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How To Use Lyft Express Drive To Rent A Car For Lyft

Want the ridesharing gig but don’t have a car? Use Lyft Express Drive, where rental and driving come hand in hand. Learn more using our guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Lyft Express Drive offers rental cars for Lyft drivers, including insurance and maintenance.
  • Rental costs are deducted from drivers’ earnings, with incentives for completing more rides.
  • Program includes eligibility requirements and a refundable deposit.
  • Suitable for those without a personal car or seeking to avoid wear and tear on their own vehicle.

What is Lyft’s Express Drive?

Lyft’s Express Drive program offers rental cars to drivers who want to work with Lyft but do not have their own vehicle. This program includes insurance, maintenance, and a refundable deposit, with rental costs deducted from the driver’s earnings.

Incentives are available for completing more rides, making it an attractive option for those without a personal car or those looking to avoid wear and tear on their own vehicle.

The program operates in partnership with car rental companies like Hertz and Flexdrive, providing flexibility, unlimited miles, and is available in up to 50 cities nationwide.

Related: How to get a car to drive for Uber

How the Lyft Express Drive Program Works

The Lyft Express Drive program’s main motto is “No car? No problem.” Now, that sounds great and all, but how does it all work when renting a vehicle for Lyft?

The program first prompts you to search for a car in your city. After picking one, you’ll need to pay a refundable deposit. That rate depends on the city’s location.

Screenshot from Lyft Express Drive website

The rest of the payment will be deducted from your rides’ income, so you don’t have to pay any other upfront fees.

Next, Lyft will ask you to schedule an appointment for pick-up. Once the week is up, Lyft will calculate the number of rides you’ve taken. To keep the car, you need at least 20 rides per week.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The more rides you take, the more of a discount you’ll receive for your weekly rate.

For instance, let’s assume you’ve completed 85 rides in a week. Lyft will provide you with a $75 discount on your weekly rental price.

That discount can reach as high as $200, but you’ll need to complete a time-consuming 135 rides per week. That’s an exhausting 19 rides on the daily.

Insurance, Maintenance, Repair, and Roadside Assistance

As for essential factors like insurance and roadside assistance, Lyft’s Express Drive program offers generous coverage within its pricing plan.

Regarding maintenance, if a car is acting up, you can return it and let them pay for it, or you can pay with your own money and ask for a reimbursement.

Alternatively, you can always rent a different vehicle altogether.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

I’ve been driving for a long time, and from what I can tell, experienced Lyft drivers typically don’t go for Lyft Express drive as a way to acquire a vehicle.

Renting from Express Drive usually results in balancing rental costs with earnings just to break even.

Drivers must spend a ton of time driving the vehicle just to make the costs work. The actual amount of time depends on your market, but this can be as high as 50 hours per week – if not more.

During that time, going through the official process of fixing issues can take away from earning time.

For example, getting a flat tire is oftentimes easier just to go fix on your own than to try to do it officially through Lyft. Every hour spent waiting means less cash in your pocket.

There’s also the caveat of how choosing the right insurance option and mileage plan factor into turning a profit.

Typically, I recommend the zero deductible insurance, but advise against unlimited mileage unless absolutely necessary.

My Suggestion: Do your research and come up with a thorough plan before you rent a vehicle. Without careful planning, you could end up working mainly to cover your rental instead of working to put cash in your pocket.

Costs and Fees Associated with Express Drive

One of the setbacks often associated with the Express Drive program is the high expense. That primarily comes from the rental fees, which are divided by the following:

  • Mileage plan: It includes which service you’re applying to when renting with Lyft.
  • Base Rental: This adds up insurance, vehicle licensing, and other required fees.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Plan: Lyft boasts a $50 to $100 weekly save from using electric vehicles.
Drive more, pay less with Lyft Express Drive

That’s not all. Rental fees need to also cover additional insurance coverage as well as damage, bridge, and personal mileage overage fees. You’ll also want to consider equipment charges, tolls, and citations.

How much would all these fees stack up to? Well, that depends on your city’s location. In areas like Denver, for instance, you’ll likely pay around $139 per week if you complete 80 rides during that week.

When comparing this to using your vehicle rather than renting one, the prior will save you a significant amount of money.

Renting with Lyft will reduce your winnings by a chunk, so if you do have the option to use a personal vehicle that’ll easily meet the car requirements, we highly recommend it.

How Payment Works

Lyft will bill these payments to your registered credit card every week.

The company’s billing week officially begins on Monday at 5 AM. The billings are registered on Tuesdays. Your rental costs are given out depending on when you pick up the car.

For example, if you get your car on a Wednesday, the weekly rental cost will begin the next day, Thursday.

When Tuesday comes, Lyft will bill your card for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Invalid or Insufficient Payments

Aside from that, let’s assume you didn’t earn enough to cover your rental fee. In that case, Lyft will bill your default card on Tuesday for any remaining amount.

