Andrei Echeverria isn't your average car enthusiast: In 2019, he turned his hobby of fixing up cars and trading them for flashier models into a lucrative side hustle.
Echeverria, 32, brings in up to $14,000 per month renting his six vehicles out to strangers in Boston on the rental platform Turo, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.
The side hustle started with one car, a great location and some clever strategy. Echeverria lives mere miles from Boston Logan International Airport, and capitalizes by undercutting the prices of nearby car rental companies.
His 2021 Jeep Gladiator, for example, is listed on Turo at $89 per day. Renting the same car from the airport's Enterprise Rent-A-Car costs $204 per day, according to the company's website.
That strategy particularly paid off as people returned to travel in 2021, seeking cheaper-than-usual ways to get around amid the Covid-19 pandemic. One car's revenue helped Echeverria buy a second car, a third, ultimately a sixth — all flashier models that allowed him to charge more per customer and quickly grow his business.
Last year was his most successful year so far, bringing in more than $94,000 — including about $60,000 in profit — on top of his $80,000 per year salary as a full-time nursing home maintenance manager, he says.
Here's how Echeverria turned his passion for cars into a nearly six-figure side hustle:
When Echeverria was 16, his mom helped him finance a forest green 2002 Honda Civic. But it wasn't solely for driving: Echeverria wanted to work on the car in his family's garage, sell it and use the money to buy a Nissan 350Z.
Just over a year later, he did exactly that. Then, at age 18, he financed another car, an Infinity G37 X sedan. Over the next 16 years, he bought, fixed and sold his way up to a two-seat BMW 435, his dream car at the time.
Then, in late 2018, Echeverria saw a YouTube ad for Turo. He figured the platform could help expediate his process, and says his BMW quickly attracted paying customers. That summer, he used his Turo earnings to buy a 2014 Audi A7 outright, he says.
In November 2019, Echeverria bought a third car, a Mercedes-Benz, with a $10,000 down payment and $17,000 loan, he says. With three cars on Turo, Echeverria says he brought in about $3,500 per month.
Having uncommon models helped, he adds: "I always wanted to get something different. I didn't see many cars on the road like [mine]."
The following year, the pandemic's economic effects created another opportunity: low bank loan interest rates.
Echeverria took advantage, swapping the Mercedes for a newer model and bringing his monthly sales up to $4,500 per month. The following year, he acquired his fourth and fifth cars, an Audi S5 and a BMW C4.
He probably paid a premium: Used cars were a hot market in 2021, up 28% from 2020 and 47% from 2019, according to Kelley Blue Book.
But it paid off, he says. As Americans began traveling again, demand for rentals skyrocketed. Even with the additional cars, Echeverria found himself overbooked.
He bought two more cars, 2018 SUV models from BMW and Jaguar, his sixth and seventh vehicles. By October 2021, his net profits were up to about $9,500 per month.
When the market started cooling off later that year, Echeverria shifted his business model again, buying a Jeep to attract customers who wanted a cheaper economy model.
The move brought his fleet size to eight, before clients crashed two of his cars in late 2022. Instead of replenishing his stock, Echeverria used the insurance money from Turo — about $21,000 — to pay off some of his other car loans, he says.
He's also learned to cut costs at the expense of his time, he says — spending eight to 10 hours per week managing, booking and cleaning his cars. He still pays $20 per month on a car wash all-access pass, he adds.
Echeverria parks the cars in his driveway and free Turo-designated spaces at the airport, and says he's developed close relationships with local repair shops, who offer him discounts to keep him and his six vehicles coming back.
Those kinds of relationships are crucial to his success, he says: "You cannot do everything yourself. You're going to need somebody who knows about certain models or how to repair the cars. It's about meeting the right people and building trust with them."
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