You’ve been thinking about joining the rideshare phenomena for a while, but one thing has continually held you back. You don’t have an Uber car or a Lyft ride. Don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, I was once in your shoes.
After the untimely death of my Nissan Xterra, it appeared that my rideshare career was dead in the asphalt. I still cringe every time I see a Nissan Rogue, but I digress. I was once in the same boat and finding a new car to use for Uber or Lyft seemed like a tall order. Later on, I found out it really isn’t that big of a deal.
There are multiple options available for those who are looking to earn a little extra side money, to drive full-time, or just get into a new ride. We’ve compiled an authoritative list of the best options available to you in 2019. Not every choice is a good fit for everyone and their particular situation, but you have a wealth of options! First, let’s take a look at whether buying, leasing, or renting are good options for you.
To Buy, Lease, or Rent an Uber Car
Whether you choose to buy a new Uber car, lease one, or rent one, there are options. It is just a matter of finding the right fit for you and your rideshare business model. Do you want to be a full-time driver? Would you prefer to drive part-time? Do you just want to drive when you need a little extra money? Or are you just looking to get into a ride and pay for it as you go? It is important to know the basic mechanics of rideshare and the benefits of buying, leasing or renting.
What if you buy your vehicle?
Buying a vehicle might seem like a great plan up front. You’re not only getting a new ride that rideshare will help you pay for. You also get to operate free and clear of the higher end pricing of some rental programs. But is that really true?
Buying often comes at just as much of a premium. Why? Maintenance and insurance are all on you. Part of the downside of the rideshare gig is the extra miles. A car is a depreciating asset from the moment you take it off the lot. This only accelerates with each mile you tack on with rideshare. A full-time rideshare driver can drive up to 1,000 per week and 50,000 miles per year.
Given that most cars these days do have a longer shelf life, is it worth taking on the debt of a car? My personal opinion is that buying is one of the weaker options available. This is not always true, but the costs grow exponentially for you. Add on the fact that if you finance the car as most do, many financiers will not allow you to drive rideshare, due to the increased risk.
What if you lease your vehicle?
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Leasing a vehicle is an alternative to buying an Uber car. But does it really work? The answer lies in who and where you lease from.
Some leasing options are not viable strictly because of limits to mileage. Often, leasing your vehicle comes with a clause stating that you are allowed x amount of miles before the surcharges begin. It can cost you a fortune if you are not careful. If you are a full-time driver, leasing is almost never an option. That was until the advent of recent leasing options. which we will examine below. Overall, leasing feels like a possibility if you are planning on being a part-time driver, particularly if you end up in a Fair Car.
What about the rental programs?
Once again, rental options are viable much like leasing options, but the Devil is in the details. Rental programs often take most of the maintenance and costs associated with depreciation off your hands, but you do pay a premium. Another major downside to rental vehicles is the state in which they often come. I’ve personally rented a vehicle to use it as my Uber car. Although the inclusion of maintenance is a huge win, it wasn’ t worth the constant hassle associated with checking your car in every four to five weeks. Upside, you often get a new ride, which helps keep the rideshare game fun.
We’ve examined all three modes of acquiring a vehicle and ultimately buying, leasing, and rentals are dependent on the program. So let’s take a look at the varied programs available to rideshare drivers in 2019. The following list will provide you with examples that primarily fit within the leasing and rental models, simply because buying a car for rideshare is often a cost that most rideshare drivers are not ready or willing to take on. I imagine that you are reading this guide because you might not be able to afford a new Uber car, and that’s ok, we’ve got your back.
The Top Six Options in Leasing and Renting a Vehicle for Rideshare
These options are not ranked in any particular order, in large part because there isn’t an objective best option. Some of the following methods will work for some and not for others. While I’ve done my best to give you the most accurate information, I encourage you to do further research. As I always advise those who want to become a rideshare driver, do your research and treat this like a business. If you can’t afford the options listed below, DON’T jump head first. It is better to take a slow approach.
Fair was built on the bones of the Uber Leasing Exchange program that faltered at the end of 2017. This revolutionary app with built-in car marketplace is looking to be the Future of Car Ownership. Keep in mind that Fair isn’t looking to simply capitalize on rideshare drivers. They also manage an entire catalog of vehicles for people who need a no-strings-attached take on car ownership. The model is a little hard for most to grasp at first because it isn’t totally clear.
Do you own the car? Are you leasing it? Are you renting it? The answer lies in the details of how your particular state qualifies ownership. For instance, my Fair Car, a 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport is listed as my vehicle according to the State of Colorado. This is not typical of most lease programs, in which the true owner (i.e. the leasing company) is listed on the registration.
