- Apr 19, 2018
To earn money, you usually have to do something with some degree difficulty. At times, you may even have to do something you don’t enjoy.
Dear readers, this money-making technique is not one of those! That’s because I’ve discovered you can get paid for test-driving the newest cars.
I think it’s safe to say most of us on this forum love cars and enjoy driving. There’s something about having a couple hundred horsepower at your disposal. I don’t even need to be behind the wheel of a high-end sports car (although driving one would be pretty sweet!). Driving any car, provided it’s well-maintained, is always fun.
Below is a list of five ways for you to earn some money by test-driving cars. You won’t be able to make a living test-driving cars (unless you happen to become a famous motoring journalist), but honestly, the money is just a bonus. Being able to drive is the real reward, as far as I’m concerned!
1. Get paid through independent dealer incentives
The automobile industry is extremely competitive. There are simply too many cars competing for the money of prospective drivers. Large dealerships are better-equipped to handle this environment, but independent dealers need to hustle a bit harder.
I’ve noticed that local dealerships are a bit friendlier and accommodating towards walk-in clients. And some of them will even pay you top test-drive some of their cars! The Nissan dealership in my area is pretty generous when it comes to test-driving incentives. They once paid me $25 to drive their new Sentra model. (Of course, I had to ask if I could test their GT-R; sadly, they said no)
Why would they pay me to do this? Well, they’re hoping that after driving the car, I could be talked into buying one. Even if I didn’t buy a car, they weren’t too bummed. After all, I was likely to spread the word (which I am now!), so it’s like free advertising for them.
To find test-driving incentives in your area, simply look at your local classifieds or Google. Most dealerships will post the incentives online, but it won’t hurt to call them directly and ask.
2. Get paid through car manufacturers’ incentives
This is a bit like the first item on the list. But instead of approaching independent dealerships, you approach the official dealers themselves. The biggest auto manufacturers all have some sort of test-driving incentive in place.
These manufacturers include some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Hyundai, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Chevrolet, Dodge, Chrysler, Mercury, and Saturn.
The logic is the same as with independent sellers. The industry is extremely competitive, and manufacturers want to get butts into the seats of their cars. Test-driving a car is like a free taste test. Manufacturers hope that after that initial taste, you get hooked for real. And major car makers are willing to pay you just to take their cars on that initial test-drive.
If you can’t afford the car, chances are you’re going to talk about the car to your friends. In that regard, the money they pay you is like a small advertising fee.
To find which dealerships in your area are offering paid test-drives, you can check the official manufacturers’ websites, or sign-up for their newsletters. As always, it doesn’t hurt to call them directly - most of their phone numbers are available online, anyways.
3. Get paid for mystery shopping
Mystery shopping sounds… well, mysterious. But the concept is quite simple. Retail companies or dealerships hire people (either directly or via third party agencies) to pose as shoppers in their establishments. Since company executives will most likely get exceptional service, they need mystery shoppers to tell them what a regular person’s experience is like.
The job of these mystery shoppers is to take note of overall store experience and service they receive, and send that info back to the company hiring them. The company will then use this information to fine-tune their store experience and overall strategy.
With car mystery shopping, you’re hired to take note of the performance of the employees. You walk into the establishment pretending to be a customer, and evaluate your experience. Since you’re supposed to be a customer, you may have to ask the sales team to let you test-drive one of their cars! Afterward, you’re going to have to file a report to the company about your experience.
I’ve done mystery shopping before and recommend the following companies:
Mystery Shopper Services
The company is the official mystery shopping company of Chevrolet. If you’re a fan of Chevs, give this company a shot. They pay $50 per evaluation, which is pretty sweet.
BMW and Mazda are some of the car companies serviced by IntelliShop. You also make $50 per mystery shopping assignment.
Sinclair Customer Metrics
This company’s only car manufacturer client is Toyota. But they pay $60 per assignment, which is higher than the norm.
4. Get paid by being an official test-driver
This option isn’t open for everyone, but it is really cool. Car companies have an in-house team that tests all aspects of the car before releasing it to the public. In-house test drivers are one of the more important people on the team… and they have the coolest job, too!
Test drivers may need a degree in mechanical engineering, automotive mechanics course, or similar. If you have any of these qualifications, give this a try! You’ll be driving all the coolest cars before the public even hears about them. And you’ll be providing valuable feedback that has a direct effect on the production of the car. It’s a dream job for most car junkies!
Test-driving cars is legit fun! And the fact that you can get paid for it is an awesome bonus! The money you make won’t pay your rent, but that’s okay. We’re all in it for the chance to drive cars, right?
This review is based on my own experiences getting paid to test-drive automobiles. Now it’s your turn to share. Have you tried test-driving cars? Which brand’s cars did you drive, and how much did you make in the process?
Let’s hear your stories!