Ridesharing, car sharing, delivery and task services, and car wrap advertising are the five best ways to earn income from your car. These side hustles can help pay your car payment and insurance or supplement your income if you’re between jobs or just moved to a new city.
Though your earnings depend on the type of income source, location, and time spent, someone looking for a new opportunity may find earning income from their car worthwhile. It’s estimated that full-time Uber and Lyft drivers can earn as much as $37,000 per year before expenses and taxes. With in-person work opening back up despite the COVID-19 Delta variant, workers hesitant to return to the office may find alternate income solutions like side hustles a better option for now.
One way drivers can earn income from their car is by driving for a rideshare app. While there are some localized rideshare app opportunities available, like Wingz and Alto, Uber and Lyft remain the biggest and most recognizable. In most areas, the peak driving time when you can make the most income is during rush hour on weekdays and when bars and nightclubs are coming to a close. College students and people who keep nontraditional hours may be best suited to work as a rideshare driver.
Both Uber and Lyft offer similar salaries for full-time drivers, with a national average of $37,223 per year for Uber drivers and $36,703 per year for Lyft drivers. Keep in mind, vehicle owners have operating expenses to pay, including insurance, fuel, maintenance, and repairs. A study of Uber and Lyft drivers found the median cost to be about $.29 per mile.
- Uber: $$
- Lyft: $$
Right now, Uber is the most popular option for ridesharing apps in the United States. Drivers must meet certain requirements in order to be considered as an Uber driver. You must be of legal driving age for your city, have a year’s driving experience (or three years if 22 or younger), have a valid U.S. driver’s license, and submit to a criminal and driving background check. Cars used for Uber must pass a vehicle inspection, have four doors, be 12-years-old or newer, and not have commercial branding or cosmetic damage. Most cars that meet these requirements will work, but certain cities have their own requirements. Drivers without their own vehicle can rent from a vehicle partner for as low as $260 per week, but keep in mind this would further reduce the amount made after expenses.
As Uber’s main U.S. competitor, Lyft has similar driving and vehicle requirements. With Lyft, drivers must be at least 21, but cars can be 15-years-old or newer. Like Uber, Lyft drivers must also meet city and state requirements to be eligible. In certain cities, drivers can rent a car from Lyft’s partners Flexdrive and Hertz but have to be at least 25 years old to reserve a car.
Another option for earning income with your car is food delivery service. App-based food delivery allows drivers to work their own hours delivering food to local homes and businesses from area restaurants. College students and parents who need flexible hours may be well-suited for food delivery service. Average pay varies widely based on the area, number of hours and time of day worked, and monetary value of each order.
- UberEats: $$
- GrubHub: $
- DoorDash: $
UberEats drivers can deliver food by bike, foot, scooter, or car, depending on the city. Car drivers must meet the minimum driving age in the city they are working, have a 2- or 4-door car, possess a valid driver’s license, and submit to a background check. Drivers can cash out up to five times daily, which is great for those needing fast cash. UberEats drivers make an average of $16 per hour, not including tips. UberEats recently bought another popular delivery service, Postmates, which also delivers groceries and other products.
DoorDash drivers must meet similar requirements as UberEats drivers, but DoorDash does not have vehicle requirements other than that the car must be able to run to complete deliveries. Both Glassdoor and Indeed list the average hourly income at around $15. However, a recent study of nationwide DoorDash drivers shows that the average pay, after adjusting for expenses and taxes, is just $1.45 per hour, so this may not be the most lucrative side hustle from your car.
GrubHub drivers must be at least 19 and have a valid driver’s license and auto insurance. Like the other food delivery apps, drivers must submit to a background check before being approved for driving. Average hourly wages vary widely across the country, with Indeed showing $13.90 per hour and Glassdoor reports averaging $26 per hour.
Delivery Driver (Other Goods and Services)
Food delivery isn’t the only option for drivers looking to earn income from their car. There are also goods and services delivery options, which won’t cause your car to smell like the inside of a restaurant kitchen. The flexibility offered means you can drive for multiple services, taking advantage of peak hours for better pay.
- TaskRabbit: $$$
- Amazon Flex: $$
- Amazon Fresh: $$
- Instacart: $
- Shipt: $
Taskers at TaskRabbit offer their skills and knowledge in over 50 categories to complete household tasks for locals who can’t or don’t want to handle them personally. They must be at least 18, submit to an ID check, have a checking account and smartphone, and pay a $25 registration fee. Taskers set their own rates and can make $26 per hour or more, depending on their skillset and accepted tasks.
Amazon Flex (packages)
Drivers delivering packages for Amazon Flex must be at least 21, have a valid U.S. driver’s license, have a 4-door midsize sedan or larger, and have an Android or iPhone smartphone. Drivers are paid twice weekly, and tips are paid after they are finalized. Amazon Flex estimates drivers will make between $18-$25 per hour before expenses, which is in line with Glassdoor, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter averages of $18-$19 per hour. Drivers can also apply for a full-time position with 40 hours a week and benefits, though pay varies by location, starting at an estimate of $16.50 and reaching $20.50 or more.
Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods (groceries)
Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods delivery drivers are included in Amazon Flex. Drivers can choose to be independent contractors, choosing their own 2- to 4-hour shifts, or become full-time employees with guaranteed pay and benefits. The same driver and vehicle requirements for Amazon Flex apply, though full-time employees get an Amazon Prime vehicle to drive.
Instacart drivers grocery shop and deliver for their customers. Shoppers have to be at least 18 years old, be able to lift a minimum of 40 pounds, be legally authorized to work in the U.S, and have access to a reliable vehicle and smartphone. Hourly income varies by location, hours worked, and delivery pay, with PayScale listing the average hourly rate at $18 and Indeed quoting $11.44 per hour.
Shipt shopper requirements are similar to Instacart’s, though there is a specific request for knowledgeable produce selection. Drivers for Shipt deliver everything from pet supplies to groceries and household products. Shoppers are paid weekly, with Shipt noting the average pay at $22 per hour for experienced shoppers. However, PayScale and Glassdoor list the expected average hourly income between $13-$16.
Rent Your Car When Not Using It
Another option to earn income with your car is to rent it out when you aren’t using it. Car sharing for short-term rentals may be a good option for those who have an extra vehicle, don’t drive much or have dedicated periods where they don’t need their car. This can put additional wear and tear on your vehicle, but you may earn enough to pay for your car payment and insurance coverage.
- Turo: $$$
- Getaround: $$
- HyreCar: $
Drivers in the U.S. (except New York) can participate in car-sharing through Turo’s platform. The car must be less than 12-years-old, registered and insured with a clean title, never totaled, and have less than 130,000 miles. Drivers who don’t pay for Turo’s insurance plan must register as commercial hosts with commercial auto insurance coverage, meeting liability and other minimum requirements per state. Peer-to-peer hosts make between 60%-90% of the fee paid by the renter to Turo for each trip, while commercial hosts make 92.5% of the trip price (keeping in mind that maintaining commercial auto insurance is more expensive). Turo offers a calculator for select U.S. cities to determine how much you could earn.
Car sharing company Getaround offers 24/7 roadside assistance, in-trip insurance coverage, and 200 maximum daily miles to hosts who offer their cars for short-term rental. Vehicles must be no older than 2007 with less than 125,000 miles, with the remaining requirements similar to Turo. Hosts pay a 40% commission per booked trip, a one-time setup fee of $99, and $20 monthly for data access through the installed Connect device. The rates hosts will earn for renting their car through this service vary and are calculated by a proprietary algorithm used by the company. Rates also fluctuate based on things like time of day, demand and location. The company claims the average host earns $6,000 per year.
HyreCar offers short-term rentals to Lyft and Uber drivers who don’t have their own cars. HyreCar offers insurance coverage while the car is rented, and owners must coordinate key drop-offs with drivers. According to HyreCar, owners can make up to $720 per month by renting out their car. Success varies, and owners are expected to market themselves and their cars to drivers.
Wrap Your Car in Advertising
Drivers with a newer model car and longer commutes may be best suited to earn extra income by wrapping their vehicle in advertising. This option can cut down on excess miles and wear and tear without the need for taking time out of your schedule to deliver goods and services to others. Minimum miles limits apply, and drivers are paid per mile by the advertising company.
- Carvertise: $
- Wrapify: $
Both commuters and rideshare drivers can make money advertising for brands through Carvertise. Brand partners include Nascar, Wawa, Netflix, and Penn State. Vehicles must be at least 2008 or newer with a clean exterior and a minimum of 30 miles commute per day, and drivers should have a clean driving record. Drivers can expect to earn between $450-$1,500 per campaign and are matched to brands based on personal driving habits. The size of the campaign determines pay, with a base of $100 per month and an expected monthly income of $300.
Wrapify estimates that 95% of passenger vehicles for personal use are eligible, as long as they are 2010 or newer without major body or paint damage. Wrapify brands include LinkedIn, Pandora, Spotify, The Weather Channel, Expedia, and other outlets. Drivers must drive at least 50 miles daily and submit to a background and driving record check. Drivers are estimated to make between $174-$452 per month, depending on wrap level coverage.
While it’s nice to earn extra income with your car, there are some downsides you should consider before taking the plunge. Side hustles that involve driving can put excess wear and tear on the vehicle. Picking up passengers and letting others drive your car might put your safety at risk, and there is also a more significant potential for accidents when you’re on the road more. If you are considering earning income while driving your car, it’s important to understand insurance requirements and potential gaps in coverage. Before you decide, weigh the pros and cons, plus the costs and expenses compared to the potential income received for delivery driving or renting your car to others.