Five ways to make money from your car
The major drawback to owning a car is that it can be really expensive. By the time you've paid for road tax, insurance, the MOT, and of course, petrol, your bank account can start to look a little worse for wear. But believe it or not, apart from being a drag on your finances your car could also be a source of income. Just take a look at the following five ways you could be making money from your motor.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
The number of items you can rent out to others is rapidly increasing. Most of you probably know you can rent out a room under the government's Rent a Room scheme. And if you have a driveway going spare you can also rent that out using websites such as YourParkingSpace and ParkatmyHouse.
But did you know you can also rent out your car?
WhipCar is a website which allows drivers to rent out their car for money whenever they're not using it. The service matches people who want to borrow a car with those people who have a car to rent out. It's that simple.
So if you only use your car at the weekend, perhaps you could rent it out during the week to someone who needs it for the school run. Or if you only use your car for the commute to work during the week, why not rent it out to someone who requires a car for a getaway over the weekend?
WhipCar automatically screens all cars joining the service and all drivers booking cars. You can accept or decline each booking and membership is free! You also get to set your own rental price.
Just bear in mind your car cannot be more than eight years old, and it must have a valid MOT and road tax, as well as existing insurance. Plus if you start making a lot of extra cash in this way you should declare this income to HMRC.
Sell advertising space
If you don't mind having your car plastered in advertising, you could consider allowing businesses to use your car as a promotional tool for a set period.
If you agree to this, it's likely your car will be wrapped in a self-adhesive colour printed film – known as a car wrap. You can usually decide how much of your car you want covered, and how much you earn will depend on this.
For example, Comm-motion.com will pay £220 a month for covering the whole car (apart from windscreen), £185 a month for having the doors, side-panels, bonnet and rear of the car covered, or £150 a month for only covering the door panels and part wings, along with an image on the bonnet and/or rear of the car. So you could potentially earn £2,640 a year! More than enough to cover the running costs of keeping your car on the road. But remember that you will need to declare this extra income to HMRC.
Other car wrapping companies like Money4Space and Get About Media require you to drive a certain number of miles before you get paid. Comm-motion doesn't require you to drive a set number of miles but instead tries to match your normal driving habits with businesses.
You should read the small print carefully before you sign up. Some companies will require you to commit to a contract which lasts a couple of years.
Also if you're going to do this, check with your car insurance company to see whether having advertisements on the car bodywork will increase your premiums. It's also important to ensure the company you've signed up with fits the adverts professionally so that damage to your car is minimised, particularly if you want to sell the car at a later date.
Become a courier
Another option you could consider is to become a casual courier. If you do a lot of driving, why not see whether someone needs a package delivered en-route? A really easy way to do this is to use Stuff2send.com. This nifty little site allows you to register as a courier and get paid to drop off someone's stuff.
Once you've signed up (it's free to join), you can then search for items in the areas you'll be travelling to and from. You will also receive an email when a new item is listed on the website.
All you have to do is choose the items you want to deliver and bid for them. If the 'sender' chooses you, you can then finalise the details of the transaction. Depending on what you agree you could cover the cost of a journey you were going to make anyway! Find out more about it here.
Anyvan.com is another website you could use. Originally started with van drivers and transport companies in mind, the website now attracts car owners bidding for jobs.
It is important to extend your insurance to cover the Carriage of Goods for Hire and Reward to ensure the items you deliver are protected and that you inform HMRC of any significant extra income.
Okay, so technically this isn't making money – it's more of a way to save money – but you could consider car sharing.
If you live near some of your colleagues, why not give them a lift to work and then split the cost of the petrol? Or if you regularly do the school run, why not offer to pick up some other parents along the way?
If you're not sure who to ask, you could always look at the website CarShare which helps you to find other people travelling the same way as you – so you can easily share your journeys.
According to the website, sharing a daily commute could save members well over £1,000 a year!
Just bear in mind that you can't make a profit from car sharing – if you do, you are likely to invalidate your insurance and tax. However, all that money you save on petrol bills through car sharing can be put towards other things – such as your savings account, bills and everyday expenditure. What's more, you'll be helping the environment.
Finally, of course, you could simply sell your car. If you don't use it on a regular basis and you know you could easily manage without it, perhaps now is the time to get rid!
There are several options for doing this. You could simply sell it privately by advertising in the local newspaper, or by putting an advertisement on your car window. You could advertise it in the classified section of websites such as Auto Trader or Exchange and Mart. Alternatively, you could sell it to a local car dealer garage. Or you could even try to sell it through an online auction. Just make sure you know how much it's worth by using valuation tools such as those offered by Parkers and What Car? And just be careful with private sales – make sure you have the money before your car is driven away.
Alternatively, if your car isn't in the best shape and is need of costly repairs you could sell the parts off or scrap it. Try CarTakeBack.com to see how much you could get.
However you chose to sell it, remember to get a refund on your car insurance!
This is a classic lovemoney article that has been updated
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