Did you know that you can rent a car to drive for Lyft? The Lyft rental program is called Express Drive, and it offers weekly rentals that include insurance and routine maintenance.
Rentals are a good choice if you don’t own a qualifying vehicle or if you don’t want to put too many miles on your own car.
TLDR: Express Drive rentals cost around $200–$300/week. Expect to drive at least 35 hours per week to make the rental cost worth it.
Basic Facts about Express Drive, The Lyft Rental Car Program
- Drivers must be age 25 or older to rent
- Express Drive rentals start at ~$220 per week
- Current participating rental companies are Hertz and Flexdrive
- Drivers must meet Lyft driver requirements
- Refundable deposit (around $250) is returned when you turn in the car
- Insurance, routine maintenance, and roadside assistance are included
- Weekly rental period
- Personal use allowed, with limited mileage. Unlimited miles available for an extra charge
- Rentals are first first-come-first-served and availability can be low
- Rental payments are deducted from your weekly earnings
- Rate card is lower with Express drive in some states: You earn less per mile and minute
- Apply here. Select “I need a car”
How much do Lyft rental cars cost?
Lyft rentals through Express Drive typically start around $220 per week for a midsize sedan. The cost of the rental depends on the market you’re in and the vehicle you rent.
Payments for a rental are deducted from your ride earnings each week. Your credit/debit card on file will be charged if your earnings don’t cover the entire rental cost.
How much can you earn with a Lyft rental?
A full-time Lyft driver working 40–50 hours per week can expect to earn up to $1,000 per week before expenses.
Take $1,000 in earnings, subtract $250 in rental costs, and you’re left with around $750 per week. And that’s before subtracting gas expenses.
Looking at it another way, assume conservative gross earnings of $15 per hour. It would take around 17 hours of driving to pay off the rental. Any earnings after that would go to your pocket. Don’t forget about taxes!
Your experience may vary quite a bit. Earnings differ drastically depending on your area, the time of year, and even the times of day you drive. You’ll have to experiment to see what earnings are like in your area.
Paying for miles on Flexdrive
In all states except California, there is no charge for the miles you use while you drive for Lyft.
Flexdrive charges for personal miles, which are the miles you drive when you’re offline and not using the Lyft driver app.
You can select personal mileage plans with varying levels of miles. All miles are tracked in the Lyft driver app.
If you go over your mileage limit, you may be charged a fee that will be added to your rental cost for the next week.
In California, drivers using Flexdrive rentals pay for Lyft miles and personal miles in addition to the weekly base rate. Lyft miles are approximately half the cost of personal miles.
All Express Drive users must pay a refundable deposit before accessing a rental car. The deposit is typically around $250, but the amount varies based on your market, the rental agency, and driving record.
You must use a credit or debit card in your name to make the deposit. Lyft does not accept pre-paid cards for the deposit.
When do you have to pay the rental deposit? You will be prompted to pay the deposit after you schedule a rental pickup.
Lyft will return your rental deposit in these circumstances:
- If you fail the Lyft background screening process, your deposit is returned following the 10-day window to contest the results
- When you return your rental vehicle, the deposit is returned within 5–10 business days
- If you request to leave the Express Drive program without ever renting a vehicle, the deposit is returned in 2–5 business days
Insurance – Included with all Express Drive rentals
A major benefit of Express Drive rentals is that auto insurance is included in the weekly cost of the rental. The collision deductible is $1,000.
You don’t need a personal auto insurance policy to qualify for Express Drive, and you’re fully covered once you pick up your rental.
If you drive a personal vehicle, you’ll have to find insurance policies that allow ridesharing. Without a rideshare-friendly policy, the insurance company may reject your claim if you get in an accident. That’s not an issue when you rent with Express Drive.
More detail about the insurance offered with Lyft Express Drive rentals
- Personal driving and rideshare driving are covered
- Collision deductible is $1,000 for Hertz and Flexdrive
- $1,000,000 liability policy when waiting for a request and when the ride is in progress. Liability is also offered during personal driving at different levels that depend on your state
What’s the difference between Hertz and Fledrive rentals on Lyft?
Lyft partners with Hertz and Flexdrive to provide vehicle rental services for Lyft drivers. Both companies have similar offerings, but a few differences are worth mentioning.
Some cities offer both Hertz and Flexdrive rentals, but others only have one of the two. Check the Express Drive cities at Lyft.com to see what’s in your area.
