I don’t think I ever anticipated getting as hooked to Grand Theft Auto Online as I have recently. I mean, it’s been a long time since an online game pulled me in to the point where I was putting in sessions that lasted well over ten hours, whilst I’ve also been neglecting every other video game that has come out in the meantime. Calling it addictive would be an understatement, though the fact that the game just so happens to be brilliant makes it all worthwhile.
Part of that addiction stems from the fact that you can create your own business empire in the game. Whilst roaming across Los Santos killing other players or taking part in the excellent ‘Transform Races’ is an option (and a very good one, might I add), it’s putting together a series of businesses and watching them rake in some serious dollar that turned the game into an obsession for me. All of a sudden, all of those super cool vehicles and buildings that I never thought I could afford became an option, and it didn’t take long before I was swooning all of the ladies of San Andreas as I sped across the freeway in my Batmobile-inspired Vigilante. I mean, seriously, look at how ridiculously cool it is:
Building up a business empire isn’t easy though and it requires time, dedication, patience, and a serious amount of cash before you can even start thinking about it – Rockstar Games have really gone all out in offering something that’s both incredibly satisfying and rewarding, but also demands a real effort from the player. That’s why we’ve put this guide together to point you in the right direction in setting up your business, tell you where the best place to start is, tell you how to make the most amount of money in the quickest time, and also offer a few tips and tricks to make sure that your empire doesn’t come crashing down before it even gets a chance to begin.
IT TAKES TWO
Grand Theft Auto Online is designed to be a sociable game – you know, one where you can work together as you commit a series of crimes. The Heists alone are the perfect demonstration of this, where you have to work with up to three other players to pull off some intricate robberies/jobs for a hefty reward.
Baring the social aspect in mind, our business empire was built around two players. You can’t actually share your businesses though (there can only be one Big Boss – well, unless you’re playing Metal Gear Solid), but instead can have another player working for you as you complete each job or as you ship your merchandise across San Andreas. Whilst the top dog typically pulls in most of the cash (that’ll be you), your accomplice will also get enough to keep them happy. It’s a team effort though, so if you’re both building up an empire you can take it in turns to help each other out.
So, there you have it – the first step to forging San Andreas’ ultimate business empire is getting someone to help you out. This guide was based around just two of us, but hey, the more the merrier.
LOOKING THE PART
Once you’ve got someone to help you out, the next important step is to make sure you look good. Look, this might not seem like an ‘important step’ to you, but you’re neglecting the fact that you’re about to become a bigwig in the city of Los Santos – no-one ever did that in khaki pants and a t-shirt, so you’ve got to make sure you look the part if you want to be taken seriously.
Take a look at me down below:
I’ve gone for a slick black suit that make me look like I’ve come straight out of Reservoir Dogs (which is the ‘cool’ that we’re aiming for), but also smart enough that I could pass for a business hot shot. Now I’m not going to tell you what to wear, but unless it costs over $5000 and makes you look like you’re ready for business, I want you to close this guide and re-think your life choices.
Next, you need to get a mask.
Now I know what you’re thinking – ‘why on earth do I need a mask?’. Fool. A good mask is the key to a solid business empire and is probably the one thing that will make-or-break your efforts at becoming a TRILLIONAIRE. That’s right; if you want to see twelve zeroes in your bank account you’ll need a mask. Does it benefit gameplay? No. Does it affect your business in-game? No. Does it make you look like a bad ass in-game? Not always, but I’ll be damned if I see anyone not wearing a mask step foot into any of my businesses throughout San Andreas. As Bane always said, ‘no one cared who I was until I put on the mask’ – well, that applies to Grand Theft Auto Online too, so just listen to me and get a mask.
Now you’ve got a sharp suit and a mask, ready yourself to become Grand Theft Auto Online’s ULTIMATE BUSINESS MAN (or woman, we’re not sexist). Or you can completely skip those steps and do it anyway; whatever, you do you, I don’t care.
MOTORCYCLE CLUB & CONTRACTS
WHERE TO START
Onto the serious stuff, it’s worth pointing out that you’re going to need a decent stash of cash before you can start out. If you’re a complete newbie to the game and have just bought it, there’s a good chance you’d have had a bonus $1.25 million Shark Card with the game – that’s the perfect scenario. Alternatively, you might have been playing for a while and managed to put some money together anyway, which again is another great scenario.
Or maybe you have nothing. It’s the worst case scenario, but it’s not the end of the world.
In our opinion, the best place to start as far as putting your business empire together is with a Motorcycle Club. These are the cheapest options and give you access to missions that are pretty easy to complete and also pull in a decent amount of cash (especially during bonus periods where they get doubled). The cheapest Motorcycle Club comes in at $365,000 too, which is a reasonable amount to save up.
