How do you make money in GTA Online? While there's more to Los Santos than the size of your bank balance, Rockstar's crime sandbox is infinitely more enjoyable when you can fund the kind of lifestyle you want. Whether it's deciding upon the Best Cars and Vehicles to Buy or purchasing the Best Weapons, you're going to need to line your coffers with cash. Fortunately, practically everything you do in the game will earn you GTA$, but there are instances where you'll need to speculate to accumulate.
So, as part of our GTA Online guide, we're going to explain how to make money, regardless of whether you're a seasoned pro looking to maximise your profits or a complete rookie with nothing but an avatar to your name. Meanwhile, if you're looking for a more general list of things to do, then you can always refer to our First Things to Do in Los Santos article. And if you're focusing on the single player campaign for now, then you can learn more about GTA 5 Money through the link.
GTA Online: How to Make Money
Making money in GTA Online can become an obsession for some players. There are tactics and strategies you can employ to maximise your income, and many of them will be presented in this article. Before we dig into that, however, it's important to remember that this is a game first and foremost, and while it can be fun to see your bank balance grow through dedicated graft, always remember to mix things up and enjoy yourself above all. Practically everything you do in Los Santos will contribute towards your finances, and so as long as you're having fun and doing the things you enjoy, you will make money.
The purpose of this guide is to present a rags to riches roadmap for both new players and returning fans. GTA Online is an enormous game, and there's seemingly no limit to the type of activities you can occupy yourself with. Moreover, it can be difficult to know where to spend your money in order to get the best returns. As a result, this page will introduce you to the concepts of the game's economy, and also provide you with a walkthrough from pauper to millionaire, with attainable goals and checklists.
GTA Online: How to Make Money As a Beginner
How do you make money as a beginner in GTA Online? We're assuming, at this stage, that you've just arrived in Los Santos and have completed the onboarding missions. You'll probably feel like there are a million things you can do, so what's the next step? At this stage, you should be focused on the first set of Heists, and you'll need a $200,000 High-End Apartment to launch them. Therefore, your goal should be to make enough money to purchase the property you need, and it's not as difficult as you may think. In this section of the guide, we're going to show you how to make money as a beginner, and start your journey from rags to riches.
Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack
One thing to consider straight away is whether your copy of GTA Online came with the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack. This item is often bundled with copies of GTA 5 or it can be purchased separately from the PS Store, and while it does retail for £7.99/$9.99 individually, it may be worth the investment if you're looking to jumpstart your experience.
While it's not essential, the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack includes the Maze Bank West Executive Office (arguably the Best Office to Buy) and the Paleto Forest Bunker, which doesn't have a great location but will allow you to learn How to Get Rich from Gunrunning. You'll also get a Counterfeit Cash Factory, which is one of the Best MC Businesses to Buy.
As well as a bunch of weapons, vehicles, and cosmetics, the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack will also grant you GTA$1,000,000 right away, so you'll be able to purchase a High-End Apartment and get started with the Heists while earning money passively with your businesses. It's not essential, and you don't have to spend any real money in GTA Online if you don't want to, but this is worth introducing as an option.
GTA Online Weekly Update
Every week, Rockstar releases the GTA Online Weekly Update. This often includes double GTA$ on specific playlists and activities, many of which are available for newcomers to enjoy. If you're just starting out in Los Santos, then it can be well worth your time to pay attention to which series and playlists are currently being promoted, as spending a few hours completing Races or competing in Deathmatches can reward you with a very quick cash injection.
While there are plenty of unique and original modes in GTA Online, there's a high chance you'll be familiar with many of the concepts like Survivals (four-player co-op firefights) and King of the Hill (competitive territory-based battles). As such, these are easy to pick up and there's no buy-in on them, meaning they're practically pure profit.
Obviously, the GTA Online Weekly Update rotates every seven days, and some activities — like, for example, How to Get Rich with Warehouse Management at the Nightclub — will require you to own various different Businesses in order to participate. But just pay attention to what Rockstar is promoting, and spend a bit of time with double reward events if you can. Sometimes the developer will even offer lump sums of GTA$ just for doing specific activities in a given timeframe. Pay attention to what's happening in the world of GTA Online, and you can make some quick and easy cash right off the bat.
