UberX and Private Fleet Owners

(Brandon Bhangoo) #1

Many drivers have financial or personal issues with owning or leasing their vehicle. One solution is private fleet owners; these are business-minded people that have bought a lot of cars and made them Uber ready and rent them out to Uber drivers that don’t have a car. It is a standard situation with many car-related services, but let’s take a look at this option.

Driver requirements

Uber’s driver requirements are not stringent. Uber doesn’t demand a driver owns a car but be able to present an Uber certified vehicle. So if an Uber driver does have a situation, sometimes its quicker and easier to find a fleet owner and provide a car immediately.

Private Fleet Owner

A private fleet owner is a person that owns more than one car that is licensed to work for Uber. It means that the car has passed all Uber requirements and inspection and is ready for immediate use by Uber drivers.

Uber Categories

Uber has some car categories that demand different requirements. These are:

  • UberBlack that requires a commercial insurance and TCP licensing.
  • Uber select is similar to UberBlack but require a mid-level luxury car, which is expensive and therefore require some degree of financial viability from the driver.
  • UberX, which is the standard. Most drivers that sign up to Uber start with UberX before moving up to the other levels.

What is interesting with Private Fleet usage is that a driver without a car could consider driving an UberBlack or user select level and increasing their earnings by working with higher paying clients.

Finding a Private Fleet Owner

Private fleet owners do advertise themselves in various ways, Craigslist is one of them, but it’s not rocket science to find them online. All you need to do is make sure they are in your city, so you don’t have to drive all over the place just to reach them.

Private Fleet Deals

Every private fleet owner has a different kind of deal; you should check more than one. If you shop for insurance and shop for car leases, then it is prudent to shop for a private fleet owner that meets your expectations as much as you meet theirs. Remember, these fleet owners need drivers to make money. Otherwise, their investments are losses.

Examples of Private Fleet Deals

Depending on the size of the fleet, if it is a one-car operation or a multi-car facility will impact on some issues, these are:

  • Mileage Limits; A one car fleet will most probably be an Uber driver seeking someone to make up the lost hours, so the car constantly pays for its upkeep. So these will be mileage limited.
  • Hour Limits; As in mileage limits, one car operations might limit the driver to certain hours of the day or a certain number of hours a day.
  • Deposit; some fleet owners will demand some deposit, don’t rush to give money away until you are certain that a dealer is a reputable person or company.
  • Maintenance; Try to find a fleet owner that will cover the maintenance of the car, this can change your income level drastically. Also, check the age of the car you are taking, the older it is, the more maintenance it needs, so don’t work for a fleet owner of 5-year-old cars and older.
  • Car use fees; All fleet owners demand a weekly or monthly contract and charge you a flat base fee. This means that you will have to work long hours to cover the fee as well as earn income. Remember, if the average expense of a mile is $0.71 then take the base fee you pay and divide it by the average number of miles you expect to drive (period three only) and this will give you the added expense regarding miles.
  • Ride-share friendly insurance; This is a must; you must make sure a ride-share insurance plan covers you, even if it is only for a week and make sure your name is on the registered insurance card. Uber will not let you drive without a registered insurance card.
  • Uber car approval; Make sure that the fleet owner has already got the vehicle inspection form signed by Uber and that the car is ready for immediate use. There is no point in taking a car that requires you go through all the vehicle approval motions.
  • Extras; Check what extra’s the felt owner offers, some of them include all kinds of incentives such as weekly car washes, free candies and gum and even a dash-cam installed (very important, if there isn’t one, install one yourself!).
  • Independent Contractor; Do not sign a locked deal with any fleet owner, retain the freedom to move between fleet owners at will, this also enables you to prove all your tax-deductible miles and expenses.
  • Contract Term; Most fleet owners prefer a weekly or monthly contract, take into account the time you use for ride-share driving. If you have another job and the car will stand for a long time, it means you will be supplementing your income to pay the rent; it’s not worth it. Fleet car rental is better for full-time drivers.

Be a fleet owner

If you have the inclination and the cash to become a fleet owner, you might consider this option too. You can use driver too, and also rent out cars to drivers. Just make sure you work out the running costs and tax issues so that you cover all your expenses against the income from a base price. Once you do that and can prove you are making a profit, go for it. We don’t suggest you lease cars as an option for building a fleet unless you already have a nice operation going on. The danger of lease buying a car is that cars can stand in the garage without use and you end up buying a lot of cars without actually covering their income by renting them out.