If you have access to a reasonably reliable car, then congratulations! A decent car is the biggest asset most Americans own, other than their houses. I've seen some people try to raise fast cash by selling their cars, in fact.
But what you might not realize is that there are a lot of other ways to make money using your car. If you have a car and don't mind driving it around, then you're well on your way to earning hundreds of dollars on the side every month.
This has been true for decades — a paper route or a pizza delivery job has always meant using your own wheels — but the app-based gig economy and the Internet generally has vastly expanded the ease of getting paid to drive your own car. Without further ado, here are some of the best ways to start making money driving your car today.
If you want other money making ideas, check out our Side Hustle Ideas post.
Uber isn't a new company anymore — around since 2009, it's still the dominant player in ridesharing. Its competitor, Lyft, which has been operating since 2012, has a reputation for being a little friendlier to prospective drivers. Many people keep both apps open, though, as a way to make more money more reliably.
Uber and Lyft have their downsides — you might put a lot of wear and tear on your car, for example, and there's some disturbing evidence that safe drivers earn less on the apps than people who speed — but there's no doubt that if you have the right kind of car and a clean driving record, they're very easy, reliable ways to make money driving your car.
They might be especially good if you're willing to drive Friday and Saturday nights in busy areas of major cities, or during rush hour. You get paid per minute and per mile (and there is usually a base fare), but exactly how much can depend on what time of day it is because of "surge pricing," which charges riders more during busy times of day.
Uber and Lyft both have fairly stringent requirements for what kind of car you can have; it needs to be a newer car and have four doors, for starters, in addition to state-by-state standards. (Don't have a car that meets the requirements? Try HyreCar.)
To see Lyft's state-by-state requirements check here.
To see Uber's check here.
If you only have a two-door car, you can't use it for passengers — but may still be able to use it for deliveries.
2. App-Based Delivery
These days, everyone wants food and other items delivered directly to their door! If you're willing to put the work in instead, you can spend your time listening to music while you drive food from restaurant to house. Of course scheduling is flexible — you choose when you sign up to deliver, rather than being assigned by a manager.
One of the most popular delivery services is Uber Eats. You can deliver food instead of people!
DoorDash is another good app for people whose cars can't meet Uber's and Lyft's requirements. You just have to be 18 with a clean driving record. You deliver food but also other items from area stores. With DoorDash, you get paid per delivery and also keep tips.
One great thing about DoorDash: you are guaranteed a minimum of $10 per hour even if business is slow enough that you wouldn't otherwise make that! Average pay is anywhere from $10 to $20, and up to $25 per hour. Plus, as a consumer, DoorDash is my current favorite food delivery service.
If you're a college student you might try Tapingo, which focuses on campus delivery. Otherwise your options are pretty much legion!
Seamless and Grubhub (if you drive for one, you drive for both!) are restaurant delivery services. All you have to do is schedule a block of time, then follow the app's directions to pick up food from various restaurants and drop it off. You get paid per delivery, and can also keep any tips from customers.
If you're willing to do a bit more than just pick up pre-packaged orders and drop them off, Instacart could be a great choice. You go grocery shopping for people using their list, then drop their groceries off at their house using your car. You can make $10 to $25 an hour depending on how busy the service is when you want to work.
Finally, Postmates has become very popular recently. The service gives you a prepaid card you can use to buy whatever people have ordered, at which point you deliver it to them. People might order food, but might also want garden tools, clothes, cleaning supplies, jewelry, or almost anything you could imagine! You get paid quickly — by direct deposit within a week.
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3. Renting Your Car
One of the annoying things about tying up money in major assets like a house or a car is that often they "just sit there" while you're not actively using them. Airbnb helps you take advantage of unused bedrooms, and you can do the same thing with your car.
Turo is another service that lets you rent your car Airbnb-style. The car has to be from 2005 or newer, have a clean title, and have less than 130,000 miles on it. There's a cool calculator on the site that lets you plug in some basics and find out how much you could earn.
Getaround, for example, allows you to rent your car out while it would otherwise be parked — so you can not only avoid parking lot fees but even make some money! Getaround covers insurance, vets renters, and installs a device that lets people get into your car without the key. How much you can make depends on how nice your car is, but it could be thousands of dollars a year. (Getaround takes 40% of rental fees, and you get 60%, paid out once a month.)
Funnily enough, if you have a nice car you can rent it to rideshare drivers without driving it yourself! HyreCar lets you rent your car out to Uber/Lyft drivers. The service says you can make up to $1,100 a month, though as usual the exact amount depends on where you are and what kind of car you have, in addition to how often you want to make it available.
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What if you don't want to put any "extra" miles on your car? With the options we've talked about so far, you need to be willing to drive more than you normally would.
But what if you could make money just by driving your car around normally? If you're willing to put advertising on your car, it turns out you can make a considerable amount.
Wrapify is an app-based service that lets you connect with potential advertisers. Once you sign up and download the app, the service logs where you go for a while. Then it matches you with a campaign for local or national companies, and partially or fully "wraps" your car (don't worry — the wraps are removable and won't damage the car). Depending on your car, your location, and how much of your car is covered, you could make 100 to $450 a month without doing anything you don't normally do.
