How Not To Get a 5-star review as a Turo Host
I got my first non-five-star review has a Turo host the other day. My renter gave me three stars which caused me to consider what I did wrong in our brief business relationship.
Let’s talk about what happened first. To start, she was 15 minutes late to pick up the car for her 3-day trip in my humble Honda Civic. On her return home, she notifies me 10 minutes after return time that “she left an hour late”. Three hours later, she finally shows up. As she leaves with her ride, I tell her that there’ll be a $50 late fee (should have been $150), which takes her by surprise. She departs, and I take pictures of the car, which has gum wrappers and other bits of trash littered throughout. Nothing severe, but noteworthy.
While examining my car for checkout, I notice a brown stain in the middle of the back seat. Now, I don’t look in the back seat very often so I considered that it might have already been stained before her trip. Previous trip photos told me otherwise, so I sent a message asking if she did it. She claimed no one was in the back seat (I found trash back there, so I doubt that), but I told her I’d believe her. Neither of us had left a review at this point.
So what went wrong here? Aren’t I the 5-star host and she the criminal? Did I not wait around for 3 hours, interrupting my evening with guests? Was I not clear and upfront about what fees she would incur?
If I wanted to charge a late fee, I should have made that policy clear before she left with the car. Whether you make a note of it in your vehicle description, or in the “Trip Rules,” or in person before they leave, you should outline the late fee or cleaning policy to your customer yourself and not expect them to be familiar with it otherwise.
Till the Fat Lady Sings
Until your phone buzzes with the notification that your customer’s review is in, you treat them like the Queen of England (unless they’ve done something tragic with the vehicle)! My accusation of her making a mess in the back seat could have been done in a message attached to my review so as to not spoil her mood when she went to submit her review. In all fairness, I should have had much better documentation of the car’s condition to begin with. Turo gives a 24-hour grace period to submit claims, so don’t feel pressured to bring up pain points right away.
On Being Nice...
Now, it may sound like I’m encouraging hosts to be disingenuous with customers by not being transparent with problems they’ve created from the get-go. Here’s the thing: if you’ve clearly outlined what you expect before they took your car, you don’t need to reiterate or negotiate until their review is in. They know what they’ve done wrong, so don’t upset them before they’ve reviewed you. Hosts need the 5-star reviews because that’s what keeps the customers coming.
Be a better host than me. What are some other tips you have? Leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter (form below)!