Tag: rentals

Logistical brilliance and legal hassles

Startup Flightcar finds a new market in the sharing economy, along with regulatory hoops that always seem to be flaming:

Their company, FlightCar, rents out people’s cars while they are traveling, and gives them a share of the proceeds, free airport parking and a car wash in exchange. And their lot has had a few unusual rentals, including a 2001 Porsche Boxster and even a Lotus…

These companies are, however, also running up against government regulations. In FlightCar’s case, San Francisco city officials and those at the airport say the company is undercutting rental car companies at the airport by acting like a rental company but ignoring the regulations that govern them.

“We’re simply trying to enforce a consistent standard,” said Doug Yakel, an airport spokesman.

On one hand, anyone with a modicum of experience in logistics must scratch their head and ask “How do they do that?” Scheduling the rentals around inbound and outbound clients, accounting for the possibility of travel changes, determining fuel needs, keeping shuttles rolling, not to mention pricing the nearly limitless variety of offerings, means these bright young entrepreneurs have already built some real value.

On the other, you stare at the empty palm wondering how many of those regulations, those consistent standards, were designed solely to keep innovators from undercutting rental car companies. And ensuring the paid lots continue pillaging their “customers” too.

MG signing off (because only your friendly neighborhood lobbyist knows for sure)

Stuff YOU might have missed if YOU have been fly fishing too much – 07/13/09

Technology

  • RSA’s Coviello: Cloud Computing Not Secure Enough [PC World] – Web 2.0 and widgets led to the cloud computing craze, so it’s no wonder security wasn’t part of the deal. Nonetheless, while RSA has a clear vested interest in pitching more secure web apps, I’m in complete agreement with Mr. Coviello. Only I don’t think RSA will be the sole innovator in the space.
  • Are You Helping Facebook Outrank You For Your Brand Name? [search engine land] – Get lots of attention over at a site you don’t control, and lose control of your brand in the process.
  • How to Ease Your Transition to Google Voice [LifeHacker] – The dial once, ring everywhere service formerly known as Grand Central is getting aggressive with invitations (even I got one), but I think Google really needs to add the ability to port numbers before it really takes off. PS: I heard Google is using the voicemail service to perfect it’s own text-to-speech services. Is that true?
  • Flickr adds direct-to-Twitter publishing [VentureBeat] – Now playing on Flickr, a way to automatically tweet your photos as you post them. This geek couldn’t figure out if the service would tweet all your photos or whether it could be done on a selective basis, but he couldn’t figure out how to link his Twitter account with his Flickr account either. Then he bailed on the idea altogether.
  • Finance

  • What’s North Dakota’s Secret? [Forbes] – North Dakota had twice the growth of the any other state in 2008, except Wyoming, which it still handily trounced. It presently has the lowest unemployment in the nation, and the 20th ranked GDP per capita. And a budget surplus. Huh?
  • U.S. Home Prices to Fall Through 2011’s First Quarter [Bloomberg] – Unemployment becomes the next leg in the foreclosure boom, and more than half of the major cities in the US are expected to see falling prices for the next two years.
  • The Rental Market Stinks Too [The Atlantic] – While some thought rising foreclosures would lead to rising rental prices as former homeowners mortgagees bailed, the opposite has happened in many places.
  • Mean Street: California IOUs and the Great American IOU Market [WSJ Deal Journal] – Banks won’t take them, and recipients have to eat. The SEC is coming to the rescue, declaring California’s funny money a municipal security and hoping a regulated market will arise for their trade. I wonder if anyone will be allowed to short them.
  • Fly Fishing

    Give yourself a break, will ya’?

    Adieu.

    Rental Rates and Housing Price Gaps – What Goes Up Must Come Down?

    The International Monetary Fund has some interesting analysis (pdf) on US housing prices, with emphasis on comparison between rental rates and pricing, including some detailed data on the potential for regional corrections. Skip the writeup (for now) and head straight to the graphs at the end. (h/t Paul Kedrosky)

    And in the vacancies column…

    As of the second quarter – vacant home rates dipped about a quarter point to 2.8% while rental unit vacancies continued to hover in the 10% range, according to this analysis compliments of Calculated Risk.

    CalculatedRisk also noted that the homeownership rate has now retreated to mid-2001 levels, meaning the ownership rate is closing in on a 50% retracement to 1995’s jump-off point.

    Newton’s Law prevails?