How Can I Make Money with My Cargo Van?
If you own or have access to a cargo van, there are plenty of ways you can make extra money or start a business.
Cargo vans transport smaller loads that don’t require a large box truck or semi. A cargo van is a perfect vehicle for helping people or businesses with oversized items. Services you can offer include moving, delivering, or hauling things away.
Many cargo van businesses revolve around pickup and delivery. If delivering goods and hauling things for people doesn’t sound like the type of business venture or side hustle you want, there are other ways to make money with a cargo van that are not part of the transportation industry. Some will require specialized skills, while others just need equipment and motivation.
- How Can I Make Money with My Cargo Van?
- How To Make Money With a Cargo Van
- 1. GoShare
- 2. Roadie
- 3. Veho
- 4. Uship
- 5. Truckstop.com
- 6. Work as a Contract Courier
- 7. Deliver For Amazon Flex
- 8. Help People Move
- 9. Remove Junk
- 10. Deliver Food
- 11. Make Retail Deliveries
- 12. Offer Towing Services
- 13. Rent It Out
- 14. Turn Your Van Into a Mobile Billboard
- 15. Flip Cargo Vans to Vanlifers
- 16. Flip Furniture
- 17. Pressure Washing
- 18. Pool Cleaning
- 19. Landscaping
- 20. Mobile Coffee Shop
- 21. Personal Shopper
- 22. Carpet Cleaning
- 23. Other Cargo Van Business Ideas
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How To Make Money With a Cargo Van
Here are 23 ways to make money with a cargo van:
GoShare is a delivery service platform enabling businesses and individuals to book carriers to transport goods. The types of deliveries you’ll see on GoShare include:
- Last mile delivery for business customers
- Store pickups for individuals
- Home and office moves
- Building materials and equipment deliveries to and from commercial or residential construction sites
- Junk hauling for home and business owners
- Courier jobs for documents and small parcels
GoShare reports an average hourly rate of $71 – $102 for full-sized cargo vans. You can work when you want, accept only the most profitable loads, and get paid weekly.
Roadie is a subsidiary of UPS, promising fast delivery of any item regardless of size to over 90% of U.S. households. There are no minimum vehicle standards, so you can deliver for Roadie if your cargo van is in working order.
For drivers, the Roadie app is your lifeline. It shows available gigs, the guaranteed payout, and any pickup or delivery notes. You can choose when and where you want to work.
Roadie gigs tend to be for local same-day delivery. You might find long-distance deliveries available occasionally, which pay significantly more.
Veho is a last-mile logistics company. Their platform helps e-commerce brands improve the customer experience for deliveries and returns.
Drivers pick up packages from the Veho warehouse and deliver them via their chosen route. You can book routes in advance, choosing your start time, route length, and final stop. You can also see your earnings in advance.
To drive with Veho, you must be at least 25 with a valid driver’s license and insurance. Like most gig economy apps, financial success depends on how much time you put in and your efficiency.
Uship operates a shipping marketplace that connects businesses and individuals needing delivery services with drivers. There are many opportunities to make money with a cargo van through Uship. According to their website, a new shipment gets posted every 30 seconds.
After you create your free profile on Uship, you can browse through the listings of shipping loads and bid on jobs. Each listing has delivery details about the job, like time frame, weight, and cargo dimensions.
You can also post a quote and set your bid to undercut other service providers automatically until your lowest acceptable bid is reached.
Truckstop.com operates a load board for cargo vans to help you find loads for transport posted by vetted trustworthy brokers. In addition to their online tools, they have a mobile app you can use to find high-paying loads from your mobile phone.
The TruckStop.com load board is not free, however. They offer three plans for carriers at price points of $39, $125, and $149 per month.
The basic plan gives you the ability to search and post. The more expensive plans include more features like detailed information about the delivery brokers, cargo types, load comparisons, and a best-paying loads search.
6. Work as a Contract Courier
CBDriver has many contract driver ads from local and national companies that require a cargo van. You can search for jobs by city, filter by type of vehicle, and contact cargo brokers for available opportunities.
