American Hope Resources - Help & Assistance Programs

How To Drive For Uber or Lyft Without Owning A Car

People who want to drive for Uber or Lyft must have a vehicle from 2007 or newer.

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This means that someone who is interested in ride-sharing but has an older vehicle will not get approved. A similar problem exists for those who do not own a car and lack the money to purchase one.

Uber and Lyft have partnered with rental car companies to solve this problem. Programs like Lyft’s Express Drive and Uber’s Vehicle Solutions help people rent a car that meets requirements. Other companies like Fair and HyreCar also offer similar options. In this article, we talk about each program, their benefits and drawbacks.

Lyft’s Express Drive program

Express Drive is a rental car program created by Lyft to help people get started in the ride-sharing business. The program is available in select cities through several rental car companies which have partnered with Lyft, including Avis Budget Group, Flexdrive and Hertz.

This rental program has several benefits. First, it comes with unlimited miles, which allows drivers to use the car as much as they need. However, rental cars can only be driven out of state if doing so is required to complete a Lyft ride. Second, insurance and maintenance are included in the rental contract. Please read “Rideshare Insurance for Uber Drivers” to understand why having insurance is necessary in ride-sharing. This means ride-sharing drivers will only have to worry about weekly rental payments. How much has to be paid weekly to rent a car through Express Drive varies by city and rental car company.

To join the Express Drive program, people must send an application to become a Lyft driver first. Once they get approved, the option to rent a car will show up if it’s available in their city. To get approved, people must meet Lyft’s driver requirements and provide a refundable deposit. They must also be at least 25 years old to rent a vehicle from Hertz or Flexdrive.

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Uber’s Rental Car Programs

Uber operates a rental car program similar to Express Drive. It allows drivers to rent a vehicle according to their needs and goals. However, prospective drivers must follow Uber’s application process to become a driver, which includes being at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license and one or more years of driving experience. For more information, please read “What It Takes To Become An Uber or Lyft Driver.”

Those who are approved to drive for the company have three choices. They can rent a vehicle from Hertz, which costs $214 per week and requires a $200 refundable deposit. This option comes with unlimited miles, maintenance, insurance and flexible renewal options. Renting from Hertz is a good choice for drivers who plan to work at least 40 hours per week. Those who do often earn bonus money from Uber’s Vehicle Solutions Rewards program, which could be enough to cover rental costs.

The second choice is renting from Fair, which has lower weekly fees that start at $130/week. However, this rental company asks for a $500 nonrefundable deposit and rented vehicles only come with basic maintenance. Insurance is optional and may raise weekly prices. This option has more limits than Hertz’s offering, but works out better in the long term due to lower weekly rental costs.

The third option is renting from Getaround, a pay-by-the-hour rental car company. The cost is just $5 per hour, with no deposit required. Vehicles from Getaround come with insurance and basic maintenance. Uber and Getaround often run a special offer that gives new drivers their first 12 hours at no cost. This option is designed for people who are testing ride-sharing for the first time and are unsure whether they plan to continue after a few days.

Lease a vehicle through Xchange

Xchange Leasing is another alternative for people who don’t own a car or whose credit score is not good enough to qualify for an auto loan. This program was originally created by Uber in 2015 but is now a product of leasing company Fair, which also offers traditional car rentals. The Xchange program offers potential drivers a short-term lease in partnership with car dealerships. The lease can be used to get a new or used vehicle.

The Xchange Leasing program has its benefits and drawbacks. First, cars obtained through the program come with maintenance and comprehensive insurance at no additional cost. Second, unlike traditional car rentals, drivers can take tax deductions from miles driven. Also, leasing a vehicle through the Xchange Leasing program can be cheaper than renting one. However, drivers must make a deposit before they can pick up their chosen vehicle, just like when renting. And third, the vehicle can be returned after the first month without significant fees.

The biggest drawback of using Xchange Leasing to work for Uber or Lyft is the high cost compared to other leasing alternatives. For example, leasing a 2014 Toyota Camry through Xchange Leasing can cost up to $117 per week or $470 each month. By comparison, the same vehicle can be leased from a Toyota dealer for less than $200 a month. However, a good credit score is often required to lease directly from car dealers. Weekly costs are even higher for new vehicles.

Xchange Leasing is a good option for people who would rather not put their personal vehicles through the constant wear and tear of driving up to 750 miles a week. It is also a solution for people with poor credit histories who are unable to receive financing from other sources. However, drivers who apply for a lease with Xchange must be in for the long term. The application process creates an inquiry in their credit report and the program can only be used once.

Hyrecar

HyreCar is a rental platform where people can rent their vehicles directly to Uber and Lyft drivers. It was created in 2014 as a direct competitor to Xchange Leasing, though its current service model is more similar to the rental option offered by Getaround.

With HyreCar, drivers pay a daily rate to rent vehicles which have already been inspected and approved by Uber and Lyft. They do not have to sign any contract or make hefty deposits to pick up vehicles. All drivers must do is visit the website, choose a vehicle and wait for the owner to confirm the rent application.

HyreCar is a fast alternative for people who enjoy ride-sharing sporadically. Renting directly from car owners sidesteps the paperwork and deposits rental companies often ask for. However, it may not be the cheapest solution for full-time drivers, as weekly rates hover around $250.

If someone plans to use ride-sharing as their main source of income, using one of the traditional car rental options would provide a larger profit margin. After all, optimizing profits should always be a priority for long term Uber drivers. Read our article “How To Make Money With Ride-Sharing” for useful tips and suggestions on how to maximize earnings.

Ride-sharing companies are always looking for ways to get new drivers on board. As a result, new programs are constantly being created to help those without a proper vehicle get started in the business. If you still think renting or leasing a vehicle is too much commitment, maybe try other options, such as UberEATS. Take a look at our article about “Making Money Delivering Food With UberEATS,” to know more about how the service allows people to deliver food in scooters, motorbikes and bicycles.

Eric Tomasso