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As a Lyft driver, your most important pieces of equipment is your vehicle. After all, without a functioning set of wheels, you are dead in the water.
If you are a full-time rideshare driver with no other source of income, you are in serious trouble if your car fails. When your car breaks down or you are in a serious accident, drivers have few options when it comes to finding a replacement.
You could either borrow a vehicle from a friend (unlikely). Purchase a new car (expensive). Or you can rent a car strictly to get back in the Lyft driver’s seat.
Renting a car is a great short-term solution, but there are some roadblocks.
This strict rule is outlined in the rental agreement the average renter signs when they go to rent a vehicle. Due to the rules implemented at sign up, it is very important for drivers to be honest about how they intend to use the rental car. Those who choose to ignore the regulations to drive with Lyft may be heavily fined by the rental company.
Fortunately, there are alternatives from the standard rental car company.
Lyft has partnered with several rental providers to get drivers back on the road. There are also a few third-party options that are worth considering.
Let’s take a deeper look at Lyft rental car option.
Lyft Express Drive
If you have shopped around for a rental car in the past, chances are you know that daily or weekly rentals can be a bit pricey. To help drivers offset this expense, Lyft implemented the Express Drive program.
Express Drive makes it possible to get around standard rental restrictions and rent a vehicle for rideshare. If you are driving for just Lyft (and not Uber), Express Drive is one of the best rental car options.
The Express Drive program actually rewards you for completing Lyft trips. Drivers who are able to complete a certain number of trips in a week can potentially have the expense of the rental covered.
This deal varies from city to city. Some areas will have the entire bill paid for via the rewards program, whereas others will only have part of the fee covered.
Essentially, if you complete a required number of rides, Lyft will discount the rental cost. It’s a pretty sweet deal that is easily obtained if you are driving full-time.
Either way, Express Drive is definitely worth checking out. Especially when you consider the fact that you can also use the rental for personal use.
Two companies have partnered with Lyft Express Drive to make the service available for drivers: Hertz and Flexdrive. Here’s a look at where each of these services are available:
- Dallas/Fort Worth
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New Orleans
- Orange County
- Salt Lake City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Tampa Bay
- Washington, D.C.
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
How Lyft Express Drive Works
When you sign up for Lyft Express Drive, you need to submit an initial deposit to the rental company (either Hertz of Flexdrive). They hold this deposit in case you damage the vehicle
To further elaborate, if the vehicle you rented has any cosmetic damage or any other issue, the deposit is used to cover the cost of repairs. Otherwise, the money is returned to you. It usually takes about 2 weeks to get your deposit back after the end of the agreement
After you’re done with the deposit, you are charged a weekly rate for the vehicle. This rate is provided upfront, so you shouldn’t expect any surprises when the bill comes.
At the end of the rental period, the bill is deducted from the collective earnings you generated while driving with Lyft. So look for the rental amount deduction on Tuesday when you typically receive your paycheck from Lyft.
Bear in mind, late fees and other tools outlined in the rental agreement are also deducted automatically. Since the rental program works in this fashion, Express Pay is not authorized for those who opt to rent a vehicle via the Express Drive program.
If you do not make enough money driving with Lyft during the rental period, you must pay the remaining balance for the rental of the vehicle. Due to this important portion of the rental process, drivers must have a valid credit or debit card on file.
Overall, the Lyft Express Drive rental process is very easy. We love that the cost is automatically deducted from earnings, which make managing expenses a little bit easier.
Express Drive Insurance
As with your normal set of wheels, you need insurance a rental car. Of course, the way insurance works for drivers during business hours is not the same as when the vehicle is being used for personal use. According to Lyft, Express Drive insurance coverage varies based on the activity a driver is doing when an accident occurs.
Lyft categories these activities into three different timeframes, personal use, when the app is on, and when a ride is in progress. Bear in mind, this time frame specific coverage will range in price based on your city and state rules. Drivers interested in finding out more information about rental insurance can do so here.
Now that we have covered Lyft’s preferred option, let’s take a look at some of the third-party rental options available to Lyft drivers.
