5 Ways to Make Money on a Car Lease

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That’s Right, It’s Possible to Come Out Ahead on the Deal if You’re Careful and a Bit Lucky

New-vehicle prices are on the rise. The average cost of a new car is approaching the $38,000 mark, andabout a third of all car shoppers are turning toward leasing as a way to help make their down payments and monthly expenditures more affordable. Leasing a car for a set period, usually two or three years, can also be beneficial to those who use a vehicle for business and can deduct the cost from their income taxes. It’s also a bona fide choice if you don’t want to forge a long-term vehicular relationship. For example, maybe you just got married and plan on having children in the near future, or perhaps you just prefer driving a shiny new model with the latest features every couple of years.

For better or worse, leasing a vehicle means you’ll be making perpetual payments. However, if you know what you’re doing (and are a bit lucky) you can wind up at the end of the lease with equity that you can pocket or use to lease or purchase your next vehicle. Just keep in mind that there are also pitfalls that can wind up costing you more money down the road, so you’ll have to be smart at every step along the way to the contract’s end.

One way you can make money with a leased car by using it for a ride hailing service such as Lyft or Uber, but that practice is generally not recommended. While either company will allow you to use a leased ride to transport paying customers, the lease terms may not permit it. Many contracts prohibit using a lessee from engaging in business that derives its revenue solely from operating the vehicle. If allowed, you’ll have to purchase specific car insurance coverage at an additional cost, as typical policies do not cover using a vehicle for ride hailing or deliveries. You’ll also be subjecting the vehicle to additional wear and tear and could easily rack up enough miles to exceed the limit set forth in the lease contract. Both of these issues can add significantly to your costs when you turn in the vehicle at the end of the term.

Getting the most value out of a car lease begins before you ever set foot in a dealer’s showroom. Here’s a systematic approach.

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