How do you get that initial lump sum though? You can earn cash from just playing in races or death matches with other players, by becoming a bodyguard for a VIP, by completing any heists you’re invited to, or even by temporarily joining someone else’s Motorcycle Club and completing missions with them if they’re available. Rockstar Games throw in plenty of bonuses here and there too – at the time of writing, you earn a nice $200,000 just by signing up to their mailing list! In the grand scheme of things, $365,000 isn’t a ridiculous amount of money in Grand Theft Auto Online, so with a little bit of effort you should be able to get it in no time.
BUYING YOUR MOTORCYCLE CLUB
Once you’ve got your cash together, it’s time to invest in a Motorcycle Club! Now the cheapest one you can buy is located all the way up in the top of Blaine County. Whilst the missions tend to span across the whole of San Andreas, I’ve found that most of them are based in Los Santos – this means you can expect to make a few lengthy trips when completing a mission and then heading back to your base for the next one.
This isn’t really the end of the world though; there’s an air strip that isn’t too far away for you to steal a helicopter or plane from, whilst sometimes the missions might be a bit closer to home anyway. Of course, if you’re following our plan of having two players working together, you can be a bit cleverer and have one of you purchase a Motorcycle Club in Blaine County and one of you a more expensive one in Los Santos – this way, you can work out which one is closer when you complete a mission, and quickly head there instead. That’s what we did, and we managed to rake in hundreds upon hundreds of thousands fairly swiftly because of it. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter who is in the President of the Motorcycle Club as long as you’re willing to work together to complete each contract.
DO YOU REALLY NEED A PRETTY CLUB?!
One thing that’s worth noting is that when you buy your Motorcycle Club, you’ll be given the option to decorate it in a variety of ways. Don’t bother; these are just aesthetic changes and won’t influence how you make money in any shape or form. Don’t worry, you can always make renovations to the place when your bank account is starting to ignite and you can justify shelling out some cash to put together the Motorcycle Club of your dreams. To begin with though, I’d recommend just sticking to the default settings and instead saving your cash for more lucrative business ventures.
DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A DRUG BARON?!
When you head into your Motorcycle Club you’ll be able to access your laptop where you can partake in a few side activities, including ‘document forgery’, a ‘weed farm’, selling ‘cocaine’, delivering ‘counterfeit cash’, and producing ‘methamphetamine’. These are additional ways to bring in some extra dough, but require a cash investment and a bit of work before you’ll see some serious rewards come from them. When you’ve got the money to really invest yourself into them they can be a good way to make some additional income – we all want to become Tony Montanas or Walt and Jesses, after all – but when you’re starting out there are far better things to spend your cash on. Don’t worry though; they’re something that’ll be touched upon later in the guide.
TAKING ON SOME CLUB CONTRACTS
it’s with the Motorcycle Club contracts where you’ll be spending most of your time pulling in a decent amount of cash to begin with. They’re always available and give a nice reward, especially during double cash/RP events. Your Motorcycle Club will have a room that has a selection of contracts on the wall (the room will also have a huge table in it, just in case you’re struggling to find it). There’ll only ever be up to three contracts available at any given time, though depending on the missions that other Motorcycle Clubs in the area have taken out, you might find yourself with two, or maybe just the one.
Now this is something that’s worth pointing out; there can only be one Motorcycle Club contract playing out in a game session at a time. This means that if any other players in the session have a Motorcycle Club and are taking part in a mission, you’ll have to wait until it’s over before you can do one yourself. Now this could actually prove to be quite frustrating; at the end of the day, you want to pull in cash as fast as you can, so waiting for around ten minutes or so for a mission to become available was pretty annoying. The best solution? Head to the options menu and simply find a new session. If you’ve got your ‘Spawn Location’ set to your last location, you’ll come back outside of your Motorcycle Club and hopefully no other players will be taking part in a Motorcycle Club contract. If they are, just find a new session and try again – it shouldn’t take you long before you’re able to find one and be on your way.
It’s also worth noting that some of the Motorcycle Club missions require more than one player. Again, if you’re approaching it like we did you’ll have a friend with you anyway, but if not it means you might miss out on the most lucrative of contracts as well as be stuck with some that you can’t actually complete. If you’re playing solo and find yourself only having the choice of partaking in multiplayer contracts, you’ve got two options: find a new session or try inviting random players to your Motorcycle Club.
