By Jeffrey Strain
You may have heard rumors that it’s possible to get paid to drive your car, or in some cases, get a car to use for free. While participation is limited and luck is needed along with living in the right place for a particular campaign, it is possible to get paid to have your car (or a car given to you) turned into a moving advertisement. If you drive 800 miles or more a month along heavily populated routes in your normal driving habits, you may want to check out the companies that offer car wraps.
The concept is fairly simple. Advertising space on billboards along busy roads and highways is limited and in some places not allowed at all. It’s possible, however, to reach many of those people another way. Companies advertise on the outside of cars to reach those same people. The problem is that purchasing an entire fleet of cars for an advertising campaign can be overly expensive, so a solution was developed.
Instead of purchasing their own cars, companies will sometimes “rent” space on individual private citizen’s cars. In return for letting a company “wrap” your car with their advertisement, they will pay you a monthly fee. The fees can be as high as $400 a month for a full car wrap and lesser amounts for a partial car wrap or a window wrap.
Another option that some of these companies offer in place of car wraps is giving you a free car with advertisements already on it. You usually don’t get paid in this deal or get to choose the type of car provided, but you do receive free use of the car for the period of the campaign. Your only costs are gas and insurance meaning that you are getting transportation at a fraction of the cost of owning your own car. There are some rare cases when you can get paid when receiving a free car. Some companies will pay you to drive the free cars along certain, specified routes each day.
So what is the catch? The main one is there are far more drivers wanting the positions than advertising campaigns available. If you don’t drive a lot of miles or live in a highly populated area (large college campuses seem to be an ideal location) where the advertisement will be seen by a population the advertisers crave, your chances of being chosen are slim. Most companies require you to drive a minimum of 800 miles a month. Not driving enough miles can negate the contract and most companies utilize global positioning systems (GPS) in your car to track the miles and places you go each month.
Most programs require you to be 18 years of age, have a clean driving record and your own auto insurance. Traffic violations will in most cases prohibit you from being considered. Contracts vary in length and amount paid depending on the type of advertising in the campaign involved. Most companies don’t let you pick the advertiser, but will let you bow out if the advertiser goes against your moral values (cigarettes, alcohol and sex).
With the concept there are a growing number of websites that don’t actually offer the service of car wrapping, but claim to be a data base for advertisers to find people willing to advertise on their cars. Many offer free sign up, but then encourage you to purchase a “premium package” that is supposed to move your name higher up on the list. The fact is that you are very unlikely to be picked from these services so it isn’t worth the time (and definitely not the money) signing up with them.
While the chances of being picked are slim, they are better than playing the lottery. If you meet the requirements and live in an area you believe would be desirable to advertisers, it could be worth the 15 to 30 minutes it takes to fill out the online forms. If you are lucky and do get picked, you will significantly reduce your driving expenses with little effort on your part.
Jeffrey Strain has published hundreds of money saving articles and is the creator of the Daily Money Saving Challenge Program. He is also the co-owner of SavingAdvice.com, a website dedicated to saving you money.