Airport parking fees put a downer on any holiday. Nobody wants to come back to a bill, even before they get home.

But one Aussie startup welcomes car owners back to the airport with a cheque.

Founder and CEO Steven Johnson began operating Carhood in 2015 in Melbourne. Check your car in at the Carhood centre at the airport while you’re away, they’ll rent it out.

You get free airport parking, your car cleaned, insurance while you’re away and a bit of cash when you return to pick it up.

It’s no surprise Carhood has quickly grown in popularity, and has since expanded to Sydney and Brisbane, with future plans for the rest of Australia’s east coast and a move into New Zealand, Korea, Japan, the UK and the US.

Carhood has hired out more than 800 cars for customers, saving them more than $6 million in airport parking fees, Mr Johnson says.

He won’t say how much has been returned to those owners, but confirms Carhood had “a 900 per cent growth in turnover since 2015”.

Here’s how it works:

All you need is a car registered in Australia, in good working order, be no more than 14 years of age and have no more than 200,000km on the odometer. It can’t be worth more than $100,000.

The person renting your car must be at least 21 years old, hold a full driver’s licence (no P plates), have had no major traffic infringements or penalties imposed or alcohol/drug related incidents in the past three years, and have had no more than two serious traffic infringements or accidents combined in the past three years.

Carhood claims most vehicle owners make and save around $350 every time they use the service. Your car is insured, but damage is “very rare”, Mr Johnson says, with “an incident rate of less than 0.2 per cent”.

It recently completed an equity raising round of $1 million and is chasing more capital to further its expansion strategy given “our existing operations are providing a proof-of-concept to our investors which to date they have been extremely happy with”.

A $4.5 million IPO is now in the works. Mr Johnson is negotiating with a lead manager for that — but is also considering equity crowdfunding opportunities.

“I came up with the idea while I was on a holiday,” Johnson says.

“I parked my car at Melbourne airport and then flew to Sydney and stayed at an Airbnb.

“It occurred to me while I was staying in someone else’s house while they were away, that I should be allowing someone else to use my car for a fee while I was away – and so I developed the idea into a business.

“A sitting vehicle is idle capital that should be working for you.”


This article first appeared on Business Insider Australia, Australia’s most popular business news website. Read the original article. Follow Business Insider on Facebook or Twitter.