Best Money Making Methods In GTA Online
In GTA Online, money is all that matters.
Once you’ve grinded all the RP you can and unlocked everything there is to offer at level 120 (technically 135 if you want to store 10 armor) the only other resource that you’ll need to progress further is cash. In GTA Online, $GTA is the means to everything, including more money.
So naturally, “What is the best and fastest way to make money in GTA Online?” is one of the community’s evergreen questions that is asked time and time again.
As GTA Online is constantly expanded with DLC, the top money-making tactics also change. There was a time when each subsequent new update would bring with it the most lucrative new content, however for almost a year now the top activities have remained unchanged. While new DLC usually brings strong monkey making contenders, GTA Online players demand efficiency, and the GTA$/hour ratio of the other activities remained superior.
While even among the top three there will be one that is better than the others, and repeating it on end might seem like the most efficient approach, we suggest alternating at least between these three we are about to describe.
Some methods do not require constant attention due to cooldowns, and in your free time you’re able to pursue the other methods concurrently, thus making more profit than being a purist. Secondly, this is still a game where the main goal is to have fun and endless repetition that ain’t.
In spite of being one and a half years old, the Further Adventures in Finance and Felony DLC’s influence can be still felt today. It seems to mark the beginning of a new era of GTA Online (arguably Executives and Other Criminals could also be that point, but Finance and Felony is the clear cut “moment of change”) defined by a cycle of major updates each packing a new form of money making based on the same principle, along with intermittent smaller updates.
You run missions to acquire goods to sell, put them in a warehouse where they sit for a while, then you run missions to sell those goods.
This consisted of supplying contraband for your warehouse in Finance and Felony, filling up your gauge either by purchasing supplies or stealing them, and then finally going on a sell mission to exchange your valuable crates for cash. Sometimes you’d get Special Cargo, which are higher value crates with fantastic payouts.
Back when the update launched, running crates dethroned Heists (arguably) as the go-to money making tactic since it could be done alone (feasibly). The biggest issue with running crates was, and still is, the high amount of griefers in the game. Jackasses with Hydras were always more of a threat than the NPC enemies the game threw your way.
This led to the “invention” of the perfect crate shipping method – the solo public lobby. Crate missions are only available in public lobbies, so the best method to get money out of this was to lag out into a public lobby where you’re alone. The exact method varies between systems, but you can read about them here.
To this day, players who can put together an efficient crate running schedule will make tons of cash off Finance and Felony’s business (around $GTA 150K to $GTA$ 220K per hour), and a lot more than with most other methods.
Importing and Exporting Cars
Finance and Felony’s règne suprême lasted until the December of 2016, when Import/Export was released.
It operated on the same “get thing, put in warehouse, twiddle thumbs, sell” principle, except this time the “thing” wasn’t highly illegal contraband, but stolen cars. This was the DLC that but “grand theft auto” back into Grand Theft Auto Online.
Import/Export, by default, didn’t even have a better GTA$/hour than running crates did due to a slew of cooldowns, but players found two ways to squeeze more cash out of the mode. When you begin a sourcing mission in Import/Export, you don’t know what car you’ll have to steal, and some vehicles are worth a lot more than others. Completing the mission triggers a cooldown that needs to pass before you can source another vehicle.
If players switch lobbies mid-sourcing, the mission would cancel without the cooldown triggering. Using this method, players can hoard just the most expensive model of car, so when time came to sell, they get more cash for their time investment.
The other way to get more cash out of the method is with collections. Selling specific shopping lists of cars nets you a bonus over just selling random cars together. That said, the collections themselves don’t give too much of a boost, except when the two methods are combined.
Players can use the lobby hopping to bypass the cooldown in order to collect the collection which consisted of the most expensive vehicles. With the time spared on cooldowns and the collection bonus, a clever car thief is able to make a lot more cash than enterprising shady CEOs do (around $GTA 200K to $GTA 240K per hour).
Check out our Import/Export guide here.
The final and ultimate money-making method won’t give its significant bonuses with ease and requires a lot of planning to pull off well.
If you put your mind to doing a bit of math, you can juggle the cooldowns of the various businesses in GTA Online, as well as other missions, to put together a maximum efficiency schedule of missions for the greatest possible amount of cash.
The original version of this method was described using a combination of crates, Bikers businesses (which on their own aren’t too lucrative) and two VIP missions (“Sightseer” and “Hostile Takeover LSIA”), but the same method can be adapted to switch out crates with vehicle imports and exports.
Though the scheduling will be a bit different with export missions and will thus require additional calculations, the original formula with crates had a mixture of cooldowns almost perfectly synched, which would see you hop from sourcing as a CEO, to doing VIP missions, to sourcing as an MC, then back to selling as a CEO, VIP missions again and finally selling as an MC with basically zero downtime and constant cash flow.
When combined with the solo public lobby method for stress-free CEO work or exporting, this is the single most efficient money making tactic in the game.
Neither Gunrunning nor Smuggler’s Run provide businesses with better GTA$/hour ratios, though they are quite close. If you put your mind to it, it may be possible to calculate a new hybrid method using one or both of those for an even better way, but so far, it has not been discovered.
Under each of our headings above, you will find more detailed guides that expand on each method and that should clear up any confusion left over about how to rack up millions in GTA Online. If you want a comprehensive, all-encompassing look, check out our full collection of guides relating to all things GTA 5 (and GTA Online) right here.