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How to rival the passive income of a $400,000 investment property (with just one $20,000 car)

Within five months, Sam had created a passive income from one $20,000 car that equalled what came in each month from his $400,000 investment property. Here’s how (and why) he did it.

Linden Brown

Sam is in his mid-thirties with a wife and a 4-year-old daughter. Like many of us, he wants to grow his income without working even harder for it. In 2020, Sam and his wife were building a passive income portfolio with investment properties.

Then COVID-19 struck. His family in India needed help.

So they flew out of Sydney and didn’t return for an entire year. Thankfully, Sam’s investment properties provided monthly financial support.

He returned to Australia with renewed determination to grow his passive income. Because of Covid, they both worked from home and their second car sat unused. That’s when Sam remembered Car Next Door.

Watch now: Sam's story is featured on Sky News.

From Queensland, to COVID-19, to an impressive passive income

Having used Car Next Door during a trip to Queensland, Sam decided to try it out for himself. And just five months in, Car Next Door now forms an integral part of his investment strategy. “I want to get my passive income to a good $50K or $60K per year. You know, where you don’t have to be there but the job gets done.”

Despite initial concerns about sharing his car with strangers, he reminded me that it's common with any business, “You always have a risk factor.” And happily, he hasn’t had any troubles. He has now made about $6,750 in 5 months and is on track to pay off his car in just 15 months.

As we spoke, he compared his monthly investment property net returns to the income he makes from just one car on Car Next Door. “After costs and expenses, I get more money each month from my $20,000 car than I do from a $400,000 investment property. That’s what sealed it for me.”

Fueled by growth in the inner west

Sam and his family live in a busy suburb on the fringes of the inner west of Sydney. He thinks the location—nestled amongst thousands of apartments—plays a big part in his success. “There are many apartments here, all within a 1km radius. There are dedicated car-sharing spots in some buildings. There’s a huge demand for this kind of service.”

Sam says location plays a big role in his sharing success.
Sam says location plays a big role in his sharing success.

Sam has returned to the office two days a week, so I asked how they juggle family needs with just one car. “Well, at first we were always working from home so that was easy. Now I’m back in the office part-time, but my wife still works from home. You learn quickly to plan ahead, and just book your own car for a quick trip if need be. The Car Next Door app also lets you block out times and dates you need.”

In fact, the family is so happy with the setup that they’ve just purchased another car to list on Car Next Door.

Plans for expansion

From the beginning of our chat, it was clear to me that this family man hadn’t made his investment lightly. He listed with a clear purpose to grow his passive income. But more than that, he treated his time as a Car Next Door owner as a business.

He was deliberate with his location and promotion. Knowing this, I asked him how he chose his new car, which was bought solely to list on Car Next Door.

“My borrowers want personal touches. Leather interior, maybe a sunroof, things like that. We already have a sedan listed, so this one needed to be an SUV. And no more than 5 or 6 years old.” With these criteria, he searched for a month or two.

“There are plenty of cars for sale, but the real challenge is buying the car at the right price. Finally, I found one listed very close to its Red Book market value and secured it.”

He says five main things fueled his initial success.

  1. Choosing the right car at the right price (when buying a car to list).
  2. Getting the car serviced before listing it with Car Next Door, and displaying the service certificate in the listing to give borrowers peace of mind.
  3. For the first three months or so, putting the Car Next Door stickers on the car and parking it near a transport hub, like a ferry or train station, or a popular local restaurant.
  4. During this time, listing the car part-time to get a feel for the platform, and some feedback from borrowers.
  5. Once tested, make sure the car is available most of the time – for even higher returns.

And if you’re a bit unsure about starting? “Talk to someone who is already using the platform about any hesitations you have.” Sam finished our chat with some reassurance.

“You know, I was hesitant to start with. But I’m glad I tried it out. Once you’re signed up and see the cash flow coming in, there’s no going back.”

Interested in putting your car to work like Sam? Learn more about sharing your car.

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