I first heard about Zipcar approximately seven years ago when a friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles told me about a car service he would occasionally use which let him rent by the hour. Since I live in the Midwest in an area that didn't (and still doesn't) offer anything remotely similar, I was intrigued. After doing some research on the company and asking about a hundred questions, I concluded that Zipcar is a service that is truly needed in so many different communities, from big cities to small metro areas, regardless of the population.
Now, with the cost of education continuing to rise and today's generation of graduates struggling to pay off student loans, 2013 grads are probably looking for options to get them from point A to point B - and all without piling on even more debt.
A survey conducted by Zipcar found that when asked what 2013 graduates are most looking for, more than 68 percent of respondents stated grads want financial stability over other choices. When asked about graduate transportation choices, the survey found:
65% of graduates do not own a car.
49%of graduates do not plan to bring a car with them to their next endeavor after graduation.
Nearly 70% believe graduates would benefit from joining a car sharing service.
Graduates' biggest concerns about owning a car post-graduation are parking availability and cost.
The Millennial generation carries the most debt and is one of the most underemployed in years. Two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2011 had student loan debt, with an average of $26,600 per borrower. Meanwhile, unemployment for young college graduates remained high at 8.8 percent in 2011.
After years of hard work, today's graduates are faced with large amounts of student loans to repay beginning immediately after graduation. Many recent graduates aren't able to afford the high cost of car ownership - and the last thing they need is to pile on even more debt.
Says Zipcar President Mark Norman:
"Giving 2013 graduates a Zipcar membership provides them with all of the access and convenience of a personally-owned car, without the high price tag, associated loans and hassles, and gives them a powerful head start on the road to affordable, sustainable living."
Zipcar has offices in 21 major metropolitan areas, and is also available on over 300 college campuses throughout the US.
As younger drivers increasingly opt out of car ownership due to the costs associated with gas, insurance, parking and maintenance, members of Zipcar have reported saving an average of $600.00 per month - or more than $7,200.00 per year, compared to owning a car. At a time when gas prices and insurance premiums are high and car ownership in big cities and on college campuses is not always feasible, Zipcar can deliver a cost-effective and hassle-free transportation solution.
For members of this year's graduating class who will not have access to their own personal transportation, I think giving them the gift of Zip is an awesome idea! You can purchase a "Zipcertificate" - which is available online at www.zipcar.com/grad. Zipcertificates start at $50.00 and can be redeemed for Zipcar membership, as well as an unlimited number of driving credits to put toward vehicle reservations.
Every Zipcar reservation includes the costs of gas, insurance and 180 miles of driving per day, and hourly rates start from $8.50. Reservations can be made online or by using Zipcar's iPhone or Android applications, and Zipcars can be reserved for as short as an hour or for up to four days.
For more information on Zipcar, check out www.zipcar.com.