Car Rental, Car Sharing, Car Clubs: What's the difference?

Car rental, car sharing, and car clubs are all ways for individuals to access vehicles for short-term use, and each option has its own unique characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks. Here’s a quick and easy guide to help clear up some of the confusion and find the rental option that’s right for you…

Car Rental

Traditional car rental companies, such as Hertz, Enterprise, Europcar, and Avis, own and maintain a fleet of vehicles that are available for rent by customers. 

These companies typically have a wide variety of vehicles to choose from, and they often have pick up locations at airports and designated collection points. The car rental offices can mean restrictions in pick up and drop off times and they're often closed on a Sunday so there's a risk of paying for an extra day when it's not needed.

While traditional car rental remains popular due to the amount of choice on offer and high standards of maintenance, it’s often too pricey for many people’s budgets and represents a sizeable carbon footprint.

Car Clubs

Car clubs, such as Zipcar, Enterprise Car Club, and Co-Wheels, are another popular option for short-term vehicle access. These organisations own and maintain a fleet of vehicles that are available for members to rent on an hourly or daily basis. The vehicles are typically parked in designated spots throughout a given area, and members can reserve them in advance.

Unlike traditional rentals, car club members don’t have to wait until an office is open to start their rental, and won’t have to worry about much paperwork after they’re successfully signed up. 

One of the key drawbacks of car clubs is that they tend to stick to a limited selection of car models, as this makes it more economical when buying and leasing in high volumes. Like traditional rentals, car clubs can also become quite expensive depending on the area, fleet, and permanent parking spots. Additionally, car clubs are investing in new cars to put on our roads, rather than tapping into the fleet of unused vehicles that already exist.

Peer to Peer Car Sharing

Finally, we have peer-to-peer car sharing, a relatively new concept to the UK where individuals can rent out their personal vehicles to others in their local community. 

Our very own Karshare is a car sharing marketplace, and it differs from traditional car rental companies in that it doesn’t own any vehicles. Instead, every car available on the platform is privately owned by someone who chooses to share their car with others.

Karshare also offers a keyless and contactless experience with no restricted collection times, where all the renter needs to access the car is an app. This makes the experience more convenient and safe for both the car owner and the renter.

Another big difference about Karshare is that it offers a more sustainable solution to car ownership. Although no driving is 100% guilt-free, a vehicle shared on Karshare can take 10 others off the road, as it makes use of cars that sit idle 96% of their lifetime. This benefits the environment and reduces the overall number of cars producing carbon emissions on the road.

With Karshare, money is being put back into the pockets of car owners in your area, rather than going to a multinational corporation. In 2023, Karshare put £1.5 million back into car owner’s pockets. On top of this, Karshare has over 230 models available on the platform - including vans and people carriers for one-off occasions. This helps to make car rental more accessible to a more diverse spread of people and needs.

Discover Karshare

If you’re looking for a quick and simple way to rent a car, you can browse nearby cars here.

Interested in adding your vehicle to the platform and renting it out to others? Get started here.