The type of cargo that needs transporting varies. Some shipping companies might only be looking for delivery contractors who can lift 70 to 100 pounds.
Some cargo van jobs require being on call, taking overnight load routes, or doing long-haul deliveries regularly. On the plus side, you get to be your own boss and the work is straightforward. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for an Independent Contractor Courier in the U.S. as of July 2022 is $42,693 a year.
7. Deliver For Amazon Flex
Amazon Flex is Amazon’s delivery partner program. The program allows you to use your vehicle to deliver packages for Amazon. You can earn between $18 and $25 per hour delivering packages and groceries.
A cargo van is one of the better options for this type of opportunity. You won’t get great gas mileage, but you have plenty of space, so it is a viable option. You can easily load and organize all the packages for your deliveries, which makes the work easier.
Getting started is simple:
- Sign up for Amazon Flex
- Open the Amazon Flex app to find available shifts (called “blocks” within the app) in your area
- Pick up packages from your nearest Amazon fulfillment center
- Deliver packages with a smile
- Get paid via direct deposit
Open the Amazon Flex app to search for available delivery blocks in your area. With every offer, you’ll see your expected earnings and how long your block will likely take you to complete. You can also mark yourself as available in the app to qualify for instant offers.
The Flex app shows you your expected earnings and an estimated time to complete each block. You can also track your earnings and payouts through the app.
8. Help People Move
Helping people move is a solid way to make money with a cargo van. Movers are in high demand year-round regardless of the economy.
Hiring movers is expensive, even for short moves. You’ll have happy customers if you can save people money on their move and help with the heavy lifting.
Your cargo van should have enough space for apartment dwellers. You’ll also need moving equipment like cargo straps, dollies, moving blankets, and tarps.
Familiarize yourself with local laws, licensing, and commercial insurance requirements. You’ll likely need more than a valid driver’s license and your van, as many locales have strict regulations on moving companies. You might need multiple licenses, cargo insurance, and liability insurance to operate legally and protect yourself.
If you’re looking for more of a side hustle you can do in your spare time, check out Lugg, Taskrabbit, and Dolly for people in need of a mover or someone with a van in your area. You can work when you want without administrative hassles or marketing responsibilities.
9. Remove Junk
Many people would rather pay someone to haul their junk to the dump than deal with it themselves. You could offer to haul yard waste, recycling, old furniture, broken appliances, and other junk for people. Businesses might hire you to clear out their office space or commercial property.
If you are handy, you might be able to fix or restore some of the stuff you pick up. You can then sell it online or locally for a profit.
Publicize your business by posting flyers in public places that allow it. You could also advertise your junk removal services on Craigslist or Facebook.
10. Deliver Food
Food delivery drivers can make good money driving for DoorDash, Uber Eats, or grocery delivery services like Instacart. Working for one of the big food delivery services is an option, but it might not be ideal with a cargo van. Despite the extra space for large orders, gas prices and wear and tear can dent your profits.
Call around to catering companies, event planners, and wedding planners in your area. Present yourself as a delivery professional. You might be able to generate some extra cash during the wedding season or around the holidays.
Restaurant delivery is still a potential source of income, but finding a restaurant that hires delivery drivers directly could be more profitable. There will be less stop-and-go driving working for a single restaurant than one of the popular food delivery apps. See if anyone is hiring in your area.
11. Make Retail Deliveries
Many small independent businesses could make more money by offering last-minute or same-day delivery. It can be a competitive advantage and a big money maker.
Contact hardware stores, appliance shops, furniture stores, auto parts stores, and other businesses that could profit from offering delivery. You could also contact thrift shops, dry cleaners, or recycling centers that might benefit from providing pickup, delivery, or both.
You might have more success if you explain how offering delivery services could provide value, give them a leg up on their competitors, and help expand their business.
