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15 min read

    15 min read

    Harry here.  One of the biggest barriers to entry for a lot of new Uber and Lyft drivers is an eligible vehicle.  We’ve covered the Uber Xchange Leasing Program in depth already but today, senior RSG contributor Christian Perea takes a look at all of the rideshare vehicle rental options that are currently available to drivers.

    Rideshare Rental Options Compared

    We took a first look at some of the most popular programs to see how they work and, most importantly, how they stack up against each other. Each has certain strengths and weaknesses. This is a high level review and terms change often, so make sure you confirm with the company before pulling the trigger on a rental. All of these programs do require that you be at least 21 or older to use them though.

    New Lyft Driver - Earn 1500:week

    Note: One thing to keep in mind is that for the Enterprise and Hertz rental car partnerships, you must go through an Uber or Lyft approved dealership.  You can’t just go directly to Hertz and rent a car and drive it on Uber or Lyft.

    1) HyreCar: Top car rental for Uber and everything else (Uber Eats, Lyft, Postmates, Doordash, etc.)

    Hyrecar is the second best option to rent a car to drive for uber and lyft. No contracts, no sign up fees, and no waiting.

    HyreCar is a vehicle rental market specifically designed for Uber, Lyft, and on demand/delivery drivers. It’s actually pretty cool because you can filter by price, model, and location to find what fits your needs best. You can rent a vehicle for as little as 2 days, and it is a great way to test the waters for Uber and Lyft if you want to give it a try without the hassle of car shopping.

    They have designed the process to be as quick and easy as possible for drivers to get on the road in as little as 24 hours.

    You can sign up for Hyrecar here (use this link to get the best deal)

    Hyrecar review

    2) Fair App: Another Car Rental Option

    Fair recently acquired Uber’s Xchange Leasing portfolio and partnered with Uber to offer rideshare vehicles to Uber drivers, and now they’re one of the go-to options for those looking to get a car to drive for Uber. They’re currently available to drivers in California, Philadelphia, and Seattle. They expect to expand to the rest of the U.S. by the end of the year.

    They’re official partners with Uber and, if it’s available in your area, you can actually use the Uber Driver app to start your application with Fair. Alternatively, you can also download their app from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store and sign in with your Uber account to find a car.  They also have cars available for non-rideshare drivers, so make sure you sign in using the Uber option of the app.

    According to the company, “Fair is trying to revolutionize the way people get access to cars by offering a way to get a car with no long-term contract.” You can read more about how Fair works here and if you want to get started with Fair, you can click here and get $100 off. If you already have the app downloaded, enter code rsg100 to get $100 off.

    3) More Car Rental Options

    If you’d like to see a full list of vehicle options, head over to our new Vehicle Marketplace page.

    Since the launch of the Uber Xchange leasing program in 2015, we’ve seen a rush of new competitors filling the space with different vehicle options for drivers.  These programs have been insanely popular with drivers (despite the high cost) since they don’t require great credit and are extremely flexible.  But now, Uber and Lyft are pushing an even more flexible option with rideshare rental programs.

    Rental programs allow you to avoid the hassle of car research, going to a dealership and haggling over prices since all the terms are pretty much set in stone.  Uber has already launched a partnership with both Enterprise and Hertz while Lyft also has a partnership with Hertz, but is investing heavily in their Express Drive program with General Motors. There are even some third party options like Evercar and HyreCar that are looking to compete with the big boys.

    Today we’re going to review some of the rideshare rental options that drivers have, but for a full list of options, head over to our new Vehicle Marketplace page.

    Rent a car for Uber, Uber Eats, Lyft, Postmates, Doordash, Grubhub, and more

    Rent a car for Uber, Uber Eats, Lyft, Postmates, Doordash, Grubhub, and more

    Rental Car Options For On Demand/Gig Economy Drivers

    You can apply for an Uber rental through their vehicle solutions page in the “Partner” portal online.  If you’re a brand new driver, you need to sign up to drive with Uber first and then there will be a section toward the end of your application that allows you to apply for a vehicle.

