You’ve probably seen a lot of people driving pickups around with little or no intention of actually using them for heavy-duty work. And it’s true, in a lot of places, pickup trucks are as much a symbol of status as they are a workman’s tool.
But don’t let this fact fool you. The pickup truck is an invaluable tool for laborers everywhere.
Like any automobile, the big draw of the pickup truck lies in the basic concept of “move things from point A to B.” Unlike other automobiles, though, the pickup truck has a superior capacity for carrying and also has a lot of pulling/transporting power.
Anybody with a truck and some cables will have an easier time moving furniture, appliances, and other types of large household features.
For the discerning pickup owner, this directly translates to work opportunities.
If you own a pickup, or heck even if your friends or family own a pickup, you’d be well suited to investigate all these work opportunities that this vehicle offers for you!
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This is results-oriented work.
That means that your truck doesn’t have to be new, pretty, or from any specific maker; it doesn’t matter if it’s Ford, Chevy, Ram, or any other brand. Your truck only needs to drive reliably and be an actual pickup truck. Wherever anyone needs something hauled or transported from one place to another, there is an opportunity for you to get the work.
You just need to know what to look for.
Below, I’ll provide a list of ideas for how to make money using a pickup truck. By the way, if you don’t have a truck but have a car, check out our post on how to make money with your car!
But first, let’s talk about how to get the customers.
What will I learn?
How to get customers for your truck business?
A good example of a niche customer that you could target is someone who lives in a furnished apartment.
All that furniture is staying in the place when they leave, so they don’t need a full-on moving company. Instead, they have a few appliances, a table and some chairs– which is the perfect entry point for you, the pickup owner.
You offer a lower cost for a smaller service, and that’s exactly the type of small business that gets your foot in the door.
Furthermore, accepting a big job for a low cost is a good move for an entry-level businessman. When someone gets a great deal, it makes them happy, and they’ll want to tell people about it.
Events like this allow you to get your name out there in a positive way.
“Branding” is a word you hear thrown around a lot in advertising. This basically means that you need to give your service an identity.
You aren’t Joe Schmoe’s Pickup Business, no way– you’re “Joseph S. Waste Removal!”
Target a specific service and also mention that you do other things, too. In the best scenario, different customers will be familiar with you for your various services.
Each customer you help with a different service is one more person telling someone else about what you can do.
Helping 5 people with 5 different things means that’s 5 people who are spreading information about all your abilities, which is an advertiser’s dream.
Use your truck as a moving billboard
If you want to get your business moving more seriously, consider getting a wrap, or some kind of advertisement placed on your truck itself.
A small advertisement placed on your truck might cost you a few hundred, and a full wrap could cost you between two and four thousand.
Those are indeed some hefty costs, but it is hard to put a price on advertising.
If you get any type of advertisement placed on your truck, that means full exposure for your business any time you go out in that truck.
If you’re established and looking to really grow your business, those will be some good tricks to keep in mind.
Whatever you do, you need to stand out, above all else.
Study the competition in the area, and see how they present themselves. Who do they advertise to, what tactics do they use to make themselves distinct?
Define yourself based on that.
While there are almost certainly some “tough and reliable” moving services in your area, you could go with an “eco-friendly” approach and attract the customers that the other businesses don’t.
Being a distinct business is key, you want to seem individual and different.
Build a site as soon as you can
In the world of advertising, you want to take the strain off of the customer as much as possible.
That means simple advertisements, simple webpages, and straightforward information.
Don’t give your customers any room to doubt you with fancy language or complicated layouts- you want them to know that you’re all about results and business.
Make a “no-click” webpage by putting all your information on one page.
Let them know everything you do and every situation you can do it in.
Have your contact information on the same page. Making a customer navigate the site is going to impact your bottom line, so you’ll want to play it simple here.
OK, so now you’re ready to do business, and you want the list, right? Thankfully, there are lots of jobs for pickup truck owners.
Side Jobs with a Pickup Truck
Here are a few side hustles with a pickup truck you can use to make money.
1. Pick-Up/Clean-Out Services
You might also call this one “basement” or “attic” take-away.