Diamond & Casino Resort
As a new player, you should also get into the habit of visiting the Diamond & Casino Resort on a daily basis. While you probably shouldn't waste your precious GTA$ gambling at this stage, it's a good idea to take the time to spin The Lucky Wheel every 24 hours. Rewards range from Clothing Items to Vehicle Discounts, but you can also win GTA$ and Chips. You can convert the latter into cash if you don't want to gamble with them. There's also a chance you may win the Podium Prize Vehicle, which will add a very expensive vehicle to your fleet.
While you're at the Diamond & Casino Resort, take a moment to speak to the cashier and collect your free daily allowance of 1,000 Chips. You can bank this or convert it into cash, and while it doesn't amount to much, every little helps at this stage of the game.
While you're out and about exploring Los Santos and taking your first steps into one of the largest and most diverse online sandboxes available, you'll be contacted by a variety of characters. Eventually, you'll get an email from a mysterious account called [email protected], which will include a black-and-white photograph of a location and a clue explaining where to look for it. This starts a Treasure Hunt which will reward you with GTA$5,000 for each clue you successfully complete.
The photo will refer to one of 20 possible random locations. It'll be marked on your map with a yellow radius, and you'll be looking for a note pinned to a rock, tree, or other alternative object. You'll hear the sound of wind chimes the closer you get. Complete this and three further clues will be revealed to you, referring to the following:
- A corpse in Tongva Hills
- A bloody shovel in a destroyed building near Sandy Shores
- An empty gun case at the bottom of a tree in Grapeseed
Find all of these, and the Treasure Hunt questline will conclude with a Treasure Chest being marked on your map. Set a waypoint to it and collect it to unlock the Double-Action Revolver. You'll then need to equip this and use it in Jobs or Freeroam to get 50 headshots with it. Once you're done, you'll earn GTA$250,000 for your troubles, which is enough to purchase a High-End Apartment.
Another character who will contact you while you're minding your own business in GTA Online is Maude, who you may be familiar with from the single player campaign of GTA 5. She'll tell you about a bunch of Bounty Targets, and will email you a mugshot so you can locate them. There are 20 Bounty Targets in total in the game, and you'll be contacted about five randomly.
Once you've opened a Bounty Target email, they'll be marked on your map. Travel to the location and there'll be a yellow radius which will reveal the general area of your Bounty Target. Listen out for church bells in order to pinpoint their exact position.
You can choose to either Kill the Bounty Target or Subdue them. If you use a low-power weapon like a Pistol and don't aim for the head, your Bounty Target may still surrender, but we'd recommend using a melee weapon like the Knuckle Dusters or Nightstick. Once a Bounty Target has surrendered, they'll follow you to your car, where you'll be told to transport them back to Maude's caravan.
Returning a Bounty Target alive will reward you with GTA$10,000 while killing them will net you GTA$5,000, so it pays to be a little less aggressive. Once you've completed five Bounty Target missions, you'll get an email from Maude telling you about a Treasure Chest which contains the Stone Hatchet. Much like with the Treasure Hunt, you'll then need to equip this and use it in Jobs or Freeroam to get 25 kills with it. This will reward you with a further GTA$250,000.
GTA Online: How to Make Money with Heists
How do you make money with Heists in GTA Online? At this point in the guide, we're assuming that you have a decent nest-egg in your Maze Bank. You should have at least GTA$500,000 in your bank from the Treasure Hunt and Bounties alone, while you'll likely have earned more by monitoring Weekly GTA Online Bonuses and just simply playing the game. At this point, you should be ready to purchase your first High-End Apartment and complete some Heists.
It's worth noting that there are many Heists in GTA Online now, but they require you to purchase expensive properties like the Arcade (See Also: Best Arcade to Buy and How to Start the Diamond Casino Heist), Kosatka (See Also: How to Start the Cayo Perico Heist) and Facility. If you can afford the submarine, then you could jump a few steps and go straight to the Cayo Perico Heist, which guarantees the best payday in the game right now. However, if your bank balance is still a little light, then it's best to start with the High-End Apartment Heists.
