The automobile has been a part of our lives seemingly since the first Model T rolled off the assembly line in 1908. We use them to get to work or school every morning, enthusiasts gather in large groups to admire classic cars from the 60s and 70s, and many Michigan families pile into the mini-van after a long school year to take a much-needed family trip. Now, drivers can also use their vehicles to start a new career, earn money on the side or even pay off some of the hidden costs of owning a car. Thanks to advancements in technology, it has never been easier to supplement income using your sedan or SUV.
By now, most people are at least semi-familiar with the ridesharing apps Lyft and Uber. These apps allow users to hail a ride much in the same way they would a traditional cab. Unlike a taxi, all transactions are processed through the app so that money never has to physically exchange hands. This is convenient for both drivers and customers as drivers won’t need to worry about a rider leaving without paying and customers will know the entire cost of the ride ahead of time. As these companies continue to grow, they are always looking to recruit new drivers. To get started, prospective drivers can simply download the Uber Driver or Lyft Driver apps from the App Store on IOS or Google Play on Android devices. After downloading the apps, drivers will need to pass a routine background check, prove they are licensed to drive and at least 21 years old, and provide a photo of the vehicle they intend to use. While regulations concerning vehicle age and model differ from area to area, the vehicle must have four doors and be in good working order. The convenient part about earning money driving for one of the ridesharing apps is that drivers can set their own schedules – working as little or often as they like. For individuals who may not have access to a vehicle but still want to earn some extra cash, Uber and Lyft both offer car rental programs. While these programs are helpful, the rental fee will eat into a driver’s overall profits.
If driving people around isn’t your thing, then delivering carryout food orders and other goods may be the route to take. Although delivery apps have been around for a few years, their popularity has understandably spiked during the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing quarantines. Apps like UberEats, Door Dash, Grubhub and more allow drivers to earn extra money picking up prepared food from various restaurants and delivering it to customers around the area. As an added bonus, unlike Uber and Lyft, there are no restrictions on the driver’s vehicle - as long as the vehicle can make it from point A to point B. In the era of social distancing, food delivery services like Door Dash have implemented contact-free delivery procedures - further reducing any risk to drivers and the customers they are serving.
For car owners interested in making money without the use of apps, drivers can consider using their vehicles to advertise for different companies. Drivers can sign up with companies like Carvertise, Nickelytics, or Wrapify to be matched with potential businesses looking to put their advertising on vehicles around the country. One of the main benefits of these types of services is that outside of hosting advertisements on their vehicle, there is no need for drivers to alter their regular routines. When signing up, potential drivers just need to specify how many miles they drive per day and the areas their commute covers so companies can be sure to get the biggest bang for their buck. Unfortunately, demand for these services isn’t always very high and not available in all cities. Additionally, because drivers’ vehicles are essentially billboards for the companies paying to advertise, the standard for acceptable vehicles is much more stringent than companies like Lyft or Door Dash. When signing up for a service such as this, drivers need to be sure to do their research as there a lot of scams involving car wrap companies. According to the Federal Trade Commission, drivers should always beware of car advertising companies that reach out to them unexpectedly or ask the individual driver to cover the upfront costs of the advertisement application. To learn more about potential scams involving car advertisers, check out this helpful fact sheet from the FTC .
Things to Keep in Mind
While earning extra money with your vehicle through a ridesharing or food delivery app is a great way to supplement income, there are also some hidden costs to consider. Using a vehicle for rideshares or deliveries mean additional wear and tear costs to the car. Some examples include flat tires, windshield chips and cracks, and even unexpected cleaning costs due to less than ideal customers. Additionally, if the car is a lease adding extra miles on the vehicle could result in some extremely costly penalties when it comes time to turn the car in. On top of hidden costs, driver should also be sure to check with their insurance agencies to make sure they are covered while driving for rideshare or delivery companies. There may be occasions when insurance companies do not cover accidents or incidents that occur while working. As with all things, if you are considering making money with your car through one of these options, be sure to do the research and make sure this opportunity is right for you and your situation.