You can offer to haul off people’s inconvenient odds and ends for them.
This job has the added benefit of allowing you to sift through the stuff after you haul it off because it might still be valuable! It’s not too uncommon for people to get rid of useful stuff.
If you have an eye for quality, or even better, if you’re any good at flipping, this service can serve a double purpose!
2. Moving Services
Continuing on from our example up above, lots and lots of people need to move every year. But a moving company is not priced to sneeze at, and can possibly sink the customer a thousand dollars or so if they own a lot of stuff.
That’s where you corner in on the business.
If you’re fit enough to move stuff around for hours at a time, you can charge the customer easily: gas and an hourly fee are all you need to negotiate. After that, it’s the most basic manual labor, just moving things about and placing them.
3. General Materials Delivery
The most basic form of truck-based work, simply hauling things to people who want it.
It could be firewood, sand, gravel, hay.
The holidays are right around the corner. Helping people transport their big holiday shopping items can be a great way to make some extra money for the holidays.
It doesn’t really matter what it is.
The point is that there is a lot of heavy or dirty stuff that people want but don’t necessarily want in their cars, and that’s where you come in.
After all, the bed of a truck can only get so dirty!
4. Garage Sale Delivery
This is one of the more interesting ways to do work with your truck. Furthermore, it’s a great way to build a client base!
Visit the people hosting garage sales and tell them that you do deliveries on large items (recommended to print a flyer and bring it with you.) Then the host can tell their customers about your service when they purchase large items, and in the best case, it might allow the host to sell more things than they would have originally.
It’s a pretty convenient service to offer, this way customers can arrive and do their shopping regardless of their mode of transportation.
5. Building Supply Haul
In contrast to #4, this is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of doing work with your truck.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a building site, but there are tons (and I mean that literally) and tons of materials there. Not all workers own trucks, after all, and somebody needs to get the stuff there.
Now it’s worth noting that there are already lots of businesses that offer this service, but the service only exists because there is a demand for it.
It’s at least worth looking into to see if anyone in your area needs this service.
6. Snow Plowing Services
This option obviously depends on where you live, and whether or not you are willing to invest money into your truck-based business.
A snowplow attachment for your truck will sink you about one or two thousand into the hole, but that’s not too crazy if you are planning on several winter’s worth of snow plowing.
You can just go through the suburbs and door-to-door your services, or perhaps put up an advertisement at the local gas station.
There are a lot of ways to get the word out, and especially in certain parts of the US, an incredible market for snow plowing, or even for snow shoveling for that matter.
7. Snowmobile/Motorcycle/Jetski Delivery
All of these things could fit into the category of “toys.”
If you’ve never heard the term, it refers to the extra motor vehicles that adults sometimes buy, like Jet Skis, Dirt Bikes, ATVs, etc.
Sometimes customers will own these things but lack the truck necessary to get them to their “play place.” In this case, you can haul it there for them, and they’ll follow in tow.
Usually, they’ll pay for your gas and your delivery fee, and then you’re free to leave.
8. Appliance Repair Delivery and Pick-up
Some people have broken appliances that need to be taken into a shop because a technician can’t or won’t come to the house to work on it. In these cases, people will be happy to pay you $10 or $20 bucks to take it there or bring it back, simply so they don’t have to.
Transporting a large freezer in your Prius isn’t exactly fun or feasible, after all, which is where the truck-owners can come in to pick up the slack.
9. Towing for Cheap
If you have a basic tow cable and a 1/2 ton pickup, you can offer towing services.
If you’ve never gotten your car towed, hooray!
But you should know that car towing is usually quite expensive, in the multiple hundreds of dollars.
That’s where you come in.
If you can offer to tow for a competitive (or let’s be honest, a downright undercutting) rate, you’ve got guaranteed business.
You’ll want to be as legitimate as you can, so bring an emergency kit, some sandbags, and some 2x4s (for providing leverage on cars that are stuck in weird spots.)
Advertise at gas stations and anywhere else motorists go.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure your truck can actually tow first, so it is recommended to try it out first before advertising.
I’ll dedicate a bit more to #9 because it is one of the best options here, and there are a couple of things that need to be discussed first.
