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11 Ways to Make Money While You Drive

By Emily Greenhill Pierce · January 24, 2023 · 8 minute read

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11 Ways to Make Money While You Drive

If you’re like many people and are happy when driving, you may be able to use that everyday skill to make money. If you have access to a reliable vehicle and a valid license, there are numerous ways to earn money while driving, whether through ridesharing, delivering food, or being a tour guide.

Not only is this an easy way to bring in some cash, it can be a very flexible gig. You can set your own hours or get behind the wheel when your schedule allows.

Want to learn more about all the ways you can get paid for driving? Then read on, and get ready to start your engine. Here are 11 tips on how to make money while driving.

What to Consider Before Using Your Car to Make Money

Before you set out on your new road to passive income, it’s wise to make sure that driving to make money is right for you. There are risks and complications when using your personal vehicle that may outweigh the potential side hustle benefits you would reap.

Consider the following before embarking on using your car to make money:

•   Wear & tear on your car. Using your car to earn money while you drive can rack up a lot of miles. An uptick in use will put stress on your vehicle, leading to its overall depreciation and potentially more trips to the mechanic.

•   Age of your vehicle. The age of your car may impact your ability to earn money. For example, some rideshare companies require newer cars.

•   Car insurance. You will need proper insurance to cover yourself and possibly a passenger. There are usually specific insurance requirements to be eligible for ridesharing and other driving gigs, so scrutinize your policy to see how car insurance works for you in this situation.

•   Taxes. If you earn more than $400 while driving your car to make money, the IRS considers you an independent contractor. Along with a Form 1040, you’ll have to fill out a Schedule C form, or a Schedule C-EZ if you earn less than $5,000 a year. You’ll also be subject to the self-employment tax.

•   Cost of doing business. You’ll be responsible for gas, vehicle maintenance, and repairs. But as a self-employed worker, you’ll be able to write off those expenses and others, such as mileage, on your tax return.

Bottom line: Make sure you know what you and your car are getting into. You don’t want a scenario where you end up wasting money and your valuable time instead of earning more income.

Quick Money Tip:Typically, checking accounts don’t earn interest. However, some accounts will pay you a bit and help your money grow. An online bank account is more likely than brick-and-mortar to offer you the best rates.

11 Ways to Earn Money by Driving

How can I make money driving my own car?

The answer depends on where you live, the kind of car you own, other skills you may have, and your personal preferences. But whether you own your car or lease it, the opportunities are out there if you’re willing to grab them.

Here are 11 suggestions on how to make money by driving:

1. Ridesharing

If you’ve ever hopped in an Uber, then you likely understand what ridesharing is all about. A driver uses their car to pick up passengers on demand. This has become a popular way to earn money while driving in recent years. You can drive as suits your schedule, and rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft strive to make the driver sign-up process as streamlined as possible.

If you have a good driving record, a flexible schedule, and newer 4-door vehicle, working for a rideshare app can potentially be a great source of extra income, especially if you’re willing to give up your Friday and Saturday nights to earn prime-hour cash. Your specific earnings will depend on how often you drive, when, and for how long, as well as where you are located. In New York City, a driver might make about $45,000 annually for full-time hours; $20 or more being the hourly rate.

Recommended: Leasing vs. Buying a Car: What’s Right for You?

2. Food Delivery Service

Another way you can be driving to make money: by delivering anything from a smoothie to Pad Thai and back again. When you sign up with food delivery apps such as Uber Eats, Seamless, and Grubhub, you’ll get notifications to pick up food from participating restaurants and drive them to hungry patrons. For every delivery, you’ll get paid.

DoorDash says their national average pay is $25 per hour, and Dashers (as they call them) also keep any tips.

3. Delivering Groceries

If you want to earn money driving without the smell of takeout in your car, consider delivering groceries instead of prepared meals. Apps such as Instacart rely on independent drivers to shop and deliver groceries to people’s homes.

Grocery deliverers can make between $10 and $25 an hour, depending on how busy the local area where you live is. Be sure and check for any requirements. For example, to work for Instacart, you need to be age 18 or older and able to lift at least 50 pounds.

4. Delivering Goods to Others

Food isn’t the only thing you can deliver to earn money while driving. There’s a whole world of goods out there that people want delivered. Apps such as Shipt work with drug stores and shops like Target and Bed,Bath & Beyond to get people what they need.

