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Renting options for Uber/Lyft- good deal or no?

Zardoz

Member
Hey guys , so Ive been driving for lyft , in part cause I have an older car (2004 Honda Civic) that uber told me would not make the cut . Ive been taking care of it , done all scheduled maintenance work , and never really had any serious problems with it . last night though , my car started acting up during a ride . after i finished the ride , i had the car towed to my mechanic .

well unfortunately this morning, he got back to me and confirmed my worse fears : it was a transmission issue , which will prob be $2500 to fix . so at this point i am thinking it might be better to just look into securing a new car -- fixing this older one doesnt seem to make sense , especially since i understand that i can make 20% more if i have a newer vehicle with lyft , and could drive for uber as well . i do have pretty good credit - i bought and paid off this old car - so i could probably look into a new one if need be .

question is, i have heard that both uber AND lyft have vehicle rental programs (lyfts is called Express Drive , not sure what uber's is called) -- are any of you using them ? and do you recommend them ?

i remember looking at the costs , and they didnt seem all that great - i think with lyft you pay like $180 or so a week if you give less than 85 rides a week (and lately it has been pretty slow , so there's no guarantee you would get that ), and i remember when i was paying off my old car , the monthly payments would be like $250 ... so you could basically be paying $720 a month, and Im not even sure if you would own the car after that ??

just wanted to hear your experiences with either program , and (constructive) advice if possible . thank you .
 

Zardoz

Member
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  • #2
I see from their website that uber uses something called Xchange Leasing, but there are also weekly rentals and new car discounts . says that the most popular cars they lease are a 2013 toyota corolla L base, 2013 Toyota Camry L Base, a 2016 Toyota Corolla L base, and a 2012 Nissan Altima 2.5 Sedan 4D ... ideally though I would try to get another honda though .

anyone using Xchange Leasing , or their weekly rentals ?
 

Shangsta

Well-Known Member
Stay away from the leases. They often come out to 10,000 a year typically. You are better off purchasing a car.

If you can't afford a 2007 or 2008 car for 3 to 5 grand and have to lease you will need to work at least 60 hours to make any real profit.

The best car to Uber in is one you already own. If you don't have that luxury grind until you can buy one.
 

Zardoz

Member
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  • #4
Stay away from the leases. They often come out to 10,000 a year typically. You are better off purchasing a car.

If you can't afford a 2007 or 2008 car for 3 to 5 grand and have to lease you will need to work at least 60 hours to make any real profit.

The best car to Uber in is one you already own. If you don't have that luxury grind until you can buy one.

Thanks for your reply ... yeah I do other freelance work in btwn the rideshare , so even if i got a newer one , i don't know if i would always be able to commit to driving full-time to make a profit , like you say .

again i have never leased a car before , and i hear most car dealerships will not let you lease (and return ) a car if you are driving for lyft or uber , because you add too many miles / too much wear & tear on the car , if you are planning to trade it in . if you plan to buy it though , i hear you are OK .

it seems for lyft , your car must be 2011 or newer to qualify for the Power Driver Bonus (where you can earn an extra 20%) ... so of course i would want to get a previously owned 2012-2013 (or newer ) to be safe .

is there a Power Driver Bonus equivalent for uber ? (I dont expect to buy /afford one of their black / luxury cars ) .

and what is the bare minimum year requirement for uber ? i tried looking briefly on their website but could not find anything , i just know that when i initially tried to sign up with them with my civic they rejected me (and i hear that uber is a lot busier than lyft ...) .
 

Shangsta

Well-Known Member
The yearly requirements vary by state. You are in California so anything within 15 years. (2002)
 

Zardoz

Member
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  • #6
The yearly requirements vary by state. You are in California so anything within 15 years. (2002)
Wait, you are saying that Uber accepts cars that are as old as 2002?? Because I seem to recall hearing that they had to be 2005 or newer.

Does Uber have a customer service email that would have a definitive answer? Because this will definitely play part in deciding how new/old of a vehicle I get...
 

Zardoz

Member
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  • #8
ok so i have heard from multiple ppl that leasing a car to drive for lyft or uber is a bad investment ... how about their rental prgms ? how much do they charge a week ? and are they worth it ?

have kind of been considering renting a car from uber for a week or so , until i can get a more long-term fix - granted, that prob wont be long enough for them to even send me their placards and so forth - if only because any earnings i make driving full -time will prob be more than i would earn from unemployment just sitting at home, and would give me a feel for how it is working for them ...
 

RussellP

Well-Known Member
Im considering it... Even though I own my own car, considering the cost of depreciation and dead miles, an unlimited mileage rental seems like it could be a good deal...

If I drive 400 miles in my car, the IRS says that costs me $216 including depreciation, mileage, and maintenance costs. But I could rent a car for $65 a day gas included... Then the IRS says my cost is just $65... And not wear out my cadillac in the process...
 

steveK2016

Well-Known Member
Driving full time is not a great idea. Getting a rental to do so is equally a bad idea.

...but if it's between that and sitting at home doing nothing, you certainly will get... something. I think the average Uber Lease is around $800 a month. Just be warned, full timers in Los Angeles are having a rough time right now. But I suppose if you can survive off of $0 right now sitting at home, then if you earn $1200 - 800 a month then maybe you can make it work for you but you'll be working long hours.

I'm exaggerating the $1200 a month, I don't know how much a full timer Uber makes in Los Angeles...
 

