Motorcycling can get expensive, and motorcycles have their own version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. First we want a bike that just runs, and maybe a not-too-beat-up helmet. Next, we start replacing the things that make the bike leak, squeak, and look ugly. Before we know it we’re investing in better riding gear. Inevitably, and without noticing, we’ve wasted money on a few farkles that really add nothing to our motorcycles but make us feel happy. And just when we finally have everything exactly how we want it, what do we do? That’s right. We find a new bike to fall in love with, sell the old one, tell ourselves it’s for the better, and ride off into the sunset with a newer, younger, prettier model. And then the process repeats itself over and over. Motorcycles are tough, but also fickle.
Motorcycle ownership can be expensive because of this whole process of buy, upgrade, maintain, sell, and repeat. Yes, motorcycling can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost you anything. In fact, motorcycling can make you money. Don’t believe me? Check out these 4 ways to make money with motorcycles.
1) Start a small business
This is the obvious one, so why not get it out of the way as quickly as possible? Your small motorcycle business can be anything you want it to, and you can run it from your backyard, or take it on the road and bring it to people’s homes. Read this article for some awesome tips on how to start a small motorcycle business.
Some examples of small motorcycle businesses you can start are:
- A minor service workshop: Adjusting or replacing chains, sprockets, and brake pads can be done with fairly common and inexpensive tools right from your own backyard or garage.
- On-sight oil changes: These can also be done anywhere with just a few things (like one of these inexpensive oil filter wrenches and this center stand on sale for $44 from DiscountRamps), allowing you to show up at anyone’s home and change the oil on their bike for them.
After that, the sky’s the limit. I started towing motorcycles for people. It takes a much bigger financial investment (trailer, gear, insurance) than most will do, but here’s why I got into it:
2) Ride your motorcycle to make money
Welcome to 2019, where everything is peer-sourced. There are a number of ways to get paid to ride your motorcycle, including:
- UberEats: The well-known ride-sharing company will pay motorcycles to pick up food orders and deliver them. If it’s a nice day and you have some free time, why not?
- Roadie: Similar to Uber Eats, but with packages (often legal documents traveling for signatures from one office to another), not food.
- Save the Drive: Look for apps in emerging and innovative markets, such as Save the Drive, which is trying to make cannabis delivery easy.
3) Get your bike on camera
Whether I’ve had an extremely boring bike, or a really cool one, I’ve managed to make money getting my bikes in front of people. Here’s how I did it, and you can too:
- Photo shoots: I’ve made money renting my 1979 Vespa Sport 100 for wedding photo shoots. It’s a little white retro Vespa, and brides seem to love it’s cuteness, which helps this scoot pay for itself.
- Movies and TV: My Vespa nearly made it onto a Netflix series, but that was canned at the 11th Instead, my very plain jane scooter and I were casted as extras in the movie Repo Men, and I was paid about $620 to ride up and down the same street for a few hours.
Every now and then, people need motorcycles, so keep an eye out for casting calls for motorcyclists. Sometimes though, people don’t need motorcycles, but it’s not hard to convince them that they want motorcycles, so be creative! Here’s a walkaround of my 1979 Vespa:
4) Rent your motorcycle out
What? How? To a stranger? How do I know if this person isn’t a lunatic? Who would even be interested? So many questions, so much controversy, allow me to explain.
Motorcycle riders love riding while in a new place for work or while on vacation, but shipping a motorcycle overseas or even just across the country can cost thousands of dollars. That’s why RidersShare was created. It works similar to AirBnB or Turo, but with motorcycles.
I haven’t tried RiderShare myself yet, but their website seemed really straightforward. From my understanding, the system works like this:
- Motorcycle owners can list their motorcycles, their locations and how much they’d like to earn.
- Motorcycle renters can search by location to see what motorcycles are available and at what prices.
- Renters can fill out a booking form either before or after the two parties communicate via chat or phone call to ask any questions back and forth.
- The system automatically runs a background check on the motorcycle renter to make sure they aren’t a crazy person or a hooligan.
I did a quick check of what’s available in two cities that I’d love to visit in the next year or so, Las Vegas and San Francisco. In Las Vegas, I found that I could get a Triumph Street Twin for $49/day. In San Francisco, I found I could get a Ducati Monster 620 for $49 per day.
There were newer options in San Fran, but I used to own a Monster 620 and absolutely loved that bike, so I’m excited about that. See video here:
Motorcycling isn’t cheap, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost you anything either. In fact, if you play your cards right, and you’re open to new opportunities, your bike might just pay for itself and then some.
Want to know how it worked out for me? Here are 8 mistakes I made my first year in business.
If you have any questions about ideas for making money on two wheels, or if you have a success story you’d like to share, please leave a comment down below!