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Car ownership is simply out of reach for some people. It could be due to a low credit score (or even no credit). Maybe you don’t have the savings for a down payment. Whatever the reason, the lack of access to a car can make it seem impossible to get many appealing rideshare and gig economy jobs.
This was the case in the early days of Uber. If you didn’t own your own car, you were basically out of luck if you wanted to drive for the platform. Recognizing that there was a demand among potential drivers without access to cars, Uber created the Xchange leasing program. Up until January 2018, the program helped many people drive for Uber who would have had no way to do so otherwise.
On January 30, 2018, Uber announced the end of the Xchange leasing program. Another company, Fair, acquired Uber’s leasing portfolio, and it seemed to many drivers that Uber leasing was once again out of reach.
The reality, however, is a bit more complex than that. While you can no longer lease a car to drive for Uber, there are still a variety of options available if you can’t buy a car.
They’re called peer to peer car rentals, and they function more like long-term car rentals. In this guide, we’re going to examine some of them. So if you’re looking for another way to get a car to drive for Uber, you’ll find your answers here.
- Why Uber Ended the Xchange Leasing Program
- 5 Alternatives to Uber Xchange
Why Uber Ended the Xchange Leasing Program
If drivers were happy with the Xchange program, why did Uber end it? To understand why, you have to consider it from Uber’s perspective. Xchange was part of Uber, meaning they had to provide the money and resources to manage it.
However, Uber is not a vehicle leasing or rental company. To understand how Uber works, you must understand that they built their business around their skills in tech and logistics. Therefore, it made sense for them to form a partnership with Fair, a company that specializes in long-term vehicle rentals.
In reality, then, Uber leasing is gone only in the technical sense. You can’t get an actual long-term lease for a car, but you can rent one for a long period of time. The difference is that you now have much more flexibility than in the old program. You no longer have the long-term commitment of a lease (which is typically for 36 months).
Instead, you can make weekly payments and renew your agreement every month (if you want to). If you no longer need the car for rideshare purposes, you can end the agreement without any penalty or hassle (which is quite unlike a traditional lease).
In sum, then, Uber still offers a way for drivers without their own car and without access to traditional financing to get a car to drive for the service. They’ve just switched from a leasing to a short-term rental model, and they’ve partnered with another company to make things easier for them and for drivers.
Fair isn’t the only program out there, however. There are several options for renting a car to drive for Uber. Some are through official partnerships with the company, while others are from third-party companies. Let’s take a look at them below.
5 Alternatives to Uber Xchange
Each option in this section will let you rent a car to drive for Uber (and, in some cases, other rideshare or gig economy services). They vary in their costs and length of commitments.
We already mentioned Fair car rental, since it’s the company that replaced the Uber Xchange program. But it’s worth going into a bit more detail about what the service costs and where it’s available.
Here are the features you get with Fair:
- No long-term contract
- Unlimited mileage
- Hybrids, high-mpg cars, full-size sedans, and SUVs available
- Includes routine maintenance, 24/7 roadside assistance, and a vehicle warranty
Note that Fair does not include insurance. This isn’t an issue when you’re driving passengers, as Uber’s policy protects you in those cases. But you’ll still need to get coverage for when you’re not signed into the Uber app (in order to meet state requirements).
To get started with Fair, all you need are the following:
- Bank account or credit card
- Photo ID
As far as costs, rentals start at as low as $130 per week. You won’t be getting an SUV for this price, but you could get a practical Toyota Corolla (or similar) without issue. You also have to pay a non-refundable startup fee of $500.
This is one major downside of using Fair, since lack of access to cash is one of the appealing reasons to use the service in the first place. Still, it’s an option worth considering for getting on the road.
Here’s a sampling of cities where Fair is available:
- Los Angeles
- Orange County
- San Francisco Bay Area
Next up on the list we have Hertz. You’re probably familiar with this company, as it’s a big name in the car rental industry. Hertz has a partnership with Uber that allows drivers to rent vehicles.
Here’s what you get:
- Unlimited mileage
- Free maintenance
- Insurance included
- Rent compact sedans (like a Hyundai Sonata) or midsize sedans (like a Nissan Altima)
You can pay using a debit or credit card. The base rate is $214 per week (not including taxes and fees). You’ll also have to pay a $200 refundable security deposit. You’ll get this back when you return the car.
You can keep the car for up to 28 days. After that, you’ll need to return it for routine maintenance. Rental commitments are weekly, so you can easily return the car once you don’t need it.
The program is available in these cities:
- Inland Empire (CA)
- Los Angeles
- New Orleans
- Orange County
- San Antonio
- San Francisco Bay Area
To learn more about the program, visit Uber’s Hertz has a partnership with Uber.
Getaround is a little different than the other options we’ve discussed so far. It’s not intended to be a long-term solution. Instead, Getaround is an hourly car rental service. Therefore, it’s best if you just want to try out driving for Uber or if you need a car to drive for a few days while yours is getting repaired.
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can take advantage of Uber’s special partnership with Getaround. Through this program, your first day of rental (up to 12 hours) is free. After that, rentals cost as little as $5 per hour.
To learn more about this program, visit Uber’s Getaround sign up page. Also, if you’re just interested in hourly or other short-term car rentals for personal use, check out our writeups on Turo car rental and the difference between Getaround and Turo.
Our next option is HyreCar. It’s a site where private vehicle owners can rent their cars out to Uber, Lyft, and delivery service drivers. It works a lot like Airbnb, except that you’re renting a car instead of a place to stay.
HyreCar offers lots of flexibility. You agree to the rental term you want with the car owner. You are then free to use the car for rideshare driving and return it at the end of the rental period. You can also extend the rental if the car owner agrees.
HyreCar is currently available in 35 states. The company provides insurance for when you’re not giving rides (including insurance that bridges the coverage gap). When you are transporting passengers, Uber’s insurance policy is in effect as always.
The costs of HyreCar vary based on the type of vehicle. It’s up to the vehicle owner to set the prices. If you pay for your rental with a credit card, you won’t be charged a security deposit (since the company has your card on file to pay for damages). If you pay with a debit card, however, you’ll need to pay a $200 refundable security deposit.
5. Maven Gig
Our final pick for Uber car rental is Maven car sharing. It’s the rideshare rental branch of Maven, a company that aims to provide flexible car rentals. You can drive Maven vehicles for Uber, Lyft, or any other approved food delivery service.
The company specializes in offering fuel efficient and electric vehicles, which can really save you money when it comes to your operating costs. All rentals include insurance, maintenance, and unlimited mileage. You can choose from a range of compacts, sedans, crossovers, and electric vehicles.
Rentals start at $199 per week. There’s no startup fee, either, though you will be responsible for paying the insurance deductible if the vehicle gets damaged while you’re using it. You can pay with any valid debit or credit card.
Maven Gig is available in these cities:
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- Washington, D.C.
You Don’t Need a Lease to Drive for Uber
As you can now see, the end of the Xchange leasing program doesn’t mean an end to being able to acquire a car for Uber without auto financing. You have a growing number of options both through Uber’s partnerships and through third-party companies.
Want to rent a car to drive with Lyft? We already mentioned a couple options in this guide, but potential Lyft drivers should also check out Lyft Express Drive (the Lyft car rental program).
Trying to decide if you should buy, lease, or rent a car to drive for Uber or Lyft? We’ve got a guide that will help you make the decision.
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.