Short-term car leasing / subscriptions
August 12, 2019 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Have you leased (or "subscribed") to a car through Fair or Canvas? What was your experience like? Bonus if you, say, got in a minor accident, or needed roadside assistance, and can speak to either company's handling of it.

I live in the SF Bay Area but will be relocating to the exurbs of Austin for four months this fall, and will need to have a car there. I don't own one now, and in fact have never owned a car before in my life. I'd like to forgo the hassle of buying then reselling used after just a few months, and Canvas and Fair both look like decent possibilities that are within my budget. (All the other subscription programs look interesting, too, except that I want to stay under $500/mo, and have no interest in leasing a Porsche.) Tell me everything about Canvas and Fair, or if you have experience with other programs that aren't already on my radar, please let me know.

I'm open to other options, but I'll be outside of Austin on several miles of unpaved roads, so Car2Go and other by-the-hour rentals aren't an option, and Lyft/Uber aren't, really, either.
posted by tapir-whorf to Travel & Transportation around Austin, TX (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Canvas appears to only be in SF and LA.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:00 PM on August 12, 2019

Best answer: All of the major rental car companies (Hertz/Budget/Enterprise/etc) will offer discounts on long term rentals. I'd shop around with them and see if you can strike a deal. A quick search shows under $500 should be possible, especially if you can find a coupon, or if you call a local branch and get a receptive employee.
posted by matrixclown at 2:23 PM on August 12, 2019

Response by poster: madcaptenor, I live in the Bay Area and Canvas doesn't have restrictions on where a car is driven, just where it's picked up and returned.

I'd love to hear more from folks who've done longer-term rentals from the major companies, too -- I didn't realize that was an option!
posted by tapir-whorf at 2:56 PM on August 12, 2019

Response by poster: Hmm. Talked to Canvas support on the phone, and it looks like they're not actually accepting new customers right now, so that option is functionally out. Oh well.
posted by tapir-whorf at 3:18 PM on August 12, 2019

Best answer: Did a Canvas with 2 other co-workers in Bay Area for 5 months.
Worked out pretty well from a company perspective. Unlimited miles and a SUV will be a higher cost per month than standard sedan. We twice needed maintenance for the car we had at the time. The first time was simply an oil change which we were given a discount for the time loss and refund for the cost of an oil change at any Ford location. The second time Canvas contacted us for a recall on the car which resulted in them just exchanging the car. The app worked out really well, from contacting company to bill pay. I'd even venture to say better than most major car manufacturers apps.
They also arranged a drop-off & pickup anywhere within the Bay Area, not just a predetermined destination decided by Canvas.
posted by bigbadbehr at 3:42 PM on August 12, 2019

My mom is a snowbird who does a long-term rental (3-4 months) just about every year. She believes it to be cheaper than buying a car which seems...sort of dubious but hey it's her money.

She usually rents from Avis or Enterprise. I know at her particular location they can only do 30 days at a time, so she has to go back every 30 days to renew the rental but that's not a huge deal (and may or may not be true for other locations). She definitely arranges the whole thing on the phone rather than online.

Her credit card covers the CDW and comes with roadside assistance; if your card doesn't have those things it's probably worth getting one that does, because buying that stuff from the rental car company would likely be prohibitively expensive. She has definitely had accidents and used the roadside assistance (she's been doing this for like, twelve years?) and she's never complained about how that stuff went.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 5:07 PM on August 12, 2019

Oh, one more thing: I missed your $500/month price limit. She definitely pays more than that (~$800/month) but she's pretty particular about what kind of car she gets. In general it's almost certainly cheaper to rent a car from an off-airport location -- IIRC if she rented from the airport location it would be more like $1100/month.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 5:12 PM on August 12, 2019

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