How to make money in GTA Online

We've rounded up all the major ways to make money in GTA Online in our comprehensive guide below. Since Grand Theft Auto 5's release, the cost and amount of vehicles, weapons, clothes, and other fun items for sale in GTA Online, the game's multiplayer component, has increased substantially. But so too has the amount of money that can be made. Whether these two things have increased at the same rate is a discussion for another time, but in this article I've collected all the best ways of making money (legitimately) in GTA Online to help players make sense of what can sometimes be a complicated and clumsily-discussed topic.

There are loads of methods to make money in the game that are not listed below, such as racing, deathmatches, missions, and various other game modes. But the amount you get for the time invested has not scaled up since 2013, so comparatively they are very inefficient. New players may find them useful to get started and ultimately, as long as you're enjoying what you're playing, the acquisition of money will come naturally. This guide, though, will focus on a variety of the most efficient ways to make as much money as possible. We've recently updated it to include details on making money through nightclubs in the game. 

It's worth noting that all of the below is focused exclusively on money making. Feel free to mix things up and do what you like the most. Even though the most money per hour will be gained by having a Gunrunning bunker and/or cocaine business working in the background while you grind Vehicle Cargo and VIP Work (if you're playing solo) or the Pacific Standard Heist (if you have a competent group), doing the same thing over and over again can get boring. The absolute maximum you'll ever be able to earn with full on grinding is only around $500k per hour anyway, and while that may sound a lot, it would still take you over 600 hours of pure grinding at that level to be able to buy all the vehicles available in the game (as I explore on my YouTube channel here).

As soon as it becomes a chore to acquire cash, where it feels closer to a job than a game, or you're not enjoying the fruits of your labour as much, it may be time to give moneymaking a rest or look to other games for enjoyment. That issue aside, though, below you'll find the best ways to make money in GTA Online as it currently stands.

If you're looking for GTA 5 cheats, we've got you covered too.  

Double money events

Keep an eye on double money events. Rockstar will change what you can do to earn double money pretty much every week. Sometimes it will be on races or adversary modes that, even with double money, won't be as efficient as the other methods I've listed here. However, sometimes the below methods may have a double money week, such as Gunrunning bunker or Vehicle Cargo sales. The more options you have open to you, the more you can take advantage of these double money events if they happen to be for something lucrative. And if there's ever double money on Heists (which is very rare), you should absolutely do some grinding during that week.

Heists

Potential profits: $400k per hour
Prerequisites: High-end apartment (min cost: $200k) and 3 friends
Method: Walk to the heist planning room in your high-end apartment and select your chosen heist to start. You will need to pay an upfront cost to start the heist as host. Invite your three friends and work through the setup missions and finale. It is recommended to have a good group of four people to do this as communication and skill is required to reduce the time taken, and there are numerous guides online for each mission.
Tip: The Pacific Standard Heist on Hard mode will yield the most profit per hour than any other money making method in the game when done effectively with a competent group of players. The host of any heist doesn’t make any money during setup missions and has to spend money to start each, so it’s a good idea for the host to take 40% of the final heist earnings with other players taking 20% each so that all four players will earn approximately the same overall.

Doomsday Heist

Potential profits: $300k per hour
Prerequisites: Facility (minimum Cost: $1.25 mil) and 1-3 friends
Method: Walk to the heist planning room in your facility and select your chosen heist act to start. You will need to pay an upfront cost to start the heist as host. Invite one, two, or three friends and work through the prep missions, setup missions and finale. As with the old heists, round up a group of decent players because communication and skill is needed to reduce the time taken to beat it.
Tip: Completing these heists with two players rather than four will naturally mean more money per player, as the overall payout remains the same, but the missions will be slightly more difficult and potentially more time consuming with fewer players. The host of any heist doesn’t make any money during setup missions and has to spend money to start each, so it's a good idea for the host to take 40% (4 players)/50% (3 players)/60% (2 players) of the final heist earnings with other players taking an equal share of what remains, so that all players will earn approximately the same overall. Paying to skip prep missions is almost always never worth it from a monetary or time perspective.