First up is HyreCar.
HyreCar is a peer-to-peer car sharing service which makes it possible for vehicle owners to rent out their vehicle. And as a driver, you can rent a vehicle and use it for Uber or Lyft.
What that means for drivers is that they can rent the vehicle they need to operate their rideshare business, possibly within 24-hours. Having access to a vehicle of your choosing in such a fast time frame can be a great solution if you find yourself in a pinch. Drivers can use a vehicle rented via HyreCar for any ride-related gig, such as DoorDash or Postmates.
Plus, you can rent a vehicle based on a daily or monthly basis, rather than a weekly one. Due to this, HyreCar may be the best option for those who only need a ride for one day while their vehicle is in the shop.
Alternatively, drivers who need a month-long solution might be able to save some money.
Regardless of which rental time frame option you choose, the price you pay is ultimately set by the vehicle owner. With this type of flexibility, owners can make a decent amount of cash each month renting out their car. It also means the renters are at the mercy of car owners.
But from our experience, most car owners list their vehicles at very reasonable prices.
If you are a car owner, your car could potentially pay for itself through HyreCar owners. HyreCar suggests that vehicle owners can make upwards of $13,000 a year using their platform.
For a more in-depth look, check out this Ridester article.
If you drive for both Lyft and Uber, check out Fair. Fair is specifically designed to make it possible for rideshare drivers. They offer competitive rates because they understand the needs of drivers.
The main hangup is the $500 “Start Payment” required at the beginning. But after this payment, cars are available for as little as $130 a week.
Compared to some of the prices we have discussed thus far, that is pretty low. With the notable exception of the Start Payment, of course. To date, Fair is available in the following locations.
- Inland Empire (CA)
- Los Angeles
- Orange County
- San Diego
- San Francisco Bay Area
Drivers interested in renting a vehicle via Fair have a decent selection to choose from too, such as hybrids and other non-gas guzzling rides.
The weekly rental rate allows you to travel unlimited miles. It also covers other perks including roadside assistance and a vehicle warranty.
Another rental option worth looking into if you drive for both rideshare platforms is Getaround. One thing that makes this service unique is that they allow hourly rentals. As in, you can rent a car for $5 an hour.
Unfortunately, Getaround is only available in a few select cities.
Getaround offers a first-day free promotion, comes with insurance, and includes rideshare signs already equipped.
We haven’t spoken to a lot of people who have used this service. But we’re are curious to see how it evolves as it expands.
Dedicated to helping drivers in the gig economy, Maven Gig has been popular with Lyft drivers since its inception. For example, to better accommodate drivers, Maven has a specific section on their app that is curtailed to the needs of rideshare workers. As an added bonus, Maven offers electric rides which go a long way in regards to saving money on fuel.
Of course, covering these high-tech vehicles will cost you a bit more than a regular ride. Most rentals start out at $199 a week, whereas electric cars typically start out at $229 instead.
While we were scoping out the market, we also took note of a rental group dubbed Rideshare Rental. They offer a lack of contracts and sign up fees, in addition to a fast rental process. Unfortunately, they appear to only be available in California and a few other cities. Due to this, information is scarce.
This helpful outline covers how drivers and owners go about renting a vehicle from start to finish. However, we have not been able to find any first-hand accounts in regards to using the platform.
Nevertheless, we wanted to include this option in our list in case any of our readers know anything about the rental company.
Is Renting a Car for Lyft Worth It?
Honestly, it depends on your unique circumstances and how long you need a ride for.
For example, if you drive for both rideshare apps and need a ride for a few hours, $5 an hour is not going to break the bank.
On the other hand, if you only drive with Lyft, the Express Drive program may be your best option. We love the rewards structure and how payments deduct directly from earnings.
Ultimately, since most rental services out there charge upwards of $200 a week, renting a ride is not ideal. Do the math to determine if the weekly rate is worth it. You might find that a car loan is more reasonable.
Renting a vehicle to drive with Lyft is a great short-term solution. But we would not recommend it for extended use.
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.