We're regularly working to improve our platform and make sharing cars as easy and enjoyable as possible for Owners and Borrowers. Here's a summary of our recent new features and improvements.
Wear and tear policy update (Owners and Borrowers)
We’ve spent the past couple of months reviewing and refining changes to the Wear & Tear Schedule with Car Next Door owners in the Facebook group. The new Wear & Tear Schedule took effect from 26 June 2020. You can find it at the end of the Damage Policy document, or read more about it on the Car Next Door blog.
Updated Reviews policy (Owners and Borrowers)
We've updated our reviews policy in line with other sharing economy platforms so that reviews that are biased or irrelevant can be removed. So if a borrower gives a thumbs down to a car because they don't like the app, we can remove that.
We still can't remove reviews that are simply unfair, because that is the borrower's legitimate opinion, but if they aren't actually reviewing the car/other member, then it can be removed. You can see our full Reviews policy here: Reviews policy.
Change to the timing of Sharing Plan fees (Owners)
Starting this month, Sharing Plan fees are charged to Owners at the start of each month, rather than just before the start of the month. This means Owners won’t see a Sharing Plan fee on the May invoice as it was paid in April, and June’s fee will appear on the June invoice. In future, Sharing Plan fees will appear on the invoice for the month they apply to.
Trip page design - minor updates App (Borrowers)
The trip page design has had some copy and design changes to make it clearer how to start the pickup or return steps, as we had feedback that the buttons weren't standing out clearly enough.
Distance estimates during bookings updated App (Borrowers)
We announced in February that you could now get distance updates in the app from the second day of your trip. In addition to this, Borrowers with push notifications turned on will now be informed of their distance so far twice a day.
Progressive payments for long trips (Borrowers)
We've updated our policy on long trips to prevent borrowers from unknowingly racking up a bigger bill than they anticipated. In addition to the distance estimates discussed above, we will now charge a Borrower's account each time they reach $250 in estimated distance charges. See How you pay for the distance you drive for the details.
Prevent billing of invalid distances (Owners and Borrowers)
Recently our system attempted to charge an unfortunate Borrower for $68k in distance charges! It turned out that the initial odometer reading entered by the borrower included 6 digits, but on return they had only entered 3 digits. The owner had then confirmed these numbers were correct - so our system did the math and added a charge for several hundred thousand kilometres.
We've put in a check to prevent the billing of unreasonably large distances now!
Bug fix - Return photos upload not available after trip App (Borrowers)
There was no 'Return photos' section available on the app if the Return steps had not been completed. This meant that if the trip auto-completed because the car was parked in the homezone at the end time, Borrowers could not upload their return photos. They could still do it on the website, but now the app has the option as well!
Bug fix - Search is "Loading..." forever App (Borrowers)
We had a bug in the app where entering an address (instead of using your home address) and trying to search resulted in the search page just displaying a Loading message and never actually loading the results. This bug has been squashed.
App version 2.6.6 released (Owners and Borrowers)
We've completed multiple improvements to the app this month, including the ability to edit notification preferences (previously only available on the website), major updates to the trip flow, updates to the login and signup pages for new users, improvements to the search page design, performance updates and bug fixes.
As a result of this work, the website trip instructions are no longer available. You'll need the Car Next Door app before you drive.
Book this car again Web and App (Borrowers)
We have added a Book this car again button to make rebooking that awesome car from your last trip quicker and easier! On the web, the button is displayed next to the trip on the Trips page. In the app, go into a past trip and it's at the top of the menu.
Trip cost summary now shows credits applied Web and App (Borrowers)
The trip cost summary now displays any credits applied as well as the charges, so it's easier to see how much you actually paid.
Fair Use policy for invite/referral codes (Owners and Borrowers)
We've added a Fair Use policy for invite and referral codes, outlining the do's and don'ts of sharing your code.
Updated Search filters Web (Borrowers)
We’ve updated the layout of the search filters on the website and made improvements to the date and time selector.
Cleanliness Policy changes (Owners and Borrowers)
Our Cleanliness Policy has been updated to define general mess in terms of the time required to clean it, with a few hard rules regarding certain kinds of mess such as pet hair, smoking and rubbish. Learn more.
Limit invite credits (Owners and Borrowers)
We’ve updated our referral policy to allow members to earn up to 5 invite credits per month, and up to 300 over the lifetime of their membership. Learn more about how inviting your friends and family works.
Tolls charged as they occur (Owners and Borrowers)
Tolls are now charged on to members as we receive them, rather than once a month. In most cases, this means toll charges will be passed on within 48 hours of when they have been incurred, with a few exceptions. Learn more.
Car badges Web and App (Owners)
The Car Next Door community is built on the great experiences Owners provide to Borrowers by lending their well-looked-after cars. We’re rolling out a series of special badges to reward Owners for their dedication to the community and commitment to providing quality cars for every Borrower’s trip.
Distance estimates during bookings App (Borrowers)
To help you keep track of the final trip cost, Borrowers can now see an estimated trip distance while their trip is in progress, for all trips over 24 hours. The estimated distance and cost will be displayed in the Trip Costs page, and will update roughly every 6 hours after the first 24 hours have passed.
