Feb 28, 2024

How to build a marketplace for car rentals

Creating an online platform for car rentals presents a promising business opportunity. If you’re considering creating a website like that, this guide is tailored to provide insights into the reasons and methods behind building a marketplace for car rentals.

What is a marketplace for car rentals?

Online marketplaces for car rentals are platforms where individuals or companies can rent out their vehicles to others.

The top companies in this niche can grow to really great heights, like Turo’s current $2.3 billion valuation, or Zipcar, which was acquired when Avis paid $500 million for 50% of the company. Getaround also raised $200 million at a $1.5 billion valuation recently, showing that good companies can achieve great success in this market.

These marketplaces provide a wide range of options for customers, including different car models, sizes, and rental durations. Users can compare prices, read reviews, and book their desired car rental directly through the platform.

These marketplaces often offer additional services, such as insurance coverage and roadside assistance, to ensure a smooth rental experience. Overall, online car rental marketplaces provide a convenient and efficient way for car owners and renters to connect and transact.

Why build a website for car rentals?

The market for car rentals is growing at a steady pace. In fact, Vantage market research estimates that the global car rental market will reach $126.6 billion by 2028, with online rentals making up a significant portion.

These numbers make it a niche worth exploring and an entrepreneur that manages to build a company that creates actual value for customers can profit tremendously and create a win-win situation for everybody (all marketplace users).

These are some targets you should be looking to hit if you want to land in that win-win sweet spot. 

What are the benefits for buyers?

Buyers on the car rental marketplace enjoy a wide selection of vehicles, allowing them to find the perfect car for their needs and preferences.

They can compare prices and features from different sellers, ensuring they get the best deal possible. Additionally, buyers can easily book and manage their car rentals online, saving time and effort.

What are the benefits for sellers?

Sellers on the car rental marketplace gain access to a large pool of potential customers, increasing their chances of renting out their vehicles.

They can showcase their cars to a targeted audience, maximizing their visibility and rental opportunities.

Furthermore, sellers can set their own rental prices and terms, giving them control over their business and maximizing their profitability.

What are the benefits for the marketplace owner?

The marketplace owner benefits from the car rental platform by earning a commission or fee for each successful rental transaction.

As the platform grows and attracts more buyers and sellers, the owner's revenue potential increases.

Additionally, the marketplace owner can establish partnerships with car rental companies, expanding the platform's inventory and attracting more customers.

Successful marketplaces for car rentals

Here are a few thriving online platforms exclusively focused on car rentals. Analyzing these platforms can provide valuable insights into the market and assist you in finding your own path.

  1. Turo: Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental marketplace where car owners can rent out their vehicles to individuals needing a car rental.

  1. Getaround: Getaround is another peer-to-peer car-sharing platform that allows car owners to rent out their vehicles to people looking for short-term car rentals.

  1. Zipcar: Zipcar is a car-sharing platform that provides on-demand access to vehicles for rent by the hour or day. It operates in various cities and offers a membership-based model.

  1. CarRentals.com: CarRentals.com is an online marketplace that aggregates car rental deals from various rental companies, allowing users to compare prices and book rentals from different providers.

  1. Rentalcars.com: Rentalcars.com is a global car rental platform that offers a wide range of rental options from various car rental companies worldwide. Users can compare prices and book rentals through their website or app.

What features does a platform for car rentals need?

The most important functionality of a marketplace for car rentals would be the ability to search and compare available cars from different rental agencies easily. This includes features such as:

  1. Search Filters: Users should be able to filter their search based on criteria like location, dates, car type, price range, and other preferences.

  2. Availability and Booking: The marketplace should display the real-time availability of cars and allow users to book their desired vehicle directly through the platform.

  3. Pricing and Payment: The marketplace should provide transparent pricing information, including rental rates, additional fees, and any discounts or promotions. It should also offer secure payment options for users to complete their bookings.

  4. Reviews and Ratings: Users should be able to read and leave reviews and ratings for rental agencies and specific cars, helping others make informed decisions.

  5. Communication and Support: The marketplace should facilitate communication between users and rental agencies, allowing them to ask questions, request modifications, or resolve any issues that may arise during the rental process.

  6. Cancellation and Refunds: The platform should have clear policies and procedures for cancellations and refunds, ensuring a fair and hassle-free experience for users.

  7. Insurance and Safety: The marketplace should provide information about insurance coverage options and safety guidelines to ensure users know their responsibilities and rights while renting a car.

  8. Mobile-Friendly Interface: A user-friendly and responsive mobile app or website is crucial for easy access and seamless browsing and booking experience.

Overall, the essence of a car rental marketplace is to provide a convenient and reliable platform for users to find, compare, and book rental cars while ensuring transparency, safety, and excellent customer support.

What are the options & costs of building a marketplace for car rentals?

Costs of building from scratch

Building a marketplace for car rentals from scratch can involve various costs. These costs can be categorized into development costs, infrastructure costs, and ongoing maintenance costs.

Development costs include designing and developing the marketplace platform, such as hiring developers, UX/UI designers, and project managers. The complexity of the platform's desired features, and the development team's hourly rates can significantly impact these costs.

Infrastructure costs encompass the expenses associated with hosting the marketplace platform. This includes server costs, domain registration, SSL certificates, and any additional infrastructure required for scalability and security. The choice of hosting provider and the platform's expected traffic will influence these costs.

Ongoing maintenance costs involve the expenses required to keep the marketplace running smoothly after its launch. This includes regular updates, bug fixes, server maintenance, and customer support. The size of the development team, the frequency of updates, and the level of customer support provided will affect these costs.

It is challenging to provide an exact estimate without specific project requirements. However, building a marketplace for car rentals from scratch can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity and scale of the platform.

It is crucial to thoroughly analyze the desired features, market research, and budget constraints to determine a more accurate cost estimate.

Alternative options for constructing a marketplace for vehicle rentals

Developing an online marketplace for vehicle rentals from scratch is a substantial, costly endeavor.

However, nowadays, numerous different methods exist to construct a marketplace that doesn't necessitate a massive budget.

The option you should select depends on the following:

  • The features you believe your marketplace requires

  • Your technical abilities (or abilities you possess in your team)

  • Your budget

  • The available time.

The various methods to construct a marketplace are:

  • Utilizing WordPress and plugins

  • Constructing on top of open-source software

  • Using a combination of no-code tools

  • Utilizing a dedicated no-code marketplace SaaS tool

  • Developing on top of an API-based marketplace SaaS tool

In addition to your constraints in terms of abilities and budget, you should also consider the speed of learning. Launching your platform for vehicle rentals quickly means you begin to learn about your audience rapidly.

These learnings assist you in developing the type of platform that users adore more than any other existing solution.

Sharetribe's marketplace software is developed with this iterative learning process in mind.

First, we assist you in launching a platform for vehicle rentals in one day without any coding. Use the 14-day free trial of Sharetribe's Build plan to get your marketplace ready fast.

After the trial, you can subscribe to either continue building or launch your marketplace and go live.

After you've launched, you learn what additional features and functionality your platform needs to serve your audience. You may want to completely change the design and workflow, integrate a multitude of third-party services, or build a mobile app.

With Sharetribe, you can easily custom-code all these changes and much more, either by yourself or with assistance from our Expert partners.

At Sharetribe, we've been constructing marketplaces for over a decade. Our experience and expertise are at your disposal through our content resources, which you can access and use regardless of how you decide to construct your platform.

Best of luck with your website for vehicle rentals!

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