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How to use your car to earn cash without driving for a living

Gas prices continue to soar across U.S.
U.S. gas prices continue to soar as the national average reaches a new high 05:18

Look no further than your car's exterior to earn cash to help pay for the surging cost of filling up. New companies enabling drivers to swath their vehicles in advertisements say that drivers — especially those who log many miles on the road each month — are signing up in record numbers.

Carvetise and Wrapify are the two main players in the market for such roving billboards. They enlist folks who drive for a living, either for a rideshare company or as delivery people, but also anyone with a vehicle who wants to earn so-called passive income by decorating their car's outside with branding. 

Carvetize pairs drivers with companies looking to run ad campaigns on vehicles. Carvetise

With gas prices topping $5 a gallon in more than a dozen U.S. states, motorists are looking for ways to offset those costs.

"We definitely saw a spike in driver signups that was correlated to the rise in gas prices," Greg Star, co-founder of Carvetise, told CBS MoneyWatch. 

How much can you earn?

Here's how it works. Drivers are paired with different ad campaigns, based on their vehicle type, geography and other factors. The company matches drivers with campaigns, but car owners can decline to advertise for a brand they do not wish to support. But to qualify, applicants must log at least 1,000 miles on the road every month. Mileage is tracked using an app they download once they sign up.

Typically, drivers can expect to earn between $250 and $1,300 a month on a given ad campaign. In states where gas now costs at least $5 a gallon, that works out to 50 gallons worth of gas on the low end ad earnings.

Carvetise drivers automatically earn a $200 sign-on bonus and are then paid a flat rate of $100 per month. They can make additional cash by showing up at large concerts, sporting events and conferences, or by sharing photos of their cars emblazoned with the ads.

If drivers choose to participate in so-called "swarms" attended by other vehicles advertising the same product or service at big events, they can earn even more money. 

Advertisers run the gamut from higher education institutions and health care companies to a wide range of businesses including Netflix, Planet Fitness and convenience store chain Wawa. 

Star expects more firms to look to independent drivers for advertising as rideshare companies gobble up marketshare. "For decades we saw ads on taxis and buses, but advertising on rideshare cars is the modern version of that," Star said. 

A 2019 study from market analytics company Nielsen found that "wrapped vehicles" are the second-most noticed form of outdoor advertising, behind billboards. 

Wanted: Drivers with long commutes

Wrapify, another company that pairs drivers with advertisers, doesn't pay drivers a flat fee, but remunerates them based on their performance, largely determined by the number of miles they drive. A driver with a fully wrapped vehicle can expect to make between $264 and $452 a month, according to Wrapify. 

Kathy Kristof, a gig economy expert and founder of SideHusl, which reviews hundreds of sites that help people earn extra cash, said the market for rolling ads is "completely back and booming" after it fell off early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Almost any company that would be on a billboard or bus is doing this," she said. Advertisers are looking for innovative ways to reach people without spending a fortune, and this is an opportunity for anyone with a car."

Companies are particularly interested in drivers who work for services like Lyft, Uber and GrubHub. "They are going to places at high-traffic times when there will be a lot of eyeballs on those cars," Kristof said, noting that people with long commutes in congested areas are also in demand.

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