Useful Contacts now in App (Owners)
The Owners’ Useful Contacts page on our website has now been added into the app, for easy reference when you’re on the go.
Multiple car profile photos Web and App (Owners)
You can now upload multiple photos to your car's profile. This allows you to show off your van's cargo space, your car's boot space, any child seats you have in the car, or other features you offer like blankets, shopping bags or trolleys. You can now also upload profile photos through the app (this was previously only available on the website). Get our tips for taking great photos.
Seamless checkout Web and App (Owners and new Borrowers)
To create a more seamless experience and make it easier for first-time borrowers to book a car, we've made it possible for new users to make a pending booking – called a 'trip request' – before completing the sign up form and being approved. The booking won't be confirmed and they won't be able to access the car until we've reviewed and approved their application. As soon as they're approved, their booking will be confirmed. During business hours, we'll review and approve applications from new Borrowers with a trip request within one hour. We think that this will increase bookings overall and encourage more new Borrowers to become active Car Next Door users.
Phone number verification Web and App (Owners and Borrowers)
To keep Car Next Door secure, we're asking all members to verify their phone number when they make a booking or change their phone number. We'll send you a verification code by SMS that you'll need to enter into the website or app. You'll only need to do this once per phone number and it just takes a few seconds. Learn more.
Borrower profiles Web and App (Owners and Borrowers)
Borrowers now have profiles that can be seen by an Owner whose car they've booked. The profiles show:
- How many trips they've taken
- How many times they've borrowed from that Owner before
- How long they've been a member
- Any reviews other Owners have left for them
- Their profile photo (if they've uploaded one)
Owners can see a Borrower's profile by selecting their booking from their car's Bookings page and clicking 'View profile'.
We hope that these new profiles will help build a stronger sense of connection and trust between people sharing cars, even if they don't meet in person.
Owner Cancellations Web (Owners)
Owners can now cancel bookings on their car through the website. Previously they needed to contact us to cancel a booking. If you need to cancel a booking on your car, follow these instructions. Bear in mind that fees apply for cancelling a Borrower's booking. These fees are passed on to the Borrower in full to compensate them for the inconvenience.
Bookings page Web and App (Owners)
We've made improvements to the Bookings page in the website and brought it into the app. You can now see all the details of your past, current and upcoming bookings in one place.
- See the dates and times of each booking
- See the Borrower's details so you can contact them if necessary
- View all the photos Borrowers upload at the start and end of their trip - keep track of your car even if you can't check it after every trip
- View fuel receipts Borrowers upload
- Leave reviews for your Borrowers and see the reviews Borrowers leave for your car
New information in stats dashboard Web (Owners)
We added some new information to the car's stats dashboard in the website. You can now see how many kilometres Borrowers have driven, as well as seeing all the stats for the last financial year to help with tax time.
New fuel system (Owners and Borrowers)
We changed the way Borrowers pay for fuel when taking trips with Car Next Door. The fuel cards we used to use caused hassles - they would often go missing or not work. We've stopped using fuel cards and instead developed a quicker and easier way for Borrowers to be reimbursed for fuel they buy.
If a Borrower needs to refuel during a trip, they pay themselves and upload a photo of the tax invoice. We'll deduct the amount they spent on fuel from their final trip charge so they won't be out of pocket. The new system also gives us more oversight over fuel purchases, as we check and review each receipt to make sure the right type and quantity of fuel was purchased. Owners can now see all fuel receipts Borrowers upload in the Bookings page.
Search Update Web (Borrowers)
We have made a bunch of behind the scenes changes to our search page as part of keeping our code up to date and ensuring speedy and smooth running of our platform. In doing so, we have also made some functional tweaks.
When moving Pickup time to be the same as, or past the Return time when searching for a car, the return will now automatically bump an hour past the Pickup time (no longer showing that annoying error).
You may have noticed that we are also testing some other style changes on this page. We will update here when the test is complete and we've decided on which changes we will keep.
Trip Pre-pay Web and App (Borrowers)
We've changed the way we charge Borrowers for trips. We now charge part of the trip cost upfront at the time of booking, and part of the cost after the trip has completed. We've also replaced credit card pre-authorisations with a $150 deposit taken on each Borrower's first trip only
This changes means no more pre-authorisations locking up your funds, and a clearer breakdown of time, distance, booking and Damage Cover Liability (DCL) reduction fees. Read more.
New SMSs for trip photo reminders, and "Your car is back" notification for owners Communications (Borrowers and Owners)
We have added a number of SMSs to help remind borrowers at the right times to upload trip photos. Now that we have put trip photos into the app, it's in everyone's interest that we ensure they are being uploaded at the start and end of every trip.
We have also introduced a much-requested SMS, that informs owners when their car has been returned by the borrower. As borrower trips are often shorter than initially planned, this allows owners to plan their transport needs more easily. Owners can choose which SMS notifications they'd like to receive - just get in touch if you'd like to opt-out of some or all booking-related SMS notifications.
