So, you’ve decided to join the rideshare economy and make money while setting your own hours. After you’ve looked at the different options to choose from in terms of companies to gig for, you’re left with another big decision – what vehicle should you choose? Don’t worry, we’ve identified ten areas to consider helping you choose the right car for you.
Whether you’ve chosen to work for Uber, Lyft, Instacart, or another competitor in the rapidly growing sector, your car is one of the most important parts of your success. It can help determine your margins, how your customers rate you, and ultimately how much you take home at the end of every week. If you’re looking to invest in a new car, be sure to keep these key features in mind throughout the purchasing process.
1. Fuel consumption
It should come as no surprise that fuel consumption should be one of your top priorities. With a wide variety of rides, from those that remain local to long distance journeys, you want a car that can handle both well. It goes without saying that a car that performs better on miles per gallon is going to increase your margins and save you cash when you need to fill up.
For this reason, many rideshare drivers choose a hybrid vehicle model that performs well in both urban environments where traffic is likely to stop and start and country driving. When you look at the long-term, it can be beneficial to pay more for a car with improved efficiency.
Hybrid favorites among Uber and Lyft drivers include the Ford Fusion and Toyota Prius. In the non-hybrid category, the Chevy Cruze is probably your best bet.
2. Number of passengers
Both Uber and Lyft require all vehicles to have four independently opening doors. So, that’s most coupe models immediately out of the running.
Of course, if you pick the right model you can seat more than the standard four passengers, allowing you to take rides that require room for six or seven. On the flip side, larger vehicles will not have the same mileage efficiency and, in some areas, there isn’t the demand to warrant investing in a car that can comfortably sit more than four people.
Starting at under $28,000, the Ford Explorer has become a very popular UberXL and Lyft Plus vehicle.
Comfort is essential for getting that all important high rating to ensure you continue to get booked. No one wants to be sat in the back of a car feeling cramped and uncomfortable for entire journey. Consider how comfortable your passengers will be – roomier is definitely a positive in this area.
Your comfort matters too. Whether you’re planning on being part of the gig economy part time or putting in eight hour shifts on a daily basis, investing in a car that your comfortable in will make it much easier to get the job done.
4. Insurance and Depreciation
It’s easy for the additional costs of running a vehicle to slip your mind when you’re choosing a vehicle to use for Uber and Lyft. But make sure you do your research and factor in the price of things like depreciation and insurance. It could save you hundreds of dollars each year and ensure that you maximize your profits and tax deductions.
5. Uber & Lyft Service Level
Do you know which Uber or Lyft service you would like to drive for? Both companies have different service levels, and different vehicles qualify for each service level.
Lyft has Lyft, Lyft Plus (suv’s), Lyft Premier (slightly fancier/newer cars), Lyft Lux (luxury vehicles), and Lyft SUV (luxury SUV’s). Uber has UberX, Uber Select (slightly fancier/newer cars), UberXL (suv’s), Uber Black and UberSUV (commerically licensed driver, black car vehicle).Having a look at what’s in demand locally can help you assess the right decision for you. The best way to do that is to ask some local drivers.
Also make sure the vehicle you’re considering qualifies for the service level you want to drive for before buying the car.
Whether a car comes with a strong warranty or not could be a deciding factor if it’s the right decision for you. It gives you peace of mind that should something go wrong you’re covered. If maintenance is something that you’re concerned about, a good warranty with an included maintenance package should be at the top of your list.
7. Maintenance costs
The make and model of your car has a big impact on the maintenance costs associated with any repairs that you might need. Ideally, you want to find a vehicle that strikes the right balance between being reliable and having parts that are easily replaceable, which can be a challenge. Overall, Honda, Toyota, and Ford are considered to be the most reliable vehicles with the lowest overall maintenance costs.
8. Model Year
The year your car was made could mean that your car can’t be used for for Uber or Lyft. In most markets, your car must be a 2003 or newer. However, the requirements are more stringent for the premium services like Lyft Premier or Uber Select. For those services, your vehicle often has to be a 2011 or newer. Additionally, in most markets, Lyft drivers are not eligible for the weekly Power Driver Bonuses if the model year is before 2011.
Purchasing a newer model might mean a higher initial cost but it also means you won’t have to replace it as soon if you plan on driving for Uber or Lyft for the foreseeable future. You can check the local Lyft and Uber vehicle requirements on the following pages.
9. Total Miles
Your car is quickly going to clock up mileage when you’re working. You’re likely to find that you easily exceed the average 12,000 miles per year. A car that’s lower on mileage when you purchase it should mean lower overall maintenance costs, at least for the first year or two.
Getting the best price can be tricky, and car dealerships are notorious for jacking up prices and including unnecessary items in a vehicle purchase. Consider using a negotiation service like Carjojo to get the best price on your car. A good negotiation service can literally save you thousands on your vehicle purchase.