While the businesses introduced in GTA Online's Bikers DLC aren't the most profitable ventures in the game and come with the unfortunate side effect of receiving constant phone calls from LJT whinging about your work ethic, they're a great way to get some low-effort cash while working on more efficient jobs. Check out our full GTA Online making money guide or our Most Profitable Activities guide for where Bikers Businesses fit in the scheme of things.
However maximizing profit from the businesses is key to making them a worthwhile pursuit, and there's a lot of data the game doesn't tell you upfront. It's possible that your way of managing your businesses needs a whole lot of streamlining and optimization but you don't even know it and profits might improve significantly as a result.
A useful chart put together by Reddit user Echobox419 (reproduced below) has reiterated that the Cocaine Lockup is the most profitable business, however some further intricacies of the business mechanic has been revealed as well. Much like in the case of our Vehicle Durability Guide, some of the underlying systems here aren't apparent to the player.
Before we jump into the hard data, an interesting observation to remember is that the three businesses centered around drugs produce at a misaligned ratio, meaning that a full bar of production doesn't equal a round number of sellable units. This is why having one completed bar won't allow you to sell any product with the Cocaine Lockup, for example.
The fractions add up to a whole number at 5 bars in each case, however in between there is always some excess product created, and that excess is wasted whenever you shut down a business. Keep in mind that these numbers come from businesses with fully upgraded Equipment and Staff attributes, so un-upgraded businesses may yield varied results.
Another thing to consider before immediately picking the Cocaine Lockup is your playstyle. Unlike in the case of CEO work, delivering more crates - or product, in this case - won't give you a bonus on profit. You'll get the same percentage payout regardless of how many units of product you deliver. If you're playing solo, dealing with more delivery vehicles can be a pain and you might end up losing a whole lot more than you gain.
Since Cocaine doesn't produce any sellable units with the first bar, and the second bar sells for less than Meth, Weed and Counterfeit Cash while selling for the equivalent of Documents, it might not be the best choice. It becomes the best paying business from three bars and up, which is also when delivering solo becomes tricky.
A different spreadsheet also exists which has somewhat different numbers, but reaches the same conclusions in terms of which business is the most profitable, leaving Cocaine at the top of the food chain. This other chart comes from Reddit user jc9289 and can be found by clicking here. The main advantage jc9289's chart has over the one above is that it includes the exact time required to break even with your businesses, and the statistics can be important for solo players.
After Cocaine, Counterfeit Cash is the second most lucrative business, selling at pretty decent rates even with few bars. As a solo player, a good technique is to deliver fewer units more frequently to keep a high success rate. Delivering a larger haul alone is possible, but it requires skill and above all else, time. In the long run, multiple short deliveries will be quicker than fewer big hauls.
Supplying Your Businesses
You should also balance how you'll supply your businesses. You might initially think that in the pursuit of more money, stealing the supplies is the best course of action as opposed to buying them, as this will lead to greater profit, however the best hybrid money making method relies on using businesses as a semi-passive source of income alongside Import/Export work.
The key here is that export missions yield greater profits than a business powered by stolen supplies. This means if you save time by buying supplies, and spend the extra time on export missions, you'll end up with more profit than if you spend extra time on stealing supplies for your business. Of course, this mainly applies to solo players.
Playing With Friends
Things change significantly when playing with friends. Since buying supplies will only allow you to partially fill your bars, a good technique here is to buy as much as you can and then steal the rest for maximum yield. Then, go off and do other activities (Import/Export missions are also more profitable and quicker when done in a group) while the goods get cooked, and then you sell everything off in one go for a huge payout.
Cocaine Is King
The chart created by Echobox419 does all the math for us, and shows that a full set of Cocaine product sells for the best amount both in the case of stolen and bought supplies, though Counterfeit Cash with stolen supplies beats Cocaine with bought supplies. The absolute maximum profit you can make is GTA$ 112,000 with zero investment and GTA$ 93,000 with bought supplies. Cocaine is also the fastest producing business, with one bar of supplies being produced in just 24 minutes, and the whole batch completing in 2 hours. The other businesses take around half an hour for a single batch, and those extra minutes add up in the long run.
Ignore Document Forgery
The Document Forgery business is by far the least profitable, so much so that doing a local region sale with bought supplies leaves you with a net loss instead of any kind of profit. It would be wise to ignore that type of business altogether, even if you decide to take the route of operating multiple businesses.
Mixing It Up
On the topic of multiple businesses, it's an option that might seem most appealing to players who plain and simple dislike Import/Export missions to the point of not wanting to play them at all. Generally speaking, Import/Export missions are more risky, since they require you to be in a public lobby opening you to PVP. However, if you lag yourself into your own public lobby, the game will scale up NPC resistance to make things hard on you.
Product Delivery missions, and even Supply Stealing missions, are fairly simple on the other hand. They can be done in private lobbies and the game doesn't hike the difficulty in these cases, so if you're running solo and find Import/Export to not be your cup of tea, running multiple businesses is a great way to make some nice cash in GTA Online.
Biker Businesses and Gunrunning?
With the popular theory that the upcoming gunrunning update may be linked to Bikers prevalent amongst players, some have suggested that it's possible the new DLC will add to, or change, the business mechanic currently in the game. We can easily see further business types added to the game, and one change we'd suggest would be making Document Forgery not as utterly pointless as it is right now.
Regardless, this chart is a nice piece of insight into the inner workings of GTA Online. As time passes, players will likely test out and discover other similar, hidden aspects of the game to better understand the systems and mechanics that govern its world. If you're hot on Bikers content, we have a few guides that can help you maximize your gains.
Don't make the common mistake of dismissing businesses just because they're not as profitable as CEO work - they're a key element to performing the most effective money making method, and with this guide, you'll know how to adapt them to your particular style of play.