What's wrong with this business idea: transporting someone's car for them

I have an idea for a business. Tell me if it’s been done, or if it could possibly work.

I’ve just flown to some faraway place, and I need a car. I don’t want to rent a car, because it’s expensive, or because I’d rather use my own car. So I pay someone to drive my car to the destination and meet me there, probably leaving a bit before me to arrive at the same time. I pay them by the distance travelled and/or by the amount of gas used. How hard would it be to make this less costly than renting a car?

I imagine it’d be pretty hard to make it cheaper than just renting. Obviously, there are a lot of variables, but there already exists a service to get your car shipped if you’re moving. The company would want to use that infrastructure; I bet it’s far more costly to pay someone to actually drive it and to get them back to where they live.

I don’t really see the market, to tell you the truth. If you’re just going on a business trip for a few weeks, you won’t even get close to the cost of renting (not to mention it would be far more inconvenient than picking up a car at the airport rental desk).

It’s be impossible. Just think about it for half a second. What are you going to do about a car before you fly because the guy driving your car has to leave before you do to get there. Mileage is substantial. Paying a guy is a lot. How about hotel rooms for the guy and food expenses? Plus labor laws that limit how much driving he can do and what about when you’re driving around? What is your guy doing? Just sitting around unpaid?

Here’s a real-life example: I’m going to San Francisco next week and I’ll be there Fri thru Tues. I’m renting a car for $20 a day including taxes so my total cost is $100 + plus gas. Rental cars are cheap.

The distance from Austin to San Francisco is 1800 miles. Averaging 60 mph it’ll take 30 hours of driving to get there. So my guy would have to leave on Wed to have it there Fri morning (if he drove 15 hours a day). What am I gonna drive in Austin? A rental car?

Supposing my car get 25 mpg (which it doesn’t) it’ll cost me $144 in gas costs alone (plus the additional mileage and wear and tear on my car) one way. I pay the guy minimum wage for 15 hours a day and it’s $94 a day. Let’s say $45 a day for hotel rooms. Plus a $20 a day per diem for food. (all of this is much less than the drivers of cross country commercial vehicles get) So the guy is hired for a total of 9 days (two days before I leave, five days I’m there, and two days after), eight night. My total bill would be $1584 if I hired him directly.

There are already businesses that ship cars from one place to another. If you’d check into it, you’d see that it’s not cheap and they do it all the time. Also the shipping is only one way. What you are describing was someone driving your car to and from destinations where you will stay temporarily. The cost of that will be cost prohibitive compared to renting a car.

So you have full coverage, in case of accidents and theft, that will include other states and/or countries? :confused: :confused: :confused:

I can’t find any documentation on this, but I seem to remember my mom telling me about a system that hooked up people who needed to get places with people who needed vehicles moved - person with vehicle didn’t have to pay money, the use of the car was the payment. Example: I need to get to California but for some reason can’t/won’t take the public transportation options - you need to have a car moved to California because you are drving a moving truck out there (or whatever reason you want to come up with). This service hooks us up, I drive your car to where you need it, getting a free ride in the process. I believe one of my aunts or one of my mom’s college buddies did it once or twice. I am not sure how widespread or even formal the system was - it may have been an informal college campus networking type thing, and it may have been a system that no longer is in place - or I may be pulling something out of my ass from a misremembered conversation I had 10 years ago). Does that ring any bells with any other dopers, or am I delusional?

It’s a long time since I read it but this sort of system was described in Kerouac’s “On The Road”, IIRC

I was going to mention that as well, but wasn’t sure if they got the car through a random acquaintance or a service - the condition they left the car in would be one of the concerns I would have giving my car over someone I met through the system though (that is, if my car wasn’t one big dented rust spot to begin with).

My memory agrees with Donovan. Too, there are already such businesses in place, mostly retired individuals picking up extra income. Most new car dealers use them on a regular basis. Call one and ask.

Compinies exsist that do exactly that! I don’t have any examples. But around 15 years ago,
a guy I had met got around doing exactly that. Some rich person(s) would want their car
shipped from house in say Maine, to house in say Florida. Rich person had people/famlily
at both places, and didn’t want to have it shipped by rail or truck thinking it was safer to
have someone actullay behind the wheel driving it. They didn’t want their family or
themselve to make long boring drive. So, hire company the has someone actuall drive it!
Laws govering haow many hours you can drive are for the shipping industry, truckers, …
someone with whaterever class licence for driving a truck. After all, can’t I get behind the
wheel of my car for 16 hours straight (I wouldn’t) if I wanted to! What I don’t think the rich
person knew was the quality of character of the person behind his cars wheel. Anyone with a licence! And yes this guy I knew was unemployed, giving him amlpel time for the drive.

Funny … so this unemployed hippy freak, going noware band type, Timmithy Leary deciple,
who will probably never be able to affor da Jaquar … shows up one day at my place in
New York driving a Jag and … hee hee . needing a place crach for a few days.
I bedded him, feed him. He had provided for me for a few days while some friends and I
helped him with a show in Maine the previous year!

Yes, I recall hearing about such deals when I was in college in the early 1970s. However, it was normally to deliver a car one-way for someone who was moving, not so they could use it temporarily on vacation.

PS I forgot he also let me drive it! Don’t think the owners would have liked that:)

The business model has been tried. If you see Rutger Hauer with his thumb out, don’t stop.

Delivering cars used to be popular, but I suspect that insurance problems or something have put a damper on the practice. When I was ferrying airplanes around and had to get back to base after a delivery, I had a list of numbers from various nationwide services that looked for drivers. Also most big city newspapers had a Drivers Wanted section in the classifieds. Put down a couple hundred dollars as deposit, show some ID, and off you go in a nice late model car. (No one paid the fairly high fee to deliver a junker from San Diego to Boston.) I probably made twenty or so crosscountry trips that way.
A couple years back I tried to find a ride from Seattle to Texas, and discovered that all the phone numbers didn´t work, none of the newspapers had a Drivers Wanted section, and there was nothing in the Yellow Pages. If anybody knows why, I´d like to know.