Did you know that you can lease a brand new car through Uber and Lyft with no credit check, no downpayment and no yearly contract?
It’s a new program that both companies offer that can be an interesting option for those that need a car and/or a way to make some extra money. I tried the Uber Exchange lease program for around 6 months and in this post I’ll break down the actual numbers of my experience and what kind of money you can actually expect from driving for Uber and Lyft.
THIS PROGRAM IS ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE US AND ONLY IN CERTAIN CITIES
If you prefer video you can watch a Facebook Live Q & A video I did on the program here.
How it works.
One thing that you will learn very quickly is that Uber is horrible at communicating with their contractors. There is not really anyone that you can call to answer all of your questions about the program. You will just have to read about the details online and decide if it is for you.
Here are the basics.
- You can choose a brand new car from participating dealerships in your area.
- You get a list of makes and models of cars you can lease.
- There are no mileage caps.
- All regular maintenance is covered.
- $250 initial administration cost.
- You can return the car at any time with only a 2 week notice.
- The cost varies per car but you should expect to drive 10-12 hours a week to pay off your lease.
- All the money you get over the initial lease payment amount you get to keep.
Sounds good so far? Well then here’s how you get started.
Getting the car.
Getting the car is actually surprisingly easy. I filled out the application online and was approved within a week. Once you have your approval you can go to one of the approved dealerships and choose your car.
Once you choose your car you will have to get personal insurance on the car. Once that’s done and all of your paperwork is signed you will probably have to wait another few days before you can go and pick up your brand new car.
I chose a 2016 Honda Civic in a flashy blue color. With a large trunk, large backseat and an average of 40 mpg it was a great choice. For that car the fee was $172 a week that you have to cover in fees. That seems like a lot, and it is, but there is no other lease program like this one. As you’ll see below that amount was usually paid off in 10-12 hours of driving.
Once in the car you have to get your permits to be a ride share driver. Since you are a contractor the companies leave compliance up to you. This means that all permits and tickets for not getting tickets are coming out of your pocket. Since the companies never check, obviously many drivers never take the time to get any permits at all. This is usually not a problem except if you want to pick up at the airport, which you do because that’s where a lot of money is. I did get all the necessary permits.
Here are all the permits I needed to drive in Dallas.
- Ride share license from DMV ($70)
- Ride share decal (Comes with Xchange lease)
- DFW Airport permit (FREE)
Once you’ve got that straight, you are ready to start driving. Since you’re already set up as a ride share driver you might as well also get set up on Lyft as well. There’s nothing on the lease programs that says that you can’t drive for other companies and indeed, most people do.
How much should you expect to make.
There are many things that makes the amount you can make vary drastically depending on the city, time of year and the driving strategy you are taking. You can choose to chase surges, work the guaranteed hours or work the airports. I won’t go into detail about those three strategies but they make a big difference.
When I first got the car I was curious to see what I could actually make. I decided to dedicate an entire week and drive as much as I could to see what I could do.
Here’s the statement:
I also drive Lyft at the same time and made $87.72.
I also made about $100 in tips.
So I drove 62.5 hours and made $1377.07 for the week.
Then subtract the 172 for the car and I took home $1,205.07.
That’s $22/hour so that means it took me a little less than eight hours of driving to pay off the car for that week.
(please note these numbers are not including taxes)
Once I figured that out I knew that I only had to put aside at least 10 hours a week to pay off the lease. These hours could be at odd times and you actually make more by driving very early and very late on weekdays and times on the weekend when people would prefer not to be working.
Driving for Uber can actually be kind of fun. You meet all kinds of people and you can have some great conversations with people. Be prepared to also have people that treat you like a servant.
For me the people weren’t as bad as Uber’s treatment of the drivers. The company does not do a very good job of making their contractors feel appreciated or communicating well with them. If you think I’m exaggerating take a look at the pictures below of the warning I got from Uber about some incident that took place. I still to this day do not know what incident they are referring to.
I left Dallas and was getting tired of paying the weekly payment so I turned the car back in. When I turned it back in I was informed that by turning in the car before the 3 year term I would not be eligible for the program again.
So would I recommend it?
I would not recommend Uber for someone thinking about doing it full time. Uber can shut down your account at their discretion. You get no time off or sick days and you will also be coming out of pocket for car maintenance and dental/medical coverage. This means that your hourly wage is lower than the one listed above.
As a side gig it can be good if you live in a city with a lot of demand. There were times when I could predict that the airport would surge and I could make $40-160 a trip. For some extra cash you could sign up and drive when you have some free time.
As a way of quickly getting into a brand new lease I can’t think of any other program like it. It is expensive and you will have to keep driving each week to keep up with payments. This means if you take any vacations, get sick or anything like that which inhibits you from driving you will be racking up debt. From what I have heard they just come and repossess the car if that happens. One other option that I thought of but didn’t try was renting the car out on Turo if you can’t drive or won’t be in town.
Signing up isn’t hard and doesn’t obligate you to anything so if your curious, give it a try. I’ve got some below links with special discount codes for drivers and riders.