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RENT-TO-BUY: Worth the risk?


There are many PCO rental companies who offer vehicles on a Rent-to-Buy scheme to Uber drivers. Owning your vehicle always has its perks, but for a PCO driver, it may not be the best solution. Let’s dig a bit deeper:

What is Rent-to-Buy?

This is a financing scheme created by PCO rental companies for Uber drivers that want to own their vehicles.

How long is the contract?

Typically, it is a 2-4 year contract.

How does the payment work?

You pay a fixed fee for the entire duration on a weekly basis, followed by a balloon payment at the end of the contract. Once this is paid, you will then own the car.

SOUNDS GREAT, SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

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There are positives to owning your own vehicle. You feel more in control and it’s an asset you can choose what to do with. However, if you are a full time PCO driver, you can come across many problems you don’t necessarily need to face:

  1. Rules & Regulations - London is an ever-changing city and the PCO industry are constantly having to adapt to whatever measures are taken by the government. This means buying a vehicle in the current sociopolitical climate can come with unnecessary risk.

    Example: Many drivers who signed a Rent-to-Buy contract for a Hybrid vehicle may not have proceeded if they knew beforehand about ULEZ. The same goes for drivers who sign 3 year contracts for Hybrid Plug-ins, which will no longer be Congestion Charge exempt, come 2021.

  2. No Flexibility - We experience a large majority of Uber drivers who end up not being able to see through the entirety of a contract that ties them down for 3-4 years! It’s an awfully long time and a lot can change in one’s life, meaning you may not end up wanting the vehicle you signed up for! Most drivers we know end up returning the car early, and paying a premium/cancellation fee for terminating the contract early.

  3. Limitations - You are stuck with 1 car, 1 model. At Openstart, we are continuously upgrading our vehicles so that our drivers can get their hands on the latest models. With today’s technological advancements, a lot can change to a car within the space of 6 months. Why buy a vehicle that may be totally outdated within a year’s time?

  4. Unsafe Insurance - Most rental companies who offer Rent-to-Buy schemes, do not offer Fully Comprehensive PCO insurance. Instead, they offer Third Party insurance. This is highly dangerous and could leave you with a life-changing bill to pay if you are involved in an unfortunate accident. Please be careful and always make sure to ask for ‘Fully Comprehensive’ insurance, where both yours and the third parties’ vehicle repairs’ are taken care of.

SO WHAT SHOULD I DO?

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The verdict:

So whilst car ownership sounds great, it’s actually not in the best interest of a PCO driver to sign up for a Rent-to-Buy deal. It’s expensive (even if they say it’s cheaper), you may not be properly insured and London may introduce a new regulation meaning the vehicle you signed a contract for a vehicle that is no longer eligible for a price deduction.

With Openstart, you get:

  • Total flexibility

  • Rotate between the newest Toyota, Hyundai and Mercedes fleet

  • Maintenance, MOT’s & Servicing for free

  • Fully Comprehensive Insurance

Besides, we offer new, Uber-ready cars at such low prices that it doesn’t make sense to look elsewhere.