It’s not an authentic Colorado experience for the out-of-town tourist unless you’re road-tripping in a Subaru.
At least, that’s according to full-time Uber and Lyft driver Jason Buijs, who launched a business renting out a small fleet of the compact, all-wheel-drive cars.
“Subies are the best all-around car for Colorado,” Buijs said. “Subarus have a high clearance (for snow) … but you don’t really need something like a giant Tahoe or a big truck.”
The 28-year-old moved to Colorado six years ago and became familiar with the popularity of Subarus as a car rental manager for Hertz. He now has a fleet of three Subarus after purchasing two this summer.
Buijs launched his Subaru rental website three weeks ago. By spring, he plans to have up to 10 Subarus available for adventure-seeking Colorado visitors.
“I knew Subarus were a big hit in Colorado,” Buijs said. “I thought it was a good brand to connect with.”
The company uses car rental sharing web service Turo, an Airbnb-like platform for car rentals. Turo provides car insurance, advertising and reviews, Buijs said. Customers can pay and reserve a car on Turo and choose a pick-up location, where they will find the key in a lockbox on the window.
Buijs said most customers pick the car up from the airport. He rarely shuttles the cars anywhere except for oil changes. Mileage from each renter is unpredictable, he said, but most customers take the Subarus into the mountains for hiking, skiing, camping and other outdoor activities.
Buijs said the hardest part of the business is handling logistics of clients’ travel schedules, and he’s glad to use a service that handles insurance for him. According to its website, Turo charges car owners between 15 and 35 percent of their trip earnings, depending on their insurance plan.
Buijs, who studied international relations at Old Dominion University, moved from Virginia six years ago. He started renting out one Subaru two years ago, and since then, 170 customers have reserved his cars for Colorado trips.
Buijs may rent out Subarus, but for his own livelihood of driving Lyft and Uber, his choice is a Honda. He said all his Subaru rental revenue goes back into the business. He’s recently poured $22,000 into purchasing two used Subarus in July and August.
His vehicles – two 2007 Subaru Outbacks and one 2006 Subaru Outback – cost $35 and $40 per day to rent, respectively. That’s less than half as much as a four-wheel-drive SUV from Hertz.
In November, all his Subarus will come with ski racks at no additional cost, he said.