Overall, buying a quality used car with low mileage and driving it to end of life will be better economically than using a car sharing membership like Flexcar.
This is because a car sharing service always has a monthly car payment, whereas once you pay off your vehicle and eliminate the payment, you are ahead financially. Although not a permanent solution to car ownership, there may be situations where using car subscriptions services like Flexcar would be valuable.
Let’s discuss the Pros and Cons as well as customer feedback on Flexcar.
How Flexcar works
Flexcar is a subscription based monthly car rental service. Flexcar’s website markets their service as an alternative to buying your own car.
You pay an annual membership fee of $249. You then pay a monthly fee based on the plan you select. The membership includes the following benefits:
- Maintenance costs are included (you are reimbursed if the work is not performed at a Flexcar Hub)
- Insurance is covered (limited* and deductible applies)
- Car washes are included
- 24/7 roadside assistance is included
- Flexibility to change vehicles (fees may apply to change vehicles)
- Ability to cancel at any time
- You save the larger up front payment or deposit that you would likely need to lease or buy a car
* – Be sure to review carefully with your insurance agent to make sure you have the proper primary coverage in addition to the insurance offered by Flexcar. You may be required to have primary liability coverage, for example. The main purpose of insurance is to save you financially from large claims. Remember, you don’t own the car, so any insurance for collision is to protect their asset, not yours.
Requirements for membership
- Valid driver’s license
- Credit card
- Credit score of at least 580
- Joining fee of $249
Monthly Costs to drive a Vehicle with Flexcar
After you pay the $249 car subscription fee, you will be able to choose available vehicles in your city. You can view each vehicle here on their website.
The next step is to select your vehicle. The monthly cost will vary depending on your credit score.
For example, when reviewing the site for a Toyota Corolla (2020 – 2022) in Atlanta, you can view the rental options by clicking on the car and then your credit score range. The first option is as follows:
Pay as you Go Plan:
- Excellent Credit (740+): Cost is $300 per month plus 45 cents per mile
- Good Credit (670-739): Cost is $350 per month plus 45 cents per mile
- Average Credit (580-669); Cost is $400 per month plus 45 cents per mile
There are other plans you can select that have mileage limits baked into the plan you select.
For example, one of the more popular plans as mentioned on the Flexcar website is the Monthly 500 Miles Plan.
500 Monthly Mileage Plan:
- Excellent Credit (740+): Cost is $475 per month plus 35 cents per mile if you go over on mileage
- Good Credit (670-739): Cost is $525 per month plus 35 cents per mile if you go over on mileage
- Average Credit (580-669); Cost is $575 per month plus 35 cents per mile if you go over on mileage
There are also 850 mile and 1,200 mile plans which you can check out on their website.
As you can see, your credit score matters!
What vehicle Types are Available at Flexcar?
Flexcar appears to have a good selection of cars in their inventory. Vehicle types include Honda, Toyota, Chevy, Ford, Volkwagen, Jeep and many others.
You can view their current vehicle inventory on their website via the inventory page.
Ways Flexcar makes sense
One way to use Flexcar would be if you needed a vehicle for a time period such as three months to two years. This would give you the flexibility of having transportation without a longer term commitment. For example, if your college kids were home for the summer and needed a vehicle for three months to go to summer jobs before heading back to college in the fall. Another reason could be that you are between vehicles and need six months to figure out your next steps.
One reason could be that you are not in a financial position to buy a car quite yet, but need transportation in the interim. Flexcar could give you time to save up for a down payment on your next vehicle without making a long term commitment such as a multi-year lease.
For those going on an extended road trip for a few months or longer, a subscription service such as Flex car could be a reasonable solution. Note that the plan you select will have a mileage component to it, so you’ll want to run the numbers on your estimated total cost to accurately compare to other options.
There are countless other reasons, but you get the picture.
Cons of Flexcar
Right now Flexcar is only in a few markets. Those markets include Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte and Nashville. If you are outside of those areas you won’t be able to use the service.
The pickup and drop off car locations might not be conveniently located to where you live. You could end up traveling an hour or more to pick up or drop off a vehicle. Be sure to review the Flexcar locations on their website so you understand your proximity to them. They do offer a delivery service for an additional fee. At times they may waive the delivery fee to earn your business.
Just like a car you get from the traditional rental companies, you will need to take pictures of the vehicle you choose (inside and out). You do not want to be blamed for any damage that existed before you took possession of the vehicle.
Also like a rental company, it is challenging for them to keep the fleet in good working order at all times. You could select a vehicle that needs maintenance. This could include smoke odors in the vehicle or maintenance lights on the dash. Nothing is more frustrating than getting a vehicle that has the check engine light on and needs service.
You are paying for convenience and flexibility of not having a longer term commitment. Be sure to compare to other options for renting a vehicle if you need a temporary solution. By comparing other options you can make an informed decision.
Read the fine print in their Membership Agreement to make sure you understand the program.
What Customers are Saying
When you read reviews on Trustpilot, for example, you will see that results are quite varied. Some customers are very happy with the service and give high ratings, while others have ratings that are quite low. Some of the issues have to do with cars that need maintenance and the hassles with trying to get them fixed.
Others mention that it can be challenging with a car pickup location or drop off location that can be an hour or more away. Click on the Trustpilot link in the paragraph above and read the reviews for yourself.
Executive Summary: Is Flexcar a Good alternative to car ownership?
- Flexcar is likely NOT a permanent long term solution financially to car ownership due to the ongoing monthly payment
- It can be a reasonable solution if you need a vehicle for a number of months to a few years while avoiding a long-term commitment
- Flexcar is essentially a car subscription company whereby you pay a membership fee and then monthly for the plan you select
- The service offers the flexibility of being able to cancel at any time or switch vehicles
- You will pay more for this flexibility and also having maintenance included in the fee
- Flexcar appears to have a wide variety of vehicles to choose from (check for yourself on their website)
- Available cities are limited as well as pickup and drop off locations within those markets
- Customer reviews are quite varied. Read the them for yourself on the Trustpilot website.