Which is better – Car Next Door, GoGet, Flexicar or RACV Car Share?

If you Need to Hire a car, how do you Work out the Cheapest or Best Option?

I sold my car when I moved to Melbourne because I lived close to the city and no longer needed it. A few times in the past few years I have hired a car or used car share services. When you add up the cost of owning a car with petrol, maintenance, insurance, depreciation and replacement, it gets expensive fast! Have you ever worked out the total cost of ownership for you? It’s eye-opening!

As someone who rarely needed my car, it made sense to rent/carshare as needed instead of own. When I lived in Canberra, it was better to own. 
Here are the pros, cons, costs and more of each carshare option then the car rental companies I have used.
Disclosure, we do use affiliate links on the site. Read the full disclosure here. This is our honest review of each platform in February 2017. Updates as indicated since then.  

How Did I Compare?

Either myself or people I know used each service so we could provide an accurate comparison. On my block I have Car Next Door,  Go Get, Flexicar, RACV Carshare and a few others. I’ve been able to see who is using which one, the type of cars available, costs and overall experience. Be aware, all of them will pre-authorise your card with an amount e.g. $250.

As a base for this comparison, I am using a Toyota Corolla style car. You can hire larger cars on each platform, including vans to move larger items. When comparing car hire for this type of car it varied drastically depending on dates and locations except for carshare companies. I tried a variety of dates for Melbourne and the cost from a regular car hire was $126.30 to $169.84 for 24 hours, whereas Brisbane was only $59.82 to $65.05 for the same dates! So that’s the starting point, anywhere from $60 to $170. Plus you need to pay for fuel. Carshare for short, local trips worked out cheaper.

Car Next Door – Cheapest

Updated Dec 24, 2019. I have continued to use Car Next Door mainly because I had credit. It is not my preferred option. And with recent changes to their terms of service, I wouldn’t be inclined to rent my car out through them if I owned one anymore. 

If you want the cheapest option, Car Next Door is it. From $25.00 a day or just $5.00 per hour and just $0.33km plus a $4.99 booking fee (unless you are on the $19 a month plan, which then removes that booking fee), it is priced well. Plus you can get $15 off your first trip here, making it even cheaper.

I have used Car Next Door for well over a year now from hiring a van to move house to little weekend trips e.g our trip to Warbuton. That said, I feel they have gone downhill in terms of customer service, ease of use and insurance coverage.

Pros of Car Next Door

  • It’s cheap.
  • Price includes fuel, insurance, everything.
  • You can use it to make money. If you have a car you barely use, list it and make some of your own cash.
  • It was relatively easy to join. Go through the steps, then verify your identity with a picture of you holding your licence and they approve you.
  • You can use it online or via the app.
  • Refer a friend program means any friends you refer who use the service within a set period get $15 and you get $15 credit.

Cons of Car Next Door

  • The lockbox can be clunky. They are big and sit on the outside of the cars or hooked up to a fence/letterbox. You get a code and enter it to open the box then do the same at the end.
  • You are hiring other people’s cars. This means they might not be clean, any damage might not be shown in the picture, there might be mechanical issues etc.

    I’ve used it numerous times and over half the cars have been dirty or there were mechanical issues including a check engine light on consistently, no liquid for the windscreen wipers and dirt all over it making it difficult to see out the windscreen. You do have the option to contact them to change the booking but I had a family emergency and no time.

  • If you pay for petrol on a trip, they credit your account instead of refunding the money. This means, the money goes to your Car Next Door account. Then you request to withdraw it. Each time I have done this, it hasn’t worked and it has taken WEEKS to get customer service to finally process the refund to me. 
  • Customer service is extremely slow. 

Go Get

With multiple options for private, business, students and seniors, there appears to be something for everyone. They do require you to sign up for a plan, either monthly or annually. Rates vary but with a Corolla for private use is $89 a day (inclusive of 150kms) or $10.90hr and $0.40km, plus the fee of $49 a year or a monthly fee (minimum of 6 months). If you have a business the rates drop with no annual fee and only $76 a day with 150kms included or $6.50hr plus $0.40km. 

