It has been said that the art of good business is being a good middleman, a person with a keen sense for finding a golden middle between a market’s supply and demand. That said, there has to be a great customer experience. An ability to create mutually beneficial connections between suppliers and customers is what makes businesses stand out from the rest.
One such business is Rent Your Ride, a car rental service with a unique twist. Michael Okoye, the company’s founder, explains that Rent Your Ride is a peer-to-peer rental service that connects “‘hosts’ who are looking to earn extra money off their vehicles with ‘guests’ seeking to experience unique, hassle-free rentals, and get behind the wheel of common, luxury, and exotic cars.”
Okoye first discovered his passion for cars in third grade, after he saw a Ferrari F355 in the famous Italian racing color of Rosso Corsa. He then went on to work as a detailer at a Mercedes Benz in Winnipeg, later becoming their youngest ever Sales Consultant.
At university, brimming with ideas, he dreamt of a business where he could provide people in his small city with the — currently unavailable — experience of driving supercars; however, a student budget limited his options. Undeterred, Michael Okoye’s creative mindset and his admiration of the easy marketplace platform Kijiji prompted an idea.
“It dawned on him,” explains Rent Your Ride’s Director of Marketing and Business Development Aaron Badescu. “What if he created a platform like Kijiji but where everyone could list their own cars and rent them out. It was a win-win. Michael could start a unique rental car company on a university budget while providing a disruptive way for others to make money. This was written down on paper in the beginning of 2016, and the first version officially launched in 2017.”
Aiming for consumer convenience, Rent Your Ride operates exclusively online via a website and an app. After the app was redesigned in 2020, the company saw a 600% year-on-year increase in users into 2021.
Rent Your Ride’s unique business model leverages hosts who might own an extra car and like the idea of a side hustle while also appealing to guests who are drawn to the wide variety of vehicle options, unlike what the average rental company offers. The platform serves as a “middleman,” connecting “guests” with “hosts,” drivers with cars.
The company undoubtedly benefited from a year in which COVID and the industry-wide reaction led to what the media dubbed a “carpocalypse” — a shortage of automobiles and increased rental prices common in both the United States and Canada. Nevertheless, the COVID pandemic caused many businesses to sink down under, even though the market’s demand was through the roof.
As per Okoye, the reason for that is because the crew at Rent Your Ride follows five key tenets: innovation, world-class customer service, sharing, honesty, and passion. “We at Rent Your Ride believe that everything that is done in the company should follow these core values,” he says. “It is true that the art of good business is being a good middleman, but the honesty, passion, and other values are the only way to build a strong foundation that can support a thriving community in any business, and it’s the only way to succeed.”