by Cameron Summerson on
If you’re looking to kill some time with a game on your phone, you don’t have to sit around and tap away on the screen. If you want the best gaming experience on mobile, you need to add a controller.
Your car is an expensive investment but it doesn’t have to be a pure money suck. In the gig economy—shorthand for making money performing small tasks on your own time—you can use your vehicle to earn extra money in your spare time. Here are some of the best, most reliable ways to do just that.
Before you sign up for any of the following services, you’ll need to make sure that your license is up to date, that your insurance premiums are paid, and that your insurer’s terms and conditions allow you to drive passengers, deliver goods, or rent your vehicle out to others. Each service below has different requirements and we’ll note them where appropriate, but be prepared to research your policy before you can start earning money. It’s also worth checking out our sister site’s guide to driving with Uber here. Most of that information is applicable no matter what gig service you drive for.
If you live in a decently populated city or suburb, driving for Uber or Lyft can be an excellent night job as long as you don’t mind letting strangers in your vehicle. Some drivers even drive for both services at once, waiting until a customer needs a pickup from one, then marking themselves busy in both. This effectively doubles their potential customer base.
Driving for Uber and Lyft comes with some risk, mainly letting other humans into your car. It’s not like all passengers are ax murderers, however you can end up dealing with drunk idiots or couples having a fight. Though even this can be turned to your advantage. One driver managed to game Uber’s policy of paying for messes that drunk passengers leave in their drivers’ cars, getting a higher payout for taking on some of the grosser clientele. We wouldn’t exactly recommend this strategy, but if you’ve got the stomach to handle people and the chaos they leave in their wake, then driving could be for you. You can sign up to be an Uber driver here, or a Lyft driver here.
If you’d rather not let other humans in your car, Amazon Flex offers a decent alternative. This is the program Amazon uses to deliver packages over those last few miles from your local shipping center to your door. If you’ve ever used Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, or just gotten a package delivered using Amazon’s own delivery network, you’ve probably seen a Flex driver.
With Flex you’re able to pick out blocks of hours that you want to work and pick up a set of packages. Amazon’s app will give you a recommended route to optimize your delivery times. You can deliver for as long or as little as you’d like and set your own hours. You’ll need to make sure you take care of all the packages you deliver but for the most part you won’t need to interact with as many people as you would driving for Uber. Unfortunately, Amazon Flex is only available in a limited number of cities and there isn’t always space for new drivers, but if you’re interested you can sign up or get more information here.
Some restaurants use meal delivery services like DoorDash and GrubHub to handle orders but still deliver their own food. However, many don’t have drivers of their own. That’s where you come in. Both companies hire drivers to run to restaurants, pick up food, and then deliver them to hungry customers. It’s like being a pizza delivery driver but with (probably) better pay and you deliver way more than just pizza.
Food delivery can be a little more stressful than package delivery with a service like Amazon because it’s a bit more time sensitive and your customers can be more impatient. It’s not always fun being the thing standing between a hungry person and their next meal, especially if there’s a delay outside your control. Still, it’s a relatively easy job, as long as you can handle the smell of delicious food in your car that you can’t eat. You can sign up to drive for DoorDash here, and GrubHub here.
Grocery delivery apps like Shipt and Instacart are similar to DoorDash and GrubHub, except instead of picking up a to-go order from a restaurant, you’ll go shopping for a customer’s groceries. With each order, you’ll go to a supported grocery store to pick up a list of items, then drive them to the customer.
The obvious disadvantage here is that shopping for groceries can take a lot more of your time than delivering packages or picking up to-go orders from restaurants. Especially if you’re not super familiar with your local grocery store’s layout. However, if you’re a seasoned shopper you might prefer this to the alternative. You can sign up to be a shopper for Shipt here, and Instacart here.
If you don’t drive a lot on the weekends, your car can spend whole days sitting in a parking lot or driveway doing nothing and earning you no money. If that opportunity cost bothers you, then Getaround and Turo might be for you. These services let you add your vehicles to a fleet of rental cars on demand. Users can rent your car for a set number of days and pay you for the privilege.
The very obvious drawbacks with these strategy is, you know, letting people drive your car. You run the risk of a renter spilling food, throwing up, or worst of all, getting in an accident with your car. Getaround includes a $1M insurance policy paid for by the commission that the company takes on out of each trip fee. Turo is a little more complicated. You can choose to cover your car with your personal insurance if you want a higher cut of the trip fee (up to 90%), or you can get a more comprehensive insurance plan through Turo in exchange for a lower cut of the trip fee (as low as 65%). You can read up on the details here.
In the case of both companies, your car becomes much more of a selling point and a much higher risk than any other service. The amount of money you can make with your car will be partly determined by how nice your car is and how many days of the month you can go without having it. On the other hand, this is also the laziest method to make money with your car, which is nice. You can apply to list your car on Getaround here, and Turo here.
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