Recognising a need to bridge the gap between local and international travellers and private car owners, Cherie Williams embarked on creating the Caribbean’s first peer-to-peer car rental platform.
Last week the entrepreneur launched Rent Yuh Ride (RYR) in Kingston, Jamaica, in a bid to facilitate car renting in a way that is “efficient, affordable and safe”.
In fact, the founder and CEO of RYR believes the platform is a superior alternative to the traditional way of renting cars.
“Travellers deserve a better way to rent cars, they need options and what’s available just doesn’t cut it,” Williams said.
“With the Rent Yuh Ride™ platform, you can choose from a wide range of vehicles that fit your style, a wide range of prices that fit your budget, and there’s absolutely no negotiating back and forth. Moreover, car owners have underutilised vehicles for months at a time and Rent Yuh Ride™ will provide new opportunities for them to earn additional income,” she explained further.
“We brought the idea to a local agency who pitched it to ICWI. It was after our presentation to them that the partnership was solidified.”– Founder and CEO of Rent Yuh Ride, Cherie Williams
Williams argued that her platform presents a win-win for both renters and car owners. On one hand, the former saves money and on the other hand, car owners earn from their vehicles.
What’s more, users can earn travel credits and incentivised bonuses from the platform.
“Users earn account credits when they invite others to sign up to rent or list,” Williams said in response to a Caribbean Business Report query.
“Incentivised bonuses are time-sensitive promotions that align with our goal to grow users. Our current bonus for the first 40 car owners is US$200 (for a limited time),” she continued.
Notwithstanding this, the businesswoman recognises that there are challenges that her platform must resolve in order to be viable. Among them: car reputation is unknown and web listings provide inadequate information about ownership. In addition, 58 per cent of vehicles in Jamaica are uninsured.
To this end, as a security measure, car owners must submit documentation for their vehicles when they signup, before receiving approval. Renters can likewise register, select their locations and destinations and proceed to pay electronically.
Once the vehicle is returned to the owner, both parties can provide a review.
To further enhance security, the company has partnered with Jumio to “definitively authenticate users on the platform”. Moreover, RYR has teamed up with the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) to provide car owners with private rental insurance at discounted rates.
Williams told Caribbean Business Report how the partnership with ICWI came about.
“We brought the idea to a local agency who pitched it to ICWI. It was after our presentation to them that the partnership was solidified.”
The RYR founder is hoping to deepen the company’s relationship as it eyes expansion in the region. With the emerging peer-to-peer car rental sector projected to grow at 10 per cent annually, Williams is hoping to be the first to get her feet wet in the Caribbean, a hotspot for tourism.
Asked where, in particular, she hopes to launch the platform next, Williams responded, “We have a few in mind but through our partnership with ICWI it will be ideal to target countries where they already have a strong presence.”
She disclosed, too, that the fundamental research has already been done in other Caribbean markets. However “we decided to use Jamaica for our market validation because it’s our home base”.
She continued: “We’ve conducted audience and competitor analysis to identify gaps in the market that we can fill… Through our analysis, we recognised our differentiator and found a position that we can call our own. We’re not creating a new concept but rather adding value and enhancing experiences.”
Rent Yuh Ride currently employs a team of four — all women.