Bikers has been owning GTA press ever since it launched a littler over a week ago, and with reason. The massive update added a host of new content to Online, including new vehicles, missions and a new business-owning mechanic opening up new opportunities to make cash. While even upon launch the specifics of the businesses were still shrouded in mystery, by now enough time has passed for players to learn the ropes.
Businesses offer long-term passive income, which is why their efficiency hadn't been accurately gauged earlier. Now that players have had a week to track their profits and determine which of the new GTA Online businesses are the best investment, guides have been popping up all around regarding maximum efficiency.
In total, there are five types of business that your character can own, and you have the chance to own one of each type simultaneously. That said, players have already reported management turning into a hassle at just four, so while you can own all five, it doesn't mean that's the best approach (unless you take a page from the book of real world companies, and hire people to play for you while you're doing something else).
The businesses include document forgery, money laundering, cocaine labs, meth labs and marijuana farms. Each of them have a different rate of production and a different profit margin, and the cost of supplies are different as well. That said, we suggested in our Money Making Guide to steal supplies instead of buying them, however this is only viable with 1-2, maybe 3 businesses max.
The Meth and Cocaine labs take the longest time to produce goods, however they have pretty high payouts, coming in at around $GTA 420-430k every 5 hours. The document forgery and weed farm businesses bring up the rear with a ~130k payout. It's smaller than the hard drug labs, but it's ready sooner. In the mid range we have money laundering, giving players a decent balance of speed and profit.
As it stands, coupled with the hybrid crate method, the high-end businesses are the best in the long term, however they require a large investment, as upgrades are an absolute necessity unless you plan on bleeding cash through your little enterprise. The Meth and Cocaine labs take a good long while to make a return on investment, however once they do, the profits will be glorious, and you can go on playing other profitable missions in GTA Online in the meantime.
The best thing about businesses is that they keep ticking down on the timer in the background even when you're not in an MC or busy doing other activities like Heists or running crates as a CEO. This way the high-end businesses offer plenty of time in between runs to do profitable missions - in essence, you'll be making money while you make money.
However, you should be prepared for a bit of the fun getting drained from the game this way. If you've noticed that this article reads more like a corporate puff piece instead of something about a video game, you'll be guaranteed to feel like running a GTA Online business is actual work. You'll need to steal or buy the supplies, and come back every 5 hours to play through a small sell mission.
On the flip-side, the smaller businesses are hardly a waste of cash, especially if you're not particularly wealthy to begin with. The weed farm, for example, will provide a return on investment really quickly, and even if the frequent payouts basically amount to pocket change in the GTA economy (oh god I can feel the fun factor fading), they'll add up over time and at least cover the costs of things like ammo and consumables, which are quite critical for lower-level players without an 8 figure in-game bank account.
Since players at this stage will be spending their time with shorter activities anyway, not longer missions like crate-running in bulk or a full Heist, they'll be able to slot in the business resupply and selling runs to their itinerary (this is getting worse) with ease.
We mentioned investing in upgrades, which is crucial unless you want to constantly trot back to your business to repel a raid. If a raid is successful, you'll lose all of your supplies and product in the business. That said, once you buy an upgrade, it's permanently yours just like the business itself. This makes upgrades a one-time but necessary investment (next time you play, wear business causal).
Upgrades will not only boost the speed and return on your supplies, but they'll decrease the frequency of raids and make your NPC guards more proficient at protecting your seedy source of income. If you upgrade your businesses, you may be letting more cash out of your hands in the beginning, but you'll turn a profit quicker.
Depending on how much time you're prepared to dump into business management, we suggest you plan ahead as to how many of these things you'll take on. If you can't play that much or are rolling solo, we recommend only buying one or two businesses, and preferably the Meth and Coke labs, lest you find yourself only dealing with these during your playtime and nothing else.
Have you already dived into GTA Online's new businesses? Which ones do you own?