What makes Fair a good option?
Fair excels in a few key areas. One is the wide variety of available vehicles, particularly if you aren’t looking for an Uber car. It is a peculiar setup for first-time users, who can often get confused. Vehicles that are available to rideshare drivers are paid for on a weekly basis, whereas vehicles not available to rideshare drivers are paid for monthly. The best part of the leasing system with Fair is the 100% flexibility guarantee.
Basically, if you don’t like the ride or feel like its no longer working for you, you can give it back! That’s right! You start with a 3 day or 100-mile guarantee that assures you aren’t locked in. After the initial three day/100 mile guarantee, what happens? The initial deposit, which I will cover in a minute, goes away. But, you still maintain flexibility because you are not locked into a long-term contract like many leasing programs.
The Details of Fair
Fair offers vehicles for rideshare ranging in cost from $130 per week to $170 per week. It is a stellar price, even if you only want to drive your Uber car for 15 to 20 hours a week. If you plan on driving the vehicle for personal use, you can! But you need to provide the insurance. Uber covers you when you are online. But when you are offline, you either need to carry Fair’s insurance policy (~$30 per month) or purchase your own policy. My advice is to carry Fair’s policy to save on costs.
Fair is available in multiple markets and has one of the widest ranges available, hitting over 20 states as of 2019. Since the company is formed from the relic of the Uber Exchange Lease Program, many wonder whether they can use the cars for Lyft? The answer is, yes they are meant to be used by Uber drivers. However, you can also use them to drive for Lyft. Perk? I think so.
Here is the kicker, and why Fair is my favorite option. Not only do you get a stellar price, but the first eight regular oil changes and maintenance checks are covered by Fair! Say what?! No maintenance cost for up to eight months?
The other factor that aids Fair as an ideal ownership model for rideshare is the unlimited mileage guarantee. Remember when I talked about leasing a car and the mileage gouging that can happen? Not with Fair. You can drive the wheels of the car and as long as you return it in good condition, you’re good. The flexibility option also means that if you want to get into a different ride, you can, although that process does take time and a hefty cost. Still, you aren’t locked into a loan or long-term lease.
What is the drawback?
Sounds too good to be true, eh? A brand spanking new ride for only $130+ tax per week? You could make that in five or six hours on a good day. That leaves the rest of the week to make some cheddar.
What about credit checks? Down payments? What’s the real catch? Well, Fair does run a hard check on your credit, but mostly they are interested in proof that you can pay them weekly. They will want to access your bank account to automatically draw the payment each week, which means you better have it.
They also require a non-refundable deposit of $500+ to get into the vehicle. $500 is a lot! Right? But if you are really looking to get into rideshare, the fact is that you can recoup that loss in about ten weeks if you are serious about it. Some repay it sooner, others later. I reached the black on my FAIR car in just under eight weeks.
Cost: $130-170 per week + ~$30 Fair Insurance per month + Tax = $214 per week on the high end.
Perks: Unlimited Mileage, Maintenance Covered (Up to 8 per year), and full flexibility to return the car when you want to.
Drawbacks: $500 deposit upfront and Hard Credit Check are stiff barriers to entry. Tires are not covered by the maintenance plan.
Overall Cost Maximum: $214 per week + $500 Deposit (broken into ten weeks) = $264 per week.
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Hyrecar is one of the most flexible models available to get an Uber car, particularly if you are looking for a short-term ride. The benefit lays most within the speed with which you can acquire a car. The major downside is that it isn’t particularly viable to use long-term unless you are a millionaire. If you happen to have your own car in the shop, however, Hyrecar is a great way to get a car for a day, a week, a month, or longer.
The way it works is simple. You log into the market and see the available rides you can pull from. I drive in the Denver, CO market and when I logged on, there were five cars up for grabs. This pales in comparison to the near 25 available on Fair. But should I need a car for a day or a week, Hyrecar is the go-to model.
What makes Hyrecar a good option?
Right off the bat, speed is the key benefit. Hyrecar claims you can get into a car in as little as a day or two, which is huge if you just need to jump on and make some extra scratch over the weekend. The car owner maintains the vehicle up to Uber, Lyft, and additional rideshare standards so you don’t have to worry about rushing off to get an extension.
If you need to get on the road quickly, Hyrecar far outperforms Fair. The same level of flexibility also exists on the Hyrecar platform. Are you done driving your rental? Turn it in! Contact the owner, which could be an individual or a company, and arrange a time to meetup/drop-off.