    When you arrive at the Vehicle Marketplace for Uber, you will see a screen that lists the options and a link to sign up. If you sign-up through your Uber Partner portal then your rental fees will automatically be deducted from the pay you receive in your Uber account. There is no credit check required and you must be 25 years or older to be eligible.

    If you’d like to see a full list of vehicle options, head over to our new Vehicle Marketplace page.

    Rental Solutions SF

    Sample screenshot of Uber rental options in SF via Driver Partner portal.

    Uber-Enterprise Rideshare Rental Program

    Uber-Enterprise-logoUber began testing a partnership with Enterprise last December, and it looks like it has expanded to several markets. Presently available in SF, Chicago, LA, Boston, New Jersey, Denver, and San Diego with more locations to come soon (e-mail [email protected] to see if it’s in your market). Here are the high-level details:

    • $215 per week, plus taxes and fees. There is also a $40 “startup” fee for the first week you rent a vehicle.
    • $250 refundable deposit.
    • Unlimited mileage.
    • Maintenance handled by Enterprise.
    • Insurance Details: Infographic Here.
    • Rental Period: 7 days minimum, 28 days max.

    Vehicle Types:

    Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Dodge Dart, and Honda Civic.

    Notes: Enterprise has a higher base fee than Hertz, but may have more cars available. The $40 “startup” fee is the only ‘fee’ you’ll have to watch out for. Other than that, it seems like a pretty decent program.

    Uber-Hertz Rental Partnership

    Hertz signed a deal with both TNCs since more travelers are opting for rideshare these days than car rental. With Hertz, the rental fee is less than Enterprise at $180 per week. No credit check required.

    • $180 per week, plus taxes and fees. No word on whether there is a “Startup” fee.
    • $250 refundable deposit.
    • Unlimited mileage.
    • Maintenance handled by Hertz.
    • Insurance Details: Hertz Loss Damage Waiver during periods 1 and 2. Uber insurance during period 3.
    • Rental Period: 7 days minimum, 28 days max.

    Vehicle Types:

    Toyota Corolla “Or similar”- no word yet on how widely they interpret “similar”.

    Compared: So Hertz is a little cheaper than Enterprise at $180 per week. It also seems to offer most of the same things as the Enterprise. However, there is no “start-up” fee.

    Lyft Rideshare Rental Options

    Lyft has made an aggressive play towards rentals this year. They are focusing on this as a competitive move against Uber to leverage their partnership (and recent $500 million investment) from General Motors. Beyond this GM + Lyft program, Lyft is also set up with Hertz to rent cars to drivers. If you rent through Lyft’s portal, your pay will be deducted from your weekly earnings summary and you will not qualify to use Express Pay.

    Lyft + GM Express Drive

    Sample Rates in Boston

    Sample rate and vehicles in Boston for Express Drive.

    Lyft’s Express Drive program is the most unique rental option. It is available in San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, Washington DC, and Los Angeles- with intentions to expand rapidly to other Lyft markets.

    The program is clearly geared towards driving full-time on Lyft. Those who stick with Lyft get a lot of benefits while the costs are substantial for not being loyal.

    Pricing: The rental and mileage fee can be waived if you meet the ride count criteria in your market. Per week charges start at around $149 for a small sedan and go as high as $239 for a small crossover SUV.

    Every driver is automatically enrolled in Lyft’s “Rental Rewards Program” which makes those weekly charges zero upon doing enough rides. Miles driven outside of “driver mode” will incur a $0.25 charge per mile regardless of how many rides you do. Unfortunately, the Express Drive will remove you from Lyft’s Power Driver Bonus and and Average Hourly Guarantees.

    • Maintenance: Handled by Lyft/GM. You must bring your car in every 8 weeks for maintenance.
    • Insurance Details: Check “Rental Policy”
    • Deposit: Varies, but refunded after completing first ride.
    • Rental Period: 4-52 weeks depending on market. Return car at anytime. Schedule 24 hours in advance.
    • Competitive Lockout: You will pay a heavy price for driving this vehicle on another platform.