- Flexdrive charges for personal miles, which are the miles you drive when you are offline
- Each provides a different insurance plan, but both cover you and the vehicle you rent
- Some cities offer both Hertz & Flexdrive options, while others only offer one of the two
- Reservations for all services are made online in the Lyft driver dashboard
- Maintenance procedures are slightly different between the two
Upsides and downsides of Lyft Express Drive Rentals
Upside: Insurance and routine maintenance are included. Some of the highest costs when you use your own vehicle are depreciation, maintenance, and insurance. Not having to deal with those is valuable.
Upside: Drive for Lyft without using your own car. Many drivers don’t have a qualifying vehicle or don’t want to put the miles on their own vehicle. Express Drive is a way to earn money with Lyft without putting your own car on the line.
Downside: Cost. Rentals aren’t cheap, so you’ll have to drive many hours to make it worth it.
Downside: Availability of rentals can be low. The availability of rental cars can be low, so it may be difficult to make a reservation. Most drivers can only get a car by repeatedly checking the app and hoping a reservation slot opens.
Downside: In some states, you earn a lower per-mile and per-minute rate with an Express Drive vehicle. Express Drive users are paid on a rate card that is around 10% lower than other Lyft drivers. Lyft says that the lower rates help to fund the higher insurance costs involved with Express Drive.
Getting started with Express Drive
To get started with Express Drive rentals, you first apply with Lyft. Once you pass the driver screening, you’ll be able to make a deposit, reserve a vehicle, and make an appointment to pick up a rental.
How to view Lyft rental options
If you’re an active Lyft driver, you can see the Express Drive options available in the Lyft Driver app or at Lyft.com.
Inside the Lyft Driver app: Tap your profile icon in the upper left corner, then tap Vehicle. An Express Drive box will appear below your vehicle info if Express Drive is available to you.
Tap on “Learn More” or “Rent a car” to begin the rental process. Next, you can view nearby rental locations and schedule an appointment to pick up a vehicle.
At Lyft.com: Log in at Lyft.com/login and visit the Vehicles section of the driver dashboard. Scroll down to see if Express Drive rentals are present as an option. You’ll see a section called “Use an Express Drive rental” if the option is available in your city.
How long can you keep a Lyft rental?
Lyft rentals from the Express Drive program are renewed weekly, and you can keep them for an indefinite amount of time.
The minimum rental period for a Lyft rental is seven days.
You will have to bring the car to a branch where you picked it up at certain mileage intervals to have maintenance and inspections performed. You will be reminded in the Lyft Driver app to bring the car in for maintenance.
Can you lease a car long-term through Lyft?
Long-term leases are not available with Lyft Express Drive. All rentals are weekly.
Can two people share the same Express Drive rental?
Lyft will not allow two people to share the same Express Drive rental. You can’t share your Express Drive vehicle with a spouse, significant other, or business partner.
Two people can share a personal vehicle as long as each driver is named on the auto insurance policy, but that is not the case with Lyft rentals.
No rental vehicles available: What can you do?
Lyft Express Drive has become a very popular option with drivers, and rental companies have had difficulties keeping up with demand. As a result, you might try to reserve a rental only to find that none are available.
If no rentals are available, you have two options: You can wait until more rentals become available, or you can find an alternative rideshare rental.
Currently, there is no notification system to inform you when a rental becomes available. Lyft recommends logging back in and manually checking for new cars. It’s not a great solution, but until a better reservation and notification system comes out, it’s all you can do.
Can you use your Lyft rental to drive for Uber or other gigs?
Hertz rentals can only be used for Lyft, but Flexdrive rentals can be used for other services. You can’t use a Hertz Lyft rental to drive for Uber or other driving gigs.
You can use these rideshare rentals for more than one service
- HyreCar – Peer-to-peer rentals
- More rideshare rental options
Does renting a car to drive for Lyft make financial sense?
$200 per 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 Lyft rentals is in line with the cost of Uber rentals, which also require full-time driving in a major market to make financial sense.
One benefit is that 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, and you don’t have to pay for general upkeep like oil changes, brakes, tires, etc.
Maintenance and depreciation are huge costs when using your own car, so it’s nice to avoid those costs with rentals.
When it might make financial sense to rent a car to drive with Lyft
- You want to try driving for Lyft without committing to buying a car
- Your car is in for repairs and you need a car for a week or two
- You want to drive full-time and don’t want to put too many miles on your personal vehicle
Overall, the Express Drive program is worth looking into if you want to try Lyft but don’t have access to a qualifying car.