The Details of Hyrecar
While Hyrecar exceeds in getting you an Uber car in less than two days, the cost of renting one challenges the viability of their model. Hyrecar runs on a per day cost, often ranging from $20 to $70 depending on the vehicle and the owner’s pricing. When you consider that a Fair Car at max value is around $37 plus $500 deposit, it doesn’t look so bad, does it?
The devil is again in the details. Say you need the car for 30 days, what does that look like? In the Denver market, the average price of a vehicle is $42.50 per day (based on market value 06/14/19). This isn’t so bad and you aren’t out that initial $500 deposit. All good, right? Not exactly.
With Hyrecar, there is a 10% transaction fee based on the total cost of your ride. So, if you want a car for 30 days at $42.50 per day, you’re looking at $1,270 plus $127.80 on the transaction fee. Add on the insurance at $13 per day and you’ve got a total cost of $1,787.50.
Additional Perks of Hyrecar
Look, it may be more expensive, but what about the flexibility offered by Hyrecar? You can essentially get a new car every week if you can afford the upfront transaction fee as well as the weekly cost. This upfront cost does assure you that you’re never behind the eightball.
Once you’ve paid, the car is yours until the end of the agreed upon rental, which means its all cheddar from there. The question is, can you earn enough in your market to make up the extra expense? There isn’t a credit check though, so that is a huge bonus if you are on the lower end of the credit pool. They can do this because the entire cost of the car is paid up front. So if you’ve got the coin, go wild!
What is the drawback?
Honestly, it is the cost. With a near 40% markup on the cost of a vehicle. Hyrecar is not really a sustainable rental option unless you plan to drive the wheels off of your Uber car rental. Add in the fact that many owners cap mileage on their vehicle to around 300 miles per day. If you’ve ever done rideshare, you know how 300 miles can go by quickly. You are driving a person’s car and because of that, you pay a premium.
Cost: Average of $42.50 per day + $13 Insurance = $389.20 per week (Denver Market Figures, will vary from market to market)
Perks: Quick acquisition of vehicle, flexibility, No Credit Check
Drawbacks: Overall cost and the 10% transaction fee.
Overall Cost Maximum: $389.20 per week + $135 Deposit = $468.75 per week.
We’ve heard many horror stories about rental programs in rideshare, but Hertz has really hung in there. In fact, their new program appears to be much more viable than it was when I once used it. The basics of this model rely upon seven-day rentals that you can extend up to three times. Hertz allows flexibility, no mileage limits, excellent insurance coverage, and a decent per week price. No contract allows you flexibility, no mileage brings your costs down, and no additional cost for insurance is a huge win. So let’s break it down.
What makes Hertz a good option?
As long as you are in good standing with Hertz, have a valid driver’s license and are twenty-five years or older, you are basically good to get a Lyft or an Uber car. This lower barrier to entry makes Hertz one of the most popular options available to rideshare drivers. There is a refundable $200 deposit on Uber and if you drive Lyft, a refundable security deposit, should everything check out. That’s a mega win. Add in the fact that you can freely drive for both platforms and do not have to maintain the vehicle or pay for tires, Hertz looks like a killer option.
The Details of Hertz Rideshare Program?
Hertz requires you to reserve a car for a least seven days and gives you the option to re-up your rental contract up to three more times. Once you have renegotiated four times, you will be required to bring the car back in for maintenance. You are then asked to sign up for another tour of duty. With Uber, the maximum is twenty-eight days between contracts and with Lyft it can be up to fifty-six days. Doesn’t sound so bad right? Heck, you even get a new car every month! That’s flexibility! The cost is an incredible win to starting at $214 for a base level car on Uber and $219 on Lyft, how can you not win?
Additional Perks of Hertz
No maintenance costs! Hertz takes care of it all. No cost for tires, oil changes, etc. All you have to pay is gas.
What is the drawback?
Well, taking your Lyft or Uber car into the Hertz facility every month or fifty-six days can be trying. Often drivers report staying at the Hertz rental location for hours at a time as a car is either being serviced or they await another ride. This doesn’t seem too bad, right? Well in the rideshare business time is money and any time you aren’t driving, you are basically losing money. This can often snowball into a bad week and force you to drive longer hours. Obviously, this doesn’t always occur, but frustration comes at a premium. Add in the fact that you need a $200 deposit for each contract can get messy, but overall the process has become fairly streamlined.
Cost: Base price of $214 per week on Uber, $219 per week on Lyft = $219 + taxes and fees. ~$250 per week.
