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How this Sunshine Coast pensioner earns a living from side hustles

Move over, millennials! Seniors are tapping into tech to make money, with people such as Brendon Clancy, 64, earning through technology, side hustles and hobbies.

Jessica Pilon-Summons

Former school teacher Brendon and his wife, Cathie, have spent a lifetime working with children’s organisations and community groups around the world, and were still working and touring as musicians internationally until COVID hit.

Back in Australia, Brendon realised that he’d have to get creative to keep earning an income while international travel is off the cards.

He became interested in using technology to make money as a way to fight back against rising living expenses and support himself and his wife Cathie through retirement.

Among Brendon’s tech side hustles is renting his cars out through Uber Carshare. He boosts his income by sharing a small (and growing) fleet of cars with his Sunshine Coast community and tourists.

So far, Brendon’s fleet includes a Kia Carnival, Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato and a Toyota Yaris.

Brendon listed his first car on Uber Carshare in March 2021, after searching for new ways for his car to earn him money.

“I was doing a bit of driving for Uber, but also looking at something to do part-time. I wanted to be able to generate income without having to be spending time out there driving people around”

Renting my car out made a lot of sense. I started with one car, found there was demand, and it grew from there.”

Starting small, scaling up

Brendon’s most profitable car is a little red Toyota Yaris, which he picked up for under $7,0000. It’s a car that ticks all the boxes for a car sharing fleet:

  • Low purchase cost
  • Low running costs
  • Great fuel efficiency
  • Automatic transmission
  • Reliable and cheap to maintain
  • Familiar and easy to drive

“The Yaris is almost always booked out,” says Brendon.

“They’re usually long bookings of 3 days or more. There was one young lady who booked it for nearly six weeks over June and July this year, and the day it came back, it was booked out again.”

You can see this car in the background of Brendon’s channel 7 news segment!

Return on investment

Brendon’s pricing strategy is to set the daily rate at a very affordable $30, and set the distance price at 45 cents per kilometre. This makes his car a perfect choice for people who need a car for a long time - say for the school holidays, or while their own car is in for repairs - but don’t plan on driving long distances.

After accounting for running costs, Brendon’s making a regular $400 - $500 a month (or $4,800 - $6,000 a year) with this busy little car.

At this rate, he can expect to generate a 60% yearly return on his $7,000 investment.

Diversify, diversify!

Tourists to the Sunshine Coast - as well as local families - need a range of vehicle types.

Brendon and Cathie have diversified their fleet with a Kia Carnival people mover. At $55 a day, this 8-seater is a bargain for anyone travelling with a group.

Sharing economy entrepreneurship

Brendon has also started a business with Airbnb and manages five properties.

He has plans to double both of his businesses over the next six months, adding one car a month to his fleet between now and the end of the year, and five or more properties.

Brendon sees these tech-enabled enterprises as simply a new way to use that old-fashioned technology: your smarts.

“The best tech people have is their minds. Use your mind! It’s not like the olden days of chickens and growing your own vegetables – there is so much money-making and saving tech to be aware of now, it would be criminal not to make use of it.”

Interested in putting your car to work or starting a business like Brendon? Learn more about sharing your car.