Using Delivery Driving to Buy Myself a New Car: Is it Even Possible?

Follow along with RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook as he chronicles his journey to using Uber driving to buy a new car. Tyler decided he wants to pay for his car outright using his gig worker earnings – what are his goals, and how long does he anticipate it taking him to buy a new car with his rideshare profits? In this article, Tyler breaks down his plan, driving strategy, and more. 

For almost two years now, my wife and I have been a one-car family.

During the pandemic, we have really reduced how much we went out, and as such my car was sitting for literally months at a time. Rather than just letting it sit there, we decided it would be best to sell it and use the money to help cover other expenses.

Now that things are changing, and we are more comfortable going out again, our lives have changed and the need for another car is becoming a true need, not just a want.

Rather than get a car loan, or work more on my regular things to make the money to buy a car, I’ve decided I’m going to do nothing but gig work, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash, etc. to make the money needed to get a car in cash or a substantial down payment.

Quick summary:

  • Tyler is aiming to buy a vehicle that’s approved to drive for Uber/Lyft (nothing too old)
  • Tracking everything (earnings and expenses) will be key to keeping this fair
  • Tyler isn’t going to work 24/7 – he wants to keep it manageable like a typical rideshare driver might drive 

My Rules To Get Me A New Car 

For this to work, me getting a car at the end and it to be fully from gig work I have to lay out ground rules to make it “fair”.

My main concern is that it’s replicable, so others can do what I’m about to.

Before getting into that, it’s important to realize we already have one vehicle that’s approved to do all these gigs, so I’m not starting with no vehicle. However, after a few weeks, I plan to see how much I’m making and if renting a vehicle through HyreCar is another option.

Likely it won’t be, and I’ll keep planning my driving around my wife’s schedule, but we’ll see.
Track Everything

Tracking will be the first thing, I’m going to keep track of the miles, the hours, how much I spend on gas, everything.

I’m not technically starting at nothing, but the account that all of my gig apps deposit into does have $2.09, so I really feel like I am starting at nothing. When we are talking $5,000 to $10,000 cash, that few dollars aren’t going to really make that big of a difference.

I’ll also be tracking oil changes, tire changes, how tired I am after a day of driving, and if the “I can’t do this anymore” feeling is coming in and out.

Don’t Change My Working Schedule

I’m not going to let the driving affect my “day job.”

Being a full-time freelancer, I can reorganize my schedule a bit to make it so I’m driving at the best times, but for this “experiment” I’m not going to stop doing my regular work at the time I regularly do it, which for me means I’ll be doing a lot of lunchtime deliveries during the week.

This way, we can see if you can really do this in your off time from a regular 9 to 5 job.

Use Every Technique I Can

I got a guaranteed amount offered from Uber for 80 rides or deliveries, so I’ll be working on that first, and once that’s done, I’ll change my strategy up a bit.

I expect that to take a few weeks, but after that, I plan on going back to multi apping, for the first time using Solo since my area offers a guaranteed amount.

Curious about how Solo works? Check out this video on getting started: How To Get Started With Solo

There are other gig apps out there as well that don’t involve using your car, that I’ll try to sign up for just so I’m not only driving all the time. I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing Rover in my area for some time.

Save Money For Expenses

All expenses must be spent from money made.

So if I need to fill the car with gas, that money must come from what I’ve made already. If I need to buy food or drinks while out, that money must come from what I’ve made.

If we end up needing new tires, brakes, oil changes, etc. because of driving more for a few months, that money must come out of what I’ve already made.

I am fully anticipating setbacks with this – we maintain our one car pretty well, but all cars need repairs regularly, especially if you drive it more than usual.

Challenges to My Plan

Earnings hours – I will mostly drive during the week during lunch, which is usually a good time to drive, but not always. I’m going to try to mitigate this by using Solo, but we’ll see how it goes.

Delivery only – I also have not done any passenger rides since the start of the pandemic, and I intend to continue to do only delivery in the one vehicle we have. Once I get the second car, I’ll probably start driving passengers again, but until then I’d like to stick to just deliveries.

Spending on food! – Another challenge will be my appetite! I have a problem not really caring or tracking how much I spend on food, so I will have to track that and make sure I don’t eat out too much while on the road. Sometimes when I see my earnings stack up, I use that as an excuse to eat out, so I’ll have to keep a watch on that.

Life – My life will get in the way. I plan to drive for lunch Wednesday through Friday every week, and at night and weekends as I can.

The first week I’m starting I already have a few things that will make it impossible to go out at all Friday, and the weekend doesn’t look good either, so we are already going to be a few days behind week 1.

Luckily, being aware of these challenges is the first step to seeing how I can work around or mitigate them. I know life and hunger will happen, but I also know I’m working toward an important goal. I hope this challenge will push me to be better organized with my time and with my snack habits, by bringing lunch and snacks!

What Kind of Car Am I Looking At?

If you’ve looked at a car lot anytime lately, the idea of getting a car for $5,000 seems impossible. And if you’re going to a dealer, yes, it is impossible.

Wondering what the best cars are for rideshare drivers? Check out our Best Cars for Rideshare in 2022 here:

So I’ll be getting a used car, likely at least 10 years old or older. It will have high miles, and not be the type of car most people would like to have. My plan, though is to get a car that can do gig work and allow me to do other things I need to do.

Once I have that car, I will likely use it to start saving for the next car, using the same techniques and things I learn from this experiment.

I have got a little spoiled driving the 2015 Prius we got a few years ago; it has Bluetooth, backup camera, and keyless entry. For me, it has everything I could ever want or need. Though I may be able to get a Prius, there is no way I’ll get one as nice as I currently have as my car.

Alternatively, we may use a service like Carvana, and use the money saved as a huge down payment to get a new car. Once we get around the $5,000 saved mark, we’ll look more at what’s available.

My goal is to make, on average, $100 every time I go out so we are looking at a minimum of 50 days of driving, and averaging 3 per week, so this very well could take 4 to 6 months.

What do you think of my plan? Is it achievable to make $5,000 in 4-6 months from delivery driving only?

-Tyler @ RSG