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How to Help Pay Off Your Student Loans With Car Wrap Advertising

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Car wrap advertisements can be a great way to cash in on your commute (and pay down student debt), but the industry is rife with scams. If you’re looking for a way to get paid to advertise on your car, here’s what to know before you sign up.

How to make money on your daily commute
What the car wrap process is like
How to identify a legitimate vs. illegitimate car advertising company

How to make money on your daily commute

The average American spends 27 minutes (each way) commuting to work each day, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Although you can use that time rocking out to your favorite music or listening to audiobooks, you could also be making some extra income.

Companies like Carvertise and Wrapify will pay drivers to put advertisements on their cars. These types of companies typically work with local or national businesses to develop the ads and connect them with drivers in their target area. Once you’re approved as a driver, the company will apply colorful decals — also called wraps — to your car for a set period of time.

The longer your commute, the more you can get paid to wrap your car. The more you drive, the more exposure the businesses get, so they’re willing to pay a premium for those who cover lots of miles. Depending on your commute, location and the campaign, you could potentially earn between $100 and $400 a month, or in some cases, more.

When Sonya Fishel Lawrence saw a post online for Carvertise, she thought it was too good to be true. The Pennsylvania-based registered nurse was looking to boost her monthly earnings, so this passive source of income intrigued her.

She decided to submit her application to Carvertise after looking up reviews. Within a few weeks, the company put the ad on her car and she was earning money. “I was paid $300: $150 after I took my car to be wrapped and the other $150 at the end of the campaign,” said Lawrence.

Although car advertisements can’t replace your salary, it can be a good source of income since it requires no additional time or work from you.

What the car wrap process is like

So how do you wrap your car? When you sign up for a car advertisement service, the company will prompt you to enter information about your location, daily mileage and car. Some companies have minimum requirements you must meet. For example, Carvertise has a 30-mile daily driving minimum, and your car must be a 2008 model or newer.

Custom paint jobs or specialty finishes could make your vehicle ineligible, as that can affect how the car wrap looks. Most companies require that:

  • Your car has its factory paint job
  • You have a clean driving record

Once you submit your application, the company will evaluate your submission and see if you’re a good fit for an upcoming campaign. In some cases, it can take weeks or even months before you hear back.

If the company selects you for a campaign, they will contact you to let you know. Though you might not get to choose the ad that’s applied to your car, you can opt out if you find the ad inappropriate in any way.

If you decide to move forward, the company will work with you to schedule a time for a specialist to wrap your car. The decals are applied with an adhesive made especially for vehicles so that it won’t damage or scratch your paint.

A campaign, depending on the advertiser and the car wrap company, usually runs anywhere from one to six months, or in some cases, even longer. After a campaign is complete, you make another appointment with the car company to have the decal removed.

How to identify a legitimate vs. illegitimate car advertising company

Although you can get paid to advertise on your car, there are many scams out there. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning in 2019 about car wrap companies scamming college students. Shady companies will say that you can get paid for having an advertisement on your car only if you pay a fee first. Or, they might send you a check for more than they owe you and ask you to wire them the difference. After you’ve wired the money, you’ll find that the check was a fake and you’re out the cash you sent.

It is important to research the companies before applying or giving away any of your personal information.

Legitimate car wrap advertising companies will meet the following guidelines:

  • They don’t charge a fee: Real car wrap companies don’t charge drivers an application fee. You should be earning money, not paying for the service.
  • They cover the wrapping cost: Car wrap businesses cover the cost of applying and removing the car wraps. If they ask you to pay or say they’ll reimburse you, look for another company.
  • They have minimum requirements: Shady companies don’t care what model your car is or if you have a bad driving record. They just want your money. Legit car wrap advertising jobs mean that the company will ask about your car’s make, model, year and your driving history before accepting you.
  • You must have car insurance: To drive with the reputable companies, you’ll need to show proof of car insurance coverage.
  • They have a customer service line: If you have questions or run into problems during a campaign, you should be able to contact the company and talk to a real person.

If you have a long commute, it is possible to boost your monthly income by wrapping your car and just going about your daily routine, but be careful before signing up. Make sure you research each company before sending in an application or giving them any personal information to verify that it is legitimate.

If car wrapping doesn’t sound like a fit for you, there are other ways to increase your income. Here are 10 side gigs you can start this week.


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