    Express Drive Vehicles

    General Motors vehicles ranging from the Chevy Cruze, Equinox, Impala, Malibu, GMC Terrain, and more.

    Source: Express Drive Rental Car Program

    Notes: This program is aimed at those who want to drive for Lyft full-time. If you want to drive for Lyft and pay very little for a vehicle in the process, then this is a good program, but you must minimize miles outside of driver mode.  If you meet the Power Rental Rewards program than you can end up paying very little for the vehicle (assuming you minimize personal use).

    However, if you are in a market (like SF) where you can earn more via the Power Driver Bonus + Average Hourly Guarantees, then this program may not be best for you.

    Lyft + Hertz Rent and Drive Program

    Lyft Hertz

    Very similar to Uber-Hertz program. However, you can still qualify for the Power Driver Bonus, Average Hourly Guarantees, and other promotions through Hertz in comparison to Express Drive. There is no mileage charge and nothing to prevent you from driving for another service. Just keep in mind that your pay will be deducted from Lyft so you better earn enough on Lyft to cover it. Must be 25 or older. Available in LA, SF, Las Vegas, Denver, and Orange County CA.

    Source: Here

    • $180 per week, plus taxes and fees. No word on whether there is a “Startup” fee.
    • $250 refundable deposit.
    • Unlimited mileage.
    • Maintenance handled by Hertz.
    • Insurance Details: Hertz Loss-Damage Waiver included during Periods 1 and 2. Lyft insurance in Period 3.
    • Rental Period: 7 days minimum, 28 days max.
    • Competitive Lockout: None

    Vehicles:

    Toyota Corolla “Or similar”- no word yet on how widely they interpret “similar”.

    Notes: Compared to Express Drive, this could be a better deal for drivers who are looking for more flexibility around promotions and the platforms they drive on. There is also a lot less to worry about concerning non “driver-mode” miles.

    Rideshare Rental Startups

    There are a bunch of third party companies that are focusing on rideshare rentals these days. They have a unique take on how rentals work for rideshare drivers and offer some stuff that Uber or Lyft just simply are not willing to offer. HyreCar is a market place for drivers and private individuals to rent rideshare cars to each other while Evercar is a “car-share” program where you become a member and pay to rent by the hour.

    HyreCar

    HyreCar

    Vehicles for Rent on HyreCar in San Francisco.

    HyreCar is a vehicle rental market designed for all on-demand services. You can rent in increments of days from private individuals who place their car for rent via their platform. Cars range from beaters to BMW’s, Prii, and minivans.

    An interesting strategy with HyreCar is that you can rent an UberXL or Uber Select when a big event comes to town or if you want to test the waters on a different platform to see if there is enough business.

    HyreCar works both ways though and you can also let a driver rent your car out to drive for Uber or other services. So you can rent your car out if you don’t want to drive for a few days.

    You can rent by the day, week, or month. Generally the person who is putting the car up for rent will control the rates and mileage. So be sure to shop around. Most seem to have mileage limited to 150-200 miles a day.

    You can sign up or check-out more here: HyreCar

    Evercar: Hourly Rentals

    NOTE: Evercar has ceased operations as of 10/10/2016

    evercar-mark-with-word

    Evercar is probably the most flexible rental option we could find. It lets you rent by the hour, the vehicles are already setup to drive for Uber, Lyft, and other on-demand apps. Gas, maintenance, car-washes, and insurance is included. Their company vision is also really big on EV’s and hybrids, so if you are into that sort of thing, they are a good option.

    Rental rates vary between $5/hr for Nissan Leaf in LA, $7/hr for a Prius in LA, or $8/hr for a Prius in SF.

    Evercar is a good option for those who want to test the waters of rideshare or drive without committing to a car lease. It is also a great option for those who want to drive-part time because you won’t have to do a minimum number of rides to waive a rental fee. There is no credit check, but there is a $25 background check fee that goes towards your first rental if you pass.

