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7 Ways to Make Money With Your Car

Side hustles utilizing your car come in many forms. Although the most lucrative opportunities generally involve significant amounts of driving, there are ways to make money with your car that don’t necessarily require you to drive a ton of extra miles.

The following are popular, legitimate ways to make money with your car.

The options available to you depend on your car’s age and condition, the opportunities available in your geographical area, and your personal preferences.

How to Make Money With Your Car

Here are the best ways to start making money with your car today:

1. Drive for a Ridesharing App

Becoming a rideshare driver is a no-nonsense way to make money with your car. You give people rides from point A to point B, they pay through the app, and you get most of the proceeds. It’s easy.

To qualify, rideshare drivers must be at least 21 years old, pass driving record and criminal background checks, and meet minimum vehicle age and quality standards. Rideshare drivers must also cover most vehicle expenses: gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. 

The two most common rideshare options are Uber and Lyft. Both are nationwide services, but one may be more prevalent than the other in your area, and each has some unique benefits. Both apps also allow you to keep 100% of the customer tips.

Keep in mind that ridesharing apps aren’t exclusive. Drivers approved to drive for both apps typically switch between Uber and Lyft when accepting rides, reducing downtime between rides and boosting hourly earnings.

Drive for Uber

2. Deliver Food

If you prefer not to drive people, you can deliver food from many restaurants in your area. Food delivery drivers pick up food from local restaurants and deliver it to customers. 

It’s a little easier to qualify for food delivery apps because you don’t have to drive a specific type of car to qualify and can start at 18, versus 21, but you must still pass a background check and be able to deliver food promptly.

The two most common food delivery apps are DoorDash and Uber Eats. If you are already an approved Uber driver, you are automatically approved to drive for Uber Eats, but you can apply for just Uber Eats if you prefer.

Drive for DoorDash

3. Shop For & Deliver Groceries

If you want a little more excitement when looking for ways to make money with your car, you can shop for and deliver groceries. These gigs require you to drive to the grocery store, shop a customer’s list, and deliver them to their doorstep. 

Like most driving apps, you must pass a background check to qualify. You must also prove you have adequate knowledge of produce selections and can lift as much as 40 pounds unassisted.

Two common apps for grocery shopping gigs are Instacart and Shipt. Both services primarily deliver groceries, but are slowly branching out into other services including pet, drug, and convenience store deliveries. Like Uber and DoorDash, you keep 100% of the customer tips.

Drive for Instacart

4. Make Deliveries for Amazon Flex

Until drones replace its human delivery personnel, Amazon Flex promises independent contractor drivers up to $25 per hour to deliver on their own time, the retail behemoth claims.

Amazon Flex drivers must have valid driver’s licenses, active auto insurance, and mid-size four-door sedans or larger to deliver.

Again, you’re best off putting your eggs in multiple delivery baskets – say, putting in your Instacart hours during peak weekend shopping hours and driving for Amazon Flex on weekday evenings.

5. Wrap Your Car in Advertising

If you have a newer vehicle and a long commute, your car may be a good candidate to wrap in removable advertising decals.

The main advantage of wrapping your car in advertising versus delivering goods all over town is that you may not have to drive any more than normal, provided you meet advertisers’ minimum miles-driven requirements. Because per-mile pay is relatively low, it’s probably not worth your time to artificially inflate your mileage by driving aimlessly around town – and unless you have an all-electric vehicle, that’s not an environmentally responsible pursuit.

The two most popular companies that offer car wrapping services are Carvertise and Wrapify. Both companies pay a flat fee for your campaign so you’ll know what you’ll make beforehand. Typically, wrapping your car is a good way to supplement your income while doing other gigs.

6. Rent Out Your Car When You’re Not Using It

Making your vehicle available for short-term rentals when you know you won’t need it is a potentially lucrative move. Maybe it’s a second car that your household doesn’t use much, or you live in a city with a great public transit or bike commuting infrastructure.

If you have a newer car you can rent out regularly, you could earn several hundred dollars in side income per month, enough to subsidize your insurance premium and loan payments and perhaps still have some cash left over.

Two common apps to make money with your car include Turo and Getaround. Both are car-sharing marketplaces that connect car owners with renters. The main difference is Turo lets you set your rental prices and Getaround sets them for you.

7. Help People Move

You don’t need a box truck or full-size van to help others move. All that’s required is a decent-sized trunk and backseat and the willingness to put in some physical labor. 

To advertise your willingness to help people move, you can use a marketplace like TaskRabbit that allows you to advertise your services and rates, matching you with people who need help with moving in your area. You can also use your own social media accounts, including Facebook or Nextdoor to let people know of your side gig.

Things to Consider Before Using Your Car to Make Money

Using a personal vehicle to earn extra – or full-time – income involves certain risks, trade-offs, and complications. Depending on your choice of ways to make money with your car, you’re likely to grapple with some or all of the following.

Consider each carefully before putting your car into service.

1. Independent Contractor Status

Most of these side hustles classify drivers as independent contractors (ICs), not W-2 employees. Bite Squad restaurant delivery driving is the major exception. If traditional employment’s legal protections and relative predictability are important to you, Bite Squad is your hustle.

