Many of you who want to become a Lyft or Uber driver get stuck because you don’t have access to a qualifying car. There are several ways for you to get a car that qualifies (like the leases and loans I discuss here), and now Lyft has partnered with GM and Hertz to create rental options that might help you get started as a driver.
In a few of the larger US Lyft markets, you can now rent a car from either Hertz or GM to drive for Lyft, and it costs around $150 – $250/week. It’s not cheap, but if you want to try full-time driving without having to buy or lease a car, this could be a good option for you. Of all the ways to get a car for Uber and Lyft, this one has the lowest level of commitment because you’re only paying for a short rental period and there is no up-front deposit.
These rental programs are fairly new, so this is definitely something to approach cautiously. If you’ve actually tried renting a car from Hertz to drive for Lyft or Uber, I’d love to hear from you!
The Lyft + GM rental program
- For Lyft drivers age 21 and older
- $150 – $240
- Refundable deposit that is returned to you after you complete your first trip
- Insurance and maintenance are included
- Rental period is 4 – 52 weeks
- You can use the vehicle for personal use, but you pay for personal miles at $0.25/mile
- You can schedule your rental ahead of time
- Rental payments are deducted from your weekly earnings
- Apply for the Lyft + GM program at Lyft
The Lyft + Hertz rental program
- To qualify, you must be an approved Lyft driver age 25 and older
- The cost is $160 – $180/week + tax
- The rental fee is NOT deducted from your pay
- Insurance from Hertz is included in the weekly rental, on top of Lyft’s normal policy
- Deposit policies vary. In some markets you have to pay the weekly rate up front
- Mileage is unlimited
- No reservations. You have to pick up the car from special lots on a first-come-first-served basis
- Cars are 2 – 3 years old
- You must drive a minimum of 14 hours per week for Lyft
- The rental could be “free” if you earn the full Power Driver Bonus, but there’s no guarantee that you will
- Apply for the Lyft + Hertz program at Lyft
Upsides and Downsides of the Lyft + Hertz rental program
One of the not-so-great things to me about this program is that you can’t reserve your rental ahead of time, and if Hertz doesn’t have a car available for you, you’re put on a waiting list. It seems like the best thing to do is to call ahead and ask Hertz what the availability is before you head to the lot to pick up a car.
Getting started with the GM and Hertz rental programs
If you’re not already a Lyft driver, you’ll need to complete the application and pass the background check and driving record check. To get started with the Lyft + Hertz program, you’ll have to fill out an application for the Lyft/Hertz rental program and make an appointment to visit designated Hertz lots around the city. There, you’ll pay the weekly rate up front and Lyft reps will help you get your account cleared to begin.
Does renting a car to drive for Lyft make financial sense?
$180/week or more is expensive, and at current Lyft rates you’ll need to work around 10 – 18 hours just to pay off the rental. The price for these rentals is in line with Uber Xchange leasing rates, which are also priced so high that they require full-time driving in a major market to make financial sense. But with Xchange and other leases, you pay a deposit and sign onto a lease that requires 2 weeks – 1 month of notice before you can cancel it. With these rentals, you can try it for just one week and decide whether to stay on or not.
The other upsides are that insurance is included in the price, mileage is unlimited, and you don’t have to pay for general upkeep like oil changes, brakes, tires, etc. Maintenance and depreciation are huge costs when you’re driving your own car, so it’s nice to avoid those with rentals and leases even if the cost exceeds what you might pay on your own vehicle.
When it might make financial sense to rent a car to drive for Lyft
- You want to try driving without committing to a lease or a loan
- Your car is in the shop and you need a car for a week or two
- You want to drive full-time, and other options aren’t available to you
Lyft says renting is “free” if you get the maximum Power Driver Bonus
Lyft’s Power Driver Bonus can reach up to $200/week, which would effectively make your rental free. But beware: There are many qualifications that you’ll need to meet to get your bonus, so don’t totally rely on your Power Driver Bonus to pay for your rental.