Getting access to a qualifying car can be a big barrier to getting started as an Uber or Lyft driver. Ideally, you’ll already have a car to use, but if you don’t, there are many ways for you to access a car: You can buy a car, lease one, or even rent one. Hyrecar is one of the many rental services out there, but it’s unique because it allows you to rent a car from another private vehicle owner.
I want to explain how Hyrecar works, and how you can use it to try driving for one of the higher-end Uber services like UberXL or Select.
You can earn a lot more money driving for Uber XL and Select, but it’s hard to know if it’s really worth paying more for a car that qualifies for XL and Select. You can try to find information about XL or Select earnings from other drivers on forums like uberpeople.net or Reddit, but the only way to be sure is to try driving for those services yourself.
If you want to try driving for UberX, you can rent a car from Hertz or Enterprise in many cities, but for XL or Select, you have to hit the peer to peer market to find a rental. That’s where Hyrecar comes in. It’s a peer-to-peer network for ride sharing drivers, where owners of uber-eligible cars rent their vehicles out to qualified drivers.
How Hyrecar works: Rent a car from a vehicle owner in your city
The basic concept of Hyrecar is that drivers can find local vehicle owners using Hyrecar’s peer-to-peer network, and book rentals through the Hyrecar. You can rent the cars anywhere from a day to a month. The cars are Uber-approved, so once you book the rental, all you need to do to add the vehicle documents provided by Hyrecar to your driver profile. Once Uber or Lyft approve the documents, you’re ready to pick up the car and sign on for a driving shift.
The Hyrecar rental process, from start to finish
- Find a car. Search criteria can be: distance from you, price (daily, weekly, monthly), and vehicle model, make, model, and year
- Request to book the car
- If your booking request is accepted by the vehicle owner, your card is charged pay for the booking
- Upload the provided vehicle documents to your Uber or Lyft profile
- Arrange with the owner to pick up the car
- Pick up the car
- Use it to drive for Uber or Lyft
- Return the car to the owner
Where hangups in the Hyrecar process might happen
Your booking request might be denied, or take too long. Car owners can deny your booking request or take awhile to approve it, so booking a car at the last minute isn’t a good idea. It’s possible to get a next-day booking, but you should try to book it at least 2 days before you need it.
Picking up and dropping off the car might be a hassle. Typically the owner of the car will want you to meet them where they are. That means you’ll need to arrange your own transportation, and if you use a car, you have to leave it parked while you’re out driving in the Hyrecar.
It might take awhile for Uber or Lyft to approve the vehicle documents. We’ve all been here before: You upload your insurance documents and Uber takes too long to approve them. There’s not much you can do to avoid this, other than visiting an in-person support office. These days both companies are better at quickly approving documents, though.
You have car trouble while you’re out driving. Hyrecar says that you’re responsible for ‘minor’ issues like dead batteries and flat tires and if you have serious trouble, to contact their support email address. That means there is no live phone support! I recommend paying for a roadside assistance membership that can cover you in any vehicle, like AAA.
Other important things to know about Hyrecar
- If you’re not an Uber or Lyft driver yet, you should start by applying. First get approved to drive, then find a car
- You have to pay for a $30 background and motor vehicle check to become an approved member of Hyrecar, even if you’ve already passed the Uber/Lyft screening.
- You pay for gas. Return the car with the same amount as when you picked it up
- Insurance is built into the price
- You pay up front. Once the owner confirms your booking, your card is charged
- Most cars have already completed the necessary inspections
- You have to upload all the vehicle documents to Uber to add it to your driver profile: Registration, insurance, photos, and inspection forms. Hyrecar provides all of it
Check out the Hyrecar Faq if you have other questions.
Using the Hyrecar to locate an XL or Select vehicle
Cars that qualify for UberX are abundant on Hyrecar, but finding an XL or Select vehicle is a lot more difficult. There isn’t a search filter for XL or Select, so you have to find them by targeting price or vehicle make/model/year. An XL or Select car on Hyrecar will always be on the expensive side of the scale. If you set filters to $50+/day, you’ll eliminate most UberX cars and target Select and XL cars.
A vehicle that qualifies for XL or Select on Hyrecar won’t always say so right in the title, so you’ll need to educate yourself about the requirements for XL and Select in your area. Check out my post on uber vehicle requirements to get a general sense of what might be an XL car and what might be a Select car. Generally for Select, only 2008 or newer luxury cars qualify.
Most of Hyrecar is UberX
I searched for cars on Hyrecar in Los Angeles, probably one of the biggest Hyrecar and Uber markets in the US. I’d say 95% of the cars I found were for UberX, and in the end I only found around 3 XL or Select cars for rent.
What is Hyrecar good for?
Hyrecar rentals are, on average, around $40/day. If you’re a full-time Uber driver, renting a Hyrecar will cost you well over $200/week, which is not sustainable in the long run. So what is Hyrecar good for?
- Testing your market before committing to buying or a leasing car — See how much you make from a weekend Hyrecar rental, then decide if you want to try to buy or lease a car
- Renting an XL for a big event — There’s a bigger demand for XL cars during big events, so it might be worth it to try renting a larger car just to drive for an event
- Renting a Select or XL car to see if it’s worth upgrading your own car — The only way to find out if it’s worth getting an XL or Select vehicle is to drive one. Hyrecar is good for that
- Renting a car while yours is in the shop — If your normal Uber car is unavailable for some reason, Hyrecar is a good backup
For now, Hyrecar is available in these cities
Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, and more. Check driver.hyrecar.com and enter your area code to see if you can use Hyrecar in your city.