Otherwise, understand that being an independent contractor entails the following:

  • Responsibility for collecting and paying income tax. Independent contractors aren’t subject to income tax withholding. As an IC, you’re responsible for calculating your tax liability, making quarterly estimated state and federal income tax payments if required, and ensuring sufficient liquidity to cover any additional tax due when you file.
  • Paying self-employment tax. Independent contractors who earn more than $400 per year in income from self-employment are subject to self-employment tax – the full share of their Social Security and Medicare taxes, or about 15.3% of their income from self-employment. That puts them at a disadvantage compared with traditional W-2 employees, who pay only half the required Social Security and Medicare tax because their employers pick up the other half. Refer to IRS Topic Number 554 for more details about self-employment tax.
  • Covering your own expenses out of pocket. Unless specified otherwise, independent contractors are responsible for covering their own expenses out of pocket. These expenses include fuel, vehicle repairs, and vehicle maintenance for drivers. Certain contractors, such as ridesharing drivers, may have additional costs, such as bottled water and snacks for passengers. The good news is that self-employed drivers can deduct a slew of work-related vehicle expenses; Intuit provides an extensive list.

Even if your side hustle doesn’t involve a formally incorporated business entity, think of it as a business, with all the complexity that entails. If you struggle to keep your income, expenses, and obligations straight on your own, consult a tax professional.

2. Realistic Net Income

Take any claims about self-employed drivers’ income potential with a grain of salt. Because they need to attract steady streams of new drivers to offset employee attrition and expand into new markets, companies such as Uber and Postmates have a powerful incentive to make exaggerated income claims.

Such claims may not account for driver expenses, such as fuel and maintenance, nor downtime due to workflow inefficiencies, such as a restaurant order not being ready at the expected time.

Some side hustles are victims of their own success, too. Rideshare drivers’ earnings fell precipitously as more drivers entered the marketplace in the 2010s.

Before signing up for an app that allows you to monetize your car, consider the opinions of fellow drivers and car owners who’ve used the app already. How much do they really earn consistently? Is their take-home pay worth the commitment of time, effort, and mental energy? Do they enjoy their side hustle?

3. Accelerated Wear & Tear

Most of these side hustles increase miles driven. That means more wear and tear on your vehicle, which may mean higher maintenance and repair costs over time.

A long-term side hustle may run your car into the ground, making you decide whether to purchase a new or used car and continue your side hustle or look for non-automotive sources of side income.The notable exception is advertising wraps, which probably won’t require driving any additional miles. Plus, you’ll earn income to offset the expenses of wear and tear. Whether that offset proves satisfactory is another question.

4. Potential Decline in Resale Value

Every car depreciates over time, but the value of a vehicle used for a side hustle is likely to decline faster than a little-driven, meticulously maintained car.

Although the revenue produced helps make up for this inevitability, the fact remains that driving or renting out your car for extra income means your side hustle’s indispensable asset becomes less valuable at a comparatively rapid rate.

5. Opportunity Costs

Finally, consider the opportunity cost of using your car to earn extra income. For instance, popular cars are hot commodities in busy short-term rental markets. If yours fits the bill, it’s likely to be in someone else’s hands a decent amount of the time.

That might not seem to matter on a lazy weekend when you plan to stay home for two days straight, but what if you have to drive somewhere in an emergency? What happens if the renter fails to return the car as scheduled?

Similar logic applies to driving for ridesharing apps, delivery services, or task marketplaces like TaskRabbit. Is the time you put into these activities worth the net income? Is there something more constructive you can or should be doing with your time, including pursuing other side gigs? That you can earn extra income with your car doesn’t mean you necessarily should, however tempting the prospect.


How much do people actually make on Turo?

The average person makes $500 to $1,000 a month on Turo, but many factors affect this, including the year and type of vehicle, local demand, and when the car is available. Keep in mind that Turo keeps 15% to 40% of your earnings, which eats into your profits.

How can I use my vehicle to make money?

There are many ways to make money with your car, including active and passive methods. If you want active work, you can be a rideshare driver, deliver food, or shop for and deliver groceries. If you prefer a more passive approach, you can have your car wrapped and advertise for major brands.

Is wrapping your car for money legit?

It may seem like wrapping your car to get paid isn’t legitimate, but it’s a modern form of advertising for companies and works for many. Before accepting an offer, make sure the company offering it is reputable, like Carvertise and Wrapif, and keep in mind that how much you make depends on where you live and drive. The more miles you drive in urban areas, the more likely you are to get chosen and make good money.

What is the most profitable driving app?

Each driving app pays a different amount in different geographical areas. Overall, Amazon Flex and Uber Eats ‘promise’ the most pay, depending on local demand and how many orders you accept. On average, expect to pay between $15 – $25 an hour with most driving apps today.

Final Word

Reading through these various opportunities to make money with your car, you may notice a common theme: old cars need not apply.

Virtually all of the apps and service providers on this list impose maximum vehicle age requirements, and some are quite strict. If your car is older than five years, for instance, an advertising wrap is probably out of the question.

Unfortunately, vehicle age requirements present a chicken-and-egg problem for drivers looking to monetize older cars.

In the short term, those drivers may need to use long-term rental support programs such as Lyft Driver Express and put their side hustle earnings into a savings account earmarked for a down payment on a new car or newer used car – or they may need to explore side hustles that don’t require four wheels.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
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