It’s hard to believe, but it’s true, you can actually get paid to test drive new cars.
You probably can’t count on it as a way to make a living (except in one case – more on that later), but it’s a great way to make extra money, and maybe even drive your dream car for a few minutes.
Cars are just awesome!
As I have talked about this before, there are lots of ways to make money with a car, but this is much more fun.
If you are interested, here are 5 ways you can make money test driving automobiles:
1. Car Manufacturer’s Test Drive Incentives
The best way to cash in is to go directly to the automobile manufacturers.
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A lot of car companies will reward you with cash and gift cards for test driving their cars.
The way it works is that when there is an opportunity, you go to your local car dealership, test drive the specific car asked by the manufacturer, and get a certificate from the dealer verifying that you did indeed test the car.
But finding automobile test drives is kind of hard since they always change and manufacturers offer them at different times of the year.
The best way to not miss any opportunity is to get on the car manufacturer’s mailing lists. Whenever there is an opportunity, you will be notified via email.
The biggest car manufacturers I know of that pay for test driving new cars are:
That said, it wouldn’t hurt to check with all the major brands.
2. Automobile Mystery Shopping
We have talked about getting paid for mystery shopping before. Mystery shopping also extends to the car industry.
Almost all car dealerships operating in the country work with market research companies who conduct mystery shopping to evaluate the performance of their employees and the dealership as a whole.
Car mystery shopping works this way: you’d walk into the dealership posing as a real customer and assess the store and the performance of the employees.
The things to be assessed are usually the customer service level and quality of sales presentation. As part of the evaluation, this mystery shopper is supposed to test drive a new car as well.
After the visit which can span anywhere from one to two hours, the mystery shopper is required to file a short report on the observation of that particular dealership.
The job scope is pretty straightforward and for your effort and time, you will be compensated with $50 or more on the condition that the evaluation report is duly completed.
There is a fairly defined group of mystery shoppers and they are constantly engaged by professional mystery shopping companies.
I have done my fair shares of mystery shopping, though not a car test driving assignment (yet). After some research, I have found out the following secret shopping companies offer such assignments:
- Business Evaluation Services
Evaluations cover quite a wide range, including Chevrolet dealerships. Compensation for very evaluation is $50.
Similar to above, the evaluations cover a few brands, with BMW and Mazda included. You get paid $50 per evaluation.
- Sinclair Service Assessments
The mystery shops commissioned by this company tend to focus on just Toyota dealerships. They pay $60 per car dealership evaluated.
3. Local Dealer Incentives
Car dealers treat walk-in customers generously, especially those who look serious about wanting a car.
The extra incentives can come in the form of cash or a gift card if the prospect agrees to test drive a new car.
I know a Nissan dealership in my local area that pays out $25 to any prospective driver who likes to give the new car a few good revs.
Talk about easy money!
In fact, it is not uncommon to see incentives that amount to $100. The money is obligation free so it does not compel you to buy that car.
And how long would it take you to test drive a new car?…
One hour max maybe? or perhaps less than that.
A great source to locate such easy money making opportunities is your local newspaper’s classified section.
Sometimes, they do active promotions on TV as well, especially if this is part of a nation wide advertising campaign by major car companies.
4. Car Incentives Company
If you live in San Francisco, there is another way you can get paid for test driving new cars.
There is a company called CarIncentives.
They pay you between $25 and $100 for each completed test drive (the amount is based on the brand and the competition among the dealers in the area).
But you can only test drive up to 4 cars with a potential earning of about $400.
As I mentioned, they currently only operate in San Francisco, but you can get on their mailing list to be notified when they open up shop in your city.
5. Become an Official Car Tester
Now, if you want to make a career out of this, you can become the official test driver for a car company.
Most automobile manufacturers nowadays have test drivers who drive new cars to check for safety and performance issues.
As a test driver, you will drive the car in many different locations and under different circumstances, pushing the car to its limit.
But this job usually is not given to just anybody who walks in.
Your best bet is to get a bachelor’s degree and perhaps a master’s in mechanical engineering.
Wrapping it Up
Test driving cars for money is a fun way to make some cash, and I hope to get a chance to do it one day.
How about you? Have you ever gotten paid for test driving a brand new car?…