Uber is finally getting into the car rental game.
They’ve already attempted to expand their network of transportation options, as their latest acquisition of bike-sharing company Jump shows. And in a recent press release, car rental startup Getaround announced a partnership with Uber. While it’s still in its early days (and hasn’t officially launched at the time of publication), it signals that Uber is serious about getting into new transportation markets.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what we know about the service so far to give you an idea of how it will work and why you’d want to use it.
A Disruption to the Car Rental Industry
If you’ve ever rented a car, you know how much of a pain it can be. Even though online tools have made the process easier, getting a rental car still involves a painful amount of paperwork and obnoxious fees. Plus, rental companies require you to rent the car for at least a day (and give incentives for weekly rentals).
But what if you just need a car for a few hours? Perhaps you need to drive to a neighboring city to run an errand or just need a car to move some stuff across town. You can use a car rental company for this, but you’ll end up paying for lots of time that you don’t need.
This is where car sharing startups come in. Along with ZipCar and Turo, Getaround allows people to rent a car on demand, for as little or as long as they need it. Rentals start at $5 per hour, with Getaround providing an insurance policy for up to $1 million and offering 24/7 roadside assistance to renters.
Looking to buy a car? Read about all rideshare financing options to choose from.
All you need to use the service are a driver’s license and credit card or debit card. You must be at least 19 years of age to be eligible (which is another benefit compared to traditional car rental, which generally requires you to be at least 21). You don’t need a particular credit score, but you do have to pass a driving record check (which Getaround performs instantly).
Note that if you are under 25, you will still pay additional fees for the use of Getaround. The fees scale with your age, ranging from 75% of the total rental price if you’re 19 years old to 5% if you’re 24 years old. It remains to be seen if these will be the same fees for Uber Rent, but it’s best to assume so until we have more information.
But how is this service possible? Where is Getaround getting all these cars? To provide this fleet of vehicles, Getaround uses the same principle as other rideshare services: privately owned vehicles. Getaround doesn’t own any of the cars in its fleet. Instead, private individuals allow people to use their cars in exchange for a fee. Getaround then takes care of all the logistics and payments.
Getaround currently operates in the following markets:
- San Francisco, CA
- Berkeley, CA
- Oakland, CA
- South San Francisco, CA
- Burlingame, CA
- Millbrae, CA
- Daly City, CA
- San Bruno, CA
- Brisbane, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Portland, OR
- Seattle, WA
- Washington, D.C.
- Bethesda, MD
- Silver Spring, MD
- Arlington, VA
- Alexandra, VA
- Chicago, IL
- Evanston, IL
- Jersey City, NJ
- Hoboken, NJ
- Weehawken, NJ
- Boston, MA
- Cambridge, MA
- Somerville, MA
Uber + Getaround = Uber Rent
Now that you understand how Getaround works, we can examine the partnership with Uber. Here are the current facts according to the press release from Getaround.
1. It’s Launching in San Francisco
Uber Rent will launch in San Francisco first in order to test the viability of the service. This decision makes sense, as both Uber and Getaround are based in San Francisco. There is no specific launch date, but since the press release came out on April 11, we hope the service will be available soon.
2. It Works Within the Uber App
You won’t need to create a new account to use Uber Rent. The service will be available from within the Uber app, just like all other Uber services available in your area.
3. It’s Targeted at People Who Want to Live Car Free
The press release notes that Uber Rent targets a specific segment of people who have chose to live without a car (or would forego car ownership if they had the flexibility of using a car when they needed it). Here’s what Getaround founder and CEO Sam Zaid said:
“Our mission is to empower people to carshare everywhere, and we’re making that possible by providing more people with access to carsharing through the apps they already use. Most of a person’s transportation needs can be met by coupling rideshare for quick trips with carsharing for trips with multiple stops or longer getaways. It’s the perfect combination for people who have chosen to live car-free.”
That being said, you could also use Uber Rent for any situation where you need a car for a few hours. Perhaps you want to impress a date by picking them up in a luxury car such as a Tesla (which are available for rental using Getaround to people over the age of 25). Or maybe you need a larger vehicle to move heavy items.
Whatever the case, the integration of Getaround’s service into the Uber app is a win for people who use rideshare services, making car rental more accessible than ever.
How Much Does Uber Car Rental Cost?
We don’t currently know how Uber will price the Uber Rent service. But we can look at how Getaround prices their rentals to get an idea. Getaround car owners set the price they want to charge renters, with rates starting at $5 per hour. In addition to this, Getaround charges renters the following fees:
- Booking Fee — 3% of the trip price (with a $1 minimum)
- License Fee — $10 one-time fee to cover the cost of driving record processing
- Under 25 Fee — The fees are as follows:
- Age 19 — 75% of trip price
- Age 20 — 45% of trip price
- Age 21 — 25% of trip price
- Age 22 — 15% of trip price
- Age 23 — 10% of trip price
- Age 24 — 5% of trip price
In addition to these standard fees, there are also additional fees for damaging the car, leaving it excessively dirty or exceeding the allotted mileage (unlimited mileage is not currently available). For a full list of Getaround fees, see this article.
The Future of Uber Rent
It remains to be seen if Uber Rent will catch on. Uber has made many attempts to expand its service that have had disastrous results (such as its foray into self-driving cars or expansion into Southeast Asia).
Whether or not Uber Rent meets the same fate depends on whether or not customers in Uber’s test market use the service in large enough numbers. The service also faces competition from Turo, ZipCar and existing car rental companies (not to mention public transit). Still, we’re interested to see where this service goes, as well as what response Lyft will offer.
If you’re curious about how to rent a car to use as an Uber driver (or rideshare driver in general), then you should check out our comparison of renting, leasing and buying a car for Uber and Lyft.
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.