Special Cargo

Potential profits: $200k per hour
Prerequisites: Office (minimum cost: $1 mil), warehouse (minimum cost: $250k) & organisation member (CEO)
Method: Start an organisation as a CEO from the SecuroServ option in the interaction menu. Walk to the computer in your office and select "Special Cargo", then "Buy" on the amount of crates you desire. You will need to complete a mission to deliver the crates to your warehouse. You can only carry one crate at a time but you can go back and forth to collect them. You can then use the laptop in the warehouse to sell your collected crates via a delivery mission to turn a profit.
Tip: Buying more crates at once is more time effective, especially if you have friends to help you collect them and deliver to your warehouse. The more crates you sell at once, the more money you'll make per crate, hence a large, full warehouse is the best to build up and sell. Large warehouses cost more to purchase, though, and selling 111 crates at once is a larger risk as you'll either gain 2.2 million or lose everything.

Vehicle Cargo

Potential Profit: $300k per hour
Prerequisites: Office (minimum cost: $1 mil), vehicle warehouse (Minimum Cost: $1.5 mil) & organisation member (CEO)
Method: Start an organisation as a CEO from the SecuroServ option in the interaction menu. Walk to the computer in your office and select "Vehicle Cargo", then "Source Vehicle". You will need to complete a mission to steal a vehicle and drive it back to your vehicle warehouse. Be careful when driving it back as damage will result in repair costs, impacting on profit. You can then use the laptop in the vehicle warehouse to export the vehicle you sourced via a delivery mission to turn a profit.
Tip: Repeat sourcing missions until you fill up your vehicle warehouse with 10 standard range and 10 mid range vehicles with no duplicates. At that point, every source mission will give you a top range vehicle until you get all 12 of those. Only export top range vehicles and sell as many vehicles at once as you can if you have friends to help—this will help maximise profits per hour.

Air Freight Cargo

Potential Profit: $150k per hour
Prerequisites: Hangar (minimum cost: $1.2 mil) and organisation member (VIP/CEO)
Method: Start an organisation as a VIP or CEO from the SecuroServ option in the interaction menu. Walk to the computer in your hangar and select "Source", then the type of cargo you want to source. You will need to complete a mission to deliver the cargo to your hangar. You can then use the laptop in the hangar to sell your collected cargo via a delivery mission to turn a profit.
Tip: Stick to sourcing only one type of cargo, and make it either narcotics, chemicals, or medical supplies. You get a 35% bonus for selling 25 crates of these types, and a 75% bonus for selling all 50 crates. Selling a full hangar will require friends to help you, and in general sourcing cargo with friends is much more time effective.

Gunrunning

Potential Profit: $80k per hour passively (while doing other things)
Prerequisites: Bunker (minimum cost: $1.2 mil) and organisation member (VIP/CEO)
Method: Start an organisation as a VIP or CEO from the SecuroServ option in the interaction menu. Walk to the laptop in your bunker and select "Resupply", then "Steal Supplies" or "Buy Supplies". You will need to complete a mission to deliver the supplies to your bunker if you choose that option, or they can be delivered without any effort if you buy them. Once you have supplies your staff will begin manufacturing, turning them into stock when you're doing most other things in the game. You can then use the laptop in the bunker to sell your stock via a delivery mission to turn a profit.
Tip: Buying supplies is more time effective, as is setting your staff to only manufacturing and buying the equipment/staff upgrades. This is passive income so you should have this running in the background while you make active income from other methods listed. There is no monetary bonus for selling a full bunker, and doing so will require friends if there are multiple vehicles to be used for the sell mission.

Motorcycle Club

Potential Profit: $80k per hour passively (while doing other things)
Prerequisites: Clubhouse (Min Cost: $200k), business (Min Cost: $650k) and Motorcycle Club president
Method: Start a Motorcycle Club as president from the corresponding option in the interaction menu. Walk to the laptop in your business building and select "Resupply", then "Steal Supplies" or "Buy Supplies". You will need to complete a mission to deliver the supplies to your business if you choose that option, or they can be delivered without any effort if you buy them. Once you have supplies your staff will begin production, turning them into stock when you're doing most other things in the game. You can then use the laptop in the business building to sell your stock via a delivery mission to turn a profit.
Tip: Cocaine production is the most profitable (on par with the gunrunning bunker), with the cheapest cocaine business costing $975k to buy, although sell missions often take longer to complete. Buying supplies is more time effective. This is passive income so you should have this running in the background while you make active income from other methods listed. There is no monetary bonus for selling full stock and doing so will require friends if there are multiple vehicles to be used for the sell mission.

