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Despite increased investment in public transit, high-speed rail, and bicycle infrastructure, the United States remains a country where a car is still the most convenient way to get places. However, when planning a trip or driving for a rideshare company, you may realize that it makes more sense to rent a car than to drive your personal vehicle. The longer you’re on the road, the more likely you’ll need of a long-term car rental.
But what is the best place to rent a car for an extended period of time? In this guide, we’ll take a look, exploring both the benefits of long-term car rental and the best companies to get a car for weeks or months at a time.
- What Is Long-Term Car Rental?
- 3 Reasons to Get a Long-Term Rental Car
- The 5 Best Companies for Long-Term Car Rental
What Is Long-Term Car Rental?
To start, we need to define what separates a “long-term” car rental from a regular one. The precise definition of a long-term commitment will vary based on the rental company, but long-term rentals generally refer to those lasting longer than a month. We use this definition because you can often get a discount for rentals lasting for months at a time instead of just weeks.
But why would you want to rent a car for such a long time? Keep reading to find out.
3 Reasons to Get a Long-Term Rental Car
There are plenty of reasons to get a long-term rental car. Here are three of the most common and compelling:
1. You Don’t Want to Use Your Personal Car
This is probably the most common reason. The classic example here is a cross-country road trip. Unless you’re moving somewhere far away, then it probably makes more financial sense to leave your personal vehicle at home.
While you may balk at the cost of renting a car long-term, you need to consider that driving your own vehicle can have high costs in the form of depreciation and wear. You may not have to pay extra upfront to drive your own car, but you will pay in the long run as all those extra miles cause faster wear on your vehicle.
With a rental car, you pay more upfront, but you don’t have to worry about the high long-term costs. Plus, new car models — which rental car companies typically use — provide impressive mileage.
The longer the trip, the more financial sense a rental car makes. Of course, you should always do the math for yourself, as every situation is different. Curious what the average cost per mile is to drive your vehicle? Check out this guide from AAA.
2. You Can’t Use Your Personal Car
While there are lots of situations where you shouldn’t use your personal car, there are also some situations where your personal car simply won’t work. To start, you might be driving somewhere that your car just can’t go. If you’re planning to spend a few weeks navigating dirt roads in the mountains, you should probably leave your Prius at home in favor of a Jeep.
There are also other, less extreme situations where your personal vehicle won’t work. For instance, if you want to drive for Uber, Lyft, or even a food delivery app, your car must meet certain age and feature requirements. It’s possible that your car won’t meet these despite being a perfectly fine vehicle.
If this is the case, then there are services that will allow you to rent a car for an extended period of time to use for rideshare or food delivery. You’ll find a few recommendations for this situation on our list of the best long-term car rental companies below.
3. You Don’t Own a Car
The final reason to rent a car for a long period of time is that you don’t own a car. If you live in a city like New York or San Francisco that’s walkable, bikeable, and has good public transit, then a car likely isn’t something you need on a daily basis.
However, there will still be situations in which you do need access to a car for an extended period of time. Long road trips are the most common, but you might also want to do some rideshare or delivery driving work to make some extra money. Once again, there are companies that can help you in both of these cases.
The 5 Best Companies for Long-Term Car Rental
When you’re shopping for a long-term car rental, there are things to consider that don’t matter as much for shorter rentals. To start, you want to get great rates, as even seemingly low daily rental costs can really add up over the long term.
You also want companies that will allow you flexibility. For instance, long-term rentals are also often one-way rentals. For instance, if you drove from Seattle to San Diego but then want to fly back, you need to make sure that your rental company will let you return the vehicle to a car rental location in San Diego.
Finally, if you’re looking for a car to drive for rideshare or food delivery, you want to make sure the car will meet the vehicle requirements of the company you intend to work for. Luckily, there are plenty of companies that specialize in providing this service.
Below, we’ve picked five car rental companies that meet the above criteria. Some of these companies specialize in long-term rentals for personal use, while others focus exclusively on long-term rental for commercial use. Whatever the case, you’ll find a car rental company that meets your long-term rental needs.
The first company on our list is a well-known name in the car rental space. They offer all kinds of vehicle types and car rental options, but for our purposes, we’re going to focus on the Hertz Multi-Month rental.
This product offers special car rental rates for monthly car rentals. The precise rate will depend on the vehicle you choose, but the longer you book, the more you’ll save. There are also no mileage limits and no down payments needed upon signing. One-way rentals are also available for an additional fee.
In order for your reservation to qualify for Hertz Multi-Month, your rental must have a minimum length of at least 63 days. So if your trip is shorter than that, you should consider other options, as they could be cheaper.
The next option on the list is Avis. This is another well-known car rental brand, and they offer an appealing long-term car rental deal. The product is called Avis Flex, and it can save you up to 10% on monthly rentals.
This deal is in many ways more appealing than the one that Hertz offers, as it’s both more transparent and applies to rentals as short as a month. Therefore, Avis Flex is definitely worth considering for your next road trip.
Avis is available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and can also be booked globally.
Our next option takes us out of the world of traditional car rental and into the world of tech companies. Turo aims to be the “Airbnb of cars,” allowing private individuals to list their cars for rent on the Turo platform. Car owners get to earn some extra money from vehicles they aren’t using, and customers get a rental that’s more flexible and convenient than getting a car from a traditional company.
Unlike Hertz and Avis, Turo doesn’t have a specific long-term rental program. However, many vehicle owners on the platform will give you a discount if you rent their cars for a month or more. If you’re planning an especially long trip, you can even negotiate with the owner and see if they’ll give you an additional multi-month discount.
Plus, Turo offers tons of great benefits such as roadside assistance services and up to $1 million in liability insurance protection. The car owner can even deliver the vehicle directly to you at your hotel, office, or airport so that you never have to worry about navigating to an inconvenient pick-up location.
Maven is not a traditional car rental company. In addition to providing car sharing options like Turo, it also has a special service called Maven Gig in select cities. This service focuses exclusively on people who want a long-term rental to drive for Uber, Lyft, or other gig economy apps. You pay by the week, with weekly rates starting at $344 (and increasing for larger vehicles).
Maven Gig is a great option if you:
- Don’t own a car
- Don’t own a car that meets the Uber or Lyft requirements
- Don’t want to use your personal car for rideshare or other work-related driving
To learn more about Maven Gig, check out our guide.
The final option on our list is more of a place to get a short-term lease than a long-term rental. At a certain point, however, the line between the two blurs. Fair offers what they describe as “the future of car ownership.”
Essentially, in exchange for a flat monthly fee, you get a low-commitment car lease. It’s low-commitment in that, unlike a traditional lease, you aren’t locked in for years. Instead, you can choose to walk away from the program at any time. Furthermore, you can also switch to a different vehicle whenever you like (something a traditional lease doesn’t offer). And, you can do all of this on your smartphone.
Furthermore, Fair also offers a long-term rental solution for Uber drivers. This program is currently available only in select cities in California, but it will likely expand to additional markets as it gains popularity.
Get the Long-Term Car Rental You Need
We hope this guide has shown you all the different options that exist for long-term car rental. Whether you need a car for a road trip or a vehicle you can drive for Uber, there’s a company out there to provide it.
If you’re not a full-time driver, but still want to rent a car to earn extra money with Uber, read our guide to Getaround to learn about a company with hourly rates and get a $60 off coupon code.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.