Is My Car Suitable to Drive for Uber Ride Share?

Each rideshare company, and to some degree each state, has different requirements for their drivers cars.

The car you drive for ride-sharing will greatly impact your profit and driver start rating.

Uber, as the major rideshare business across Australia, has the following requirements for the vehicle you drive as a rideshare operator. While your limited edition Peter Brock VK SS Commodore may have a lot of street appeal, it is not going to be suitable for Uber unless they introduce an Uber Pipped rideshare service.

So what is a suitable car for Uber?

From Uber’s requirements in all states, the car or van must be less than 8 years old, have 4 doors and able to carry four passengers but no more than 8, be registered and CTP-insured in the state you are driving in,  and lastly not have any cosmetic damage or commercial branding. Then you will have to comply with vehicle inspection requirements, which vary in each state as detailed below.

If you are looking to buy one specifically for ridesharing, I would recommend a Toyota Camry Hybrid as it has excellent fuel efficiency, which directly impacts on your profits, and comfortably seats 4 passengers. You can get a second-hand hybrid for around $20,000 and claim the interest on the repayments as a tax deduction. However, the boot space is only suitable for a couple of bags, which can be a problem for airport runs. Fortunately, most of my driving is in the evenings and most of the airport with luggage drop-offs are in the mornings. Having said that, if you are more of a morning person, an SUV may be a better choice as it has ample room for passengers and luggage.

There are companies that will rent cars specifically for rideshare driving, but these are not typically Hybrids and will cost you around $200-350 per week, which includes all maintenance costs and insurances. One of the big advantages of hiring if you intend to be a full-time driver is the car is pre-approved for use Uber and if for whatever reason it becomes non-roadworthy, the hire company will cover all costs (other than an insurance premium for an accident).

Running Costs

The major cost to you when driving rideshare is your car’s fuel and maintenance. When I started driving back in 2015, I was driving a Holden Barina which consumed 8.7 litres per 100Km. I chose to upgrade the car because it was too small to fit four people comfortably and lacked power in the hills with a full load. Upgrading to a Camry Hybrid I expected the fuel consumption to be similar as the car was larger and heavier but had the added savings of being a hybrid. To my surprise, the hybrid uses 5.6 litres per 100Km. When you consider the average cost of petrol is hovering between $1.20 and $1.50  that’s a saving of $4.32 per 100Km (@$1.35/L) and in a typical week, I drive about 50,000Km per year, which is an average weekly petrol saving of $41. Looking at the car loan repayments, that’s 50% covered by my petrol savings!

So fuel is your major running cost but you also need to consider the maintenance cost of the car and its depreciation.

The following is based on my average yearly running costs based on living in South Australia. As you can see, the fixed costs will be there even if you only use the car for your personal use. However, you can claim a percentage of this and your variable costs as a tax deduction once you start rideshare driving.

Item Fixed Costs
(You pay it even if you don’t rideshare)
Variable Costs
(Additional costs based on 50,000Km per year)
Registration $800 $400
Insurance $780
Tyres $100 $400
Servicing $600 $600
Loan Repayments $4000
Total $6280 $1600

Vehicle Inspections

Below are the requirements for vehicle inspections in each state.

Sydney

An e-Safety Check, or “pink slip”, vehicle inspection is a required document which is currently Redbook or NRMA.

Canberra

Pass an annual vehicle inspection with an Uber approved company, which is currently Redbook 

Melbourne

Pass an annual vehicle inspection with an Uber approved company, which is currently Redbook 

Brisbane

Pass an annual vehicle inspection with an Uber approved company, which is currently Redbook 

Adelaide

Pass an annual vehicle inspection with an Uber approved company, which is currently Rightway

Perth

Pass an annual vehicle inspection with an Uber approved company, which is currently Redbook 

Ride Share Car Rental Companies

If you are going to be a full-time ride share driver, it may be worth considering a rental or lease car as the costs are reasonable when compared to the above fixed costs and fully taxes deductible. For a small car (which I do not recommend as the passengers will hate it and you will get a lower star rating) prices start at $159 per week, which is $8268 per year. To get a Camry Hybris, which is my recommendation it will cost around $325 per week. I make $300-400 in a typical weekend so this option is only good if you are driving full time and making over $1000 per week.

Some of the advantages of a rental over your own car are that they are pre-inspected and approved for ride share saving you that run around time and cost. They are fully insured as a ride share vehicle, which not all insurance companies will cover, registration and, for most rentals, all maintenance is included so your only running cost is the petrol.

Following are a number of ride share rental companies to choose from. I recommend carefully comparing the costs and inclusions before signing up to one. For example – the insurance excess, weekly kilometers you are allowed to drive and if you can use it for personal holidays etc.

While I have listed a large choice of companies that rent cars for Uber and other ride shares, I have only listed those that specialise in ride share vehicles.


REFERRAL CODE
SPLD07751

My first recommendation is Splend as they focus specifically on the ride share market and are available in most Australian locations (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Newcastle and Sunshine Coast). Splend offers a choice of multiple vehicles as either rent only or rent to own, and their pricing is quite reasonable.

Because Splend has partnered with Uber, all of their cars are pre-inspected and approved, saving you the time (and expense in some states) of this process.

Use the referral code for a $75 discount of your membership.

 

Maven Gig is also specifically tailored to the ride share industry and as such will provide you with a new or a near new car with fully comprehensive insurance and all maintenance costs included. Maven offer unlimited kilometers and a choice of multiple different models.

While Mavin does not have as much coverage as Splend, they are in most of the capital cities including Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney

 

Atlas Car Rental has a wider range of cars and has more locations across Australia. However, their site, while having a dedicated ride share page, does not provide a lot of details of the offering other than to contact them.

Atlas’s availability is extensive, covering Cairns, Perth, Surfers Paradise, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Preston, and Sydney.