Nightclubs

Potential Profit: $40k per hour passively (whilst doing other things)
Prerequisites: Nightclub (Min Cost: $1.1 mil) & Other Businesses (Min Cost: $850k)
Method: Walk to the computer in your nightclub building VIP area and select "Warehouse Management", then assign a Warehouse Technician to one of the goods you have available. The goods you have available will depend on the other businesses you own, such as motorcycle club businesses, gunrunning bunker, or cargo warehouses, and you can assign up to 5 technicians to accrue goods. Once assigned, your technicians will begin acquiring goods on their own when you're doing most other things in the game. You can then use the computer in your nightclub building VIP area to sell your goods via a delivery mission to turn a profit.
Tip: The business aspect of the nightclub is really only for those who have many other businesses already, and it will not make you much money on its own in comparison to everything else listed here. It is merely an extra bump to your hourly income in the same vein as Gunrunning and Motorcycle club businesses, albeit half as profitable. This is passive income so you can have this running in the background whilst you make active income from other methods listed. There is no monetary bonus for selling full stock and it is actually more efficient to sell earlier. To reach the maximum profits of $40k per hour ignore Organic Produce & Printing and Copying, and assign technicians to the other five areas. Then sell goods every time Cash Creation, Pharmaceuticals & South American Imports are full (every 20 hours).

VIP Work

Potential Profit: $150k per hour
Prerequisites: Organisation Member (VIP/CEO)
Method: Start an organisation as a VIP or CEO from the SecuroServ option in the interaction menu. Open up the interaction menu and select "VIP Work", then the mission you want to do. You will need to complete a mission in free roam and will be rewarded with money upon successful completion.
Tip: These missions are a great way to earn some money while waiting for cooldown timers to expire, such as if you're waiting to source another vehicle for your warehouse, as they are completed fairly quickly and pay relatively well. They aren't a replacement for other money making methods, though, as their payout isn't as high, but they're solid filler jobs. Headhunter, Hostile Takeover and Sightseer are notably decent missions to take on.

Premium Races

Potential Profit: $80k per race
Prerequisites: A fast car/bike, good racing ability
Method: Either drive to the location of the premium race, which is a golden stunt wheel on the map, or hover over it and start the job from the map. When the lobby has filled with eight other players, you'll have $20k taken from your bank account. You must finish third or above to make a return on that investment, with the winner of the race receiving $100k, second place taking home $30k, and third place getting their entry fee of $20k back.
Tip: Premium races change every week and are a gamble, as it can take time to fill up a lobby and there is no guarantee you'll make money. If you're proficient at racing, however, are familiar with the stunt race on offer that week and have a good car (if you don't already know beforehand which car to use then you're not ready for the premium race), this can be quite lucrative.

Time Trials

Potential Profit: $50k per time trial
Prerequisites: A fast car/bike
Method: Drive to the location of the time trial, which is a purple stopwatch icon on the map. Start the time trial when you feel ready and attempt to get to the end point in a quicker time than the listed par time. There are no checkpoints in between, so you can take whatever route you like. You'll be rewarded with around $50k for successful completion.
Tip: Time trials change every week and you can only gain the reward for completing them once per week. You do have an unlimited number of tries to beat the par time and can respawn back at the start, but the longer it takes, the less money you effectively make per hour from this method. In general, pulling wheelies on a fast bike will get you to your destination in the quickest way possible.

Daily Objectives

Potential Profit: $1.6 mil per 28 days
Prerequisites: Rank 15
Method: Open up the interaction menu and select "Daily Objectives". This will display the three objectives you'll need to complete on that day. Simply complete each task and you'll be rewarded with $25k upon successful completion. Some tasks may be more difficult to complete than others and require the use of friends to complete easily.
Tip: This is one of the easiest ways to earn money but only if you keep at it every day, as there are significant bonuses for seven and 28 consecutive days of objectives completed. Completing daily objectives for seven days in a row will earn a bonus of $100k, with 28 days in a row netting an extra $500k. The total amount of money you would make by completing all daily objectives for 28 days in a row would be $1.6 million (28x25k + 4x100k + 500k).

Other resources

GTA Online Reddit Mega Guide A great resource for those who want to make the absolute most out of their moneymaking and time with the game. A lot of extra information.
GTA Series Videos Time Trials Guides This shows the way to beat each time trial in GTA Online for easy money each week. Also has guides for premium races.
Broughy1322 Car Testing The best vehicles to use for racing to help get those premium race wins.
Making $500K per hour solo Add the Gunrunning bunker working in the background to this method for the best way to earn money as a solo player.