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5. Help People Move
I lived in New York City for a long time, where I didn't have a car and almost none of my friends did either. So when I needed to move something I couldn't carry in my backpack, I usually hired a "man with a van" (who was sometimes a woman with a hatchback car!) from Craigslist. You don't necessarily have to help people carry their items, or have a huge car, although it might help you get hired more often. You can make $20 to $50 an hour depending on your location and what services you can offer.
If you do have a cargo van or a box truck, in addition to Craigslist you could try apps like GoShare.
Check out the new app Dolly, which allows you to connect with people who are looking to have stuff moved. Everything from moving a house, to picking up items from a garage sale.
To Get Started:
6. Be a Safe Driver
Mostly, you pay your insurance company. But some companies will pay you to be a safe driver.
Allstate, for example, will cut you a $50 check every six months you don't have an accident. Nothing to do but drive safely!
Other insurance companies will give you discounts (which is a lot like free money!) for safe driving. State Farm discounts insurance up to 50% if its smartphone app says you're driving safely (in other words, the app tracks some things about the way you're driving, like how fast you go and whether you come to a complete stop, and tells State Farm whether you're a good driver or not; you get discounts based on that info).
7. Deliver for Amazon
Amazon Flex is Amazon's solution to one of its biggest problems: its customers want delivery faster and faster, and the post office, UPS, and FedEx aren't necessarily able to get things to customers within an hour or two of orders coming in!
You can use your own car to be a courier for Amazon using Amazon Flex. You can make $18 to $25 an hour. Like with many delivery services, you schedule a block of availability. Then you pick packages up from an Amazon warehouse and the app gives you directions for delivering them.
Amazon only hires in certain markets, on a rolling basis. Right now, in mid-August 2018, it's hiring in New York City, northern Virginia, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and a few other cities. If you don't live in one of those locations, you'll need to put your information in and Amazon will contact you when they're hiring in your area.
8. Elder Transit
There are a lot of people who need to get around, but who are too young or too old to drive themselves. Some elderly people use ridesharing services "normally," using their own smartphones, but others need more help.
ElderCare.com and other local services in your community might help you find jobs that include transporting senior citizens in your own car. (Some cities also have partnerships with Uber or Lyft to connect seniors to rides.)
9. Nannying and Babysitting
If you live on a college campus you may have a lot of access to childcare jobs — you can advertise yourself, or answer ads on your college's network. A lot of childcare jobs involve transporting kids — dropping them off or picking them up at summer camp, school, daycare, and so on.
HopSkipDrive is a service that transports kids ages six and up. Right now it operates in California and Colorado (Denver area.) As you might imagine, there are fairly stringent requirements for potential drivers. You need to be at least 23 years old, not 18 (as with most driving services), and have 5 years of childcare experience. You also need a clean driving record and need to pass a background check which includes fingerprints and an in-person interview. And you'll need a 2008 (or newer) car with four doors.
However, if you can meet these requirements, you can make more money per hour than you do with traditional rideshare services — up to $30 per hour.
10. Use Your Car as a Boost on Job Applications
There are hundreds of jobs that aren't app-based that nevertheless give a boost to people who have reliable cars. Some examples include:
- Delivery driver for a specific restaurant
- Working on a film, a music show, or something else where you can transport equipment
- Social worker (travel to clients' houses)
- Nurse or occupational therapist (travel to clients' houses)
- Event photography, catering, decorating, working for party or wedding venues
- In-home hairdressing, cleaning, and any other service occupation where people might like you to come to them rather than coming to meet you in an office or shop
Some of these jobs require specialized skills, like occupational therapy. But others are gigs you can pick up on Craigslist or other local job boards.
Making Money With You Car FAQ
Here are the most common questions we get about making money with you car:
How much money can you make by driving?
It varies greatly from city to city, and what time you drive. Every app is different as well.
What are the best apps to make money with your car?
There are a variety of apps to make money with your car. The most popular apps include Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Postmates, Shipt, and Instacart.
Can you make money without ridesharing?
Yes! You can also deliver food and products, use your car to help with moving, or even rent your car. There are also ways to sell advertising on your car.
Do you pay taxes on the money you make driving?
You do have to pay taxes – and you’re considered a small business if you take on these jobs. That means you also need to keep track of your expenses, like gas, maintenance, mileage, and more. You can potentially deduct these costs to offset the income you receive.
Is it legal to make money with your car?
Yes, it’s absolutely legal to make money with your car. However, some localities may impose restrictions, such as requiring registration or certain license.
Overall, if you already own a car, you're in a great position to pick up an easy side gig that involves driving a few hours a week. But car ownership can also give you access to other jobs that aren't "driving" jobs but do depend on reliable transportation.
Cars aren't "investments" in the way that stocks are, or even houses — they always decrease in value over time. But if you can make money using your car in the meantime, you can offset some of that depreciation and pick up extra cash along the way.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.