Whenever I was on the road, I kept noticing these cars with huge vinyl stickers on the sides. They weren’t souped-up sports cars, so it was strange seeing cars with big stickers slapped on them. I wasn’t sure if they were sponsored by the brands. Well, I later learned that they were indeed sponsored. And they were making $200 to $1000, just for driving their usual routes!
There are actually companies that will pay you to have their logo placed on your car! It was a big discovery for me, because I always thought only sports car drivers get paid to have logos stuck to their cars.
I learned about that during a routine oil change. The car beside mine had the logo of a large mobile carrier. I chatted up the owner and he told me about this company called Wrapify. The guy made a good amount of money just by having that sticker on his car.
I wanted in on that. Because let’s face it. Owning a car can get pretty expensive. On top of fuel and monthly car payments, you need to think about maintenance, insurance, and general cleanliness. I was on the verge of giving up my car (or becoming an Uber driver - I hadn’t really decided yet), but the idea of earning extra income just by having a sticker slapped on my car sounded very enticing.
When I got home, I started looking into all the different companies that pay drivers to let companies advertise on their cars. I found quite a few legit sites (one of which is Wrapify), which I’ll be listing below.
But a word of warning - there are lots of scam sites out there. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to send out cash as a “placement fee” or advance the cost of the vinyl car wrap only to have your payment bounce.
If the idea of earning just by driving around appeals to you, read on. I’ll be providing a thorough guide, as well as some tips, on how to make the most of this money-making endeavor.
Wrapping cars in vinyl stickers is nothing new. It all started in 1920 when taxis needed a way to distinguish themselves from other vehicles.
Pepsi was the first company to see the potential of vinyl car stickers as an advertising medium. It made perfect sense: there are lots of cars on the road, and each car is an opportunity to both advertise and be seen. You basically have a fleet of mobile billboards.
And companies are willing to pay big bucks to turn your car into one!
Brands themselves won’t contact you, nor is it a good idea to call up your favorite soft drink brand. Instead, these brands hire car advertising agencies to handle the process. Usually, these companies focus on incentivizing private car owners such as yourself to let them attach ads on your car.
If you’re interested, you can contact the agency and apply. Most of them will ask for specific details about your commute. I was hesitant at first to provide info on my commute, but it is something they require. This is to ensure that all their advertisements pass through high-traffic areas where they will most likely be seen by more people.
You may also have to disclose how many hours a day you’re on the road. They’ll want to know that for the same reason: to ensure as many people as possible will see your car.
For starters, you need have a car (obviously). But your car also needs to be in good condition and properly maintained. It’s not snobbishness on the part of the car advertising agency. Think about it: when you have a logo on your car, you in effect become a representative of that brand. Sticker their logo on a dilapidated car could negatively affect people’s perception of the brand.
Location also plays a big part in being selected. As with traditional billboards, advertisers will want to attract the maximum number of eyeballs. Having a route that is aligned with the brand’s marketing strategy would be a big advantage.
For example, if Dell where to place an ad for the newest version of their XPS laptops, which is a pro-level unit, they would want a car that passes through locations with a high concentration of programmers or designers. Say, somewhere around Silicon Valley or the Bay Area.
Other requirements include:
- You are at least 18 years old
- Possess a spotless driving record
- Have valid insurance
- A commitment to a minimum weekly or monthly mileage
- GPS installed so the company can confirm that you’re meeting your mileage
Once your application gets accepted, it’s time to have your car wrapped! You won’t have to worry about any sort of permanent damage to your car. Vinyl auto-wrapping is completely safe, and won’t damage your precious paint job.
Vinyl wraps are not permanent modifications. Unlike stickers and decals, vinyl wraps just, well, wrap around your car. But it wraps tightly, and when done well, may be indistinguishable from a fancy paint job. In fact, vinyl car wrapping is a popular modification among car and tuning aficionados.
The design the company places on your car may cover the side, or even the entire car. Honestly, I was worried how my card would look. But the designs are often pretty cool. While companies don’t say this outright, I do think they have certain design standards. It isn’t enough that the logo is present; it has to actually look good on the side of a car.
And I actually like how my car looks after the wrap. But when I decide to remove it, it’s nice to know that it won’t be too complicated. Vinyl wraps are relatively easy to pull off and if removed within ten years, will not damage my paint job.