    You can sign up or check-out more here: Evercar

    Other Options

    There are several other local players like Ubit International (Arizona), WorkCar (SF), E-rive (Chicago) and FlexDrive that offer rentals and flexible vehicle options. You may want to check them out to see what they can offer you if they are in your market. Especially since the rideshare rental space is heating up. They might come out with something exciting but for now there isn’t a whole lot of information on them.

    Why Are Rentals Such a Big Deal Now?

    Owning and operating a vehicle for rideshare is expensive, complex, and stressful. To make things worse, both companies are driving down the cost of fares in order to increase their user base and the frequency in which they call a ride. Obviously this affects drivers because our pay is based off of the total of the fares. Drivers bear the costs to operate vehicles, and these costs can vary tremendously depending on the vehicle, how new it is, gas mileage, and its financing terms. This all adds up to stress for drivers and makes retaining drivers very difficult for Uber and Lyft.

    Instead, rentals make the calculation simpler. Drivers pay a weekly fee that includes insurance and maintenance without worrying about how many miles they put on the vehicle, or its depreciation. Their costs get lumped into rental and gas costs instead. Further, if someone doesn’t like driving, they can return the vehicle without being stuck in a 2-3 year lease. They can then rent again if they need to drive for a week or two as needed.

    Related article: Essential gear for rideshare drivers

    Should You Rent a Car For Uber?

    Renting may not be the best long-term option for many, but it is still a pretty good option for several reasons.

    It can help many people determine whether this type of work is for them before committing to a long term loan or lease. Rentals are also a good option in the event that your primary rideshare vehicle breaks down- greatly reducing the time a driver is off the road while their car is in the shop. Rentals provide better access to seasonal drivers like students or even to those who are unable to get their hands on a car. Further, rentals shift a lot of costs away from the driver, like depreciation, maintenance, and insurance. This turns many of the biggest costs for drivers into a fixed and predictable cost.

    I’m also a big proponent of being comfortable in the car that you drive. Renting can help you put a car through real-world tests in order to make the right choice in a rideshare vehicle.

    Tax Ramifications of Rideshare Rentals

    QB_SelfEmployed_Intuit_Logo_transparent340x107 (1)Choosing to rent a car for rideshare can affect your taxes because “rent and lease” falls under a separate category than owning a car. A renter will not be able to take the IRS Standard Mileage Deduction of $0.54/mile for the miles they put on their rental. Instead, they would have to deduct their actual expenses while driving for an on-demand service like Uber or Lyft.

    This would mostly involve rental fees and gas costs. You can track these expenses by syncing them with an app like QuickBooks Self-Employed and then further simplify the process by creating “rules” that automatically file these expenses whenever they occur. Doing this will become more important than ever because you are going to want to track all of your expenses to minimize your tax liability. This is especially true if you cannot take the mileage deduction.

    My (Always Humble) Opinion

    All of these rental options are expensive.  We haven’t done an in-depth financial analysis yet on rideshare rentals vs buying but I’d assume that the latter comes out way ahead.  But for a lot of people, these rentals make sense since they are extremely flexible and don’t require much in the way of a down payment or credit.

    So if you’re not ready to commit to buying or leasing a car on your own, these rental programs can be used to your advantage.  I suggest driving like a mad man with the rental while you have it though.  Ultimately, it’s imperative to take advantage of whatever features the program offers.  So if you’re looking for flexibility, unlimited mileage or just to test the waters, there’s sure to be a program that meets your needs.

    Read next:

    If you’d like to see a full list of vehicle options, head over to our new Vehicle Marketplace page.

    Essential gear for rideshare drivers

    Readers, what do you think of the available rental options to drive for Lyft or Uber?

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    -Christian @ RSG

    Christian Perea

    Christian Perea

    In 2014, Christian left his job at a mental health center to drive full time for Lyft and Uber. Since then, he has driven for mostly Lyft with a little bit of Sidecar and Postmates thrown in for experimentation and Uber when he doesn't feel like talking to people. He likes to talk about Politics and Economics over a good beer to whoever will listen to him.

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