Over the years the cost (and amount) of items to purchase in GTA Online has increased substantially, but so too have the ways to make money - everything from completing heists to running all manner of illicit businesses and tackling high end missions is now at your disposal. However, some money making methods are better than others, and with so many different choices it can be quite daunting to know where to invest your time to maximise your profits. This guide will attempt to point you in the right direction, if your sole purpose is to make as much money per hour as possible.
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Potential profits: $400k per hour
If you have three friends and one of you has a high end apartment, Heists are the best way to make money (specifically the Pacific Standard Heist). You’ll need to make sure you’re all of a high enough skill level to be able to complete the missions as efficiently as possible, but if you can get things done without messing around then your bank balance will quickly increase. The newer Doomsday Heists are a good option if there are only two or three of you, but require a higher initial cost as you have to buy a more expensive facility to start them. Again though, you’ll make a lot of money if you get through the heists as efficiently as possible. Online guides and some friends who want the same goals as you will help you here.
Special & Vehicle Cargo
Potential profits: $300k per hour
These two methods have the potential to net the solo player the most money per hour whilst doing other tasks in between jobs. They both require you to have an Office building and (vehicle) warehouses, which can be substantial outgoings, but if you focus on these two aspects you’ll make your investment back relatively quickly. For vehicle cargo specifically, you’ll want to source vehicles to fill your warehouse with all 10 unique standard and mid range cars with no duplicates so that every source mission you do that after that will result in a top range car. From that point on you simply continually export a top range car and source another one, ready to be exported when the timer allows.
Potential profits: $150k per hour
Speaking of “when the timer allows”, if you’re planning to go really hardcore with the money grinding then you’ll want to maximise your playing time. That’s where VIP Work comes in. Once you start an organisation as a VIP or CEO from the interaction menu, you can select “VIP Work” and choose from a number of free roam missions to complete. These are a great way to fill in the time between vehicle exports, for example, and will bump up your hourly earnings. They won’t give you the same profits as other methods if all you do is focus on these, but they are solid filler jobs. Headhunter, Hostile Takeover and Sightseer are notable missions to try.
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Potential profits: $80k per hour
Whilst those potential profit values may not sound wonderful, the beauty of these businesses is that they make money passively. That means they’ll be producing product for you to sell at a profit while you’re making money elsewhere. Buy a Bunker for Gunrunning or a Motorcycle Club and Cocaine business to maximise your profits with these passive methods. Buy or steal supplies for your business and it will convert those supplies into product to sell at a profit when you’re ready to do so. If you actually buy supplies (which is often the best strategy from a money vs time perspective) the only input you’ll need to do to get your profits is to sell your accumulated product via a mission when it’s ready. Be careful though, if you leave things too long your stock will grow to the point where the sell mission will require multiple people, so if you’re a solo player selling frequently is the best strategy.
Potential profits: $50k per hour
These free-roam races against the clock can be quite good money makers if you’re good at them. In the same vein as VIP work, each week you’ll be able to do a new time trial in between other money making activities and take home a one-off payout of $50k for a few minutes of driving. Some can be quite tricky though so looking up guides online for whichever time trial is active that week will be helpful. As soon as you start spending 10+ minutes trying to complete one of these your profit margins dip and you’d have been better off doing something else with your time.
Air Freight Cargo/Nightclubs
Potential profits: Less than other methods
Air Freight Cargo is basically a less profitable version of Special Cargo, while Nightclubs are a less profitable version of Gunrunning. You’ll be better off, from a purely money making perspective, not investing in these businesses and instead focusing on what has already been mentioned. However, if you’re finding yourself getting bored then these are some other options to try to keep things fresh. Ultimately, enjoying the game should be a priority and if making money starts feeling like more of a job then maybe it’s not worth the effort. Always be mindful of why you’re grinding for money and what enjoyment you’re taking from the process.
There are many other ways to make money, such as contact jobs, races, etc, but the methods listed previously are by far the most profitable. Heist groups who have a Gunrunning Bunker running while they breeze through Pacific Standard, or solo players who artfully juggle Vehicle Cargo, VIP Work, and a Gunrunning Bunker, can all earn in the region of $500k per hour. However, that requires some seriously dedicated and efficient grinding, so if you're interested in reaching those goals then follow the resources below for further reading on how to achieve them.
GTA Online Reddit Mega Guide - A great resource for those who want to make the absolute most out of their money making 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.
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.
How Long To Own Everything? - How many hours of pure grinding would it take to afford everything in GTA Online? That is something which is explored in this video, made by the author of this article.
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