Real People. Real Stories. Real Business.
Chris Bell

Should You Buy a Car or Rent by the Hour?

In busy towns and cities worldwide, the popularity of car sharing is growing at record pace. The idea being that rather than buying a car outright, you simply pay to use the vehicle you need, when and where you need it.

At the same time, buying a car on finance is likewise becoming a more popular option than ever before. UK car finance application volumes have been steadily growing for some time, as car finance in the UK becomes increasingly affordable.

But which of the two is the better option? If you’ve been considering buying a car on finance but haven’t made your final decision, could car sharing represent a more cost effective option?

As with most things, the answer differs significantly from one individual and case to the next. Some car finance options are cheaper than others, just as some car sharing schemes charge higher prices for use of their vehicles.

Advantages and Disadvantages to Consider

On the surface, a life without ever having to worry about car repairs, servicing, MOTs, insurance and so on sounds appealing. Not to mention, only ever having to pay for a vehicle when you’re actually using it. Nevertheless, there are several key advantages and disadvantages to car sharing, which should be taken into account.

For those still weighing up the various car finance options against the idea of car sharing, here are the pros and cons that need to be considered:

Advantages of Car Sharing

The most obvious advantage of car sharing is the fact that you only pay for the vehicle you need when you actually use it. The rest of the time, the scheme may cost you nothing at all – membership is usually free. Hence, if you don’t need to use a car for several months, you don’t have to worry about its upkeep in the meantime.

In addition, there’s no requirement to come up with heavy deposits, or to spend thousands of pounds on a car to cover your needs. If your budget simply won’t stretch to the purchase of a decent new or used car, a car sharing scheme could represent a viable alternative.

Can sharing schemes also provide the option of switching from one type of vehicle to another, in accordance with your requirements. When a larger vehicle is needed to accommodate more passengers or luggage, you can select a different vehicle type accordingly.

Last but not least, car sharing comes with the unique advantage of allowing users to take one-way trips. Something that isn’t typically possible when driving your own car.

Disadvantages of Car Sharing

On the downside, you can spend all the money in the world on a car sharing scheme and never actually own your own car. There’s (of course) no option to purchase a vehicle at any time, therefore ownership is out of the question.

In addition, car sharing schemes can work out surprisingly expensive for some users. If you intend to use a vehicle on a regular basis and/or for long journeys, the costs could soon add up. It may be considerably cheaper to buy your own car.

It’s also worth remembering that with a car sharing scheme, there are no guarantees whatsoever. More specifically, there is no way of guaranteeing that the vehicle you require will be available when you need it. Particularly where urgent and last minute journeys are concerned, using a car sharing scheme can be risky.

Last but not least, penalties payable in the case of late vehicle returns or leaving a vehicle in a non-designated area can be exceptionally high.

In Conclusion…

Roughly summarised, if you only intend to take infrequent journeys on a non-urgent basis, you may find a car sharing scheme useful. However, if you plan on using your car on a regular basis and need to know it’s there whenever you need it, purchasing a vehicle is the only way to go. –