How You Can Use Your Car to Make Money

Owning a car comes with ongoing expenses, but it also can drive up your income if you capitalize on these money-making opportunities.

Satta Sarmah Hightower | 
May 24, 2022 | 5 min read

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Between gas and ongoing maintenance, cars come with necessary expenses. However, it's also possible to use your car to make money and offset some of the expenses that come with car ownership while generating additional income. Though you likely didn't purchase your vehicle with the explicit intent of using it to earn money, here are several ways you can convert your four wheels into a money-making opportunity in your spare time.

Work for a Rideshare Service

Becoming a driver for a rideshare company is one simple way to use your car to make money. If you live in a major metropolitan area, the suburbs, or a hot tourist destination, you can sign up to drive for one of these services, pick up passengers, and get paid for each trip.

Before you sign up, it's important to check with your auto insurer to see if your policy covers this activity. In most cases, you'll have to purchase separate rideshare insurance since you'll be using your car for business-related purposes.

Become a Grocery or Restaurant Delivery Driver

Thanks to technology, there are so many third-party services consumers can use to check tasks off their to-do lists, including grocery shopping and picking up take-out.

Similar to ridesharing services, working for a grocery or restaurant delivery service can allow you to work flexible hours. You can pick up an order from a restaurant and drop it off at a customer's doorstep, or head to the store, shop with a pre-determined grocery list, check out, and deliver the items to the customer. With restaurant and grocery delivery services, you can often choose when and how much you want to work in a given week, so it's a perfect gig if you already have a full-time or part-time job and want to supplement your income.

You also could do this work for a local restaurant in need of a delivery driver. Search online job ads, message boards, or social media pages to see if any local businesses are hiring.

Rent Your Car

If you mostly use your car to get to and from work, or you have a second car that's sitting idle in your driveway, why not rent it out?

Online car rental services are popping up to compete with traditional rental car companies. Someone may use these services while they're on vacation, on an extended work trip, or visiting relatives. Doing so can enable them to rent a car for a cheaper price, or to access a specific car they can't get from a traditional rental company.

These opportunities are usually the right fit if you have a newer vehicle. If you're worried about putting additional mileage on your car, many services allow you to when you list your vehicle. You can also set your own rates based on your car make and model, how long the renter wants to drive it, the distance, time of day, and other extras .

Become a Mover

If you have a large SUV or pickup truck, consider using your car to help people move. Many mobile apps and third-party services have emerged to help people outsource tasks like moving from one apartment to another or transporting large, second-hand exercise equipment they've purchased online.

Like ridesharing and delivery services, this work is flexible, and you can do it on your own time to make extra money.

Potential Drawbacks to Weigh

While you may make additional income working for rideshare or delivery services, there are other factors to consider that may increase your costs.

First, there's the price of gas. Depending on how many miles per gallon your vehicle gets, you could potentially end up spending nearly as much or more than you make as a rideshare or delivery driver. While you can deduct these business expenses on your tax return, you'll have to wait until the following calendar year to recoup this money.

Another factor to consider is wear and tear on your car. More mileage on your car often means greater maintenance costs and depreciation. You could end up spending more each year maintaining your vehicle because you're driving more miles and in weather conditions that could accelerate wear and tear on your car. Depreciation is an important consideration because if you ever want to sell your car, you could end up getting less for it compared to if you just used your vehicle for normal everyday commuting.

Similar to fuel costs, maintenance costs and repairs can be deductible expenses if you're using your car for business. However, if you have to deal with a sputtering engine or squeaky brakes, you'll need to pay out-of-pocket to address these issues as soon as possible or it could affect your ability to work and get around safely.

Make Sure Your Insurance Covers Your Money-Making Car

From renting your car to offering moving help, there are more opportunities than ever to use your car to make money. However, using your car for business comes with certain considerations.

For all of these activities, you'll need additional auto insurance. You can get rideshare insurance directly from a rideshare service, but it also may be best to shop around and compare prices. You could even contact your auto insurer to see if you qualify for discounted bundled rates. With delivery, car rental, and moving services, you'll likely need a commercial car insurance policy to cover business use of your vehicle. This can provide coverage to minimize out-of-pocket costs if you happen to get into an accident or damage your vehicle while you're working for one of these services. Then there's the issue of wear and tear. Preventative services and regular maintenance can minimize the risk that you'll face huge, costly repairs down the road.

Even with these potential added costs and considerations, you can transform your car into a revenue driver and make additional cash to reduce your total cost of ownershipβ€”or just pocket the extra money for other expenses.

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