How much can you actually earn if you rent a car to drive for Uber? After paying for the rental—which runs around $300 per week—how much profit is left?
It’s not always an easy question to answer because driver earnings are unpredictable and vary substantially from market to market.
But now Uber provides their own data that tells renters how much they can expect to earn from a rental, and the numbers aren’t exactly impressive.
Check out this Avis rental listing: With 40 weekly driving hours, Uber estimates that you can earn about $488.94 per week from a compact rental after paying for costs. That’s only $12 per hour!
How about a Tesla rental? In Orlando, Uber claims that Tesla renters are earning $12.32 per hour. That’s only 32 cents higher than Florida’s current $12 minimum wage!
Here’s a Hertz rental that will only net you $503 per week if you drive for 40 hours. And those numbers are from Uber, not an anonymous driver complaining on Reddit!
So why do people rent from Uber if the earnings are so low, and how can you estimate your own profits if you’re looking into a rental?
Uber’s rental estimates assume 40 hours of driving. Most renters drive more than that
One important thing to note is that Uber’s estimates assume 40 hours of driving time, but the reality is that many renters put in 50 or 60 hours to get the most out of their rentals.
The extra 10 or 20 hours in a week could bring in an extra $150–$250 per week, or $1000 per month. That’s enough to make a rental worth it for some drivers.
Why do people rent if the earnings are so low?
You might look at the $300–$500 weekly cost for a rental and wonder why anyone would do it. $500 per week is close to the typical car payment. Why not just buy your own car instead of sending thousands of extra dollars to Hertz or Avis?
Some want to buy a car but can’t get financing for a vehicle — Not everyone has good enough credit to finance a vehicle. Or they can get a loan, but they don’t have enough for a down payment. Renting can be a good way to build up credit and save towards a new vehicle.
Renting can be a short-term plan to hit a savings goal — Renting through Uber isn’t the long-term plan for every driver. Many only plan to rent long enough to hit a short-term goal or bridge the gap between jobs.
If you’re willing to put in full-time hours, renting can be a good way to build up your savings while avoiding damage and depreciation to a personal vehicle.
Renting makes more financial sense if you drive extremely long hours — Renting only makes sense if you plan to drive for 40+ hours per week. And it starts to make even more sense if you do 60+ hours. Once you start doing 60+ hours and 1000+ miles per week, vehicle expenses start to add up incredibly quickly.
And with unlimited weekly miles and a flat weekly rental rate, your cost per mile actually goes down significantly when you drive long hours in a rental.
For those who are seriously grinding, renting makes more sense than running a personal vehicle into the ground every 2–3 years.
How to estimate the potential profit from an Uber rental
Want to know how much you can make from a rental? Uber doesn’t provide rental earnings estimates in every city, so here’s how to estimate your potential profit yourself.
Start by estimating your expenses, then estimate your income. From there, you can see how many hours you’ll need to drive each week to hit your earnings goal.
Calculate rental fee & taxes: Look at the advertised rental fee in the Uber Vehicle Marketplace. Uber doesn’t include the additional fees and taxes, but they are typically around 15% of the rental cost.
So if the advertised rate is $260 per week, expect to pay an extra $40 in taxes and fees. That brings your actual rental rate up to $300 per week.
Add fuel or charging costs: Driving full time, expect to drive 500–1000 miles per week. Why such a large range? Some markets are more spread out than others.
Assuming 29 miles per gallon, you’ll have to buy 17–34 gallons of gas to drive full time. At $3.50 per gallon, that comes out to $60–$120 in weekly fuel expenses.
$300 per week for the rental + fees
+ $60–$119 for gas
= $360–$420 per week in rental costs
Estimate your potential income
National data shows that most Uber drivers can expect to earn about $25 per hour before expenses. At $25 per hour, it will take 14–17 hours to pay for your rental. All earnings after that are profit.
So if you drive 40 hours per week, the first 14–17 hours will pay off your car and the next 23–26 hours are where you profits come from. At $25 per hour, expect $575–$650 in profit per week.
More resources about renting for Uber & Lyft