If you cannot connect with businesses in your area, scout opportunities on Lugg, Taskrabbit, and Dolly. If you live near an Ikea, Costco, or other big box stores, plenty of people on these sites often need help getting their large purchases home.
12. Offer Towing Services
Cargo vans can tow up to 10,000 pounds. If you have a tow hitch, you can help people who need boats, heavy equipment, utility trailers, or other vehicles transported.
Make sure you know the ins and outs of towing safely. Research any licensing or legal requirements for towing businesses in your area.
13. Rent It Out
If your time is limited or you would prefer not to do more driving, look into rental opportunities. Websites like Turo, Fetch, and Getaround allow you to rent out your cargo van for passive income. These sites will screen renters for you, handle the billing, and provide insurance.
The average rent for cargo vans typically falls between $100 and $200 a day. Your cut will usually be in the 60 to 80 percent of the rental fee range, depending on the platform and fee structure. It might be a good way to generate extra cash when you’re not using your van.
14. Turn Your Van Into a Mobile Billboard
You can make extra cash with your cargo van by turning it into an advertisement on wheels.
Many companies see vehicle advertising as a great way of spending their marketing dollars on building their brand. If you’re willing to cover your vehicle in advertising, this is an easy way to earn extra income without much effort.
You can try partnering with businesses in your area. Also, check out Carvertise, a service that connects businesses with drivers ready to cover their cars in branding. You can earn hundreds per month in passive income.
Wrapify provides a similar service that pays based on how many miles you drive and where. Their website states that they don’t accept commercial vehicles or transit vans. If you have a plain white cargo van, reaching out and asking about opportunities in your area might be worthwhile.
Once you’re on board, having your car wrapped is free. Professionals handle installation and removal, and the decals won’t damage your paint job.
Carvertise pays a flat rate in the $450 to $1,500 range per advertising campaign. Wrapify pays in the neighborhood of $250 to $450 a month, depending on multiple factors.
15. Flip Cargo Vans to Vanlifers
Van-dwelling is a lifestyle that has gained popularity in the past few years. Vanlifers travel and work remote jobs like freelance writing or web design to earn money on the road. Vanlifers post pictures of their rolling homes and adventures on Instagram under the hashtag #vanlife.
Many buy their vans and do the conversion themselves, but there is a market for ready-made vans. People want to live life, but they don’t have the tools or skills to transform a cargo van into a livable space. If you do, you could make thousands of dollars in profits by tricking out used vans for vanlifers.
VanlifeTrader is a website where people buy and sell new or used vanlife vans. Some vans sell for well into six figures. The site even offers a course teaching people how to convert vans into campervans.
Modifying and flipping vans is not a side hustle with low startup costs. Beyond acquiring a van, you’ll need money to buy equipment and materials. Getting paid for your efforts might also take a while, as you’re targeting a lucrative but small niche market.
16. Flip Furniture
Sometimes old furniture needs new hardware, scratches removed, or fresh paint to look brand new. You have a potential flip if the furniture is real wood and in fixable condition.
If you’re hauling junk for people, you might come across furniture pieces that need a little TLC. You can also look for good deals for brand-name furniture on Craigslist or Facebook. Being able to offer delivery could mean more and faster sales.
You can flip furniture through Facebook Marketplace or any of several apps for selling used furniture.
17. Pressure Washing
Help homeowners keep their houses looking new and clean. You only need a high-quality pressure washer to clean siding, driveways, sidewalks, or other hard surfaces. You can get a customer first then rent one from a home improvement store if you want to test the business idea before committing.
18. Pool Cleaning
Another opportunity outside of the trucking industry is pool cleaning. Cleaning swimming pools is hard work, but it can also pay very well.
Your target customer will have a high disposable income and a willingness to pay someone rather than do the work themselves. If you enjoy working outside during the summer, you can start with basic cleaning equipment you can get at any pool supply store.
Landscaping businesses can be highly profitable, especially if you already have the equipment and a way to transport it. Finding your first customers could be a matter of reaching out to friends, family, and neighbors.
