In GTA Online, money is all that matters.
MONEY GUIDE VIDEOS
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, $GTA is the means to everything, including more money.
So naturally, "What is the best and fastest way to make money in GTA Online?" is one of the community's evergreen questions that is asked time and time again.
As GTA Online is constantly expanded with DLC, the top money-making tactics also change. There was a time when each subsequent new update would bring with it the most lucrative new content, however for almost a year now the top activities have remained unchanged. While new DLC usually brings strong money making contenders, GTA Online players demand efficiency, and the GTA$/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.
$500K an Hour in GTA Online
In the video below we show you, step by step, how to earn GTA$500,000 in under an hour in GTA Online. It involves a mix of different CEO missions, including Import/Export and there are very few requirements. We also have a text version on the site here.
In spite of being the first content update to feature a business, 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.
Finance and Felony created the archetype of the supply-store-sell business format in GTA Online, which has been the basis of all new money making activities since.
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$/hour than running crates did due to a slew of cooldowns, but one solid way to get more cash is with collections. Selling specific shopping lists of cars nets you a bonus over just selling random cars together.
Check out our Import/Export guide here.
Farming The Doomsday Heist
While Heists should be part of your money making tactics anyhow, the more difficult yet more rewarding heists added to the game with The Doomsday Heist DLC can straight up replace them. With the two space-ranger weapons added in a weekly update, with their overpowered damage and high fire rate, as well as the lack of reloading, even the end-game difficulty of these harder missions become easy as long as you play smart and communicate with your team. Replace those Pac-Stan runs with The Doomsday Heist and you'll be making more GTA$ with the same, or less, effort.
Keep An Eye On The Weekly Bonuses
While often we get weekly bonuses doubling the payouts of Adversary Modes, which still amount to less income than most of these methods, we also often see double rewards promos and +50% payout promos on some of the most lucrative activities in the game. While double reward heists are extremely rare, getting double GTA$ for Bikers, Gunrunning or Smuggler's Run sell missions happen quite frequently. Occasionally we also see discounts on sourcing special cargo, or double rewards for Import/Export sell missions, which we already outlined earlier. While you can't really plan on these, every other week or so has a decent promotion and making the most of them can vastly increase your character's funds.
Buy The Nightclub And The Warehouse
This particular method is double-sided. On the one hand, you have the less important aspect - the Nightclub itself. Introduced in the After Hours DLC, Nightclubs offer a way to earn passive income without any effort, which you can increase if you wish with upgrades and the occasional popularity mission. This will boost the passive income, but even at its maximum it isn't a large figure - but hey, free cash! It adds up over time, so it's worth hopping over to your Nightclub safe every now and then to take out the money.
However, on the other hand you have the absolute game changer - the Nightclub warehouse. This ties into our next suggestion, so read on.
Check out our After Hours guide here.
This 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$/hour ratios, though they are quite close. If you put your mind to it, it may be possible to calculate a new hybrid method using one or both of those for an even better way, but so far, it has not been discovered.
The newest version of this particular method relies greatly on the Nightclub Warehouse. Basically the Nightclub Warehouse centralizes all of your businesses, allowing you to source, produce and start sell missions for all of them - including CEO work, Bikers businesses, Import/Export, Gunrunning and Smuggling. This streamlines the process significantly, cutting out travel time and all the faffing around with your pipeline.
The biggest bonus howere are the technicians. The Nightclub Warehouse comes with one technician by default, but you can buy additional ones. Technicians create supplies to be sold on their own, for free. It takes time, but this greatly increases your profit margins on all sell missions, since there is significantly less investment involved. With Business Battles, you can earn additional supplies in a much easier way than traditional sourcing, further boosting your GTA$ earnings.
Under most 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.
$250K Per Hour Optimal Jobs List
We also have a step-by-step guide on how you can earn the highest amount of GTA$ in an hour, which provides a complete walkthrough of the process you need to earn up to GTA$ 250,000 every hour of gameplay. Playing the jobs in the guide in order is key to its success due to the way cooldowns sync up. We've put together an informative and comprehensive video guide, but you can find written instructions below it as well.
This method requires the use of a Benefactor Terrorbyte. We also recommend the use of a Pegassi Oppressor Mk II, though it is optional - without it you'll earn less though.
The first step is to register as a VIP or CEO, and begin by playing Headhunter, accessed from the VIP Work tab of the interaction menu. Completing this job is easy to do even if you are playing alone, and shouldn't take long especially if you are using an Oppressor.
After finishing Headhunter, the next step is to call in your Terrorbyte from the mechanic, since you'll need to do a client job next. You'll need to access your terminal inside the Terrorbyte and select Diamond Shopping. The game will prompt you to get into the driver's seat of the Terrorbyte, but this is optional, just get on the Oppressor to reach the target area sooner.
If you remember where you played the first story mode heist, you can just fly there from muscle memory, but our video shows the exact location - there won't be a waypoint generated unless you drive the Terrorbyte. Simply complete the mission - easy to do with the Oppressor - then move on to Sightseer, another VIP job.
After you're done with the trivial Sightseer, it's time to go back to the Terrorbyte for a run of Robbery in Progress. Find the robbery using the security cameras, fly over with the Oppressor and steal the gold. Once you're done, you're done - this is the loop you need to repeat as many times as you need (or can bare) if you want to earn the most in the least amount of time.