Just about everyone would like to know how to make money by doing something as simple as driving a car. A Los Angeles marketing company, FreeCar Media, has been helping people do just that- earn cash while they actually drive their automobiles.

Motorists can make as much as $900 per month thanks to something called car wrap advertising; a personal car is literally wrapped in advertisements and the auto owner is paid for it.

The Concept

Race cars and city buses are often plastered with advertisements. The vehicles act as rolling billboards for products ranging from detergent to insurance. Drew Livingston, co-founder of FreeCar Media, has taken the concept a step further by pairing everyday motorists with advertisers.

“This is a great way to subsidize your income, make a little extra money and have fun at the same time,” he said. “People just love it. They’re really excited. They love getting the extra cash, but they also like being a part of this unique advertising and it allows them to do something different on a daily basis, at least for a couple of months.”

How It Works

Livingston says motorists can register for the program for free by going to freecarmedia.com and filling out an application. He says FreeCar Media collects data on people, including where they live, how many children they have, how much money they make, what kind of brands they like and what kind of car they drive.

An advertiser then comes to FreeCar Media and says it’s looking to target a certain population in a particular market. Livingston checks his database and selects candidates that match the demographics. He then contacts those candidates to explain the campaign and see if they’re interested in working with the advertiser.

“If they say yes, we will take their information. We will funnel it back to the client with our recommendations and once they are accepted into the program, we will wrap their own personal vehicle in an advertisement,” said Livingston. “Typically our consumers will be compensated anywhere between $800 and $900 per month for an average of about three months if they’re selected by one of our advertisers to be in a program.”

Car Wrap Advertising

Since 1999, Free Car Media has worked with more than 12,000 people and their vehicles. Professional installers wrap the auto and then remove the ad when the campaign is complete.

“In ninety percent of the cases, we put a full wrap on the car. By wrap, I mean it’s a vinyl advertisement that’s been printed on and it has a removable adhesive on one side. 3M is actually the company that makes it so it’s like a very strong Post-it® Note,” said Livingston.

What You Can Expect

If a person is selected for the program, he or she will receive product samples, coupons and information. The person becomes a consumer advocate for the brand and might be expected to discuss the product with friends and strangers.

“You definitely need to be a little bit outgoing because consumers definitely ask you a lot of questions and you get stopped occasionally,” said Livingston. “You have a consumer interacting with other consumers. It’s not an advertisement on a television telling you what you should buy or what you should use. This is your neighbor. This is your friend in the PTA…This is somebody who can give you an honest endorsement of a product.”

Who Is Eligible

To be eligible to register for the program, people must:

  • Be age 18 or older
  • Have a dependable auto which is a 1995 model or newer, preferably with the original manufacturer’s paint
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have insurance on their vehicle
  • Have no criminal history
  • Have no more than two speeding tickets in one calendar year
  • Drive approximately 1,000 miles per month

Livingston says there are exceptions to the 1,000 mile rule. If applicants live in a large city, they’re less likely to be required to drive as many miles because the car is in a high visibility area. He says people who live in small to medium sized cities might have a better chance of being selected.

“We’re a believer of being a big fish in a small pond and this type of advertising program is going to stick out in a smaller town than it would in city like New York or Los Angeles where it might get lost in the shuffle,” he said.

Words of Advice

Livingston says people should be on the lookout for scams that charge consumers for information about the car wrap program. “You should only do it if it’s free,” he said. “It’s a fun program. People who have been in it have not had any complaints.”

For people who want to make money while driving, car wrap advertising can be an enjoyable and profitable experience.