Short answer:

Your car's earnings will depend on a number of factors - the main one being how often it's available for bookings.

Cars that are only shared occasionally earn around $300 a month on average, while the top-earning cars, utes and vans shared full-time bring in $1,000 to $2,000 per month. 

This is after Car Next Door’s commission, but before you pay for fuel and other running costs: read on to learn how much of your income to set aside for these.

  • In general, automatics earn more than manuals.
  • Age is not a big factor, as long as your car runs well.
  • Vans, people movers, SUVs and convertibles tend to have higher earnings than ‘regular’ small and medium cars - but if you’re keen to earn a profit, low-cost runabout cars can give a good return on investment.

 

Want to offset the costs of your personal car by renting it out when you’re not using it? 

Many owners, like Priyanka and Josie, cover the costs of owning their car - like rego and insurance - by renting it out when it would otherwise sit by the kerb. 

When you start using your car to earn money, you’ll also be able to deduct car expenses at tax time in proportion to how much you rent your car out. 

Looking to start a car sharing side-hustle or business? 

We’re seeing people of all ages and backgrounds successfully starting up a car-sharing enterprise in their communities around Australia, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ recipe for success. ‘Ordinary’ cars - such as a 10-year old hatchback - may earn less than a newer SUV or a van, but they also have a lower cost base. This means that they may provide a better return on your investment overall.

Read more about starting a car-sharing enterprise

Top-earning car types

Because our community is so diverse, there is a wide range of earnings for different cars in different areas.

Vehicles such as vans, people movers, utes, SUVs and convertibles tend to earn more than ‘regular’ small- or medium-sized cars. 

However, if you’re choosing a car for profitability, remember that these higher-earning vehicle types also tend to cost more to buy and run. 

We have not seen any trends towards particular makes or models.

Typical monthly earnings by vehicle type and region 

The earnings set out here reflect the range of earnings for the mid and top tier of vehicles that are shared full-time

If you use your car and only share it part of the time, its earnings will be proportionally lower. However, weekend availability is key: 

  • if your car is available for at least two full weekends each month, its earnings are likely to be closer to a full-time shared car; and
  • if your car is only available for partial weekdays, its earning potential will be much lower. 

These figures are the owner's income from time and distance, after Car Next Door takes our commission, but before running costs.

 

Cars and SUVs

 

Monthly income - Mid tier

Monthly income - Top earners

Major city (e.g. Sydney, Melbourne) - inner suburbs

$550-$750

$800-$1200

Major city - outer suburbs

$430-$650

$630-$880

Smaller city (e.g. Canberra, Perth)

$340-$750

$780-$960

Tourist area (e.g. Hobart, Gold Coast, Cairns)

$750-$1000

$1,000-$2,500

 

Vans and people movers

 

Monthly income - Mid tier

Monthly income - Top earners

Major city (e.g. Sydney, Melbourne) - inner suburbs

$670-$1100

$800-$1400

Major city - outer suburbs

$430-$650

$560-$850

Smaller city (e.g. Canberra, Perth)

$900-$1200

$1,200-$1,500

Tourist area (e.g. Hobart, Gold Coast, Cairns)

$900-$1000

$1300-$1700

 

Running costs and depreciation 

The costs of running your car - including fuel - will need to be paid out of your monthly income. 

You get paid for each kilometre that Borrowers drive, so setting your car's distance rate at or above its running costs is important to maintain your car's profitability.

As a very rough guide, expect to spend 20-40% of your car’s overall income to cover running costs. 

Depreciation varies a lot depending on your car’s age, and tax deductions will impact its overall effect on your earnings, so it’s important to read up on tax and speak to your accountant.

Don’t forget, many costs associated with renting your car out will be tax deductible.

Read more:

Other factors that affect earnings

Availability

Availability is the number one factor impacting earnings. 

The more full days your car is available, the more bookings it can get and the more money it can earn.

For optimal earnings, make your car available for as many full days in the month as you can - especially at weekends. 

Cars in the top 10% earnings bracket are available for at least 20 full days a month.

Age

Older cars are great to rent out, as long as they are well kept and in good mechanical condition.  

Read more:

There’s not a lot of difference between a 5 year old and 12 year old car’s earnings. Depreciation will be lower on an older car, so if you’re choosing a car to rent out, this is a savvy choice.

Age isn’t really an issue for vans: they tend to earn just as much if they’re 10 years old as if they’re new.

New cars (under 3 years old) are popular, and can be rented out at a higher rate. Depreciation on a new car can impact your overall return - but the tax rules around depreciation can allow you to claim substantial deductions. Make sure to check out our info on tax for car sharers and speak to your accountant about how this could work for your situation. 

Transmission

Borrowers are not able to borrow manual cars unless they are experienced manual drivers, so manual cars get fewer bookings and earn less overall. However, drivers who prefer manual cars often can't get them from a corporate hire company, so there is definitely a market for them on Car Next Door.

Automatic transmission is something that Borrowers often look for when booking vans. 

How long your car has been listed

It can take a few months for bookings to build. If your earnings are slow when you first join it's worth sticking with it a bit longer as it's likely your earnings will grow the longer you rent your car out.

Doing additional promotion of your car in local hotspots and spreading the word in your local community using your networks and social media will also help. 

Peak and off-peak seasons

In most places, summer is peak season for car hire. Earnings can be 50% or more higher in spring/summer than in winter. 

This will be different in regions such as Far North Queensland, where the peak season is during winter.

Long weekends and holidays have the highest demand - especially Easter and Christmas. 

Your car is likely to see its earnings fluctuate significantly throughout the year. It’s best to take a long-term view of your earnings and costs, rather than getting caught up in changes week to week or month to month.

Read:

Other cars nearby

Owners are sometimes concerned that more cars being listed in their area will take their customers away. We’ve found that, in fact, it’s the reverse. The more cars there are in an area, the more Borrowers hear about Car Next Door and the busier the whole network becomes.

This is the ‘network effect’ in action. In our busiest suburbs, over time we see more and more people who shed their cars and rely on car sharing instead - becoming frequent and loyal Borrowers.

That said - early movers in new cities or regions have also been seen to capture a lot of pent-up demand and enjoy high earnings.

We’ve noticed this particularly with vehicles such as vans or 7-seaters that also appeal to people who may already own a car. In cities and suburbs that are under-served by traditional car hire, car share and public transport, we’ve seen locals embrace the flexible, affordable mobility offered by neighbourly car sharing. 

Tourism

During 2020 and 2021 we have seen high-earning cars in tourist destinations such as Hobart, Cairns and the Gold Coast where travellers are finding it difficult or impossible to rent from traditional hire companies. Enterprising local car owners in these cities and towns have been very successful - whether listing just one or two cars (like this young student in Hobart), or building up a fleet (like Cameron in Cairns). 

So, how much will my car earn?

It is difficult to predict your car's income precisely.

  • The average number of bookings is around six a month, but some cars are booked much more frequently. 
  • Some cars are busy right away and others might take a few months to build up a group of regular borrowers. 
  • Demand is usually seasonal, and higher over summer and during long weekends and holidays.

We'll be able to give you a more personalised earnings estimate after you submit your car listing. Our Owner Onboarding team can let you know the average earnings for similar cars in your area.

 

Related articles

What is Car Next Door's commission?
Why does Car Next Door take a share of my income?
How can I maximise my earnings?
How long does it take to get regular bookings?

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