Back in 2016, GTA Online received a neat little update titled Bikers. Beyond fulfilling the community's longest standing request for the game by adding an entire update's worth of content centered on biker gangs, it also blessed us all with the Businesses, Online's most underrated way of making tons of cash with little effort.
As baffling as it may be, some players actually don't think much of businesses and their money making capabilities. Some players also happen to be very very wrong. When done right, running a business in GTA Online, or even several concurrently, is a great way to line your pockets with cold hard cash.
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Here's the thing, getting businesses up and running takes some minor initial payment and investment before it actually starts functioning. Once your business is yours and ready to work, you'll have to keep it stocked with supplies.
There are two ways of going about these restocking missions: you can either buy supplies, thus decreasing your overall profit, or you can find and steal the supplies, not spending on operations and increasing your profit at the price of greater effort invested.
Regardless of which option you choose, in the end, a well-maintained business will earn you tons of cash with little effort needed from you, and once you're experienced with the system, you can start operating multiple businesses simultaneously for even more cash.
Get a Clubhouse
Before we even get to buying your business, you'll need to own a Clubhouse. Since these are essential for most content in Bikers, we'll go forward assuming you already have one. In any case, they're not particularly expensive, and you'll make a return on the investment in no time. Clubhouses come in two variations - Single Story and Double Story. Expect to pay between GTA$ 200,000 and 500,000 for the property.
The Open Road
However, let's start slow, shall we? Bikers uses it's own, less elegant version of Securoserve in the form of The Open Road, which is a play on the real world "Silk Road", an online black market. You can pick from five distinct business types: document forgery, counterfeit cash, weed farming, cooking meth and producing cocaine.
Each type has several actual businesses assigned to it, each in a different price range, allowing you to pick a location for your illegal enterprise, provided your budget allows it. The general rule is that the closer you are to the city, the more you'll be paying while roughing it out in the countryside far from civilization is the cheaper option.
Note: A glitch may occasionally affect businesses production. However, this is easily solved by quitting and then logging back into GTA Online.
All in all, the cocaine lockup is the most profitable of the businesses, with the meth lab coming in as second place. Really, the only difference between the different businesses is location, so you won't be at any significant disadvantage by buying the cheapest one. The cheapest cocaine lockup is located by the Alamo Sea, and will set you back $975,000. For reference, the most expensive one is in Morningwood and costs $1,852,500.
For a more detailed look at how the various businesses measure up to one another, check out this guide.
LJT / Long John Teabag
Now, before we proceed, it's likely that you've encountered some complaints about one "LJT" on various GTA Online communities. This "LJT", short for Long John Teabag, is the operator of the Open Road and is presumably Lester Crest's alter-ego. If you jump into the Bikers business of your choice, get ready to receive a lot of calls from him. A lot. He'll pester you if you keep your business running well, he'll pester you if you don't and he'll even pester you if you get rid of your businesses.
LJT has become such a nuisance for some players that he's been cited as the main cause of a rally of sorts to introduce the feature that allows players to block incoming calls from NPCs entirely. He'll call you so bloody often that most players are up in arms about it.
However, if you can deal with all that, a lucrative future awaits in the cocaine selling business. Of course, when expanding later on, you can try out any of the other types of business, but there is no difference in gameplay, only odd factors like how much supplies you need, how often you'll sell and what kind of profit you'll make.
Upgrade your Business
Once you have the keys to your preferred business, it's time to upgrade. Sure, it might seem like overkill to spend on upgrading the business since you just bought it right now, but you're going to have to do it sooner or later anyway, and you might as well hit the ground running so to say.
Staff and Equipment upgrades are pretty much essential. These will allow you to maximize profit while minimizing the time between sales, allowing you to make more cash in less time. Security upgrades aren't that important, as you'll only need to worry about events which these prevent if you're actively an MC president. Luckily for you, your businesses keep churning out product even when you're not.
Total Initial Cost
All in all, the business itself (in this case, the cheapest cocaine lockup) and the upgrades together will set you back 2 million, plus the clubhouse if you don't own that already. If you don't, then add GTA$200,000 to that, which is the cost of the cheapest clubhouse.
So, you're $GTA 2 million poorer and the owner of the cocaine lockup. What now? After you complete the relatively simple start-up mission it's time to either buy or steal supplies. Now, this is where whether or not you have buddies becomes an important question.
Buying supplies will cost you $GTA 15,000 for each bar filled, which is a pretty hefty price in the face of what you'll be making with the sales. On the other hand, the supply missions are designed with multiplayer in mind, so all players can only carry one unit of supplies. If you're soloing it, you might want to consider shelling out that $GTA 75k rather than spending a ton of effort on soloing supply missions.
All businesses have limited story capacity, with a maximum of 60 units of supplies and 60 units of product. Production will only take place if there are supplies present in your business, but this is pretty self explanatory. You don't need to be present while production takes place, nor does it involve any gameplay. It's really just a cooldown of sorts.
Selling and Solo'ing (or not)
When time comes to sell, there are a few things to keep in mind. Unlike in the case of crates in CEO work, you won't get a bonus for selling a full set of product. In essence, you get paid for what you sell, no matter how much you sell. Selling half of your product will get you exactly half the payout, without missing out on any special bonus rewards.
As in the case of supply missions, only one unit of product can be carried by a single player at any time. If you're soloing, this will make thing pretty time-consuming, not to mention the fact that most sell missions are designed with teams of multiple players in mind meaning that in some cases completing the mission alone is downright impossible.
While soloing crates, for example, is a viable strategy, you'll more of less need to get together with friends or fellow crew members to get those crispy dollars from the businesses. Sure, technically it is possible to solo, but it will be pretty damn difficult and definitely time-consuming.
For solo players, there are a number of activities which provide better results, such as running crates or importing vehicles. Team-players on the other hand can earn a massive amount of cash with operating several businesses concurrently.
The most advanced of techniques is a blend of various tasks. You'll need to math out the cooldowns and timers to maximise efficiency, but putting together a formula of alternating between crates and importing vehicles while doing select VIP jobs and managing your businesses during cooldowns will result in the money flowing like there is no tomorrow, and soon you'll have enough saved up that you don't even need to continue with this technique.
What is your preferred method of managing a business in GTA Online?