Auto advertising pays you to drive your car

Auto Advertising

by Debra Karplus

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In 2012, the Internal Revenue Service allows the standard deduction of fifty-five and one half cents per mile driven for business, according to  With that figure as an indicator of the cost of operating a vehicle, one thousand miles driven monthly could cost the average consumer nearly seven thousand dollars annually and even more for larger vehicles, such as minivans or sports utility vehicles. Climbing expenses like that make it a wonder that any family or individual can afford to own a car, even a modest compact car, especially as gas prices continue to increase.

In the 1990s, an advertising trend developed that marketers are hoping you noticed. Perhaps you've been riding on the highway and spotted a car or van or small truck that was brightly painted with the logo and easy-to-read large-print phone number of a heating and air conditioning company, printing shop, catering service, or some other business. Usually those vehicles are driven by employees or owners of those companies, but sometimes they are driven by individuals like you who found opportunities for generating income simply by driving. You might consider advertising for businesses by driving to take the sting out of those high costs of operating your own car.

If you don't mind attracting attention, being a mobile advertisement may be right for you.

Some businesses will pay you and a few companies may actually provide a free vehicle to you if you drive their car that has been auto wrapped to advertise their business, making it cost effective to pay you to drive. You become a type of mobile billboard. These companies are typically located in college towns or highly populated areas where having you drive for them gets the most exposure to the public. If you take pride in what you drive, as many people do, you want to give some serious thought to transporting yourself and your family in a highly visible colorful vehicle.

Depending on your driving habits, you may be able to generate income with an advertising vehicle.

Driving a wrapped vehicle is not for everyone, and the companies that screen potential drivers have specific criteria that you must meet. Drivers must be at least 18 years old and are required to drive a minimum number of miles, such as 800 miles monthly. Don't be surprised if a GPS is in the car to track driving. If you crave privacy, driving for pay may not be something you want to try. You'll be expected to drive a certain distance from home or work to be eligible for driving a mobile billboard. The size of the ad itself may determine your pay rate, also. How you will be paid varies from company to company. You need to do some careful research and definitely read all the fine print.

There are websites to search to find driving opportunities.

Be a prudent consumer before agreeing to drive for pay and never pay money upfront for the chance to use a vehicle for advertising. The opportunities may be plentiful in some locales and rare in others. You might consider phoning some local advertising companies to see what might be available or take a look at these sites to learn more about making income from driving.

Like many of the situations you consider that will help stretch your dollars, be extraordinarily careful before you sign anything. It's great to get paid for an activity that you already do regularly, but be cautious. Drive safely!

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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