- Natalia Zorina is a Turo host in Miami who started her business on the car-rental app in 2018.
- Today, she has 69 cars including a Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, and Lamborghini.
- She revealed how she scaled her business and the types of cars that people rent in her area.
This as-told-to essay is based on an interview with Natalia Zorina, a 31-year-old Turo host in Miami who started her business on the car-rental app in 2018.
Turo is a car-sharing app that allows people to rent out their cars to customers for a daily rate. Some hosts rent as a side hustle to earn passive income, while others, like Zorina, operate full-time businesses.
Last year, Zorina earned $922,225 from renting her cars on Turo, which Insider verified with documentation. Today, she has 69 cars including a Ferrari, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Audi, and Lamborghini.
The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I started Turo as a side hustle with one car
I’m from Ukraine and moved to the US in 2017. I started renting our family car, a 2011 Porsche Cayenne, on Turo in 2018.
At first it was a passive side income since the car was rented mostly on the weekends. My husband and I washed the car ourselves. The income was enough to cover some living expenses, but it was not our primary source of income. At the time, I had a business developing a fitness app, but it is not active anymore.
In 2019, we financed our second car, a BMW 6 Series convertible and it made more money. A few months later, we bought a Tesla and also put it in Turo. Soon, we had enough income to cover a greater portion of family expenses. But it still wasn’t enough to pay the rent.
Going from side hustle to full time
When the pandemic started, we purchased a lot of cars with personal loans. We had at least nine cars and eventually we started managing cars for other people on Turo. Since then, demand for car rentals decreased, but it’s still higher than before the pandemic.
In 2021, we had our first investor in the company, Magic City Auto Group, and we purchased more cars. Now we have 69 cars and three employees who help me manage the rentals.
The business is no longer passive. I work from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Now we live on the ocean shore in a luxury apartment. We can afford to travel at least five times per year. Recently we took our entire family to Tennessee and we covered the whole trip.
Convertibles are a big draw in Miami
In Miami, it’s sunny and everybody wants to enjoy the weather. So convertibles are the way to go. Luxury family cars, like Mercedes SUVs, are also in demand because tourists in Miami come here to enjoy the luxury vibe of the city.
Then, you need to go for something unusual that people cannot drive every day. When they’re on vacation, they want something unusual like a shiny, yellow or green car.
In my fleet, I have a yellow car, orange car, blue cars, green cars — I have all sorts of colors. When I look for a new vehicle for the fleet and I see a BMW convertible comes in black or yellow, I buy the yellow.
My cars are parked all in one level of a parking garage so guests can see the entire fleet when picking up their vehicle and sometimes they upgrade or come back for another car they like next time. The garage is accessible 24/7 and there’s a car wash to make it easy to prepare cars. I pay $150 per car for parking, which is a discounted price because of the number of cars we have.
I adjust the rates for big events, holidays — or bad weather
The lowest rate I have is $75 per day for cars like a Lexus RX and some of the Audis. The most expensive vehicle is the Lamborghini Aventador, which goes for $1,700 per day.
Throughout the week, the price remains the same. The only time I increase is when there is an event, like Formula One or a holiday like Christmas. Then if I see that it’s raining, I decrease prices 15% because I understand that there is a low chance that people are renting that day.
I meet such amazing, unique people through this app, like businessmen, artists, and famous people. So it’s a great source of networking.