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How to Make Money with Your Car

There are many ways to make money with your car. Ridesharing. Food deliveries. Advertising. Let your skillset help you decide how to do it.

By Tony Azzara | American Express Credit Intel Freelance Contributor

5 Min Read | April 1, 2022 in Money



Your skills, creativity, and location help determine the best of several ways you can make money with your car – probably more options than you may think.

There are costs associated with making money with your car, but potential tax benefits, too.

If you’re looking for ways for your car to pay you back for all the money you put into it, then this article is for you. There are active ways to earn income using your car, like ridesharing and delivery services, and more passive options, like wrapping your vehicle in advertising, that can generate some side-hustle dollars.


7 Ways to Earn Extra Money with Your Car

Everyone knows the big two – food delivery and ridesharing – but the ways you can make money with your car are limited only by your imagination and your skills. What has life taught you that you can turn into a moneymaker? Let’s explore seven different ways to boost your cash flow by using your car.


1. Make Money with Your Car Delivering Food & Groceries

Back in the day, I drove a silver Outback that got me through college in the hills of Ithaca, NY. Thinking about that car makes me nostalgic for my old food delivery job. Neighborhood eateries almost always need delivery drivers, as do third-party delivery companies. Some grocery stores also hire delivery drivers, and so do companies that get paid by people to deliver their groceries. You can even deliver alcohol if you live in a state that allows it.


2. Drive for a Ridesharing Company

Ridesharing is different from carpooling. You may be behind the wheel in both scenarios, but ridesharing you do with perfect strangers. You need to meet a rideshare company’s requirements before they’ll let you drive. Requirements differ depending on the rideshare company and, often, by location. Some commonly held rules include:

  • Meet the minimum age in your city, often 19 or 21 years old.
  • Have driving experience and car insurance.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Own a recent-year car with four doors.

Rideshare companies often require you to get a specific license. For example, three in New York City require drivers to comply with the licensing, coursework, insurance, and vehicle requirements of the local Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). There’s a $49 fee just to take the TLC exam, among other fees.1


3. Renting Your Wheels

If you use your car infrequently, or if vacation awaits, you may consider renting it out. Several companies run online marketplaces where you can offer your car for rental, and customers choose the vehicle they want based on what’s available, with pick-up and drop-off at designated locations. Think of it like a homestay or vacation rental company for cars.


If you live in the right location, this could help you generate dollars with little effort. For example, several of these ride-renting services operate only in certain major metropolitan areas, such as Portland, OR; Chicago, IL; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkely, CA; Boston, MA; and parts of northern New Jersey.


4. Advertising on Your Automobile

There are national companies that will pay you to display ads on your car while you drive your daily route. You essentially turn your car into a mobile billboard for a select period of time. Some companies give drivers the final say on what ads they can put on their cars, while others may not. To qualify for car advertising, you usually have to drive regularly in high-traffic areas.


5. Moving and Towing

If you have a car with a tow/trailer hitch, or a truck with significant size and space, consider going pro as a part-time mover. You can make money with companies that will pay you to perform various tasks, like helping someone move or tow their stuff from point A to point B.


6. Be Your Own Roving Services Provider

Combine the mobility of your car with your skills and interests to bring a service to your customers’ driveways. For example, if you love cars and have auto mechanic experience, your go-to side hustle could be repairing people’s cars wherever they are. If you don’t have mechanical skills, you can drive to people’s homes to wash their cars. Has a snowplow ever accidentally blocked you in? Well, in that case, a truck and plow attachment could serve as a way to make some extra money in the winter months.


This approach turns your car into a mobile operation center: Come up with your own business model, work on your schedule, and price your services accordingly.


7. Shuttle-ing

If you have a child-care background and an SUV, consider child pick-up services. Busy parents often need the help. Or, you could use that van sitting idle in the driveway as an airport shuttle service. If your vehicle has a ramp, consider researching how to become a medical transportation vehicle in your area.


Potential Costs of Making Money with Your Car

Every business comes with startup costs and overhead. For example, you might have to pay for permits or a special license, and you may need to pay more for car insurance if you’re driving more. And you’re certainly going to be hitting the gas station more often. But you might be able to offset some overhead costs with a branded gas station credit card with rewards, discounts, and deals, or a general-purpose rewards credit card that provides cash back or other rewards for gas purchases at any gas station. For more, read “How Do Gas Credit Cards Work?


Track Costs for Tax Purposes

It’s a good idea to keep accurate records to see how much of your car-based side-hustle costs you can deduct from your income on your tax return. You may be able to use the actual costs of operating your car, including gas, oil, tires, repairs, insurance, tolls, parking, garage fees, license fees, registration fees, lease payments, and depreciation. But what can and cannot be deducted can be difficult to understand, so it’s best to consult a tax professional.


The Takeaway

Earning extra money using your car has real potential. The seven ways to make money with your car described here may be only the beginning. The limits are defined by you: your time, abilities, car specs, and imagination.

Tony Azzara

Tony Azzara is a business technology writer and researcher based in Queens, NY, whose work focuses primarily on financial services technology.


All Credit Intel content is written by freelance authors and commissioned and paid for by American Express. 

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