How to Make Money with Your Car in College

Jordan Blansit

Being a college student of any description is an expensive, time-consuming experience. Those twelve credits of class time a week can easily compound into thirty hours or more outside the classroom. Before you know it, your time is eaten up by homework assignments, mandatory study groups, and obligatory test preparation. Therefore, as a broke college student, you’re probably in need of some quick, easy cash. While your college schedule may limit your availability, it doesn’t have to limit your potential to make money with your car.

Living in a college town with extensive public transportation, it figures that just about the only jobs that pay well and offer flexible schedules require the use of a personal vehicle. (Shrugs). However, if you have a vehicle, scooter, or bicycle and need to make a quick buck, delivery is a good way to go.

To that end, we’ve put together a list of part-time gigs that college students with wheeled transportation can excel at. All of these jobs offer flexible hours and relatively high pay, both of which are valuable in a busy schedule. However, these industries will also consider you a private contractor in terms of payment, taxes, and liability.

Drive at your own risk.

Note: with the exception of Lyft, all of the following jobs are available in all 50 states.

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Drive for Uber

Uber is perhaps the quintessential image of making money from your car as a college student. To drive for Uber, you must be minimum 21 years old and have had a license for three years. If you are 23 or older, you only need to have held a license for one year.

Uber requires you to have valid, in-state auto insurance with your name on the policy, regardless of your age. Your vehicle must be registered in-state and have an unexpired in-state license plate. Upon applying to Uber, you must provide your social security number. After your identity is verified, you will need to successfully pass a driving record and background check.

Uber also maintains several requirements for the state of your car. All models must have four doors, a seating capacity of 4-5. Depending upon location, regulations may require that your vehicle be less than ten years old. If you don’t have a vehicle – or if yours doesn’t qualify – Uber offers a car rental service. This cost is $180 per week, deductible straight from your paycheck. If you choose to rent a vehicle, it’s important to note that you’ll need a little starting cash. The car rental services requires an upfront deposit of $200 to $500 based on the rental location.

Compared to other services: Uber’s pay rate is a few dollars lower than some of the other rideshare driving options. On the other hand, they service more cities with a higher frequency of requested rides.

Pay Potential: $800-$900 per week

Make Money with Uber Eats

Becoming an Uber Eats driver is easier, especially for younger college students looking to make some money with their car on the side. This is due to their less stringent requirements, which are the result of two factors: firstly, you aren’t hauling people; and secondly, you can utilize alternative modes of transportation.

To deliver on bicycle, you have to be 18 years of age. (Note that bicycle deliver is only available in some cities). A valid government ID is still required to deliver, so you’ll need a nondriver’s identification card or other documentation.

If you want to deliver by car, the minimum age averages 19 years old. As with Uber, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance, a valid driver’s license, and registration for your vehicle. As you’re not carrying passengers, your vehicle only needs to be made after 1998.

If you prefer to drive a motorized scooter, the minimum age again averages 19 years old. Once more, you’ll need a valid government identification. Vehicular requirements state your scooter must have no more than two wheels, a motor less than 50cc, and a maximum speed of 30mph.

This option is often more ideal for college students, especially freshmen, as becoming an Uber Eats delivery only requires you to have one year of driving under your belt. Regardless of your mode of transportation, Uber Eats still necessitates that you pass a criminal background check.

Compared to other services: Uber Eats’ pay rate is lower than some of the other food delivery companies, but they service more cities and have better name recognition.

Pay Potential: $8-$13 per hour

Make (Even More!) Money with Lyft

Lyft is unusual in that it makes a financial guarantee to their incoming workers. If you give at least 125 rides in your first month of driving, you are guaranteed to make $1,250. For college students, this “bonus” money can be an enormous relief to wallets and bank accounts alike.

Lyft requires that their drivers be 21 years of age with one year of driving experience, a valid, government-issued drivers license, and auto insurance in their name. As with Uber, Lyft requires all drivers to successfully pass a background and driving record check. Depending on the state, your vehicle can range from 10-16 years old. All vehicles must have four doors, pass a complete inspection, and be up to date on their registration.

