As a mode of consumption, a car ranks pretty high up there; right next to Moses Lim and a buffet table. With Singapore’s sky high COE, ERP, and petrol costs, most of our cars are financially questionable. Few Singaporeans extract the full worth of their vehicles, and most don’t even know how to. In this article, I’ll explore three simple ways to make money with your car. It won’t make you rich, but it will get you the most from this expensive purchase.
1. Run Occasional Delivery Errands
I’m not saying you should go head to head with UPS, or start registering a courier service. Rather, just look out for delivery requests that coincide with your trips.
For example, say you’re driving up to Johor or KL for the weekend. Why not ask if any friends or relatives want anything from there? There’s usually someone who needs a tub of curry powder or something. Be frank and mention that “I’m going on a budget holiday, I’m subsidising my cost.” Most people won’t hesitate to fork over $10 – $20 for a quick delivery. Vary the cost based on the bulk or the inconvenience to you.
When I make a trip to KL, I usually have about six or seven people with specific requests. At $20 each, that’s an extra $120 in my pocket; enough to cover my petrol costs. When I was a student, my room mate used to collect $200 a month from two different relatives. All he did was buy food and drop it off at their homes; they were working parents and their children needed dinner.
Most Singaporeans are embarrassed to ask for delivery money. But if you’re on a tight budget, or if you’re momentarily between jobs, most of your friends will understand. They’d rather pay you than a courier.
2. Loan the Car for Shoots
If you have a good looking car, like a BMW or a Mercedes, you can make that brand name work for you. Alternatively, having a unique looking vehicle, like a beat up VW beetle, might also work in your favour.
Amateur film-makers and professional photographers will sometimes pay to shoot your car. I’ve had my vehicle snapped by someone who wrote for a car magazine, and it got me $50 for doing squat. You can also drop by places like NAFA and La Salle, and put a message on a bulletin board. Offer to let anyone pose in it, or around it, for a small fee. In a month or so, the calls will start coming in.
If the car has to be moved during the shoot, make sure you’re the one driving it. Especially if you’re the named driver in the insurance.
3. Turn Your Car into Media Space
If your car is entirely practical, and not for showing off, you won’t mind using it as an advertisement. Yeah, I’m talking about plastering it with decals and wraps, as if you requested the Sunday Classifieds as a paint scheme.
Granted, turning your Honda into an ad for frozen meat will earn you nicknames, half of which can’t be said in front of children. And it’ll be hilarious when people try flagging you down at a cab stand (avoid the yellow and blue wraps). But there’s a pay-off to this:
For covering your car in ads, you can get your road tax paid for a year, or fuel rebates of $500 – $1000. Companies like Soh Guan Chuan can put you in touch with interested sponsors. For students who are busy scrimping, it can make car costs much more manageable. And if you’re using an old or second-hand car, then you weren’t exactly winning any showroom awards anyway.
So keep an eye out for opportunities like these; cars are expensive and depreciate fast, so owners need to extract every ounce of value. Of course, another way to do that is to keep insurance costs down; so visit MoneySmart for that.
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