Pros of Go Get

  • It’s easy to join (as all the car share options are). With Go Get you join then within 2 days will be sent your card or you can pick one up from specific locations.
  • You can use the app or website.
  • They have dedicated parking areas.
    Swipe your card just like using PayPass to get access to the car. The keys are already in the car.
  • Fuel cards are used and you need to fill up with these.
  • They clean the cars. I regularly see the ones near me being cleaned and detailed. The fleet of cars is well maintained.

Cons

It’s initially more expensive than Car Next Door but if you are travelling 150kms, it’s basically the same price.

FlexiCar

An annual fee is used with Flexicar as well, though they have a few options and the rates vary depending on how much you will be using their services. At a starter rate for irregular use, they are $49 for the annual fee, $79 a day (including 100kms) or $13.50hr. This drops to $55 a day plus 150kms or $8.95hr. With daily bookings, the rate for any km over the 100kms or 150kms limit varies from 25cents per km to 39cents, depending on your plan.

It’s easy to join and you are usually approved to drive within 24 hours. To use it, get the app, book cars as needed and return to the same location. Flexicars have dedicated parking like Go Get. You will simply need a pin from the app to access the car, the keys are in it ready to go and a fuel card is there to fill it up.

Pros of Flexicar

  • It’s readily available in major cities
  • It’s easy to join and use
  • Refer a friend program is $30 and their sign up credit is $30 here
  • 20% discounts for longer hires e.g. 3 days or more through Hertz and 10% off overseas

Cons of Flexicar

It worked out to be the most expensive for just the day but customer service is better. 

RACV Carshare

You’d assume a car share service run by a car hire company would be good, user-friendly and the customer service would be on par. It wasn’t. RACV was by far the worst out of the lot. The customer service didn’t respond to an email I sent, when I called a week later the rep didn’t know anything and I had to keep checking then got it wrong. I would not recommend them to anyone.

Pros of RACV

  • The cars are all relatively new and there are a variety of options and locations.
  • 350kms per day hire compared to only 100kms to 150kms with the other services.

Cons of RACV

  • Customer service is terrible
  • The system is old and not user-friendly compared to the other platforms.
  • Petrol is a pain. If there is no fuel card, you fill up then get reimbursed. I did have to do this with another car service, but RACV also charges $50 if someone doesn’t leave the car with at least 1/4 of petrol. Thus, it should be reasonable to assume there will be petrol in the car when you hire it.

Overall, I would not recommend RACV.

Final Thoughts On Carshare

From our experience, Car Next Door was the cheapest for our needs and didn’t require an annual fee, but you need to be careful about which car you hire. Go Get was preferred for cleanliness and ease of use. RACV was the worst.

To get $15 off and join Car Next Door click here. Join Go Get here or Flexicar here.

Car Hire Companies

Since I travel full time, I have used car hire companies in a few locations. Sometimes I book directly through the car hire company itself, other times through a third party with a greater discount.

In all honesty, they are all pretty much the same. Customer service was far superior with Thrifty, Hertz and Europcar compared to the carshare companies. The cars are clean, pick up and drop off is easy, they have roadside assistance and the pricing is better for longer bookings. If you only need a car for a few hours, carshare is better.

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    15 Comments

    1. I have used Flexicar for a long time and the customer service is great. Tried GoGet and found the vehicles locking and unlocking is annoying with the card reader beeping every time the vehicle turns off. Racv isn’t the best unless they have a card or code to access vehicle

    2. Be careful about Car Next Door, I feel they are dodgy in this business. When I was trying to use their service for first time, one of their installer came and broke my driver front door and walked away without resolving the issue. It is still pending resolution even after I escalated the matter to their management. Lately I came to know that this is the way their management ask employee to behave on such instances. So be catious.

