A few weeks, my wife was preparing to head over to Germany to see her family for the holidays. The day before the flight, we were discussing the best way for her to get over to the JFK airport since we recently had a snowstorm and the temperatures were frigid! The trains seemed out of the question due to the amount of luggage she was carrying, yellow taxis would have run us about $85, and checking the rates on Uber & Lyft yielded $70 fares. Everything seemed quite expensive so I decided, why not try one of those services were you rent a car off the street? That is how we found ReachNow!
When I was deciding on ReachNow, specifically trying to figure out how the service works, I was intimidated by the whole process just as you may right now. We had a strict schedule and knew that if we weren’t able to secure a car from ReachNow successfully that morning, we would only have 15-20 minutes to figure out an alternative for getting her to the airport.
Choosing a vehicle with ReachNow:
Actually, before we get into choosing your vehicle, it’s important to note that you do have to apply to their program. All this consists of is inputting your personal information, and then taking a picture of the front/back of your driver’s license. From there, within 24-48 hours you should receive approval. For me, I was approved with 12 hours of filling out the application.
Once you’ve been approved, when you open the app, you’ll find your local map with scattered markers. Obviously, each marker represents a vehicle that is available for reservation.
Upon clicking on a marker, you’ll be able to view the vehicle’s brand/model, license plate, how much gas is left, and also the cost to drive or park the vehicle. When you’ve selected on a specific vehicle, you proceed by tapping on “Reserve”, from there, you have 30 minutes to reach the vehicle before your reservation is canceled.
In the event you no longer need the reserved vehicle, there is a “Cancel” option available. As you’ll find in the screenshot, if you do cancel on that vehicle, you will not see it on the map as an available rental for the next two hours. When I was initially testing out the app, I had to cancel on two vehicles, and from what I have seen, there is no charge for canceling.
Arriving at your ReachNow vehicle:
Since we live in Manhattan, there were no ReachNow vehicles available in the city, so we had take the subway for a few stops into Brooklyn. As we stepped off the train and began walking to where the vehicle should be, there was definitely a moment of anxiety on whether or not we’ll be able to successfully unlock and drive the car. When we did find our reserved Mini Cooper, I went into the app and tapped on the “Unlock” option that you might have noticed in the above screenshot. Within 15 seconds of tapping that option, the car was successfully unlocked and we got in!
The moment you take the driver’s seat, search for a red lever underneath the temp controls that is labeled “Start, Engine Stop”.
Without stepping on the brake, push the lever up and you should see the entertainment screen above the temp controls turn on.
To navigate the entertainment screen, you will be using the controls by your cup holder that look as follow:
If you’ve ever driven any sort of BHW then the controls should be familiar, if you haven’t, then it should take long to pick up on it. If you scroll the wheel in a circular motion, you can rotate between different options on your screen. If you have rotated to the option that you want, you will then want to push the wheel control to the right to select that option. If you wish to go back, you push the wheel to the left, or you may press on the actual “Back” option underneath the wheel.
When the screen turns on the first time, you want to make sure that you are at the “Home” screen, to ensure that you are, press the “Back” option several times until you see a screen familiar to this:
From here, you want to rotate the circular wheel to the right, and then press the wheel to select the ReachNow menu. This is necessary for beginning your rental with ReachNow, and most of all – successfully turning on the car.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of this, but once you enter the “ReachNow” menu, you’ll be prompted for a pin code. If you head over to your ReachNow mobile app, under your reservation you should be able to find the pin code. If it’s not there, then you might have received a text message from them with the pin code. Once you’ve successfully entered the pin code, you will then flip the “Start” lever up while pressing on the brake pedal to begin your journey.
Condition of your ReachNow vehicle:
It should come as no surprise that whenever you’re using a service that is available to all with minimum surveillance, you may expect some folks to be careless with what condition they leave the vehicle in. Fortunately, when I first opened the car door, the car was pretty clean!
Not bad! Take note that if you do end up reserving a vehicle that is dirty, at the end of your journey, you’ll be able to fill out a survey and inform ReachNow that the vehicle needs to be cleaned.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that this specific Mini I rented was fairly low total miles:
Only 6,976 total miles! You’d imagine that with such a service, there would be plenty of cars with nearly 100k miles on the odometer, but this car wasn’t one of them!
Parking your ReachNow vehicle:
Remember, you typically pay 41 cents per minute of driving your rental, and 30 cents per minute whenever the car is parked. Well, just because you’ve physically parked your car and turned off the engine does not mean that ReachNow will automatically bump you down to the 30c/min rate.
When you’ve parked your car, you want to head into your ReachNow menu and head over to the “Trip Options” selection.
From there, you’ll find the option to park your vehicle. You’ll bring up a screen that looks similar to the following:
Make sure to select “Other Options” to see the “Park and Come Back” option:
Once the option is selected, simply turn off the engine, and lock your vehicle. You will not be charged 30 cents per minute while it’s parked. I had to park the vehicle once during my trip to stop for a quick bathroom break.
When you decide to drive the vehicle again, you will have to re-enter the pin code again.
Ending your ReachNow trip
Whenever you decide to end your rental with the vehicle, the process to end your reservation is quite similar to parking the car. Head back to the same option we saw above, but this time select the “End Trip” option. Once you’ve selected that option, you’ll see this screen:
All I had to do not was turn off the engine and lock the doors. Once I did, my reservation was over!
No matter what state you are currently renting your ReachNow vehicle from, you’ll find that there are specific regions where you would be allowed to park the vehicle and end your reservation. If you leave the region at some point, but then re-enter that region, during the drive, the following screen will flash:
For the next tip, if you find that your Mini Cooper vehicle is a bit on the slow side, pay attention to what mode you’re currently driving in. As you’ll see in the image below, if the notice is towards the “Green” side, that means it’s driving more in the “eco-friendly” mode, meaning less horsepower, and better gas conversation. If you feel like pushing the vehicle on the highway, then move the notch closer to the “Sport” side!
How much did ReachNow cost me?
As a recap, I had the Mini Cooper in my possession for nearly 2.5 hours. During that time, I drove about 55 miles and had the vehicle parked for about 10-15 minutes. Had I taken a 2.5 hr ride in an Uber in NY, I would have easily paid over $125 for that trip. So, how much did ReachNow cost me?
Yes, $29.97 altogether. Here’s the cool thing, ReachNow does have a promotion at the moment where they do offer a 3-hour driving promotion. If you take their car out for 3 hours, you won’t pay more than $25.00 (excluding taxes). Meaning, if I kept the car with me for another 22 minutes, it wouldn’t have increased my bill whatsoever.
During my trip, I never went through any tolls, but their FAQ does say that any tolls will be billed to you. Lastly, you never have to pay for any gas, so when you do select a vehicle in your area, but sure there is enough gas in the tank for your journey, otherwise you won’t be reimbursed for personally filling up the tank!
ReachNow is a must-have service in today’s world as city folks continue to transition away from owning their personal car. While ride-sharing services have their benefits, there will be moments when you simply need a car for a few hours or even a day, and services such as ReachNow fill that gap. I can admit that ReachNow can do a better job with their car interface to make it friendly, but hopefully my guidance today will help you. Most of all, at a price of $30 for 3 hours, you’d be crazy to pass over this company.
As a disclaimer, I was NOT contacted by ReachNow to make this review, and I am NOT receiving any compensation for this review.