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Personal Finance

How to Make Money With Your Car

In the growing gig economy, there are ways you can make money that weren't available when your parents were your age—and in some cases, even a handful of years ago.

Apps and services have emerged that make it possible for you to make money with your car. These opportunities don't require a big investment of money or time like a small business or a second job. Here's how you can do it.

Rent Out Your Car

If you don't use your car very much, or you have days when you don't use it at all, consider using an app like Getaround or Turo to rent it out to others. You can choose to rent out your car by the hour or day, which gives you flexibility in terms of when you can make it available and when you can use it for your own needs.

According to Getaround, it's possible to earn hundreds of dollars per month with its app.

Before you can list your vehicle for rent, keep in mind that there are some limitations. With Turo, for instance, you can only rent out a car that's registered to you or to an owner who has authorized you to list it. The vehicle must have a clean title, and can't be more than 12 years old or have more than 130,000 miles on the odometer. You'll also need to meet specific maintenance and insurance requirements.

Before you list your car, compare the services available, including how each process works, what you can earn, the eligibility requirements and other features that are important to you.

Also, don't expect your personal auto insurance policy to cover your renters when they're driving your vehicle. Rental services may provide protection plans you can purchase separately to make sure you're covered if a renter is involved in an accident.

In some cases, insurance companies may consider dropping you for renting out your car, even if you have an additional protection plan through the rental service. If that's a possibility, you're better off keeping your insurance to avoid a lapse, which can cause your premiums to jump when you sign up for insurance again.

Sign Up for a Ridesharing App

Uber, Lyft and similar apps have become incredibly popular as an alternative to taxis, public transportation and personal vehicles. By signing up to drive for one of these services, you can set your own schedule and earn cash with every rider you help get to their destination.

As with renting out your car, though, it's important to understand how the insurance works. In general, a personal auto insurance policy isn't going to protect your vehicle while you drive because you're using it for business purposes instead of personal travel.

As a result, you'll likely need to purchase rideshare insurance, which you can get from many major auto insurers. You can also purchase insurance coverage directly from the rideshare service, but make sure you shop around first to improve your chances of getting the best deal you can.

Also, depending on where you live, there may be specific laws and regulations you need to follow as you work. Take some time to research potential issues that could impact your ability to earn money as a rideshare driver.

Drive for a Food or Grocery Delivery Service

If you like the idea of driving for money but don't feel comfortable transporting other people, consider a food or grocery delivery service.

There are many services you could choose to work with, with each company having its own perks and downsides. Services include DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Grubhub, Instacart and more. Depending on which one you choose, you'll be picking up and delivering food from local restaurants or grocery stores.

As with ridesharing, you can set your own schedule with this gig, and you'll receive a payment for each delivery you make.

Help People Move

Moving can be a stressful experience, and it's common for people to want a little help doing it. Apps such as Taskrabbit and Thumbtack give you a way to offer the aid of your vehicle to people looking to move their personal belongings and furniture from their old place to their new one.

Obviously, this option is best for those who have bigger vehicles that can handle large loads in the cargo compartment, or are able to tow a trailer full of heavy furniture. Again, you can set your own schedule, deciding when you want to work, and unlike ridesharing and food delivery services, you can also set your own rates.

Additional Side Hustles to Consider

If you're not sure about some of the ways you can make money with your car or you simply want more options, here are some other side hustles you can try that allow you to set your own schedule.

  • Find freelance work online. You may be able to make money providing services for others online if you have a marketable skill or trade. Examples include things like writing, graphic design, tutoring, marketing, translating and more. Websites including Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com and others can help connect you with potential clients.
  • Sell some of your belongings. Over the years, you've likely accumulated some belongings you no longer use or want, and now may be a good time to try to turn them into cash. Take inventory of the items in your home and try to single out ones that you can sell in a yard sale or through an online marketplace. Doing this also has the added benefit of helping you declutter.
  • Walk dogs. If you're a dog enthusiast, the idea of walking one for money may feel like a dream. Websites like Rover and Wag! can help you get started by connecting you with dog owners in your area that need assistance with their pets.
  • List your spare bedroom for rent. Airbnb has opened up a lot of opportunities for people to rent out a spare bedroom or even their entire place to travelers. This gig doesn't have to require a lot of time, especially if you hire someone to do the cleaning between each stay. Just be sure to check your city's codes regarding vacation rentals—in some areas, it's not allowed.
  • Sell your creations. If you're into arts and crafts, you may be able to sell what you make through websites like Etsy, Shopify and Handmade at Amazon. Some artists even choose to accept commissions for custom art creations, such as a painting of a customer's beloved cat.

With these and countless other ways to make extra money, it's important to focus on opportunities that work best for you based on your skills, experience and time. Some gigs may be more lucrative than others, but choosing opportunities that you enjoy can help you achieve your money goals.

Drive Down the Cost of Owning Your Car With Better Credit

Using your car to make money can be lucrative with the right opportunity, but it's important to consider the cost of fuel, maintenance, insurance, repairs and the cost of the car itself.

By building and maintaining a good credit score, you can qualify for lower interest rates and even lower insurance premiums in some states, which can help keep your car costs down and increase your profits. Check your credit report and score to get an idea of where you stand, take steps to address potential issues and establish a positive credit history for the future.