TransferCar Part 1: Introduction to Free One Way Car and RV Rentals

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(Hat Tip to Hank for the tweet)

Good evening everyone, let me introduce you to TransferCar, a service that works on behalf of the rental car companies who need to reposition their fleet of rental cars and RVs around the country.  TransferCar’s idea is simple: “rental car companies are spending large amounts of money on relocating cars between their branches, in order to position their fleet for new hires. They can either use expensive trucks or trains or they can let you drive it for free. The rental operators win, you win.”  Check out TransferCar today.

Transfercar Home Page

To get started, check out the big yellow map.  The numbers inside the green circles represent the number of cars and RVs that need to be repositioned.  Most cars and RVs need to be repositioned from one state to another, but if you are in California, you can reposition cars up and down the state.

Transfercar Map of United States

When I click on California, it says that 2 cars/RVs need to go to Nevada (probably Las Vegas), 8 cars/RVs need to go to Texas (probably all RVs) and the remaining 9 cars/RVs need to be repositioned in California.

Transfercar Rentals from CA

The next page has all the unfiltered results of cars/RVs that need to be relocated.  On the right hand side, you can narrow down the list by checking which type of vehicle you want to drive.

Transfercar CA Rentals 1

You can also choose from the drop down menu a starting point (San Francisco in my case).

Transfercar Start in SF

The list is updated to reflect the 2 rental car/RV options available.  I can either drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas in a car or from San Francisco to Los Angeles in an RV.  The price is listed along with the price for each extra day, in case you decide to take a scenic route to the final destination.

Transfercar 2 Rentals from SF

Let’s look at the first option.  This car needs to be picked up today and dropped off tomorrow in Las Vegas.  Since no one claimed this vehicle, the rental car company will probably have to pay to have the car sent to Las Vegas.

Transfercar SF-Las Vegas Rental

You will also be able to see additional information such as rental car pickup and drop off locations, details about the vehicle, and the terms and conditions of the rental.

FYI: driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas takes at least 8 hours, depending on the route.

SFO to LAS Directions

Clicking on the second option, this RV needs to be driven from San Francisco to Los Angeles.  The RV needs to arrive in Los Angeles by February 28, so there are plenty of days to drive down.  If you have never rented an RV, it is really important to read the description and terms of the rental.  For this RV, there is a $1,000 bond and a $250 deposit that is required.

Transfercar SFO-LAX RV Top Transfercar SFO-LAX RV Bottom

Driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles is only 6 hours if you go the most direct way, but I would probably drive along the coast on CA-1 and Highway 101.  That way I could drive through Monterey, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara, before dropping off the car in Los Angeles.

I’ll be honest, I have never used TransferCar before, but I definitely want to try out the service.  I thought it would very cool to drive an RV down the California Coast and stop at a few places.  You can play around with the site by checking different states to see what rental options are available.  If anyone decides to try out TransferCar, please let me know how it goes.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great evening everyone!

36 thoughts on “TransferCar Part 1: Introduction to Free One Way Car and RV Rentals

  1. mileswhip

    This is awesome. I have been looking for a service like this for a while. Normal RV rentals are crazy expensive. I have always wanted to do a cross country road trip. Hopefully i find something good from the east coast.

    Reply
  2. mileswhip

    Thanks, I am even debating the one available from VA, just a quick flight with avios from nyc. You know anything about their cancellation policy?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I really don’t know anything about the cancellation policy, but I think you have to work directly with the rental car company to reschedule or cancel a reservation.

      Reply
        1. Grant

          When I flew into LAX, I called a few days earlier to arrange for them to pick me up in a shuttle at LAX and take me to the RV dealership. When I dropped it off, I had to request a taxi to get into Denver.

          Reply
          1. Stanley Coers

            Would you do it again. We just don’t want to do it if it’s going to end up costing us a lot more than we think.

          2. Grant

            The biggest costs are gas, followed by renting bed sheets, pillows, blankets, towels, cooking supplies, followed by insurance on the RV. Check out my full TransferCar review to see my total costs.

  3. Wendy

    If you want an rv to drive cross country. Check the ones leaving from Middlebury Indiana. They have one from there to San Diego, los Angeles and san Francisco.

    Reply
  4. Judy jones

    Interesting that they send them out of IN, they build them there and I used to be a delivery driver to the dealers. Looks like they save the cost of paying someone to drive them, good plan. I used to get over 1K a week for driving about 10 years ago, had to pay for most of my own gas. Middle bury is the home of Coachman.

    Reply
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  6. Kevin S

    I’m going to assume those RVs in Middlebury are recent conversion jobs. Given the complexity of today electric and electronics systems in vehicles, I would know who will pay costs if the RV quit out in the middle of no where. After market work too often get done without the factory schematics.

    Anyone have experience with driving in the high elevations of CO?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Great question Kevin. The last thing I want to happen is to have my RV breakdown in the middle of nowhere (sounds like a movie). I’m pretty sure they insure the vehicles and guarantee that they make it cross country.

      Reply
  7. Espen Grimstad

    Hi, my name is Espen Grimstad and I am co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Transfercar. Thanks for a great in-dept review of our website, Grant!

    The cancellation terms are set by the rental car or RV company. Insurance/coverage is the same: the rental companies decide what they want to include in the trip. Some include insurance, others require you to have your own or purchase it on pickup. So read the listing details carefully before requesting your vehicle.

    We started in New Zealand in 2008 and have since expanded to Australia and now the United States.

    Let me know if you have any more questions. I will answer anything I can.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Thank you for the comment Espen, you have a great idea, thank you for bringing it to the United States. I am very curious to try Transfercar from SFO to LA (I have my eye on an RV rental). From pick up to drop off, what kind of expenses would I be responsible for? I’m trying to understand the all-in price for the RV rental. Thanks for your help and have a great weekend!

      Reply
      1. Espen Grimstad

        Thank you, we are very happy to finally be here! Great that you want to do a Transfer. I hope you get it, requests are through the roof atm. The total cost varies a lot, depending on the rental company. We try to get the companies to lower the fees and include as much as possible. It depends how urgent they need it transferred. Some vehicles are completely free to drive, even including gas. But you usually have to make a deposit of some kind. This is returned on drop off. In case of the only SF – LA RV left, you have to make a $250 card booking deposit when accepted + $1000 card deposit on pickup. If you want to reduce excess to $0 (CDW) that cost $15 per day. And the trip is $5 per day. Then comes gas etc. In other words this RV will cost you up to $20 per day + gas, and a $1250 deposit. And that is one of our most “expensive” transfers.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          Thank you for the additional info. The daily rate sounds pretty good. The deposits do not bother me. I’m just concerned how much the gas bill will be. Should I expect to pay over $100 in gas for a SF-LA RV rental? Have a great weekend, Espen!

          Reply
          1. Espen Grimstad

            Happy Presidents Day, Grant!
            Currently we don’t give indications of gas cost because it depends on so many factors such as gas type, price at gas station, engine size and consumption, driving route, your driving style etc. But we have noticed some US rental car companies have this information on their own websites so we will soon begin offering it to the rental companies as an extra option when listing with us.

            There is a good fuel cost calculator here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml
            It does not include RV’s though.

            I don’t have any more information about that RV than what is listed unfortunately. My suggestion would be to try to look up the average MPG for small RV’s and go with that.

          2. Grant

            Thank you for the link, Espen. I will check out the fuel calculator and plug in a few different numbers to get a good estimate of what the total fuel price will be. Happy President’s Day to the Transfercar team!

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