20. Mobile Coffee Shop
Finding a decent cup of coffee is hard sometimes. You could offer coffee in places where good coffee isn’t readily available. You could sell from a cart outside events, parks, office buildings, or other areas with lots of foot traffic.
21. Personal Shopper
Pick up groceries, clothes, or oversized items for your customers. While the gig economy has made it possible to have almost anything delivered, the advantages you would have are personal service and the ability to pick up almost anything.
Once you know your clients, you’ll know their preferences, likes, and dislikes. They won’t be able to get that from an app that routes orders to whoever is available.
22. Carpet Cleaning
Homeowners and businesses want clean carpets and rugs. Having spotless carpeting creates a more welcoming environment in homes, offices, and stores. With a commercial carpet cleaner, tools, and cleaning products you could be in business since you already have a van.
23. Other Cargo Van Business Ideas
One advantage of having a cargo van is the ability to travel to customers and bring everything you need with you. There are lots of opportunities to earn money with a cargo van by providing in-home services. There are also lucrative business opportunities available If you have the experience, the proper equipment, and a cargo van for transport.
If you have in-demand skills, offer them as services. You will also need soft skills like being comfortable making cold calls to potential customers and providing good customer service. You won’t need to rent a physical location or keep inventory, and you can use your van for free advertising, which keeps your startup costs down.
Mobile Pet Grooming
Many pet owners would prefer not to take their fur babies to a groomer. It can be difficult to herd pets into a carrier, transport them safely, and get them to behave in a new environment. If you have experience grooming pets, access to a van, and the desire to go out on your own, consider a mobile pet grooming business.
You would be able to transport your gear and provide your grooming services in your customer’s home.
Corporate events, weddings, holidays, and parties all need good food. While your skills in the kitchen are the key to success as a caterer, you will need a van to get what you make to events. If you enjoy cooking for others and people rave about your food, launching a catering business could be in your future.
Homeowners know a fresh coat of paint can make a home or a room look brand new. Not everyone is willing to do the job themselves, though.
The barrier to entry and startup costs are relatively low. You could technically start a painting business with brushes, ladders, and your cargo van. You might need a contractor’s license to paint houses in some states, but other states have no licensing requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Questions about making money with cargo vans.
What is a cargo van?
A cargo van looks similar to a passenger van from the outside. There is no rear seating, however. Cargo vans usually have sliding side doors and large rear doors for cargo. Cargo vans are easier to drive, maneuver, and park than box trucks or other large trucks. You don’t need a commercial driver’s license to drive one.
Cargo van load capacities are similar to those of pickup trucks. Cargo vans are available in half-ton, three-quarter-ton, and one-ton models. They also have a heavy towing capacity, with some cargo vans able to tow up to 10,000 pounds.
Is a cargo van a good investment?
New cargo vans can cost $25,000 to $40,000. Buying a cargo van can be a good investment for an existing business if having one creates additional revenue. Buying a new cargo van to start a side hustle or new venture is risky due to the high cost, depreciation, and lack of income when starting.
Can you make a living with a cargo van?
There are many ways to make a living with a cargo van. You can earn a full-time income working for cargo brokers, freight services, delivery companies, or gig economy apps. You can also start a business such as mobile pet grooming, handyman services, landscaping, cleaning, and others.
Can you do Uber Freight with a cargo van?
You cannot do Uber Freight with a cargo van. Driving for Uber Freight currently requires a truck and 53′ dry van, flatbed, or refrigerated trailer. You need a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate those vehicles. You also need a USDOT number, state motor carrier permits, and valid insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 for auto liability coverage and $100,000 for cargo liability coverage.
Image Credits: Pexels. Screenshot courtesy of the author.
Jerry is a personal finance enthusiast, side hustler, and freelance web developer who began his career in financial services. He co-founded KindaFrugal.com, a personal finance and frugal living blog. His insights have appeared on MSN, Newsweek.com, HerCampus.com, Mashed.com, and many others.