Another issue you could fall into is an invalid payment method. As a rule, Lyft doesn’t accept the following payment methods:

  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Prepaid Cards
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Commuter Card

If your payment doesn’t fall through, Lyft won’t instantly terminate your rental period. You’ll be given several days to pay your overdue rental costs.

Despite that, we suggest returning the rented vehicle if you can’t cover the rest to avoid further issues.

Lyft will likely send you an invalid payment notification. If no action is taken afterward, you could be subjected to a recovery fee, which only adds to your piling rental fee.

Eligibility Requirements for Drivers

Before hopping onto Lyft’s Express Drive program, you’ll need to follow a few eligibility requirements. They include:

  • You must be at least 25 years old.
  • Owning an iPhone or Android phone.
  • Carry a valid driver’s license.
  • Pass a background and DMV check.

Aside from all these checks, your Lyft vehicle will need to be inspected every 28 days at the same facility you picked it up from.

As for the requirements of the vehicle, it’s a first-come first-serve kind of system. You could not get an availability, but be eligible for the Express Drive program.

For this reason, we suggest keeping an eye on the “Your Vehicles” tab to get notified when your car becomes available.

Lyft has different booking systems for its partner companies, Hertz and Flexdriver.

  • Hertz: No waitlist or notification updates are available. You need to manually keep tabs on the availability.
  • Flexdrive: You can join a waitlist by choosing the “Notify Me” option. You’ll get email updates of availability.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for Express Drive

After learning all about the program and assessing the pros and cons, you’ve decided to start your application for Express Drive. Here’s what to expect:

Step 1: Apply Online

To apply for Express Drive, you must register on Lyft’s website. Next, fill in the application and create an appointment to pick up your rental.

Apply to drive with Lyft Express Drive

You’ll be prompted to choose a mileage plan and sign the rental agreement. Before finishing the application, key in your credit card information to send the refundable deposit.

If you’re using the Lyft app, open the Driver Dashboard, choose your rental vehicle, and create the appointment.

Step 2: Pick Up Car

Go to the agreed-upon location and pick up the car after receiving approval from the Lyft program. In some instances, you could get a pick-up from a Lyft Hub.

Ensure you have a valid driver’s license, phone with the Lyft Driver app installed, and a debit or credit card registered under your name.

Step 3: Drive and Renew

Once you’ve picked up the car, your weekly billing starts the following day. You’ll need to complete 20 rides to get an automatic rental renewal agreement.

Real-World Experiences from Express Drive Drivers

When it comes to real-world experiences of using Lyft Express Drive’s program, there are some mixed reviews. Several users had similar opinions on one aspect of the feature: the high cost.

If you account for rental and fuel costs, you wouldn’t be netting a lot of earnings compared to if you used your personal vehicle.

One user began their review by saying: “I wasted [five weeks] trying to make money with Express Drive instead of doing something more productive and profitable with my life.”

Meanwhile, other reviewers touch more on the incentive part, where they believe saving more by riding more creates a successful reward system.

Pros of Lyft Express Drive

You don’t have to use your personal vehicle.

Maintenance, insurance, and roadside assistance are covered within your pricing plan.

No long-term commitment, making it perfect for those looking for a side gig.

You get to drive newer models.

Cons of Lyft Express Drive

Costly rental expense.

You need to drive a lot to guarantee a high earning.

Availability of cars is limited.

Analyzing the Value of the Express Drive Program

After a thorough review of Lyft’s Express Drive program, you now have an idea of whether you’ll be enrolling. Regarding its positives, it’s a well-suited solution for those without a vehicle.

Plus, if you don’t want your personal vehicle’s value to depreciate from the additional wear and tear, a rental would be the best ridesharing decision.

Even though you’d be saving your vehicle, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be maximizing your profit potential for the Lyft gig.

On top of the pricey rental fees, you also have to account for fuel costs. All these costs can add up and leave you with a much lower income than vehicle owners, tarnishing cost-effectiveness.

Nonetheless, we can’t forget about maintenance costs.

As a vehicle owner, maintenance takes out a costly chunk of your gig income. That’s when renting can prove a better option. You have low commitments and can quit whenever you want.

To get a better read on whether you should use the program, here’s a situation: You don’t own a car, but you need the extra income.

Luckily, you also have a lot of time on your hands. In this scenario, the program can be useful because you’ll have enough time to complete several rides, increasing your discount and lowering your overall cost.

Conclusion: Is Lyft Express Drive Right for You?

In short, the Lyft Express Drive is a program for those who need to rent a vehicle to work as a driver. It’s highly suitable if you don’t own a car or don’t want to use a personal one.

Choosing to go through the program mostly depends on your circumstances, whether you have enough time to complete more rides or don’t have a car.

Either way, our guide will help you make a well-informed decision.

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