Car stats dashboard Web (Owners)
We've released a new stats dashboard to help Owners track their car's performance over time. Owners can now see their booking numbers, earnings and average availability for the current month, previous month, current financial year, and all time. We hope to add more information to this dashboard in the future. It's only in the web for now (but will be coming to the app), so log in and go to Cars > Manage Car > Stats to check it out.
Variable Distance Pricing
Until now, Car Next Door’s Borrowers paid a flat distance charge of 33 cents for every kilometre. The distance charge covers fuel, plus other running costs like servicing and tyre wear. Owners received 25 cents a kilometre, and 8 cents went to Car Next Door to help cover our costs of running the platform.
A flat distance charge was nice and simple - but different cars cost different amounts to run, so an owner of a small, fuel-efficient hatchback would end up better off than someone with a large, fuel-hungry van.
To make things fairer (but also keep it simple), owners can now set the per-kilometre rate for their cars at either 21, 33 or 45 cents per kilometre. Read more here.
Access trip photos Web (Owners)
Owners, you can now view photos from your borrower's trip via the booking page. Making it easy to check in on your car, without having to physically be there.
We're giving more people across Australia the opportunity to choose neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing with Key Handover – a new way to share with Car Next Door.
Key Handover is perfect for:
- Occasional car sharing
- Cars located outside capital cities
- Cars parked in secured parking
- Owners who drive frequently but still want to share
This new way of sharing lets you rent your car to trusted borrowers with the peace of mind of insurance and ease of using Car Next Door.
We're opening up suburbs across NSW and VIC, with more states coming soon.
Read more on our Key Handover page.
We now have a number of Hyundai's on the platform which can be unlocked via the trip flow in our app. You will still find our familiar lockbox inside the car with the key for the ignition, however you'll now be able to open the lockbox in the comfort of the car.
Service Hours (6am - 11pm) Web and App (Borrowers and Owners): We have restricted bookings starting and ending between the hours of 11pm and 6am. This was due to there being very few bookings that start and end during this time, and now we don't have to worry about our owners needing to help borrowers in the wee hours of the morning. It also means that we can focus our service team on the busy period.
Trip Flow App (Borrowers)
Taking your next trip with Car Next Door will be easier with the release of a new trip experience in our app.
Trip photo uploads Web and App
We’re doing some final testing on another exciting new feature. You’ll soon be able to upload your trip photos to us straight through the app or website as you take them. This means you won’t need to switch between our app and your camera or send us your photos on request. Getting in the car and on the road will be quicker than ever!
Here is a video of how the new damage photo uploads will work in the new trip flow on the app:
Support messages Web: You can now log in to see, track and respond to all your support messages - go hit 'Support' from the homepage, log in using your normal Car Next Door login details, and click 'Support messages'.
Car profile and car listing Web (Owners): We have made changes to the layout of the car profile. Rather than all information being on one page, we have separated the profile out into sub pages to make it easier to find and digest information.
This has coincided with changes to the car listing process, which we have similarly broken into smaller steps in order to make it easier to list a new car.
Trip Flow App (Borrowers): We are working hard on getting out a brand new Trip Flow for borrowers to use when they have an in progress booking. This has now been released to our Beta Testing group for thorough testing, as it is a big change we want to ensure it works beautifully when we make it live across all users.
The new trip flow is designed to ensure borrowers are getting all the information they need, exactly when they need it. We've spent months planning, designing and testing the new trip flow, and are looking forward to having improved borrower experience, as well as reduced confusion and calls to owners.
Here is a video of the new trip flow. A keen eye will see a couple of bugs we are still ironing out:
Booking page and list Web (Owners): You can now see a list of previous bookings on your car, or click in to see details of the booking. Check it out.
Pretty car descriptions (Owners): Your car description will now show up properly formatted as you intended (with paragraph spacing). This was an oversight that should have been fixed sooner, sorry about that!
Blockout end time is now left open Web (Owners): When using the website to make a custom blockout on your car, the end time will no longer automatically set as the current time. This was prompting an error message that 'End time cannot be before start time'. Check it out.
Changes to the damage log (Owners and Borrowers): We’re introducing a simpler, more efficient and accurate way to keep track of each Car Next Door car’s condition and are no longer using written damage logs. See more.
Simpler to access contact information (Owners and Borrowers): We've created a new contact page on our website to make it simpler to get in touch with us. Check it out.
Lower DCL for under 25s (Borrowers): We've dropped the Damage Cover Liability for drivers under the age of 25 to $2,000, or you can reduce it to $500 for an extra fee. See more.
Redesigned App (Owners): We’ve made it much easier to do some of the most common things you need to manage your car. See more.
Calendar improvements App (Owners): The calendar on the app has had a few improvements over the past few months to make it easier to see the details of your car’s previous and upcoming bookings. See more.
Reviews added to the app App (Owners and Borrowers): You can now leave reviews in the App. See more.
Improved dashboard Web (Owners): We've released a new and improved web dashboard. See more.
Consolidated bookings and blockouts (Owners): As part of the new dashboard design, we have also consolidated owner bookings (formerly called ‘reservations’) and blockouts. See more.