The average earning is $400 per month, but it can vary from a low of $200 to a high of $1,000. The factors that determine your rate will be:
- The make and model of your car (newer, swankier models will earn more, of course)
- Your everyday mileage
- The route you take during your drives
- Size of vinyl wrap (larger wraps that cover your entire car will earn more)
For drivers, finding this type of arrangement is like finding the golden ticket. The advertising company will buy a car, add the wrap/advertisement, then give it to you to drive around for a pre-specified distance and time.
This is becoming harder to find because it’s more cost-effective for ad companies to just pay people to add vinyl wraps on their existing vehicles. It’s still worth looking for, though. (If you get a free car this way, let me know!)
Where to Apply
Okay, if this is something you’d like to do, here are the first websites I suggest you try signing up:
Wrapify is one of the biggest car advertising agencies in the country. They’ve got some of the biggest brands as clients, including Google, Microsoft, eBay, Bud Light, and Lyft.
A single panel wrap can earn you up to $140 a month; partial wrap is up to $280 per month; full wrap is $452.
They also hold “swarms” where cars with the same ads are required to converge in a particular area. While it’s something that mainly benefits the brand, it’s still a fun way for drivers to get together.
Carvertise’s clients may not be as big or well-known as Wrapify’s, but I still consider this company a major player in the car advertising game. That’s because Carvertise has a wide-range of top-quality clients from the healthcare, food, and retail industries, as well as academia and politics.
Their requirements include a 2008 model car or newer, a commute of at least 30 miles a day, you live in the same area as the brand’s target market, and that you have a clean driving record.
As with most legit car advertising companies, Carvertise will pay for the vinyl wrap installation. But take note, if you commit an act of reckless driving, the company will remove you from the campaign, remove the wrap from your car, and charge you for the cost of the wrap.
3. Free Car Media
Free Car Media is a smaller player, but they will pay you $400 to advertise on your car, which is just about average, even among the larger companies. I think Free Car Media has a lot to prove, and are willing to go toe-to-toe with the big boys payment-wise.
Their campaigns last from 6 to 24 months, so keep that in mind when you apply here.
4. Pay Me for Driving
Pay Me for Driving is a local company that only serves the St. Louis City, St. Louis County, or St. Charles areas. I’m putting them in case you’re from those locations, and also because I tend to favor smaller companies.
Their campaigns may not be as flashy as those of bigger ad companies, but with smaller companies, you get more attention and can be better cared-for.
Beware of Scam Sites!
Every promising industry will have a few bad apples… and car advertising is no exception. Certain scammers must have noticed that car advertising is on the rise, and decided to take advantage of gullible car owners. Don’t fall victim to their scams!
The most common scam in the industry is a variation of the cashier’s check scam. In this scenario, either you respond to an ad from a company claiming to be a legit car wrapping company, or the company reaches out to you. They woo you with high rates and an impressive (and fake) roster of clients.
The company will agree to pay you a certain amount, let’s pretend $600, to wrap your car. They send you $900. The $600 is your fee, and the $300 is the amount you need to pay a separate company to do the wrapping. Now here’s the catch: you’ll have to send that $300 to the other company even before the original check clears.
So you front the $300 and deposit the $900 check… which bounces, of course. You just sent $300 of your own money to some stranger, which is most likely an accomplice to the original company.
Pretty slick, but there’s an easy way to avoid this scam: never send any sort of payment, whether to the advertising company as a “placement fee” or to the wrapping company. All financial transactions should be handled by the ad company.
The only thing you have to do is what you originally signed up for - drive!
The Verdict: Legit or Scam?
Letting a company place a vinyl wrap advertisement on your car is a legitimate way to make money! And the sites I’ve listed are also legit. Just remember to never send money upfront, and you should be okay.
Among the different money-making methods I’ve explored, this is one of my favorites. That’s because I earned simply by driving my usual daily route. Any adjustments I had to make (to my schedule and driving habits) were minimal. And the best part was the advertising company paid for installation of the wrap, and later its removal.
It was almost like earning free money!
This review is based on my own experiences using my car as an advertising platform. Now it’s your turn to share. Has an advertising company paid you to place a vinyl wrap on your car? How much did you make, and what was your route like?
Let’s hear your stories!