Grand Theft Auto V key art

5 ways to get rich quick in GTA Online

© Rockstar Games
Get rich and don't die trying with our guide to making bank in Rockstar's online crime-'em-up
Written by Joe DonnellyPublished on
Last week, Grand Theft Auto 5 became the latest complimentary game to be introduced to the Epic Games Store. Despite the fact Rockstar’s interminably popular crime sim is approaching seven years old, and having sold somewhere in the region of 120 million copies to date, the rush to pick up the enduring crime sim free-of-charge crashed Epic’s digital shopfront. Which suggests vacationing in Los Santos is still very much à la mode.
You can still grab GTA 5 – which comes with its online slant, Grand Theft Auto Online in tow – for free until Thursday, May 21. As with other Epic Games Store drops, get it now and it’s yours to keep forever.
If this is your first time in San Andreas, a returning holidaymaker, or a veteran in need of some fresh cash injection ideas, here are five quick-fire ways to get rich in GTA Online.
A quick precursor…
Rockstar Grand Theft Auto V money
Sure, they say money can't buy happiness...
When you first start out in Grand Theft Auto Online, your first point-of-call should be its pre-set, multi-stage missions – doled out by familiar Story Mode stars such as Lamar Davis, Trevor Phillips, Ron Jakowski and Simeon Yetarian, to name but a few. There’s a fair whack of tedious search and retrieve numbers in there, but they’ll all help you generate a modest windfall and boost your rank in the early stages. Once you’ve persevered to the tune of $200,000, you’re ready to make some real money. Get yourself a high-end apartment (one with a heist-planning room), and get ready to commit some grand-scale theft.

Lester’s heists and the Pacific Standard Job

But it can buy you a rifle, or a helicopter
But it can buy you a rifle, or a helicopter
Okay, with the beginner stuff out of the road, let’s get down to business. Not only are GTA Online’s heists some of the game’s most lucrative endeavours, they’re also some of its most entertaining. Lester Crest is your point of contact here, and it makes sense to do his missions in the order they’re presented: The Fleeca Job, The Prison Break, The Humane Labs Raid and Series A Funding. It’s worth noting the host of every heist fronts the bill, so, assuming you want an even split by the end of each job (all bar Fleeca require a minimum four people), consider factoring in overheads when it comes to the final percentage share. The Prison Break, for example, costs $40,000 to set up, and returns $200,000 on easy, $400,000 on normal, and $500,000 on its hard difficulty setting.
If you’ve got the stomach for hard mode, you naturally stand to earn more moolah each time, but doing so will ultimately depend on the trustworthiness and/or competence of your group. Once you’ve waxed those four starter jobs, you’re ready for the first proper earner: The Pacific Standard Job. This ‘un will set you back a whopping $100,000 in set-up fees alone, but will net you $500,000/$1 million/$1.25 million, depending on the difficulty you choose. Play to your group’s strengths with a designated hacker, a demolition enthusiast and two people-pleasing crowd controllers. Split four ways on hard mode, and you could be staring at $400,000 per hour for your troubles. Ker-ching!

The Doomsday Heist

It might even buy you this sweet flying car
It might even buy you this sweet flying car
Once you’ve mastered the Pacific, Lester’s multi-tiered Doomsday Heist should be your next port of call. Split into three acts, the biggest change here beyond its broadened scope, is the fact you’re only required to enlist one buddy for help (instead of three as before). Which can of course mean more money! Expect a spike in difficulty as an obvious trade-off here, but with returns of up to $812,500 in Act I, $1.2 million in Act II, and $1.5 million in Act III, the potential gains with less bodies is tangible.
You’ll need a Facility to kick things off here, with the cheapest going for $1.25 million and being located at the very top of the map. You’ll also need to undertake prep missions before the set-up proper, all of which cost the host money with no financial return. Again, all of this should be considered when finalising the percentage split at the opposite end. On average, expect $300-400,000 per hour upon successful completion of this one.

Special Cargo

Perhaps even an anti-air missle launcher mounted to a trailer
Perhaps even an anti-air missle launcher mounted to a trailer
Between your big heists, a good and steady way to grow your green in GTA Online is Special Cargo missions. To access Special Cargo missions, you need to become a CEO, and to become a CEO you need an Executive Office. The cheapest spot, with default furnishings, is the centrally-located Maze Bank West at $1 million. There are fancier, better-situated and more customisable pads on the market, but this one does the damage. You’ll also need a Warehouse to store your illicit goods. Now, while the 16-crate-storing Convenience Store Lockup in Rancho for $250,000 is decent business, I’d recommend the middle of the range 42-crate Fridgit Annexe in La Puerta which will set you back $925,000.
Once you’ve all that up and running, you’ll steal cargo all over the state of San Andreas, return it to your warehouse, schedule drop-offs and sell your stolen wares to the highest bidder. Easy peasy, right? Well, yes, but with one proviso – Special Cargo missions can only be conducted in Public Free Mode sessions. And people who choose to intervene are compensated for their dirty work. So expect to fend off meddlers by the dozen, as they strive to obliterate your newly swiped goods en route to their new homes. Which is to say: welcome to GTA Online.
You can carry out Special Cargo missions on your lonesome if you wish, but doing so with a few pals can boost your cost/time efficiency. With the right crew, you can expect to earn up to $200,000 per hour here. Covering the map is made easier by a chopper or, better still, a flying DeLorean-aping Deluxo – which is unlocked during the Doomsday Heist’s pre-requisite missions. Special Cargo missions adhere to a cooldown timer between jobs, so completing VIP missions via the SecuroServ Interaction Menu for around $150,000 per hour is a good way to keep busy.
Vehicle and Air Cargo missions are similar operations with similar parameters, whereby instead of Warehouses, you’ll need a Car Garage and a Hangar for each (which cost a minimum of $1 million and $1.2 million, respectively).

Background work – Gunrunning and Motorcycle Clubs

A big wedge of cash could even buy motorbikes for you and the crew
A big wedge of cash could even buy motorbikes for you and the crew
While you’re out robbing banks and stealing flying cars, there are a few ways to earn steady yet modest streams of cash behind the scenes. Think of these gigs as cash-generating side hussles.
Firstly, Gunrunning requires you to purchase a Bunker, the cheapest of which costs $1.2 million. Don’t waste your time stealing supplies because it’s too much of a faff, pay for them, and direct your in-house NPC staff to manufacture-only because researching is a waste of time. You can then check in remotely via the SecuroServ option in the Interaction Menu whenever you want to monitor your progress. Once you’re ready to sell, use the laptop at your bunker to activate a delivery mission and cash in. Once everything is in place, expect to earn around $80,000 per hour while you’re off tending to more important exploits.
Motorcycle Clubs and Nightclubs offer similar passive money-making avenues, with the former the more lucrative of the two. The Great Chaparral Biker Clubhouse is the cheapest on the market at just $200,000, and while there are other businesses less expensive than cocaine, going that extra mile ($975,000) is worth it long-term, even if sell missions are a little more time-consuming. Like Gunrunning, buying goods direct is less hassle, and a fully-functioning operation will also rake in $80k-ish per hour.

Double Events

Fancy a bunker to sell guns from? You'll need $$$
Fancy a bunker to sell guns from? You'll need $$$
Simple but effective, engaging in Rockstar’s weekly double money events is a straightforward way to add zeroes to your bank balance. Refreshed every Thursday, look out for anything that might get you ahead, and likewise look out for limited-time discounts on all of the properties mentioned above. As of May 14, for example, Sell Missions for Gunrunning enthusiasts are paying double. To paraphrase Rockstar itself, where there’s demand, you best provide the supply!