To start, you absolutely need to know the max weight that your truck is capable of towing.
In addition to this, you should have a general idea of how much other cars weigh.
Secondly, you are going to want to read all about how to rig up cars for towing. This cannot be stressed enough. An improper tow job will maim or completely destroy the customer’s car, and at that point, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.
It is of the utmost importance that the customer’s car remains intact, as you might imagine, and the key to that is reading into tow jobs.
Towing a car with a regular pickup isn’t the same as the Tow-Truck, and it’ll require your diligence.
Don’t be scared by all this learning, though, because towing is a golden option for making money with your pickup.
10. Small Business Deliveries
Advertising yourself as a deliveryman to small businesses can be quite a boon for you.
Obviously, large corporations are going to have their own mail and delivery systems, so those won’t be of any help.
However, a small business might benefit from your service as much as you can benefit from their patronage. It would allow them to take orders over the phone, perform local deliveries, strengthen their customer base, grow their website, and increase general sales volume (yes, you absolutely should advertise all of that!)
Sometimes, location can be a killer in a small business. But if they can grow their online presence enough, that will be much less of an issue.
So, what is the key to a strong online presence?
It is recommended to establish a few delivery days, so that orders may amass and save you the trouble of a back-and-forth.
A Few More Ideas for Making Money with Your Truck
As you can see, there are many ways to turn your truck into a sort of money making vehicle.
Just to give you a few more ideas and get you to think beyond the usual truck-based side hustles, here are a few more ideas:
- Take odd jobs that require a pickup truck.
- Use your truck to gather and resell pallets.
- Pick up freebies people, giveaway on Craigslist and sell them.
- Deliver food with your truck (via companies like GrubHub and Uber Eats).
- Offer landscaping service or just offer to deliver material to the job site (dirt, mulch, etc.).
- Give Hotshot Trucking a try (Hotshot trucking is where you move time sensitive products).
- Deliver other stuff (via companies like Postmates and Amazon Flex).
- Make money driving people (via Ubr and Lyft).
- Offer to remove junk for people (post an ad on Craigslist).
- Advertise on your truck (via companies like Wrapify and Carvertise).
- Scrap metals & other items.
- Rent out your truck (via companies like Turo).
- Start a small towing service.
- Use your truck to help people move (via companies like GoShare and Dolly).
- Offer local deliveries of products (put an ad on Craigslist or post on Facebook).
- Take on construction jobs (many construction jobs give priority to workers who own a pickup truck).
- Ship products with your truck (via companies like Citizen Shipper).
Again, this is just to give you a few examples and ideas. Think outside the box and you’ll come up with many more. Basically, you can use your truck to make money with all the ways that you can make money with your car.
So How Much Should I Charge?
Like any service, what you charge is going to need to alter depending on the time and energy required to do it (and usually the convenience of doing it, too.)
The easiest way to start is just to examine similar businesses’ prices and make yours slightly lower.
This is a car-based business, and what that really means is that it is a gas-based business. Your cost of fuel is going to be integral to the whole operation, and you’re going to need to address that in your pricing.
Perhaps you want to charge a flat fuel fee or calculate based on distance, or have a per-mile fee.
These are all valid options depending on the situation.
The only option which is totally invalid is to not have pricing reflect your fuel needs. It is, quite literally, the fuel behind the whole operation.
Thoughts in Closing
If there is any vehicle that is the best for making money on the side, it is a pickup truck.
They are perhaps fuel inefficient, but far and beyond the most versatile automobile in many situations.
Creativity is the biggest limitation when you’re contemplating a truck-based business.
When you are looking to make just a buck or two with your truck, and you don’t really want to get into all the business-building, you should give the “gigs” section of Craigslist a good check. I saw someone offering $60 to haul off 12 bags of leaves the other day, right in my town.
And that’s not bad money at all, especially if you’ve got a truck that can haul it off in a single swoop.
But if you are building a business, the most important points are also the most simple: Maintain your truck, maintain your relationships with customers. Charge fair prices, be trustworthy, and do a good job.
Mix all that into some advertising and good luck, and viola! Now you’re making good money with your pickup truck.