airports and your alternative would be to pay for long-term parking
- A free clean if your car gets rented out
- Earn a bit of cash if your car gets rented out
- You know your car's battery most likely won't go flat even if you're gone for a few months, because the chances of it getting rented out is quite high
* [Sydney] The area your car is parked in is actually just an outdoor carpark area on Arncliffe St (near Allen St), Wolli Creek, right along the train tracks and near the roundabout. Refer to the map snip above. On 24 July 2017, Carhood Sydney moved to 39/41 Sir Joseph Banks St, Botany
- There may be concerns as to what kind of driver ends up renting your car, and you'll have no idea how or if they will actually look after your car
- On this note, they do have what they call a "strict renter eligibility requirement" - whether it is sufficient for you, well, I'll leave that to you
- You'll need to factor in additional time to drop your car off before your flight.
- During busy/peak periods, give yourself an hour. During less busy/off peak periods, half an hour should be enough
- You'll need to factor in additional time to leave the airport when you return, as you'll need to wait for a Carhood staff member to drive your car to the airport to pick you up.
- If they are too busy, they may get you to take make your own way (i.e. taxi/Uber/GoCatch - but you'll be reimbursed)
- The amount you earn is very little. Using my car as an example (2013 Nissan sedan), your approximate earnings would be $7.50 per day that your car is rented out
- It is arguable that the point of this deal is the free parking though - not so much the amount you earn. In fact, some would argue that it'd be a better deal to simply get the free parking without having your car rented out, but that's not up to you!
- An element of inflexibility and admin work. For example, what happens if your outbound flight gets delayed? What happens if your return flight gets delayed or you've changed your plans? It would be best for you to inform them if your return date/time has changed.
My own personal experience/review
Here is what I have to say, based on my experience of using them three times as a sharer:
- I absolutely love the concept and I feel it's a very logical addition to the sharing economy. It tries to take advantage of what could be perceived as some inefficiencies (your otherwise unutilised vehicle) to the benefit of several parties:
- You, the sharer - free parking, small amount of income
- The renter - cheaper rental cost from the airport, probably a superior choice of vehicle relative to other rental companies
- Carhood, the business - this is their business model, i.e. they make money
- The impression you'd get from their website is that they're a pretty polished, well run large business. However, the impression from their (Sydney) office and drop off area is in fact quite the opposite.
- To elaborate a little bit, their office looks like a small family run business. The staff also give off the impression of your average Joe. Not to say these are necessarily bad things - it gives it, arguably, a little bit more of a personal touch, but also makes it feel a little less "professional".
- However, as at 24 July 2017, Carhood Sydney have moved to a larger/newer location. I have not visited their new premisees yet so am not in a position to comment!
- [Sydney] They are often understaffed - this is particularly noticeable at peak/busy periods. Think of the start and end of long weekends, school holidays as examples.
- The process is roughly as follows:
- Sign up
- List vehicle - you'll need to specify some of the details of your car as well as time/date of drop off and return - this also corresponds to the time your vehicle is available on the rental market
- Drop off vehicle at specified date/time
- Wait for a staff member to be available - sign some contractual paperwork
- Staff member will go to your vehicle and inspect your vehicle for physical scratches/marks to ensure it is marked before your car gets officially rented out to another party
- Staff member will notate (visually) the amount of petrol at the time your car is dropped off - this does not have to be full, but is recommended that you pump prior to droppping it off.
- Staff member will drop you off at the airport. They will drive the car back to Carhood office and drop the car off in their carpark area
- Car may or may not get rented out. If it does, you'll get 25% of the rental amount and a car wash.
- When you return, you call Carhood to tell them you've arrived. They will tell you where to wait for them to pick you up and will most likely pick you up in your own vehicle.
- You are taken back to their office, you'll sight your car and make sure you're happy with everything. Sign some paperwork. Off you go.
- Money is wired to either a nominated bank account or PayPal account within 60 days of the completion of rental.
They lose points for extra wait time due to understaffing which is particularly noticeable during busy periods. Your vehicle being parked in an outdoor carpark area (Sydney) whilst you are away is probably a slight concern for some people, but they gain points because from my experiences, they do what they say they do. To be fair, I also haven't had any negative experiences with them to be able to comment on how Carhood would be during times of adversity. I also haven't ever used long-term parking to be able to do a direct comparison.
If you have any questions about my experience, or wish to share some of your own experiences, please feel free to comment below!
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