Best High-End Apartment to Buy
High-End Apartments are cool properties to own in GTA Online, because they allow you to host your own Heists. However, it's recommended that you buy the cheapest High-End Apartment available if you're low on funds. You can get a High-End Apartment from the Dynasty 8 Real Estate website accessed using the Internet browser on your smartphone. We'd recommend you buy Del Perro Heights, Apt 7 as it only costs GTA$200,000. Don't bother with any of the Renovations unless you're feeling flush and really want them.
You'll be contacted by Lester who'll introduce you to the concept of the Heists and then you'll be encouraged to travel to your High-End Apartment in order to launch The Fleeca Job. These missions are extremely fun and, while challenging, will earn you a lot of money.
Complete Heists on Hard
There are five Heists that you can complete from your High-End Apartment. While you can select the difficulty, it's recommended you play on Hard as this will maximise your payday. The Heists are as follows, but please note that potential payouts vary depending on how you perform and what cut you give to your allies:
|Mission Name||Players||Setup Cost||Potential Reward on Hard|
|The Fleeca Job||2||GTA$11,500||GTA$143,750|
|The Prison Break||4||GTA$40,000||GTA$500,000|
|The Humane Labs Raid||4||GTA$54,000||GTA$675,000|
|Series A Funding||4||GTA$40,400||GTA$505,000|
|The Pacific Standard||4||GTA$100,000||GTA$1,250,000|
At this stage in the game you're going to have to speculate to accumulate, but as the table shows you'll be making back much more money upon completing these missions than you'll be paying to set them up. You'll also get first-time completion bonuses of GTA$100,000 for each mission, and an additional GTA$1,000,000 for if you finish them all in order. If you stick with the same team throughout all of the Heists, you'll get a further GTA$1,000,000 on top of that and there is GTA$10,000,000 up for grabs if you don't lose a life. There's potential, then, to earn millions of GTA$ at this stage.
Buy the Karin Kuruma (Armored)
Depending on how much money you've got on hand, it's strongly recommended you splash out on the Karin Kuruma (Armored) after completing The Fleeca Job, or at least while working through the Heists. This car is available to buy from Southern San Andreas Autos for around GTA$525,000, and while that is a big investment, it'll make you practically invulnerable to enemy gunfire while you try to complete the Heists on Hard. If have additional GTA$ on hand, you could also consider taking it to Los Santos Customs and purchasing further armour-based upgrades to fortify it further.
You can read more about the Karin Kuruma (Armored) in our Best Cars and Vehicles to Buy guide, but it's important to remember that while enemies won't be able to fire in, you'll be able to fire out. Consider picking up an AP Pistol if you can afford it, as this is arguably the Best Weapon to use while firing out of the window of your heavily armoured car.
Buy the Kosatka
At this point you should have enough money to branch off into different aspects of GTA Online, and more or less use your accumulated funds how you want to. If you want to stick with Heists, though, you could purchase a Facility to launch the Doomsday Heist or an Arcade to run the The Diamond Casino Heist. However, if you're looking for the best return and you still want to make money as efficiently as possible, we'd recommend you go for the Kosatka.
The Kosatka is a submarine which you can purchase from Warstock Cache & Carry for GTA$2,200,000 and will enable you to launch the Cayo Perico Heist. You can find out How to Start the Cayo Perico Heist through the link, but effectively you'll need to go to the Music Locker and speak to English Dave before embarking on a trip to the new, off-shore Los Santos resort.
Complete the Cayo Perico Heist
The neat thing about the Cayo Perico Heist is that it can be completed by one player, and it can be done in approximately an hour once you're familiar with it. The payday for the finale is also huge, depending on what target you're assigned. The Pink Diamond, for example, can comfortably pay over GTA$1,500,000 from a GTA$25,000 setup cost. All of the payouts are listed below:
|Mission Target||Setup Cost||Potential Reward on Normal||Potential Reward on Hard|
|Madrazo Files (First Attempt Only)||-||GTA$1,100,000||-|
|Panther Statue (Event Only)||GTA$25,000||GTA$1,900,000||GTA$2,090,000|
There are a number of steps that you'll want to take in order to learn How to Make Millions with the Cayo Perico Heist, and they're outlined through the link. Effectively, you're going to want to infiltrate through the Drainage Tunnel and use stealth, along with the Cutting Torch, to get on and off El Rubio's island as quickly as possible. With practice, it's possible to take GTA$1,000,000 scores every hour or so of gameplay.
