Most of us think of our vehicles simply as a way to get around, but a growing number of older Americans are using their car, SUV or truck to supplement their income by driving for profit . Thanks to the popularity of new companies that match drivers with customers who want rides, services and cars, it’s easier than ever to make money using your car without even needing to find those customers.
Most of these companies have basic requirements that you must meet, such as insurance and a clean driving record, and a smart phone to make arrangements with customers. The ride share services, such as Uber and Lyft, and the advertising companies may require a newer car, less then 6 years old. But keep in mind the money you earn will typically cover much more than the monthly payments on a basic, reliable new car. Another advantage of driving a new vehicle is the lack of maintenance for many miles, and a manufacturer’s warranty. Here are the best ways to earn some extra income using your personal vehicle:
Drive passengers for pay.
The two largest companies, Uber and Lyft, have been growing so fast they are having a hard time finding enough drivers. When Uber recently surveyed their drivers, they found one-fourth of them were over 50, so they turned to the AARP – the American Association of Retired Persons – for recruiting help.
Most retired and semi-retired Uber and Lyft drivers are part-timers, putting in 20 to 30 hours a week. They value their independence and the ability to earn money on their own schedule. Both Uber and Lyft appreciate and actively recruit older drivers, as they have found older drivers are more dependable and have fewer accidents.
As one over-55 Uber driver put it, “I love the freedom and flexibility and the cash I earn every week. Plus, I can drive as little or as much as I like. If the weather is bad, or I’m going to my granddaughter’s birthday party, I just don’t turn on the app on my smart phone!”
Many independent Uber and Lyft drivers specialize so they have more time for their personal life. One gets up before 5 a.m. to get airport rides, which are especially profitable. He’s done by 10 a.m. on a typical day. Another works only on weekends, when the traffic is lighter. She works only until 3 p.m. and reports averaging about $360 per weekend.
Uber and Lyft are not the only services out there. Other ride services specialize, such as Wridely.com, a ride service just for women. Because women feel safer in the company of other women, this service uses only female drivers, and accepts only female passengers. The signup process is very thorough at Wridely, and includes a background check, a vehicle inspection and a personal interview. Once you’re approved, expect to earn around $30 an hour. www.Wridely.com
Another ride service, Shuddle.us, specializes in rides for kids and families. They prefer to hire drivers who understand kids, like teachers, nurses, nannies and other parents. Because their kid’s safety is important to parents, vehicles must be less than 7 years old and pass a 19 point safety inspection. Drivers for Shuddle must also pass a criminal and DMV background check. www.Shuddle.us
Lifthero.com, often referred to as “Uber for seniors,” specializes in rides for the elderly. The aim of this service is to relieve the burden on relatives and friends, and not feel like a taxi. Many of their drivers have health care backgrounds, so they understand the typical ailments and emotional needs of seniors. Drivers must have first aid certification and pass a background check. Most drivers are part-time, and enjoy helping their senior riders. www.Lifthero.com
Deliveries & Errands
The oldest of these services, Taskrabbit.com, offers drivers a chance to make up to $25 an hour. Although their main focus is much broader, including IKEA furniture assembly and help with household chores like cleaning or window washing, they also help customers with their shipping and delivery needs, even offering moving help. www.Taskrabbit.com
Postmates.com is an online delivery service that allows users to order almost anything and have it delivered in an hour. This service operates almost exclusively in urban areas, and their courier/drivers can make up to $1200 a week and work only when they want to. www.Postmates.com
Munchery.com, another city-based service, offers customers fresh meals delivered by bike or car. The pay is around $20 an hour.
Help people move
Citizenshipper.com is a unique courier/delivery service that focuses on longer distance shipping. A typical assignment might be moving a family pet from Seattle to Portland, or Brooklyn to Washington, D.C. Although moving pets is one of the most common jobs available, they will also help clients ship furniture, machinery or other larger items that exceed the size limits of the postal service. Each job is posted on their web site, and any registered driver can bid on the job. When the customer accepts a bid, you go to work. This service covers the entire U.S. so it’s easy to find jobs in your area. www.citizenshipper.com
Buddytruk.com allows you to earn up to $40 an hour using your SUV, minivan or truck as a moving truck to provide local moving help. You can work when you want, simply by turning on the app on your smartphone. www.buddytruk.com
If you have a newer car, a good driving record and live in an urban area, you can make between $100 and $500 a month by leasing ad space on your car. The largest service, Wrapify.com, pays you based on the mileage you drive, so if you have a longer commute to work, you make more money. To learn more about their program, visit the Wrapify.com web site. If you’re on the East coast, check out Carvertise.com, which offers a similar program. www.wrapify.com
Rent your car
Two services, Flightcar.com and Turo.com, let you earn an income renting your car out to others. Flightcar.com lets you park at the airport for free, and rents your car out to others arriving at the airport. Their program allows you to actually earn money when you fly out of town on a vacation, business or family visit. Turo.com allows you to meet your renter at any location. According to Turo, if you rent your car to others for 10 days a month, you would earn $4664 a year. www.Flightcar.com, www.Turo.com
Pet owners, especially seniors and busy working professionals, often need outside help transporting their pets to and from vet and groomer appointments. It’s an easy sideline business to start – just leave a few business cards with local vet clinics and groomers. Most services charge a flat fee plus an hourly rate for waiting time. For instant income, sign up with the online service, Care.com, to get referrals in your area.
As you can see, the new “sharing economy” offers plenty of opportunities to make money with your vehicle without the hassles of formally starting a business or locating customers. In addition, most of the services mention above provide liability insurance for their drivers. So if you could use some extra income, get paid to hit the road on your terms!