10 Ways To Make Extra Money For Your First Car

Your first car is a big deal, but for a lot of teens getting one means you need to be able to buy it with your own money (at least in part). You’ve got to work for it, literally. 

If you need to hold down a job to afford a vehicle, why not apply for jobs that help you practice your driving skills? Here are 10 simple and doable ways to make some extra cash to purchase a vehicle or make the monthly payments.

10 Ways to Make Extra Money for Your First Car

Job #1 - Work at a Car Dealership

There are a lot of different jobs at a car dealership, and each one teaches you something unique about the process of buying cars. You’ll learn what to expect in terms of pricing, vehicle condition, extra fees and maintenance costs. 

Bonus: There’s a good chance you’d get the friends and family discount if you buy a vehicle from the dealership. 

Job #2 - Babysitting Kids That Are on the Move

Many babysitting gigs involve picking kids up from school, dropping them off at practices or shuttling them to meet up with a parent. This is a huge responsibility for any driver. On the upside, you’ll get practice using vehicle safety devices and carseats. Plus, you’ll make good money being a family’s kiddo chauffeur.

It may be best to wait until you have a year of driving on your own under your seatbelt before taking on the job. It’s also a good idea to take a defensive driving course to get additional training on what to watch out for on the road. 

Job #3 - Work at a Car Wash or Detail Shop

You’ll learn a lot about vehicle maintenance at a car wash or detail shop. And if you don’t already have a vehicle the job will give you an up close look at a lot of different models on the interior and exterior. 

Job #4 Become a Mechanic’s Assistant

There are plenty of mechanics that could use an assistant. You’ll probably get paid around minimum wage to begin with, but you’ll be gaining lucrative skills that can make and save you money for years to come. You could end up saving thousands by simply doing your own basic maintenance. 

And if you end up turning your mechanic’s training into a career you could make around $42,000-$45,000 a year. That’s not bad, especially if you need a job during college in a few years. Mechanics that make it into the top 90% of earners make around $69,000 a year on average. 

Job #5 - Get a Retail Job at an Automotive Parts Shop

Places like AutoZone and O'Reilly's are always hiring. You’ll be gaining some universal retail skills and learning about automotive parts in the process. You may even get discounts on parts for your own vehicle as a perk of the job. 

Job #6 - Run Errands for Neighbors, Family and Friends 

The growing grocery delivery industry proves that there’s demand for errand-running services. If you already have a vehicle or can borrow one from a parent you can offer your services as a go-for. Look at what delivery services charge in delivery fees to come up with your own rates. To win people’s business, you may want to take the average delivery fee and reduce it by a $1 to make it an appealing option. 

You’ll essentially be running your own delivery service so take the job seriously. Use scheduling apps to arrange pick ups and drop-offs. Come up with a system for keeping “clients” up-to-date on their delivery. Print yourself some business cards to hand out. In short, treat it like a microbusiness because that’s what it is.

One thing to keep in mind is travel time and distance. You’ve got to factor both into your prices because it affects your own costs and work hours. 

Job #7 Work for a Car Rental Company

You can’t rent a vehicle until you are 25 years old, but you can work at car rental company when you’re younger. Not only will you become familiar with a lot of makes and models at a car rental company, you may also get to drive them around the property or to get gassed up at a nearby station. 

Job #8 - Work for an Auto Insurance Company

Something else you need to know about as a driver is auto insurance. Working for an auto insurance company you’ll learn all the ins and outs of how premiums are determined and what happens if you need to make a claim. 

Job #9 - Tow Vehicles

As long as you’re 18 years old you can drive a tow truck (federal law sets the minimum age). The only catch is you may need to get a commercial drivers license and/or a special tow truck driving certificate in some states. But the upside is having a commercial drivers license qualifies you for other driving jobs that pay well.  

Job #10  - Park Cars as a Valet

If you aced the parking portion of your driving exam this job may be for you. Malls, restaurants, resorts and parking garages employ valets for the express purpose of parking cars. The pay isn’t great, but you can make tips that help boost the hourly wage. 

Still need to get a full-fledged drivers license before you can apply? Take a drivers ed course online to get a license and start driving a vehicle of your own. 

*This article was updated on 2/18/21.

Krista Doyle