Buying a New Car for Uber? Here’s What You Need to Know
Purchasing an Uber vehicle
You’ve decided that you want to become an Uber drive, but there’s only one problem — you do not personally own a car. That is a bit of a stumbling-block (considering you’ll need access to a car to make a living as an Uber driver)!
Before we dive into the details, it’s important to state that if you’re in the market for a vehicle simply because you’re becoming an Uber driver…be careful. Purchasing a car is a major financial commitment, and although you may be excited to start driving for the Uber (or Lyft) platform and earn some money, it’s important to never ‘bite off more than you can chew’.
If, however, you are (incidentally) in need of a car anyway – and are driving with Uber to make some extra money – then this guide can help you make the right decision, based on your circumstances. After all, who wouldn’t want to save as much money as possible on a savvy car purchase?
Before you buy, here’s what you should know…
In the Market for a New Car?
When you’re making a large purchase, whether it be a car, property, or other large investment, you need to plan ahead. The worst decision you can make is to make an impulse purchase. Before you even begin to look at vehicles, you need to set a budget. Ask yourself:
- What can I truly afford? At this point, you need to number crunch. What are your fixed expenses at this time? Rent? A mortgage? Childcare? Factor all of these in, while budgeting for your variable expenses (food, medical, entertainment, etc.)
- Work out what your monthly payment should be based on your budget — plus, determine how you will finance your vehicle. Are you planning to take out a loan? Will you lease?
Now that you have some clear number under your belt, you can start looking around. If you are driving for Uber, make sure you know what the requirements are in your area. In New York, requirements are more stringent than Pennsylvania. But in most cities across North America – like Philadelphia, Houston or Toronto – requirements are primarily based on the make and model of your vehicle (excluding other variable regional requirements, such as snow tires in the winter, etc).
City-Specific Vehicle Year Requirements
Taking Toronto as an example, here’s how regional Uber requirements can break down in a particular city:
- Your vehicle’s model year must be 2010 or newer to drive with UberX, UberPOOL, UberXL, and UberSELECT in the city of Toronto.
- Greater Toronto Area (GTA): If your vehicle’s model year is 2007-2009, you can still drive in the GTA. Note that you will not be able to pick up riders in Toronto.
- UberEATS: If your vehicle’s model year is newer than 1997, it qualifies to deliver food with UberEATS in the GTA.
Using this specific information, you can then narrow down models and makes that suit your needs and your budget. Please keep this in mind: even if a car is slightly more to buy (but will likely cost you less long-term) this is something you need to actively consider. Research how reliable certain cars are, and look to gain a fuller understanding of the average ownership costs based on repairs.
Once you find a vehicle you like, make sure you test drive it and do not be shy to ask questions. And, when you’re happy with your choice, start calling around — certain dealerships may give you a better rate and throw in ‘extras’ based on your purchase. Also, if you have an older vehicle, see if it’s worth trading in to reduce the amount you owe on your new vehicle.
Bottom Line? You must do your homework when purchasing a new vehicle. Take your time and don’t rush the process. Be sure to stand your ground and do what’s best for you (not what a salesperson suggests). Keep your options open and make sure it’s the right fit before you go all in.
On a side note, Uber also offers lease options and for some, this is an attractive option — so once again, weigh all your options and only purchase a new vehicle if you’re already in the market to do so.
Lastly, here is a link to our top-five cars for Uber drivers, as well as a list of some affordable vehicle options for Uber drivers.