Perks: Quick acquisition of vehicle, flexibility, No Credit Check, No Mileage Limits, No Maintenance Required, Refundable deposit
Drawbacks: $200 refundable deposit, short contracts that eat up time
Overall Cost Maximum: $250 per week
Maven is a top-notch way to get yourself into a new car for Uber, Delivr, and Grubhub. This limits the rideshare usage because at this time you cannot use Maven for Lyft. Maven offers you one of four different Chevrolet models either compact, sedan, crossover or electric. The price point ranged from $199 per week to $325 per week. As of now, Maven is available for rideshare drivers in Detroit, San Diego, San Fransico, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City. This limits the availability for all drivers outside of those markets, but for those who live there, you’ve got a killer opportunity.
Maven also offers unlimited miles, maintenance, insurance, and roadside assistance for rideshare drivers who sign up. Maven works in the same fashion as the Hertz Rental Program in so far as you sign up for a seven-day contract with the option to re-up every week, up to twenty-eight days.
What makes Maven a good option?
Quite simply, access to an electric vehicle for rideshare is the ultimate unicorn. At $325 per week with maintenance covered, unlimited miles, and roadside assistance it is a steal. Sure $325 may not be the most doable for most drivers, particularly if you are part-time. However, if you are a full-time driver looking to make the switch to electric, this is a good way to cut costs. No gas cost, check. No oil changes, check. With those two major expenses removed from your board, $325 isn’t looking so bad, particularly if you live in the heavy markets you can get Maven Gig in.
The Details of the Maven Gig Program
As mentioned above the Maven Gig has taken a page straight from the Hertz Rideshare program. Sign up for a seven-day tour that is renegotiable up to three times. Take your car in for service when it is time and then sign up for a new tour. One of the greatest benefits of their program is the flexibility to do rideshare and delivery across multiple platforms. Where some programs stipulate you can only drive with one service or another, Maven assures flexibility across a myriad of platforms.
So even if that $325 per week price tag on the Chevy Bolt is daunting, you could always double or triple book yourself with multiple options. Toss in a killer price point at only $199 a week for your standard gas-powered compact and you’ve got a program that is poised to challenge Fair. There is also an option for a truck, which expands the capability to do some of the more heavy jobs in the gig delivery market.
What is the drawback?
The major drawback is the lack of selection and variety in choosing vehicles. Maven is clearly backed by GM and Chevrolet, meaning that your choices are limited to a GM/Chevrolet product. For many rideshare drivers, this isn’t much of a catch. A car is a car, right? However, some are more choosey about their ride. Even the $250 deposit towards your ride isn’t a major detractor. All in all, their primary drawback is in selection and availability. With only seven markets many drivers are automatically excluded.
Cost: Base price of $199 for a compact. Sedan to Electric’s range from $219 to $325. ~$199 + Taxes and Fees
Perks: Low barrier of entry $250 refundable deposit, Unlimited Mileage, Maintenance included, Electric vehicle access
Drawbacks: Short contract periods like Hertz, a small selection of vehicles, and limited availability.
GetAround is one of the newer car-sharing services that allows car owners to rent their vehicle out to other people. Much like Turo and other similar services, GetAround markets the ability to get into a car for as little as $5 per hour. Now in actuality, that is not the case. The majority of the rides on the GetAround market are priced according to the owner of the vehicle, which undermines their $5 per hour claim. But, the good news is that GetAround does get you into a car pretty quickly, with no membership fees.
A swift sixty-second credit check and you can be in a ride in no time at all, depending on the swiftness of the owner of the vehicle you choose, of course. GetAround has two levels to its program, one in which car owners can lease out their car for a couple of hours or a few days, extending up to two months. Drivers can lease a car for personal use or for rideshare through their Uber Partner platform.
Why is GetAround a good option?
GetAround works because of a vast pool of cars available and by the speed with which they approve and get you into a car. If you are in a pinch and you need a ride for the day, say because your car is in the shop, GetAround is your go to. The price point is nice though it is often a bit higher than $5 per hour as the app claims. First-time renters can expect a temporary $150 hold on their accounts for insurance on behalf of the owner. Overall, if you need a ride in a pinch or just need a ride for a night, say an XL or black ride, GetAround works great!
The Details of GetAround
The program is simple enough and the pricepoints provide an easy shopping experience. It is also important to note that the wide variety of rides provides a rideshare driver a veritable buffet of vehicles to choose from. GetAround shines in providing a low cost, temporary option to get an Uber car. But, long-term, the costs associated with the GetAround program would most likely bury a full-time driver.
