When the financial going gets tougher, we all start looking for ways to get more out of what we already have. The thing is, a lot of us are missing out on the true value of one of our largest assets – our cars. Aside from your home, the vehicle in your parking spot is probably one of the most valuable things you’ve ever bought. If you’re leaving it to rust while you’re stuck in lockdown, you’re missing a trick. Even if you’re still using it daily, there are things you can do to make sure it pays its way. In many cases, there are even online apps to make things simple. Here are a few examples to get you started.

Don’t go it alone

Let’s start simple. We’re all still social distancing, so the idea of sharing your commute with other people might seem a bit iffy. In fact, the current official guidance strongly suggests not driving with people from other households in your vehicle. That said, the pandemic won’t last forever, so it’s still something to keep in mind for the future.

Perhaps surprisingly, there are mobile apps like Liftshare that are specifically designed to hook car owners up with people going the same way. Chances are you won’t actually make a lot of cash like this. In fact, your insurance may depend on you not making a profit on it. Even so, it’ll help with your fuel and running costs – plus it’s better for the environment overall.

Rent it out

If you’re not getting much use out of your vehicle, renting it to other people might be a smart most. Again, though, a lot depends on how much your insurer complains about this sort of thing. If you’ve got insurance that allows other people to drive your vehicle, there’s money to be made here. Potentially thousands of pounds a year, in fact.

Once again, there are services online to help you find people in temporary need of vehicles. The Turo website is a great example. Of course, there are strings attached to any service. For example, they won’t accept just any old car in any condition to be listed on their site. If your vehicle fits the bill, though, you can turn your nice little runner into a nice little earner with very little hassle.

It’s not just your car people want

Depending where you live, you might discover your parking space is in pretty high demand when you’re not using it. If you’re close to where people work and the nearby parking’s not great, renting space in your drive, carport or even garage could bring in some pretty decent cash. If you’re renting your home, you might need to get your landlord’s permission for this, obviously. Still, there are reports of people earning £1,000 a year or more like this.

Cars can transport more than just people

While so many people are stuck at home, unable to go out to work or shop, there’s a big demand for delivery services. Even on a pretty casual basis, you can earn £15 per hour by becoming a “casual courier”. Even big-name delivery companies like Amazon and Hermes are starting to branch out into more flexible delivery services. You sign up, pass a few basic tests and you’re away and earning. You’ll need to be organised and reliable, of course – plus you might need to check your insurance to make sure you’re covered for this kind of work.

Advertise

If it’s good enough for the world’s greatest professional drivers, the chances are it’s good enough for you. It might seem like a weird move to splash brand logos and adverts all over your personal vehicle, but half the clothes we wear have some company’s name on them and we do that for free! Sites like Rollin’ Ads and CarQuids can help you get set up, and you can always stick with the brands you’re comfortable advertising. Once you’ve got the advert slapped on your car, you’re paid monthly just for driving it around. After a while you’ll hardly even notice the design – but you’ll certainly spot the extra £100 in your bank account each month.

The point of all this is to remember that there are ways of putting your vehicle to work even when you’re not using it yourself. Just remember that, like any other kind of income, if there’s enough of it coming in the taxman will start sniffing around. In general, you can make £1,000 per year “on the side” without HMRC needing to see a tax return from you. However, if you start to earn more than that, you’ll need to sign up for the Self Assessment system and start filing regular paperwork. If you’re not sure exactly where you stand, talk to RIFT. We can make sure you’re never forking over more tax than you’re supposed to, and keep you in the HMRC’s good books while we do it.

Using your car for work can mean you're due a tax refund - with the average refund coming in at around £2,500, it's worth a couple of minutes of your time and it's free to find out with our tax rebate calculator.