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How to Earn with Your Car

Today's economy offers a growing number of unconventional ways to make money. If you own a vehicle and are not using it to boost your income, you may be overlooking some of them. Owning a car opens a variety of money-making opportunities: moving people, moving goods, even using your car as a mobile advertising billboard! Here are some of the easiest and most popular ways to make a few (or more than a few) extra bucks with your car.

Car for Hire
Hauling people where they need to go is no longer limited to taxi cabs, thanks to services such as Uber and Lyft. These are services that let you offer your car for hire, based on your particular schedule. These companies use smartphone apps to connect would-be riders with willing drivers like you. Uber, the pioneer in the industry, has the widest availability and is among the easiest to use. Customers log on to Uber and request a ride; then you are directed to their location via GPS. Once you take them where they are going, Uber charges their account automatically, so there is no money to collect and everything is streamlined for recordkeeping purposes.

For drivers and passengers worrying about the safety of Uber and similar services, several different options have sprung up that might be more appealing to you. For example, Wridedly (only available in Southern California but with plans for expansion) only takes on women drivers and passengers. LiftHero offers rides for elderly patrons only.

No matter the service (or services, you can register for more than one) you choose to use, keep in mind that the size of the area where you live can limit the size of the area in which you live. If you live in a large city, you will get a lot more business than if you're in a small town. Uber says its drivers average around $19 per hour, although you can likely make more on busier days of the week or if you haul multiple people at once.

Get Paid For Advertising
Transform your ride from standard auto into a billboard in motion with companies that rent out the whitespace on your vehicle for advertising. (Couple Uber driving or similar services with advertising to maximize your profits). One popular company offering this opportunity is MyFreeCar.com. This company tricks out your auto with advertisements for an array of different businesses using non-damaging cling wraps. Your pay is determined by your car's size and the distance you drive. Wrapify is another similar company; you can earn up to $600 per month by just driving around and promoting companies. Adz in Motion estimates earnings at around $500 monthly, while Free Car Media anticipates drivers' earnings at around $400 monthly.

Rent Out Your Car
With Turo, formerly RelayRides, you can rake in some cash and let your car work for you. This service is simple and easy to use, and especially useful for families with a second vehicle that doesn't see a great deal of use. After signing up, service hooks you up with people who are looking to rent cars. You'll agree on a location, leave the vehicle there, and the other party picks it up. Your pay is based on the year, model, and make of your car as well as how many miles the renter drives. Although only available in select cities, the program is expanding to cover a wider area. Turo provides $1 million in insurance coverage to sweeten the pot, so you don't have to worry about any accidents or other problems during the rental. The company estimates that renting out an average auto for ten days each month nets around $3,400 per year, which is more than chump change.

Make Deliveries and Run Errands
There can be good money in making deliveries. While many pizza chains and other food establishments that offer delivery are hiring, you're not limited to Dominoes when it comes to delivery driving. Munchery, Amazon Flex, and Postmates all offer drivers the chance to earn by delivering items or running errands for others. If you're willing to haul things for people (in a pickup truck, for instance), then Task Rabbit is worth a look. Whether it's moving small items for someone relocating across town or dropping off items for donation at Goodwill, people who don't have a way to haul things are more than willing to pay for your services. Task Rabbit allows you to bid on jobs you want to take on, as opposed to being assigned jobs.

Many other companies are getting into this niche all the time, so the opportunities are always expanding.

Put Your Truck to Work
If you own a truck or van, you can use services like BuddyTruk.com and GoShare.com to offer help moving furniture and other large items. GoShare pays out by the minute, with renters taking home 80 percent of what they earn. With BuddyTruck, you can make as much as $40 per hour during peak periods. The company's drivers charge $1 per minute and $1 per mile, so earnings can rack up fast. A $29 minimum payout ensures that even small, fast jobs are worthwhile.

Putting your vehicle to work can be an effective way to supplement your income, to earn while you're between jobs, or even as a full-time job. Of course, when you assess your earnings you'll need to include your fuel expenses and set aside some of what you earn for repair and maintenance, so you have a clear idea of what you are making. You'll also need to check on any licensing or insurance requirements in your state. With some basic preparation and a little imagination, though, you can give your earnings a real bump while doing something many of us enjoy: driving.