RussellP

Well-Known Member
I have to correct my previous post!!!! I called a few rental agencies and here's what I was told:

You cannot rent a car from a regular car rental place and use it to Uber. Those cars, in the rental agreement, prohibits taking passengers for fares.

Instead, you are limited to the Uber rental programs...

$350 cash deposit
$270 weekly rental which is automatically deducted from Uber earnings. ($1,080 per month)

There's no daily rental option, so this would save money only if I was ubering over 600 miles a week, which I don't because I only do Friday/Saturday nights typically. Even if I did; the flip side isn't too bright:

If you drive at least 600 miles a week, then the rental program is more profitable (actually less of a loss).

The following table is based on my cities $0.75/mi paid to drivers, and $0.10 per minute, and assumes 1.5 dead miles per paid mile. The "Own Car" costs are based on IRS rate of 57.5 cents a mile which includes gas, gas taxes, oil, oil changes, cleaning, washing, insurance, etc.

It does not factor in any surge pricing, or bonus/guarantees, however we're so saturated with drivers in Portland that surges are far and few between and only last a few minutes. I only get about $10 extra each week from surge, so its negligible. Also we rarely ever have bonuses/promos here.

 

Shangsta

Well-Known Member
Im considering it... Even though I own my own car, considering the cost of depreciation and dead miles, an unlimited mileage rental seems like it could be a good deal...

If I drive 400 miles in my car, the IRS says that costs me $216 including depreciation, mileage, and maintenance costs. But I could rent a car for $65 a day gas included... Then the IRS says my cost is just $65... And not wear out my cadillac in the process...
The IRS deduction is generous. That 54 cents a mile only seems accurate for "certain" new cars at the top of their depreciation curve.
 

RussellP

Well-Known Member
I dont think the IRS is trying to be generous, that's not in their nature. Thats what they figured out is the average cost per mile when you include standard maintenance, repairs, taxes, gas, insurance, and registration fees. I'm sure they try to be as close to accurate as possible, and it's 57.5 cents for 2016.

Lets do a basic example. I paid about $23,000 for my car, it has 100,000 miles on it. I don't expect vehicles to run much beyond 200,000 miles, so that means the price for 100,000 miles is $23k, or 0.23 per mile. The next biggest one is gas. At $2.50/gallon and 15MPG average, that's about 0.16 per mile, so we're up to 0.39 already, and we haven't even figured in standard maintenance, repairs, taxes, insurance, and registration fees.

I don't think 57.5 cents is that far off. I mean insurance is 700 for me... yearly inspection and registration is about 315. Tires and brake pads wear down quickly when you uber heavily... and $80 synthetic oil changes ever 7000 miles... car washing and keeping it clean is like 700 a year... it all adds up...

Atleast with a rental car you dont have to worry about any of those expenses... just the rental cost, and the gas...

PS: 95% of my vehicle use is for Uber. I don't commute, and only take 1 mile trips to go shopping weekly.
 

RussellP

Well-Known Member
Either way... No rental agencies in Maine will rent you a car for Uber since it's for personal use only. Some rental companies (Enterprise and Hertz) have rental contracts with Uber, but it's only available in certain states and it requires a weekly rental and that doesn't work out well for me anyway... so I'm no longer considering it.
 

MSUGrad9902

Well-Known Member
FYI - the IRS figure I believe is down a 1/2 cent from last year for 2017, it's now 53.5 cents per mile. The mileage deduction includes a figure for new car depreciation. If you buy a used car most of the value has already depreciated, but the repair costs will be higher (eventually).

If I were shopping for a car now I'd look at the lowest cost and highest uber pay available. A Dodge Journey qualifies for XL and they are cheap to own and run. You should be able to get one for about 8k. You'll have that paid off in no time.
 

RussellP

Well-Known Member
oh sorry...
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015
  • 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
 

Zardoz

Member
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  • #17
speaking of IRS calculations for miles , I just received my 1099 for the last year from lyft , which does list the miles you did in Driver mode ... anyone know if it is possible for them to give you the HOURS you spent in Driver mode ?

obviously you could have turned off Driver mode , but still be driving around / adding mileage -- like while taking a break , or driving home at the end of the night .

just wondering if i could then try to calculate with my CPA the hours i spent driving per night, vs. an average miles-per-hour , to get a better idea of my mileage for a write-off.

does anyone else here use an outside app to calculate mileage ? I have heard of sherpashare , but havent tried it (partially cuz I hear it is one of those self-restarting apps which consumes data even when it is turned off ...).
 

MSUGrad9902

Well-Known Member
There are apps for that. I keep mine super low tech. A small notebook in the car and a pen. I log the odometer reading from my driveway when I start to my driveway when I'm done. I also keep track of all expenses in this log - car wash, every gas purchase, other purchases (like oil changes, maintenance, aux cord purchases, phone mounts, wipers, etc) and I log my tips per shift. This gives me all the data I need to do my books. Revenues, deductible expenses, non-deductible expenses, taxable profits, and profits after taxes (yes they are different).
 

Greenghost2212

Well-Known Member
ok so i have heard from multiple ppl that leasing a car to drive for lyft or uber is a bad investment ... how about their rental prgms ? how much do they charge a week ? and are they worth it ?

have kind of been considering renting a car from uber for a week or so , until i can get a more long-term fix - granted, that prob wont be long enough for them to even send me their placards and so forth - if only because any earnings i make driving full -time will prob be more than i would earn from unemployment just sitting at home, and would give me a feel for how it is working for them ...


Since u can't get instant pay with an xchange car u are better off renting.
 
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