If you’re one of the millions of people considering joining the gig economy but you’re not sure where to start, keep this in mind — if you have a car, you have a prepackaged side hustle just waiting to be unwrapped. Cars are much more than just a means to get to work so you can earn an income — they’re a potential source of income, themselves.
Some vehicle-related side hustles, of course, call on you to move people or stuff from point A to point B. But some of the choicest gigs on wheels don’t require you to drive or even to be in your car to earn an income — you can pull in cash passively while your car, truck or SUV does all the heavy lifting.
Ride-Share — Still the Gold Standard of Gig Work
If you’re thinking about how to make your car pay you back, you must have considered the side hustle that continues to define the concept of side hustling — driving for Uber or Lyft. Uber says that the average driver can expect to earn $1,171 per 40-hour week — but that’s specific to Washington, D.C.
Prior to the pandemic, estimating earnings based on location was a fairly precise endeavor — Ridester, for example, has been publishing comprehensive earnings data for both Lyft and Uber since 2018. As Uber’s own website points out, however, “It’s particularly difficult to predict driving patterns due to COVID-19, so your actual earnings may greatly differ from estimates.”
Deliver Food or Groceries
If you deliver food instead of people to its destination, you’ll enjoy the same freedom of scheduling and independence that attracts so many drivers to the ride-share industry — but you won’t have to cart around strangers during a pandemic.
You can deliver groceries or prepared food, and with services like Instacart, you can earn extra money when you work as both a shopper and a delivery driver. Depending on the service you drive for, you’ll be paid through some combination of base pay, mileage, time spent on the road and tips, 100% of which should be yours to keep.
These tried-and-true services should be your first stop:
- Uber Eats
Just as it is with ride-share and grocery delivery services, you don’t need a special license or a specific type of vehicle to make money delivering packages for Walmart, Amazon and other big retailers, which depend on independent wheels to get their merch from here to there.
According to Ridesharing Drivers, Walmart Spark drivers earn $10-$20 an hour. Amazon says its Flex drivers earn an average of $18-$25 per hour. Like all great side gigs, you can set your own hours, work when you want and abstain when you don’t.
Become Your Own Car Rental Company
Although it has competitors, Turo is the world’s largest car-sharing marketplace. It did for car rentals what Airbnb did for vacation accommodations — and it works on the same concept. People who want to avoid the high-priced rental market book your car when you’re not using it. They get to cut out the middleman and you get a paycheck courtesy of your car without having to do any driving. When you sign up to be a host, Turo provides you with $750,000 in Travelers insurance coverage.
Turo says you can expect to make $10,516 per year with a single car, but some people scale up with entire fleets and make it their only income.
Do Your Best NASCAR Impersonation
With this one, you have to be cautious because the FTC warns that the car-wrapping industry is crawling with scammers. But if you find a good company, it’s a legitimate way to earn money with your car — as long as you’re willing to drive around in an energy drink advertisement on wheels, of course. Each company has its own unique set of requirements, but you should never have to pay anything upfront — that’s a telltale sign of a scam.
The company applies the decal for you — it costs them less than traditional advertising — and it won’t hurt your car or be difficult to remove. The following is a list of well-known, highly rated companies that are known for reliability and prompt payments, which generally range from $100-$500 per month:
- Free Car Media
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