Try Express Drive!
Apply to Lyft here and select “I need a car” to begin the Express Drive rental process. You’ll be able to access local rentals after you are approved as a Lyft driver,
I used to rent a vehicle through Lyft but I returned it unfortunately I no longer have the bank account that was used for the deposit.
How do I get my $250 deposit back because when I send Lyft a message advising them that that bank account no longer exists they keep telling me to go to the bank. Traditionally when you no longer have a relationship with the bank the bank can’t do anything for you and they will send the money back to the sender within 48 hours so how do I get them to send me the money to an account that I currently have?
I think all you can do is keep up the pressure on Lyft to clear this up. After awhile they should see that the deposit refund bounced back
Trinity Moore says
Incorrect even though you may not deal with the bank any money still in the account or posting to the account your bank will send you a check in the mail with what’s was going into the account
Rob, Obviously you are not driving in effective areas. Basically, 1/5 of your efforts is not being utilized. In other words, there is about a 5 hour gap in your booked time and online time. Remember this, IF THE CAR AINT MOVING YOU AINT MAKING MONEY! First, if your in a rental, DO NOT GO OVER THE WEEKLY ALLOTED MILES or you loose $27.00 Secondly, here’s my secret. I don’t drive in rush hour or anytime near traffic. Why? Because the car ain’t moving in traffic. Therefore, you can’t double down on that streak! My killer days are Monday am from 3am – 6:30 am. Generally, I will do 2 streaks at the 3am – 4am timeframe. Then about 5:15 am start my third streak and hopefully be done by 6:30 am. Let’s say $45 per streak X 3 streaks is $135. And more than likely atleast 3 out of the 9 rides will come with a $3 per ride bonus. Looks like $144 for 3 1/2 hours. I do that Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Friday night it kicks off in Downtons LA all the way to Dodger Staduim from 2 am – 5 am. $8 – $20 ride bonuses.
Rob, your a complete dumptruck as a driver. 23 05 hours online $933.90 My cashout is $675.58…And the use of a car for personal use. Old drivers stuck in their ways are cockblocking the new bread! Go drive a cab chump.
Where you driving at? only 23 hours driving gets you $675 bring home?
so about only 1/3 rd of your total goes to the rental and lyft?
and you recommend this then?
thanks and appreciate any more insight you can provide
I’m sorry, these numbers are wrong. I’ll give you numbers from my rental as of tonight.
Online time 25 hr 33 min
Booked time 20 hr 40 minute
Rental base rate $209
Weekly mileage 232.32
Rental tax and fees $45.13
After of their fees, I come out making $10 per hour or so, coming all the way down from $30 something per hour. It’s a total rip off, don’t do it.
Oh, my payout is $271. Coming down from 846. It’s wayyyyyyyyyyyyy more than 200-300 per week, as advertised.
Thanks for sharing your #s. I think this confirms that it’s really only a good option for full-time drivers.
I’m trying to do this full time and it seems like even at that rate, it’s not fair that they’re taking nearly $25 per hour from me.
What is weekly mileage for personal miles?
Are the tools while providing rides?
What I can’t seem to find an answer for is; are you restricted to a particular geographic area with your rental for Lyft? For an example, can you sign up to rent a car in one area, but serve trips in areas outside of that one??
In other words; Say you’re already a Lyft driver, driving your personal car, & you want to switch to the rental program — but the rental express program isn’t available in your current area, however it is available very close by in a neighboring area —is there a way to rent in that neighboring area, but come back to serve trips in your ‘home’ area – or are you restricted to serve trips in the area that the car was rented in??
Any current info would be greatly appreciated!
This would be a good question to ask at the Express drive rental facility. Or you may find a contact phone number if you start the rental process. Typically Lyft doesn’t have strict geographical boundaries, other than state lines.
Trinity Moore says
Yes . I got a rental in nc cause that’s the state my id says but I live in Va& I drive in Va . Just when picking up rental vehicle you have to chat with Lyft to change region to A close enough hertz / flex drive location and then wherever you’re always driving at you chat back to get the region changed to where you’ll be driving
Victor Williams says
What if you have a second job that can cover for rental costs but you still wanna make money driving for Lyft and using the lyft rental cars is that acceptable?
Depending on the rental plan, personal miles might be limited or cost more money.
Trinity Moore says
They will charge the card on file .