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Ballston-Based Startup Aims to be Uber for Transporting Cars

by Vernon Miles January 21, 2019 at 11:45 am 0

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

So you’re on a winter trip down to sunny South Florida and you need to fly home ASAP, but you’re not sure how to get your car back home. You could use a car carrier service, but those can be costly and often have inflexible schedules.

Starting in March, Ballston-based startup ReloRides could give you another option.

The app connects owners looking to relocate their cars with drivers interested in getting paid for a one-way trip.

“Our platform enables people who need to relocate their vehicle to post the location, preferred dates, type of vehicle and price to pay,” said Jon Gallinger, COO for ReloRides. “We would connect that vehicle with a driver going in the same direction.”

Gallinger said there is a demand both for people looking to move their car from one point to another, but also a demand for people hoping to travel but don’t have cars. With ReloRides, the owner of the car would post an offer, something like “I have a Chevy  Nova and I am coming back from Florida and want to go to New Hampshire.” Gallinger says the owner would list the car, the dates, and a price.

“The owner of the car offers flat fee and the driver says yay or nay,” said Gallinger. “We take a fee off what the owner pays, and the rest goes to the driver. The driver pays tolls and gas. It makes it easy on the owner.”

Gallinger said the alternative, car carriers that haul five or six cars, can be inconvenient for a number of reasons. They’re expensive, they take time to fill up with cars going to the destination, and the drop off locations are inflexible. Gallinger says he believes ReloRides can offer the same type of service for a fraction of the cost.

“Car owners have coverage, they should have coverage for a secondary driver,” said Gallinger. “Our terms and conditions require that the driver have liability coverage for anything caused by the driver… We do run background checks on all the drivers and screen them ahead of time. We won’t present a bad driver to the owner.”

But despite its potential, the startup does face one major big challenge.

“Haven’t booked any trips yet,” said Gallinger. “We had an owner who wanted to go from Denver to San Diego, but we couldn’t find a driver for that person. We’ve had that happen a couple times. It doesn’t have the critical mass yet for that to take off, but we feel that’s out there.”

Gallinger said the company has had the platform up for a little over a year but has done no advertising. The big advertising push for ReloRides is likely to come after the company’s website is upgraded.

Currently, 150 owners and drivers are signed up for the program. Gallinger says the company hasn’t been taking new signups until the upgrade is finished.

“We hope to get that up and running by March,” said Gallinger. “[That’s] the start of snowbird season, where people down south want to move their cars north. We want to be ready to go for that, then start marketing more heavily.”

Image courtesy ReloRides

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