Your car is an asset, but it’s also a tool you can utilize when you might need extra cash. While your automobile might cost you money each month because of car payments, maintenance, and gas, you also can put those wheels to good use to help offset loan payments and vehicle upkeep…and you might even be able to clear some additional spending/investment income.
So just how much money can you make with your car? The amount of money you can make using your vehicle depends on what options you choose. However, you may be able to infuse your finances with a few hundred to possibly a few thousand dollars. Ready to start your engine and help boost that bank account? Here are all the ways that car owners can drive off with more money each month.
Rideshare Programs: Become a Driver
Lyft and Uber are two of the most popular rideshare companies that allow car owners to make more money picking up passengers. To be a rideshare driver for these companies, there are certain requirements like automobile size (four door) and driver’s license stipulations (you need three years of driving experience if you’re under a certain age). You want to make sure you have enough automobile insurance to cover your increased liability. Ridesharing turns your car into a business, so talk to your insurance company about additional rideshare coverage; you also may want to investigate insurance options offered by the rideshare companies. And never pick up your first passenger without ensuring that you’re properly insured!
After your insurance is squared away, you need to figure out what company you plan to affiliate your rideshare business. Look into all the options before you choose your business affiliation. There may be additional (albeit smaller) companies in your area, so vet each company to find your best fit. Before you pick up passengers, make sure that your car is clean and orderly. This is your business, so you want to make a great impression. Plus, your customers will rate your service—so appearances matter! Always be kind and courteous. And be sure you become familiar with your city and all its areas; timeliness and knowledge of the area also may contribute to your success as a driver!
So how much can you make? This really depends on how often you drive and how many passengers you can take. Some drivers only work weekends; others work a few hours a day. Your schedule can be determined by you, and this affects your income via the business. Each city has it’s own rhythms, some areas may be more profitable to drive in depending on the time. Experiment with various hours in your local area to discover what works best for you. According to Uber, drivers also can earn more by tips and special promotions. Just make sure you keep track of ALL your earnings for tax purposes.
Don’t want the hassle of driving passengers? You also may want to work as a delivery driver for a courier service or even a restaurant. If you decide to work as a courier, you may be considered an independent contractor. Each business also may have a different pay structure—some may pay per delivery plus mileage, others might do it differently. Before you sign on the dotted line, though, be sure to read the entire contract you sign with the company. You need to understand the payment structure and your responsibilities—including your liabilities. Talk to your insurance provider about any additional coverage you may need as a courier; you may even need to invest in business insurance. If you are designated as an independent contractor, you also will need to pay your own taxes (state and federal) as these will not be withheld from your paycheck (remember that independent contractors typically pay quarterly taxes).
Driving for a restaurant, though, may be another quick and easy way to make more money. Typically, delivery drivers are employees (not always, though!) and will earn an hourly wage. But you also may receive tips from customers. Working as a delivery driver may help you earn a little extra income during the weekend or in the evening hours. Like most drive-centric careers, talk to your insurance provider to see if you need any additional coverage.
Do you love to shop? You can make money being a ‘mystery shopper’ and get paid for going to stores and restaurants. Typically, mystery shoppers are paid a flat fee per job plus reimbursed a set amount for purchases. Or you may be told to return the item (as this may be another aspect of the shop experience). Businesses use mystery shoppers to gauge how their employees handle certain situations. Shoppers may be instructed to ask specific questions or note if certain questions are asked of them. Sometimes a shopping experience is about customer service, other times it might be used to ensure that employees are following company policies.
The amount you make depends on how much the shopping job pays. Some pay more but also may involve more time from the shopper. Others might pay a small rate but allow the shopper to finish quickly. After each job, a shopper also will write up their experiences. Having access to a car is important, as you may have to commute miles from your home.
Money from Scrap
Some cars are just not drivable. Maybe the repairs are just too costly relative to the value of the car and, financially, it doesn’t make sense to fix the car. Or your vehicle can’t meet state requirements to pass inspection. Chances are, that old car still has some good parts left to it! At the very bare minimum, you can make money off the metal of your car! When you have a car that you can’t drive, consider selling the car to a scrapyard. According to the site Junk Car Medics, you may be able to score about $100 (and more…depending on the car) on the scrap metal of your car. You also may sell used parts online, but this can be an ordeal; those parts need to work and you need to know how to price them. If you’re looking for quick cash, you may be better off selling the car to a junkyard.
Have you seen a car on the road that is covered in advertisements? The owner might own one of those companies, but those companies also could be paying for car advertisement. Yes, your vehicle can be used as a mobile ad for local companies. This typically involves wrapping the car, adding decals, etc. Companies like Carvertise allow car owners to become mobile billboards. If you commute a lot, this opportunity may be a great way to earn money. So how much can you make? Carvertise states on its site that its “standard payment rate is $100/month.” Still, though, if you qualify, it’s $100 for just driving your car!
Car Title Loans
If you’re in an urgent need of cash, and you don’t have time for another side job, you also could use your car as collateral for a car title loan. This loan allows you to borrow money from your car’s resale value to help pay bills, make repairs, etc. A title loan uses the equity in your car to back the loan value, and the lender will place a lien on your car’s title. Once the loan is paid off, though, the lien is removed.
How much you can borrow depends on the value of your car, your ability to repay, state regulations and lender stipulations. Of course, the age, make/model, condition and mileage also affect the loan amount. Talk to a lender if you have questions about the value of your vehicle and how it affects your loan amount. While good credit leads to lower interest rates for these loans, those with poor credit also may qualify—although the interest rate will reflect the credit risk of the applicant.
Sell that Car!
If you have a second vehicle, and you need to make money now, you also may decide to sell a vehicle. Some individuals list their vehicles for sale online. If you decide to sell it yourself, you need to know how high to price your car. Use Kelley Blue Book to help determine value and look at the prices of your car’s make/model that are in comparable condition. You also should provide a disclosure in your ad listing any problems—mechanical or otherwise. And, yes, your price should reflect those needed repairs; so don’t overcharge if it’s a ‘fixer upper!’ Be safe when selling; always have someone with you when meeting a buyer. And don’t ever meet someone in a deserted area! If you don’t want the stress of selling your car, you also could just sell to a dealer!
Your car isn’t just a lifestyle asset; it’s also one of the greatest money-making tools you own! Use your car to start a rideshare business or become a delivery driver to make some more cash on the weekends or during the evening hours. But you also could pursue other side gigs that may require lots of mobility—so put that car to good use! If you love photography, consider freelancing as a photographer. Or make money as a personal assistant or a mystery shopper! Of course, not everyone has time for another job, so you also could use your vehicle as collateral for a title loan…or just sell it to a dealer! When you need extra money, though, look to your car as one of your best resources to get you moving—in your career and financially!
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