Car owners can indeed get paid to put ads on their cars—a procedure known as “wrapping”—but some solicitations to join such advertising companies are scams. Unfortunately, this is a field where fraudsters abound. The sums that legitimate advertisers amount to a little extra income per month. In contrast, scam-running firms often reach out to car owners offering unlimited sums, some of it upfront. But the one who ends up paying is you.

key takeaways

  • Some car wrap companies offer legitimate ways to make extra money, but scammers are common.
  • Legitimate car wrap firms have applications and screening processes, are transparent in the rates they pay, and cover all costs for applying the ads.
  • Scam firms often contact you, charge an upfront fee, or ask you to reimburse them after sending a check (which of course bounces later on).

How Legitimate Wrap Advertisers Work

Legitimate companies have detailed applications, plus contact information, including their physical addresses, posted clearly on their websites. The qualifying standards to participate in their programs (you and your card have to be a certain minimum age, you have to drive a certain number of miles/amount of time a day, you must have a good driving record, etc.) are spelled out clearly on the companies’ websites and on their applications. Such companies never charge drivers fees to wrap their vehicles with ads.

Compensation rates are also clear: Applicants learn exactly how much they can expect to be paid to participate in an ad campaign, and how long a campaign lasts. Consumers can also contact the companies with questions before applying.

Legitimate car wrapping companies include:

$100 to $500

The monthly amount people generally earn driving a wrapped car

How Scam Wrap Advertisers Work

Scam companies often strategically place links on websites to target people searching for ways to make extra money. They also send mass solicitations by
email that sound personalized. A little tip from the Federal Trade Commission: Anyone who reaches out to you offering huge sums is usually no good. That's another giveaway: promises you can earn hundreds of dollars per week. While compensation varies greatly, a few hundred per month is usually what a wrapped-car driver makes.

In contrast to the legit firms' screening, scam car wrap advertising companies usually just ask one question: What is your name—and where do we send your check/money order? Yes, they often agree to send applicants funds when they sign up, before they've even driven a mile. The idea is that this upfront money is to cover your costs in wrapping your car; it'll be more than you need, so wire a few hundred bucks back to us, please, to "activate" your participation in our program. Of course, as you later discover, their check bounces—so the money you sent them ends up not being a reimbursement, but a gift.

Other tricks include charging you a fee to join the program or a deposit towards the cost of the wrap or decals. As noted above, legit wrap firms never charge you anything in advance; they directly cover the costs of putting the ads on your auto, too.