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Your car makes it easy to get around without relying on public transportation. But it also offers another significant benefit — the ability to make some extra cash. Even better, there are ways to use your car as a source of income with or without you behind the wheel.
Consider leveraging these opportunities to boost your income. The funds you earn can be used to meet financial goals, whether it’s paying off debt, saving for a rainy debt or taking that dream vacation.
8 ways to make money with your car
These eight side hustles could help you bring in some extra cash, especially if you live in an urban area. Weigh possible drawbacks and risks against your potential profits before jumping in.
1. Use a rideshare app
If you have a good driving record, are at least 21 years old and have some extra time on your hands, working for a rideshare app can be a good way to make money.
Uber and Lyft are the most common options. Weekends, nights and morning rush hour are the busiest times and often pay the most because “surge pricing” is present.
However, like any option for making money with your car, driving for a rideshare app can put a significant amount of wear and tear on your vehicle. You may also be required to take out rideshare insurance, which may mean a higher premium. And you may have more infrequent opportunities if you’re not in a dense urban area.
2. Work with a food delivery service
If you aren’t interested in driving for strangers, becoming a food delivery service driver might be a better opportunity. Like ridesharing apps, get notifications to pick up and then drop off food. Popular apps include DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub.
But while these may offer more frequent opportunities to get out and get paid — especially if you choose to work evenings and weekends — your income is far from guaranteed. It may be worthwhile to sign up for multiple services and pick orders based on distance and timing so you can maximize the amount you make while minimizing driving and waiting times.
3. Shop for groceries
Along the same line as food delivery, you can shop and deliver groceries. Instacart and Shipt are two well-respected options, and DoorDash also now offers grocery deliveries.
You will receive a shopping list through the app, shop accordingly and then deliver the food to the home of the person who ordered. Delivery drivers can make $10 to $25 an hour, depending on busyness.
4. Wrap your car with advertising
If you don’t mind your car being a moving billboard, sign up with a car advertising company to cover your car with advertising. You’ll get paid while you’re doing your regular driving. The amount you earn depends on your daily commute and the size of your car — which translates to the amount of advertising space. Options include Carvertise, Nickelytics and Wrapify.
5. Help move large objects
If you own a pickup truck or SUV, you can put it to work by transporting large items that don’t fit in other people’s cars. You can do this if you’re registered with a service like Uber, but a better option is a company like TaskRabbit, which allows people to hire you for specific tasks. You’ll get paid for your physical labor and the actual transportation.
6. Rent your vehicle out
If your car is collecting dust in the garage, renting it out can be a great way to make money back on an asset that isn’t being used. Services include Turo, Getaround and HyreCar.
However, if you have a current auto loan, your lender may not allow you to rent your car out. If you own your car outright, you won’t face this obstacle. But you may need to pay more for insurance.
And while there are services that help facilitate renting your car out to others, there’s no guarantee that a renter will treat your vehicle with respect.
7. Deliver for Amazon Flex
Amazon Flex drivers make deliveries for Amazon. Amazon advertises an hourly rate of between $18 to $25, although it can vary based on your tips, location and the time it takes to make each delivery.
You can arrange your delivery windows around your availability, which can be a good option if you’re busy with another job.
And unlike some other services, Amazon does cover you under its commercial auto insurance policy when you maintain your own personal insurance. You can also qualify for discounts on gas, tires and other common maintenance, which can help reduce the wear and tear of making deliveries.
8. Operate as a shuttle service
HopSkipDrive is a transportation service for children. You can earn up to $40 per hour plus bonuses as a Care Driver and set your own work schedule. Even better, the mobile app gives you the ability to schedule rides up to seven days in advance. To qualify for the role as a Care Driver, you must be at least 23 years old with five years of caregiving experience, a good driving record and a four-door vehicle that is no more than 10 years old.
Similarly, you can sign up as a driver for elders through services like ElderCare.com. You will need to post your services and wait for someone to hire you, which can make it a less reliable source of income than other options on this list. Still, it can be a low-stress way to use your car to make extra money.
Consider the potential downsides first
Although using your car to make money can benefit people who want to make their own schedules, it’s not always a golden opportunity. Before you sign up, consider some of the downsides.
- More maintenance costs. No matter how you choose to use your car, there will be more maintenance. Frequent drivers will need to cover maintenance costs, which are often not reimbursed by the company you choose to drive for.
- Higher insurance premiums. Doing deliveries or driving people around will likely mean you need added protection on your car insurance. And even if you don’t, you may still pay a higher premium because your car is being used more frequently — and that means more risk of an accident.
- Increased risks. The risk of an accident is also increased more when you drive during rush hour or at night. And allowing strangers into your car can be dangerous. But even beyond the bigger risks, there are more common issues like needing to frequently clean and detail your car.
- No guaranteed income. You may be able to rely on tips and general pay from your service, but your income will ultimately depend on the amount of work there is to do. In addition, the time it takes to complete a task may mean you are making a lower hourly wage.
The bottom line
There are a wide range of options available for car owners looking for help covering their car payment. You can take advantage of the gig economy and make money with your car.
To make the most of your driving time, try multiple options until you find those that are most worthwhile.