Looking for another idea? Amazon Flex allows independent drivers to deliver packages on their own schedules for an hourly wage. They do require you to have a mid-size, 4-door sedan or larger.

Recommended: 15 Low-Cost Side Hustles

5. Moving Large Items for Others

If you own a van, SUV or truck and can do some heavy lifting, you could use your vehicle and your strength to make big bucks by helping move items.

Maybe a recent grad can finally afford to move out from their parents’ place, or someone has just switched houses to be in a certain nearby school district. People like these often need help moving oversized items such as furniture or multiple heavy boxes a short distance.

You can check out websites like Taskrabbit or Craigslist to see if someone needs moving assistance, or register with an online service such as Dolly or GoShare that will connect you with clients.

6. Shuttling Children

With the proper qualifications, you can drive to make money by transporting children. Many working parents need help getting their kids to and from school or to their after-school activities. You can search Care.com or other childcare employment sites for part-time gigs, driving children where they need to be.

Companies such as HopSkipDrive work with school districts and independent drivers to solve child transportation issues. Most of these types of jobs require around five years of experience working with kids, in-person interviews, and background checks.

Recommended: 8 Great Flexible Part-time Jobs in 2022 for Gen Z and Millennials

7. Transporting Elderly People

Some seniors need help getting around town but prefer not to use rideshare services. Check with elder-care services in your community. They may need drivers to help get their clients to a store, an activity, or a doctor’s appointment.

You will likely need similar vetting to that mentioned for chauffeuring children.

8. Driving Tours

If you have the gift of gab and knowledge of your area, being a tour guide could be a fun way to make money while driving. You could register with online companies such as ToursByLocals and create a private driver profile to promote your insider savvy. This could involve showing tourists local highlights so they can take some photos for social media, or sharing hidden treasures that they might not otherwise learn about. It’s a win-win when you use your hometown smarts to boost your financial security.

9. Putting Advertising on Your Car

Here’s a passive income idea that works, though it’s not for everyone: Consider turning your car into a mobile billboard. Companies such as Wrapify and Carvertise will match you with a local advertising campaign and supply you with temporary “wraps” for your car that promote a product. Depending on where you drive and the size of your car, you could make between $50 and $300 a month.

Typically, these businesses want to wrap cars that are on the road and visible for much of the time. If you are doing deliveries by car, this might be a way to bring in more cash.

10. Renting Out Your Car

You can make money off your car without even driving it. Companies such as Turo and Getaround allow you to rent out your vehicle à la Airbnb. They will vet borrowers, cover insurance, and provide you with a device that allows renters to unlock your car without a key.

If you don’t want to do ridesharing, let others do it for you. Companies like HyreCar arrange to lend your car to other vetted drivers who want to earn money for Lyft or Uber. But to really make some dough, you would have to be willing to part with your vehicle often.

11. Being a Safe Driver

Here’s another way that driving can bring in some cash: If you are a safe driver, you may be eligible for a bit of money. For example, Allstate will reward you with a Safe Driving Bonus every six months if you don’t get in a fender-bender.

The State Farm insurance app will track your car to determine if you are driving safely — it monitors things like staying within the speed limit and coming to a complete stop versus a rolling one. You could get up to a 30% discount on your auto insurance.

Recommended: Guide to Practicing Financial Self-Care

The Takeaway

If you have a vehicle, you can make extra money. Signing up with the right apps and online services can get your car (and your new income stream) up and running. Whether it’s doing deliveries, transporting a sofa, or helping a person get to their destination, you can turn your vehicle (plus your driving skills) into a profit-mobile.

Better banking is here with up to 3.75% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What are the pros of making money while driving?

By using your car to make money, you may be able to set your own hours and be your own boss. It’s also a pursuit that doesn’t require much specialized training. In many cases, you are using a skill you already have.

What are the cons of making money while driving?

Using your car to make money can place a lot of stress and miles on your vehicle. Gas and maintenance prices can really add up. Plus some pursuits, such as helping people move furniture, can be physically challenging.

Is making money with your car better as a side hustle?

Earnings from most car-driving gigs can be sporadic and unpredictable, unless you live in a major city with consistent high demand. For this reason, it may be best to have another form of steady income and drive for cash on the side.

How much can you potentially earn with your car?

How much you can make driving your car depends on the type of job and where you live. A New York City Uber driver can make around $25.91 per ride, while an Uber driver in Utah makes an average of $20 per ride.


Photo credit: iStock/Hispanolistic

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