The average cost appears to be a range from $35-55 per eight hours allotted time slot. If you wanted to rent for longer, the cost immediately starts to increase exponentially. For a 2019 Hyundai Elantra, middle of the road compact, a seven-day contract would cost a first-time renter, $150 upfront fee on top of $470.00 for the seven-day rental. As you can see this model is not built for the long haul.
What is the drawback?
Costs! $470 a week is hard to recoup in any rideshare market. Add in the fact that many of the vehicles on the platform do come with a mileage allotment programmed in by the owners and you could face a $.50 per mile overage charge. If you really punched it and drove to make a profit on your $470 investment you’d undoubtedly go over the average allotment of five hundred miles. Overall it just plain costs too much to do long term as a rideshare driver. With that being said, it appears that GetAround is moving towards providing an affordable option. If you want to drive rideshare there is a partnership with Uber that provides rideshare approved cars. These Uber cars are less likely to have mileage allotments and often have a lower cost, though not enough to make it viable.
Cost: $5 per hour that scales up to an average of $450 per week + Mileage overage.
Perks: Quick and easy, a wide variety of rides, no deposit
Drawbacks: Overall cost, mileage allotments, refuel fees.
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Our final rideshare rental contestant is Rideshare Rental, it’s a simple and easy name and you know what it works! Rideshare Rental has marketed itself as the go-to company for rideshare drivers. If you don’t mind driving a Hyundai as your Uber car, then you are in great shape. No offense of course to Hyundai drivers, I am one myself. Rideshare Rental is relatively new to the market and is currently only available in Los Angeles, Dallas, Baltimore, and San Francisco—with new locations are opening each month across the United States. Contracts run from one day to a week and up to a month, with price points that are honestly quite shocking.
Why is Rideshare Rental a Good Option?
The price points are ridiculous! Rideshare Rental can get you into a Hyundai for as little as $39.95 per day, $199 per week, and $795 per month. That is significantly lower than most of the other options listed above. Throw in unlimited mileage, including maintenance, no long term contracts and you’ve got yourself a win.
The Details of the Rideshare Rental Program
Like many of the other models above, Rideshare Rental offers a decent model for a rideshare driver to get into a vehicle. Price points are low and the perks are high. If you happen to live in the markets where there are fleets setup, then you are in luck. $199 + tax is lower than every option listed above, but what is the catch?
What is the drawback?
Quite simply, Rideshare Rental just hasn’t scaled fast enough to this point. Their model looks solid, but they haven’t expanded into enough areas to be viable for the bulk of rideshare drivers. With that being said, $199 per week is a killer and there isn’t much more of a drawback that is worth noting. The fact that their platform seems only to have Hyundai cars shouldn’t be a drawback, but hey people like variety.
Cost: $39.95 per day to $795 per month + taxes and fees. Overall cost per week: $199 + Tax
Perks: Unlimited Mileage, Built for Rideshare Drivers, Included Maintenance and No Long Term Contracts
Drawbacks: Limited availability and stock.
We’ve examined the top six rental car options for rideshare drivers. As usual, this is not an exhaustive list as there are multiple options available, like renting from a private fleet. However, these six represent the best options available for the bulk of rideshare drivers. Each of the options has perks and drawbacks that fit what the driver might need.
If you are looking for long-term options, Fair offers the best solution for rideshare-only drivers, in particular, Uber. However, Hertz/Lyft Express drive has one of the best overall deals available. Whereas some of the other options look to be interesting models that might take off, like Rideshare Rental and Maven Gig. Others simply provide a short-term solution like Hyrecar or GetAround.
Do your Research!
Ultimately, it is important to do your own research and figure which model best fits your driving situation. Fair works best for me as a part-time driver, not only for the cost but the flexibility it offers me, not to mention a new car.
Whether you are looking for variety, low costs options, or the ability to rent a car for a single evening to hit up some Black or Select rides there are a ton of options available to you. There isn’t a right or wrong choice unless you are going for the overall cost and that would most likely be Hertz or Fair for most drivers.
Special Note to Drivers
Do your due diligence when looking to rent a car. Options like Turo do not allow renters to use cars for rideshare purposes and a breach of those terms of service can be very costly. Be sure not to jump into just anyone platform at first and compare and contrast the pros and cons of each. As we have stated time and time again here at Uber Driver Things, you need to treat your Uber/Lyft gig like a business. You wouldn’ t propose a half-cocked idea to your bank if you were looking for a small business loan, would you?
Crunch the numbers and find an Uber car you really like. You could also settle for a revolving door approach, after all, getting a new ride every month is kind of exciting. One final note, before you click reserve, make sure you have the time and capability to pay for the ride. Your Uber car is how you make money and you need to be able to pay for it first.