GTA Online: How to Make Money with Businesses
How do you make money with Businesses in GTA Online? At this point in the guide, you should definitely have some cash in your bank. Whether you've spent hours completing Cayo Perico or jumped to this step directly from the Heists at the High-End Apartment, you should have enough money to begin building a business empire.
There are a variety of different Businesses in GTA Online, although as you'd expect some pay better than others. For this section of our GTA Online guide, we're going to explain the steps you may want to consider taking in order to significantly boost your income. Remember, a lot of these Businesses provide you with passive income, so you can have these working in the background while you grind out Heists or complete other missions. One thing to keep in mind is that you will be attacked while playing in a Public Lobby, so consider reading up on How to Avoid Griefers.
Best Businesses to Buy
While there are a significant number of Businesses you can buy in GTA Online, some pay better than others. You can obviously spend your money wherever you want to — you've earned it after all — but as a rule of thumb we'd recommend buying Businesses in the following order, especially if you're looking to make large sums of money as quickly as possible:
- Office (See also: How to Get Rich with Vehicle Cargo and Special Cargo at the Office)
- Bunker (See also: Best Bunker to Buy and How to Get Rich from Gunrunning)
- Cocaine Lockup (See also: Best MC Businesses to Buy)
- Methamphetamine Lab
- Counterfeit Cash Factory
- Nightclub (See also: How to Get Rich with Warehouse Management at the Nightclub)
Your goal at this stage will be to purchase the Equipment Upgrade and Staff Upgrade for each of your new Businesses (apart from the Vehicle Cargo and Special Cargo) as this will allow you to turn a profit when you Buy Supplies for them. You can then consider purchasing the Terrorbyte and managing all of your Businesses remotely, while also completing Client Jobs to make more money while your employees work in the background.
Embrace the Grind
At this point you'll probably have a good grasp of what kind of things you enjoy doing in GTA Online, and if it's running a criminal empire, then you can almost cycle through your Businesses while they operate passively to ensure you're making a constant stream of income. Obviously it's up to you how you want to play, but here's some suggestions for how we'd recommend you manage things:
||Best Office to Buy and How to Get Rich with Vehicle Cargo and Special Cargo at the Office|
||Best Office to Buy and How to Get Rich with Vehicle Cargo and Special Cargo at the Office|
||Best Bunker to Buy and How to Get Rich from Gunrunning|
|MC Businesses (Cocaine Lockup, Methaphetamine Lab, Counterfeit Cash Factory)||
||Best MC Businesses to Buy|
||Best Nightclub to Buy and How to Get Rich with Warehouse Management at the Nightclub|
The idea here is that you keep each Business supplied and Sell Stock when you're ready. If you're on a cooldown or waiting for your employees to work, then you can tackle VIP Work or Client Jobs to make money while you pass the time.
In order to launch VIP Work, you'll need to know How to Become a CEO. Hold down the touchpad to bring up the Interaction Menu and you can launch jobs from the VIP/CEO Work option in the SecuroServ menu. We'd recommend Headhunter or Sightseer as these can be completed quickly and easily by one player, especially if you have a fast vehicle like the Oppressor Mk 2 or Buzzard Attack Chopper. See our list of the Best Cars and Vehicles to Buy for more information on those.
Alternatively, if you do happen to own a Terrorbyte then you can launch Client Jobs which are equally straightforward and pay incredibly well. We'd recommend Robbery in Progress or Diamond Shopping, as these are quick and easy to complete and can be done by one player. It's worth noting that if you do attempt Diamond Shopping then you will need the Drone Station in the Terrorbyte, although the advantage here is that the job will always take place at the Vangelico Jewel Store so you'll always know where you're travelling to in order to complete the mission.
How do you make money in GTA Online? Be sure to browse our GTA Online guide for much more information, and let us know what your bank balance looks like in the comments section below.