Unlike Uber, Lyft has specific requirements on their driver’s technology. Contractors must own a phone that runs iOS 11 or higher or an Android device that runs 7+. While Lyft operates in fewer locations and has fewer rides compared to Uber, their requirements allow them to pay more per ride on average by a couple of dollars an hour.

Compared to other services: Lyft does not operate in every state and has fewer cities to its name, but they offer a guaranteed first month upon meeting their delivery quota, and their per-ride payout tends to be higher.

Pay Potential: $650-$750 per week

Younger Drivers: Try DoorDash

DoorDash is an excellent opportunity for almost every college student to find work making good money from their car immediately. The only age requirement is to be 18 years old. You can deliver via vehicle (with a valid driver’s license and insurance in your name), bicycle, scooter, or motorcycle. DoorDash also requires couriers to own an iPhone or Android and complete an online or in-person orientation.

Compared to other services: DoorDash operates nationwide and offers higher pay on average than the other food delivery services.

Pay Potential: $15 per hour (depending on location)

Drive for GrubHub

GrubHub allows you to deliver as young as 19 years old (with the exception of Chicago). Drivers are required to have a valid driver’s license, auto insurance, and 2 years of driving experience. If you choose to deliver by bicycle, you must provide a valid, government-issued photo identification.

All drivers must also own their own smartphone. iPhones must be capable of running iOS 10, while Androids must run 4.0 or higher. You will have to have a data plan to ensure communication holds to GrubHub’s standards. Additionally, GrubHub requires that all drivers have a checking account to provide direct deposit to their contractors.

Compared to other services: GrubHub pays a little less than some of their competitors, but they allow you to own older models of smartphone if you’re not quite caught up with the times yet.

Pay Potential: $11-$12 per hour (depending on location)

Make Money from Your Car with PostMates

This is another excellent option for younger students, as their minimum age is only 18. PostMates requires couriers to have an insured vehicle if they choose to drive, although you may also use a bicycle, motorcycle, or motorized scooter if you don’t drive a car. After completing the application, you will have to pass a background check.

Compared to other services: PostMates offers one of the highest payouts on this list with the fewest age and vehicular restrictions.

Pay Potential: $25 per hour

Amazon Flex

Amazon Flex is Amazon delivery on your time. While this opportunity has stricter car requirements, the money is excellent – especially for a college student.

The minimum driving age for Amazon Flex is 21. As with all of the options on this list, you must have a valid driver’s license, proof of auto insurance, a social security number, and the ability to pass a background check.

Your vehicle itself must be a 4-door car, mid-sized sedan, full-size van, or a pickup truck with an enclosed bed. The larger your vehicle, the more deliveries you’ll be able to take, the higher your take-home will be.

You will also need an iPhone 5 or Android with 4.4 or higher, as you will need to keep track of deliveries through Amazon Flex’s mobile app.

Compared to other services: Amazon Flex offers the second-highest compensation on this list, but they also have more restrictive vehicle size requirements due to the nature of their operation.

Pay Potential: $18-$26 per hour

Advertisement Stickers on Your Vehicle

While you’re doing all of this driving around (in your car, nonetheless) and delivering people and food and packages between your college classes, why not make some extra money doing it? Vehicular advertisement stickers allow you to make money driving around – and the more miles you drive, the more you’ll make. While this isn’t necessarily a high-paying add-on, it’s more money than nothing for something you’re doing anyway.

Ad sticker companies do have a few requirements. You must own a car model no older than 14 years with a clean, factory paint job. You’ll have to pass a driving record check after your application is accepted. Furthermore, you must commit to driving a minimum number of miles per day (usually around 25). The company will work out a contract and further specific logistics upon hiring.

Example Companies: CarVertise; Wrapify

Compared to other services: Advertisement services don’t offer much money, but if your vehicle qualifies and you’re driving around anyway, it’s an effortless moneymaker that provides nothing but benefit.

Pay Potential: $100+ per month

Need More Ways to Make Money?

If this list just doesn’t cut it for you, check out some of our other resources on how to use your free time to make money (in college or otherwise):

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Jordan Blansit