How To Rent a Car For DoorDash - Do The Math First

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By Tadas Antanavicius


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By Michael Vaness

Gig Pro

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By Christian Lombardi

Gig Pro

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By Ricardo Cervantes

Gig Pro

Last Updated on 2023-07-16

DoorDash will allow you to use a rental car to do your DoorDash deliveries, if you choose to do so.

There are plenty of good reasons you may be considering renting a car to do deliveries. But you need to be careful that it’s truly worth it: car rentals can be expensive, and some quick math can tell you whether or not you’ll end up regretting your decision.

Good reasons to consider renting to Dash

You’ve temporarily lost access to your own car

Renting a car could be the bridge you need to keep earning on DoorDash. You probably won’t make as much money as when you have access to your own car, but as long as you are able to turn a profit, that means you’re earning more than sitting on the couch at home.

You’re not Dashing every day

While at first it may seem much cheaper to buy a $5,000 car that lasts 5 years than rent for $30/day ($10,950 for 365 days in a year), that’s only a fair comparison if you are Dashing every single day. If you go weeks at a time without using your car, or you only intend to dash for a day here and there, the math changes drastically - and owning your own car for every day of the year can become not worth your while.

You don’t want to put miles on or risk damaging your (more expensive?) car

Dashing every day can put a toll on your car with all the miles you put on it. Maybe you splurged on a lease on a nice car for your personal use, and depreciating its high value by logging hundreds of miles a week on it does not make financial sense. Renting to Dash can help you preserve your own car.

Ricardo Cervantes, a Dasher with over 4 years of gig experience, emphasizes this point: “You are risking putting a lot of damage on the vehicle you're driving. My car has personally gotten beaten up over the years of dashing and it is getting very expensive to maintain.”

You might not be car-savvy

The obvious alternative to renting a car is to buy a used car and maintain it yourself. If you’re terrified by the idea of buying a cheap old car and having to keep up its maintenance, take it in for repairs, or having it breaking down while you’re in the middle of a Dash - then maybe car ownership isn’t for you.

On the other hand, rental companies tend to keep their cars in great condition - so it’ll be smooth sailing for you with a car always in top notch condition.

Working out the math behind renting a car to Dash

The obvious challenge with renting a car to DoorDash is the cost of the rental - can you make it worth your while?

How much does it cost to rent a car for DoorDash?

A weekly car rental for DoorDashing might run you anywhere from $100 to $300 per week, depending on your local market and the rental provider that you go with.

If you rent on a daily basis, expect to pay something like $25 to $45 per day.

Don’t forget to write off some rental fees as a business expense

Disclaimer: we cannot provide tax advice - please consult an accountant before making any decisions related to taxes.

As an independent contractor, you are responsible for managing your revenue vs. your business expenses to turn a profit and pay yourself. Car rental fees can count as a business expense, as long as you are using the car for operating your business. Even if you also use the rental for personal use, you should be able to deduct a percentage of the expense.

How to do the math to decide, “is it worth it?”

Total up your projected expenses, and then compare that to the amount of money you typically expect yourself to accrue on DoorDash on a given day or a given week.

Expenses to consider:

  • The car rental fees - let’s say this is $200/week
  • Gas expenses - take an average number of miles you might drive for DoorDash on a typical week, divide it by your MPG, and multiply by the price per gallon in your area
  • Cost of insurance - maybe your rental agency includes this in your fees, but beware and make sure you have your own insurance if not
  • Mileage fees - ideally, you don’t have to worry about this if your rental comes with unlimited mileage

Then, take how much you earn on a typical week from DoorDash in your area. Subtract the expenses - and what’s left is your weekly earnings. Assume a 30% tax rate, and that’s what you’re taking home.

If you’re comparing renting a car vs. staying at home and not doing DoorDash, then the choice is clear: either you make that amount of money or you don’t.

If you’re comparing renting a car to DoorDash vs. buying a car, the comparison is more complicated. You’ll want to do a similar weekly projection with the costs of buying a car, and compare the final numbers. Your gas expenses will stay roughly the same, and “mileage fees” go away, but car rental fees and insurance fees will change. Car rental fees become “cost of car ownership,” which includes not only the initial cost and time to search for a good deal, but also maintenance and repair costs, and also the cost of your time when you go to get something fixed - you could be driving around doing DoorDash earning money instead of sitting at the shop.

Where to find a car rental for DoorDash

DoorDash itself does not rent or provide cars, nor do they offer much help in getting you a car. They do have a formal partnership with Hertz, which is the closest you will get to an official endorsement on renting cars for DoorDashing.

When choosing a rental option, make sure you:

  • Watch for options that have “unlimited miles”
  • Pick a provider that allows you to use cars for commercial use

If you have a full time job - check whether you might be enrolled in a corporate discount program. That can help you save quite a bit on a car rental.

Do make sure that whoever you rent from has approved their cars to be used for independent contracting jobs like DoorDash. Christian, a Dasher who has earned over $20k while Dashing, has observed: “Most car rentals won't care about you using the rental for Independent Contracting, but I'd always clear that usage with the company.”

Hertz and DoorDash

DoorDash has an official partnership with Hertz, so you can expect to get a reasonable rate from Hertz when you go through the quoting process - they have exclusive rates for Dashers.

Avis and DoorDash

While DoorDash does not have a partnership with Avis, Avis has partnered with Uber in the past on rentals for gig workers (at $260/week). So if you go through their booking process, you should be able to get a similar deal.

HyreCar and DoorDash

HyreCar is a marketplace that allows you to rent other peoples’ cars to do gig work. Because the car owners are other people just like you, the prices will vary a lot - you can sign up to see what’s available in your area.

Turo and DoorDash

Although some people report trying to use Turo to DoorDash - we don’t recommend this. It is against Turo’s policy to use their cars for gig work.

Alternatives to renting a car for DoorDash

Rent or lease an e-bike

DoorDash partners with Dirwin to sell e-bikes to Dashers, and you can get financing so it costs you as little as $100-200/month.

DoorDash also partners with e-bike rental company Zoomo if you want to rent instead of buy, at about $199/mo.

Lease a car

Generally, car leases come with mileage limits that are far too restrictive for the amount of driving you would likely want to do as a Dasher. Further, you lose out on most of the benefits listed above regarding why you would avoid buying a car in the first place.

So all in all, leasing a car is unlikely to be the way to go.

Borrow a friend or relative’s car

If you know someone that has a car sitting around, largely unused, maybe you could convince them to let you borrow it if you pitch in for some maintenance and wear and tear costs. Just make sure their car insurance policy can cover you while you’re Dashing.

If you’re lucky enough to be in this kind of position - where you can get a dirt cheap “rental” from a friend - it probably becomes the most cost effective way for you to Dash.

Ready? Get started with DoorDash

If you’ve decided you might give renting a car a shot, get your DoorDash signup process started. The signup takes only a few minutes, and you’ll want to kick it off ASAP in case the background check and approval process takes a few days to run its course.

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