Carving out a living in GTA Online

Let’s be fair, one of the core elements to the success of GTA online, is how much money it makes from players. 

Sure, it’s a “free” add-on to GTA V and you absolutely don’t have to buy in-game currency if you don’t want to.  You get all the new content and expansions, and all the games modes are accessible. Great!

What you never have enough of, though is in-game cash.  All that cool stuff to buy, those weapons, those vehicles, those outfits!  Yeah, everything you do earns cash, but it’s never enough, unless you’re prepared to grind it out for hours and hours.

Make that money

Heists are the big money maker.  The GTA equivalent of a raid in other online games.  These are great, big missions with preparation stages and meetings and divvying-up responsibilities.  Very cool.  Alas, my experiences of matchmaking haven’t been great, and getting friends to play is tough at this late stage in the lifecycle of the game.

So, that leaves online jobs and missions/races/deathmatches etc.  All of which only really benefit you if you win, which is perfectly achievable, but if you dip in and out of it every few months like me, you’re not going to be grinding out first place wins very consistently.

What else can you do? First things you could do is just buy one of those shark cards that they’ve peddled so well.  A few quid here and there and you’re on the way to having millions in the game! But, if you’re not always playing it, where’s the value beyond the quick win and meeting that need to have something cool.


I didn’t know this for a while, but it turns out you can own and run businesses.  Don’t quote me on it, but when the biker update came out, I’m pretty sure that’s when it gave you options to run businesses and make money.

That’s exactly what I’ve started to do!

I thought it would be super quick to get into, and pretty easy to start raking-in, small but frequent passive income………wrong!!

First you need to buy the Motorcycle Clubhouse of your choice (these are expensive…..).  Then, after investing in that, you need to spend more money on buying your chosen business(es).

Truth is, after buying the biker clubhouse, I was skint.  I have 2 apartments at either side of the game’s map, garages of vehicles (mostly freebies), and all of my money from day 1 has gone into those.  Whether it’s car upgrades (gotta get that limo tint!!), or penthouses to do heists, every penny I’d earned had been spent.

What to do? Well, as luck would have it, I follow Rockstar Games on twitter and Instagram, and from time to time, the give you a money for playing the game during certain time periods, or for signing up to their email newsletters.  It all fell into place, and apart from the $10,000 or so I had from messing about, I had been given about $420,000!

Suddenly GTA doesn’t seem too greedy of my time and money, eh?


So, I had some money, which I topped up to about $503,000 after doing races and missions with double money and experience (important step!!).  I went to the clubhouse only last night, after a break from playing for a couple of months, and checked the business prices.

To my amazement, they were reduced in price! So, instead of starting up with a cheap document forgery, I’ve been able to get straight into money laundering.

Is that it? I can sit back and watch money roll-in now I’ve bought a business? I mean, for crying out loud, it’s cost me a fortune and taken me months of dipping in and out from time to time.  Surely I’ve done enough?

This is GTA Online……….time to grind, oh, and to spend more money….

Yeah. Now I need to do jobs to stock-up and start production. Fair enough.  Stealing the supplies is no cost but my time, so I’ll get to it, get the ball rolling.  Easy enough (thanks to my air support from Frostos!), and we’re in production!

GTA, of course, lets all players in your instance know that you’re working and lets them come and try to impede your progress, so I was lucky to not really see anyone………

Keep working

Production is in full swing, I can actually start to sell the forged money now, good eh? Well, yeah! Oh, wait… I have to hand-deliver each package, all whilst being publicly acknowledged as doing work for my gang.

Cool, nailed it in a helicopter.  Made $10,500 (ish) for 5 minutes work and dropping off some parcels.  What now?

Then I had to wait.  Production continued, but I needed to let there be enough to sell.  I passed the time playing in a 3x $ and XP mode and made nearly $150,000 which was a nice change.

Now I can sell more.  Looks like there’s more product, so it’s worth more, meaning a bigger payday for me!  Now, where’s that helicopter? Oh, a mail truck….slow, easy to hunt down by other players, not my idea of fun! Still, I got it done. One guy parked up trying to block me in whilst I was out making a drop-off.  Shot him in the face, never saw him again.  Success!

So, I’m a business owner, but the “passive” income so far, seems like more jobs, which is fine.  I just expected that after spending over a million dollars just to get to this point, I’d maybe see some return on my investments.  I have, it’s about $50,000 which isn’t quite what I expected, but this is GTA Online!

Keep investing

I read online about people with multiple businesses, raking it in.  Surely I’m missing something? Probably just not playing it enough to reap the real benefits.

Each business requires additional updates to improve productivity and enhance security so you don’t get robbed.  A few hundred thousand more per upgrade! I don’t know if you’ll every truly see that money back from running businesses.

What else would you do though? Heists take time and people.  Everything else is a grind to get anywhere near that kind of money.  So use what you have, and work a little to at least guarantee some income when you’re playing.

It might be possible for the businesses to become completely autonomous, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Future plans

I always wanted to get to owning a business in GTA Online, so I’m pretty pleased to have gotten there.  Particularly without buying any currency!

Thankfully, I know there’s more free money coming my way, for playing this week, and hopefully that will bump me up to about $500,000 again.  I’ll invest in my existing business for now, but maybe one day I’ll branch out beyond that.

There’s the whole CEO angle, too. Running a corporate empire instead of a biker gang. I’m not sure of the differences, the investment required or the work involved, but once I’m content with my money forgery, I’ll see what I can do.

By the time I actually get any further, perhaps GTA online will be obsolete? Particularly with the potential Red Dead Redemption Online from Rockstar themselves?

Money, money, money

GTA Online is so well crafted towards letting you do what you want, when you want, it’s always fun.  Especially with friends.

Everything that sets you apart from everyone else, though, costs money.  The costs are frankly ridiculous.  Some cars cost several million each.

I suppose the super-expensive stuff is essentially end-game gear, attainable by only those that have done the latest heist on hard-mode, and invested time over the years to already have a business empire?

It seems to me, that even though it’s a over-exaggerated version of our lives, it’s pretty realistic.  You get out what you put in, and the rich get richer, owning everything they want.  While some of us scratch around for whatever we can get, just so we can get a new jacket or something to help us stand-apart from everyone else.

The truth is, if I spent all my spare time only playing GTA Online, I could be rich, and I’d understand the systems. I don’t, I won’t and I can’t.  That’s fine though, because, again, like in real life, you need to ask yourself, “is all this shiny new stuff to buy, really worth the effort I’m putting in? Would my time be better spent doing something else?”

Sure, I’d love the riches, but I don’t play often enough to feel like I need it.

Let’s see what time brings, eh?

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