Ask Stacy: Can I Get Paid to Put an Ad on My Car?

Photo (cc) by dno1967b

We all want to earn a little extra scratch. And what better way to do it than by getting paid for doing something you’d be doing anyway – like driving around.

Here’s a question I recently received. Maybe you’ve seen a similar ad and been tempted to respond…

Hi, this sounds like a great job for me looking to make extra cash. I would drive a new car provided by a company, who pay me to drive it around with all their ads all over it. I would have to pay a one-time-only membership fee for $39.95. Is this too good to be true?
– Alice

The instant I read this email, a great tune popped into my head. Remember the song by Dire Straits, Money for Nothing? Before we continue, have a quick look at the following video to see what computer animation looked like in 1985 – and turn it up to remind yourself and those in the next cubicle that you’re still a rocker at heart. Then we’ll move on and answer the question that reminded me of this classic hit…

So if the question is “where can I find money for nothing,” there’s only one answer.

Money for nothing?

The ad Alice referred to is indeed an example of money for nothing. Unfortunately, however, the people getting the money are the ones who placed the ad, not the ones who answer it. This is one of many classic scams, with all the classic elements…

  • It’s reasonable: Why wouldn’t companies want to advertise this way?
  • It doesn’t cost much: What’s $39.95 compared to even a remote chance you can get paid to drive a new car around?
  • It offers an element of truth: We’ve all seen cars wrapped with ads. Somebody must be getting paid to drive them.

There actually are companies that pay people to drive wrapped cars around – or at least there were when I last did this story in 2006. But the waiting list was thousands of people long, you already had to have a car, you had to live in a major metropolitan area, and most importantly, there was no membership fee involved.

I haven’t seen the ad Alice is referring to, but I don’t have to. I wrote a post a while back called The 10 Golden Rules of Scam Prevention. When you’re done here, check it out. In the meantime, here’s a cut and paste of two rules that apply to this topic…

Rule No. 6: Seek and you shall find – in 0.31 seconds.

Last month, I got an email from a reader asking if she should pay some website $400 to get a government grant for her small business. Here’s what I did: I went to a search engine and put in the words “government grants for small business.” In 0.31 seconds, I was directed to a U.S. government website with these exact words: “The federal government does not provide grants for starting and expanding a business.” Thus, the site was a rip-off. Problem solved in less time than it probably took for the reader to send me the question.

The Internet is a powerful tool – use it.

Following that rule, I just put the phrase, “Can you get paid to drive a car with ads?” into a search engine. In 0.29 seconds, I got 468,000 results. From those results, I quickly found the following…

  • IveTriedThat.com: “Your chances of getting paid to drive ads on your car are about the same as you becoming the next American Idol. And above all, don’t pay for a list of companies that hire drivers!”
  • InternetCrimeComplaintCenter: “Individuals were advised they would be paid an average of $400-$600 per week in exchange for driving around with vinyl advertising signs wrapped around their vehicle…The employment offer was, of course, entirely bogus.”

Now, here’s another of my 10 Golden Rules that applies…

Rule No. 10: If it sounds too good to be true…

This saying has been repeated so many times it’s practically meaningless. But it’s true. The best way to avoid getting ripped off is to simply ignore people and companies who promise simple solutions to complex problems. They don’t exist. Nobody is going to show you how to buy a house for $398, nobody is going to provide a consistent 12 percent return without risk, and nobody knows how to make big bucks with little effort at home in their spare time. Think about it: If these claims were true, why would the people making them share that information with you?

In the 22 years that I’ve been doing consumer news, I would say that every single time somebody asked, “Is this too good to be true,” the answer was yes. If anyone, no matter who they are or where they live, could get a new car this way, wouldn’t all of us be driving billboards?

Even if you’re in Dire Straits, I’d steer clear of this example of money for nothing. And by the way, I also have no idea where to get chicks for free.

Got more money questions? Browse lots more Ask Stacy answers here.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Things I Always Buy at Target
8 Things I Always Buy at Target

I grew up shopping at the original Target store and am a lifelong fan. Here are my favorite purchases.

What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?
What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?

The best battery depends on what you need it for and how big your budget is. Here’s how to find the cheapest brand that will do the job you need.

60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It
60% of People With This Disease Don’t Know They Have It

Millions of people overlook this potentially potent condition that tends to strike women and older adults.

5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes
5 Ways Retirees Can Lower Their Income Taxes

Here’s how to keep Uncle Sam’s mitts away from your nest egg.

These 12 Reusable Products Save You Money Over and Over
These 12 Reusable Products Save You Money Over and Over

Buy reusable versions of these household items, and you won’t have to spend another dime on them for years.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020
These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020

Consumer Reports says these home products got the worst ratings from experts.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.