Just Drive helps Bay Area drivers lease cars to get started with on-demand driving jobs. When owner Chris needed to purchase a car for Just Drive, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a commercial vehicle loan.
Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Read about Chris Taylor of Just Drive. His business helps Bay Area drivers lease cars to get started with on-demand driving jobs. When Chris needed to purchase a car for Just Drive, Opportunity Fund was there to help with a commercial vehicle loan.
A Force for Driving Change
Chris Taylor started Just Drive in late 2014. The Bay Area-based company leases cars to drivers who want to get started in on-demand delivery and driving jobs such as Doordash and Uber. Chris saw the opportunity to help those who couldn’t get started in the industry and ran with the idea to help drivers finance cars with the goal of eventual ownership.
Just Drive’s model of acquiring cars to lease to their drivers helps drivers save money. The company assumes maintenance costs of each vehicle, plus each driver pays substantially less each month in car leasing fees compared to other companies. Chris also helps his drivers get started with on-demand driving jobs.
“We help them get a car and a job, set a goal to own their own car, and then be their own boss,” he said.
With the on-demand driving industry in flux, Just Drive faces serious challenges. In less than a year, Just Drive’s biggest industry competitors cut driver payouts dramatically. Undercut revenues made Chris look critically at his company and think of new ways to keep his unique model alive for the people he wanted to reach the most.
Opportunity Fund Helps Just Drive Stay on Track
None of the typical small business funding sources was right for Just Drive’s operations. “The SBA said that a car leasing business was passive income,” he said. “But it wasn’t passive. I was working every day.”
Chris’ business banker at Wells Fargo connected him to Opportunity Fund. Our loan consultant Madieu Shyllon worked with Just Drive to close a $7,000 commercial vehicle loan in March 2016 to purchase a vehicle. The working capital connection was the right fit for Just Drive, so Chris came back in October 2016 for a $16,000 loan to finance another vehicle purchase.
“Opportunity Fund was there to help me with liquidity” Chris said. “Without that, the business may have failed.”
The ease and speed of the funding process was a big win for Just Drive. “Madieu was a huge help,” Chris said. “He put in the time and effort necessary to get it done. I got the loan in less than a week after approval.”
Now that Chris has the working capital he needs to keep his fleet on the road, he can focus on helping others get started with jobs to improve their lives.
“Just Drive helps people from disadvantaged backgrounds,” he said. “People from East Oakland, West Oakland, or The Mission. A lot of people that get duped by predatory lenders or dishonest car dealerships. I was there to put them in a vehicle.”
We’re proud to support entrepreneurs like Chris with vision to change the world, and we’ll be there to help grow Just Drive’s fleet in the future.
We hope this story has inspired you, too. At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed. Visit our home page to find out more.
Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator for our commitment to accountability and transparency.
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