      • Nice article! I wish I have researched more prior to renting with CarNextDoor. I WOULDN’T recommend it to anyone, their customer service is pathetically inefficient and slow, they are not customer oriented and I had to deal with a dishonest car owner. Long story that I detail more on ProductReview.com.au
        Lesson learnt for a total loss of 300+aud 🙁

      • We were charge over $400 for less than a day for Van rental by Car Next Door plus we filled it up with fuel!. They just took the money from our credit card without letting us know. Thieves!

        • Hi James, sorry you had that experience. It is outlined when you sign up and as you book that the payment will be deducted. It also states how much the hire will be per hour which is set by the owner, plus the per kilometre charge. Per km can be 33cents to 45cents for most bookings. For the fuel, you are supposed to upload your receipt and it gets credited back to you and you can withdraw it into your account. So if you loaded the receipt, the refund would be there. Hope that helps.

    3. Good overview, thanks. Re: Car Next Door, I’ve had 50+ rides with them without any issues until once I had a dispute (the next renter claimed I left the car dirty, whilst the car was disgusting even when I picked it up) – I complained straight away and CND charged me regardless, took 3-4 weeks to respond, they were just clueless and pathetic. So, CND is good until you have any minor or major issues, if that happens, good luck

    4. RACV Carshare is terrible. There is always an issue with this service. The app is very poor as well, always experiencing technical issues. I would completely avoid and go with another provider.

    5. My car has been on CND for over a year now.

      During this time, yes I’ve made decent revenues, but the stress and lack of support from CND has been horrible, particularly in the last few months as more and more of their services are trying to be automated or outsourced. In addition, I’m likely to be left with a final repair bill that will cost more than the profits I’ve made over the year with CND.

      Depending on your luck (mine has been hopefully just terrible in relation to everyone else’s) but I’ve had at least 1 speeding fine a month. While these should normally just be a speedy online form, which you are compensated for – every now and then you luck out and the borrower can’t be identified or similar, and you are left to deal with all of this.I even had to go to court to argue one particularly difficult case, and I still have 2 fines that finesVIC have not resolved.

      Throughout all this, minimal support from CND.
      The only support I did have was from an “owner support team” – which seemed to be based in Australia and were pretty helpful. However, I can’t seem to get in touch with them anymore, which bodes poorly for the future car owners on this platform.

      Much worse however, is WHEN (not if) your car is damaged.
      Initially, this started off as an email to the team, who would then begin the process.
      This process has always been excruciatingly slow, exacerbated by woefully incompetent staff who can take weeks to respond to a simple query, only to ask for more pictures and information.
      It’s now significantly more difficult, as you need to fill out an online template form – which is not even app compatible.

      However, the most difficult part remains trying to (in vain) keep track of all the different damage borrowers cause to your car and stay on top of the repairs that CND do not support or conduct in time.
      As such, it’s incredibly difficult to tell what damage has just been caused – and if you let one slip for more than 45 days (highly likely when you work full time and have 5+ other CND tickets of damage or speeding fines to damage at one time) – CND will no longer support you and you are fully liable.

      There are no systems on CND to keep track of your tickets and damages. You need to somehow, keep track of whats been damaged, and to what extent.

      In the case of severe, unpredictable damages (my windshield wiper housing was severely damaged by a borrower – quite inexplicably) – CND likely will just tell you “this is normal wear and tear” – even if the same suspected culprit left needles all over your car.

      All in all, this experience has not been worth it for me. It has made me lose my faith not only in the CND Platform but also in humanity’s ability to treat shared property with respect.

      I’ll be getting my final repair done ASAP, paying off the final repair bill out of my own pocket, and then removing my car from the platform as quickly as I can.

    6. Car Next Door are just thieves it runs out, the second they can sting you for something even if it is not your fault, they will. then they completely ignore all contact from you and you are basically helpless to challenge them, as they do not acknowledge any contact from you at all, just say the matter is finalised and “please contact us if…” to which they again, ignore you, and of course, no one can ever help you on the phone for disputes. Basically frauds and thieves. Steer clear.

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