A new startup app is trying to connect people parking their car at the airport with out-of-towners looking to rent a vehicle.
Lend your car via the FlightCar app and you'll get free VIP airport parking service, a free gas card, and possibly some cash.
The service also insures your vehicle against theft, damage and liability while someone else is driving it.
FlightCar – started last year by 18-year-old entrepreneurs Kevin Petrovic, Rujul Zaparde, and Shri Ganeshram – offers tourists much cheaper car rental rates, too, reports Wired.
"First, you [the car owner] create a listing on FlightCar with your vehicle’s stats, proof of ownership, and the dates you’ll be traveling. On the day of your flight, you call FlightCar on the way to the airport and the company sends a valet to meet you at short-term parking to collect your keys," Wired explains how the app works.
"You catch your flight, and your car goes to FlightCar’s warehouse. On the homeward bound leg, you call FlightCar with your return flight details, and a valet meets you with your car at the same parking area."
Depending on demand, your car may or may not be rented out – you get a free car wash and free parking regardless – but if it is, you'll be issued free gas cards to make up for the fuel used. If your vehicle is a new or premium model, you'll also earn $10 per day during the rental period. Economy cars earn $10 per rental instead, and cars made before 1999 or with more than 150,000 miles (240,000 km) are ineligible.
FlightCar also tops up the gas tank and covers any red light tickets your car may be issued while it's rented.
Eligible renters – FlightCar has to verify your driving licence and record to make sure you haven't had any major accidents – pay between $15 and $34 a day for the service. FlightCar pockets that revenue, minus the $10-per-day or per-rental that goes to the car owner.
The biggest worry for the entreprenuers is the balance between supply and demand, and that they could lose money if there are more car owners signing up for free parking than there are renters.
Ganeshram says that at the first airport they've served, San Francisco International, the problem is the opposite, though: they have roughly five times as much renter demand as they do supply.