If you decide to find a new session, you’ll find that the Motorcycle Club will have new contracts. If you’re still stuck with multiplayer ones only though, just find another new session until you find success. They do refresh over time, but with no obvious way of figuring out how long it’ll actually take it’s the easiest way to approach it. Of course, inviting random players to your Motorcycle Club is a feasible way of taking them on, but from my own experience they’re not always the most reliable; I’ve had players quit midway through a mission and even just completely ignore the objective. That isn’t always the case of course, and you’ll find plenty of players who are more than willing to get on board and help you out. It does prove that it’s better to play with a friend who’s a bit more reliable, though.
WHICH CONTRACTS ARE THE BEST?
Some Motorcycle Club contracts are a lot easier than others or sometimes gave a bit more cash, so there’re are certainly some that are worth looking out for more than others. Here are a few personal favourites which I found were the easiest to complete:
- Guns for Hire
Now this is the one you’ll really want to keep an eye out for, since it’s the most lucrative and actually one of the easiest contracts to take part in. Basically, you and another player have to make your way to two cars, transport them to a specific location, and then defend them for five minutes from a bunch of enemies. The thing is, the enemies come in on motorbikes, so provided you’ve got a decent weapon you can easily pick them off before they get a chance to get near to you. Honestly, it’s really easy to complete and sometimes you’ll only actually have one wave of enemies that attack, so it simply becomes a waiting game. Easy dolla.
In ‘P.O.W’, you’re tasked with heading to a location, clearing it of enemies, and rescuing a hostage. It’s fairly straight forward, but you will need a decent gun if you’re going to survive; there are typically a ton of enemies in each location. Fortunately, you can die as often as you like, and you’re given a decent time limit to complete the mission in so you shouldn’t run into too many problems. My main piece of advice with this contract is to take a helicopter with you; you’ve got to extract the captive and take them to a specific location once you’ve found them, so having a helicopter to do this will make your life a hell of a lot easier. If you’re doing the ‘P.O.W.’ contract that’s in the Police Station, there’s actually a helicopter on the roof anyway, so just head straight for that.
Now the ‘Torched’ contracts are typically very easy; you just reach a location, kill all of the enemies, and then destroy munitions with Molotov cocktails that are given to you. They don’t take long to complete and the enemies go down with minimal fuss, so you shouldn’t even die in the process. The only time they ever become difficult is if other players online decide to help defend the munitions – depending on how many players are in the session, this might not even be a problem, but if you find that a group of players are stopping you from reaching the munitions it can be very troublesome indeed. I’ve completed this contract a ton of times though and only on two occasions did I see other players trying to stop me, so for the most part it’s a safe, quick, and easy bet – however, on both of those occasions the contracts ended in a failure, so it’s all relative.
- Weapon of Choice
Again, this is an easy contract with the only real obstacle being how far away your targets might be. You’re given a target and you have to reach them and kill them with a specific weapon. The weapon you have to use is always in the vicinity of the target though, and they’re never well-defended to the point where they become difficult to take out. Even if things go badly and you end up killing them with the wrong weapon (which I hate to admit I accidentally did on a few occasions – no-one’s perfect, leave me alone) you still bring in some cash too, though admittedly it’s a much smaller figure.
THE WORST CONTRACT EVER
Whilst these are some of the better ways to pull in some good cash, there’s one contract in particular that you’ll want to avoid like the plague – ‘Fragile Goods’. This contract sees you chasing down multiple vans in order to blow them up. Seems simple, right? Well the fact that the vans are constantly moving is a pain in itself, but they also just so happen to be ridiculously well armoured. Seriously, I was unleashing so many homing missiles onto one of these vans, and it still took forever to explode. It’s just not worth the time or effort to complete, and if you find yourself faced with just that contract you might want to find a new session.
SOME ADDITIONAL TIPS
I’ve covered a lot already, but here are some additional tips that are worth considering when working on your Motorcycle Club:
- It’s worth owning a couple of motorcycles so you can always have one delivered to you if required. Some missions require you to have a motorcycle, plus they’re incredibly quick and make it easier to get around.
- Don’t be afraid to use other vehicles though. Sometimes it’s quicker to get around in a helicopter (which are easy to steal), whilst other times you might be transporting someone and would be better off with a car that gives you a bit more protection.
- Be wary of other players. Nearly all contracts can be ruined by another player taking you out, protecting a target, or killing someone you have to protect, so you’ve always got to be ready to defend yourself. Some players are real b******* though and might even attack you with one of the Lazer jets, which is pretty hard to defend yourself against. When taking on missions, take a look at the total player count in-game and if it’s ridiculously high, it might be worth heading into a new session.
- You’ve got to be patient. Making money in Grand Theft Auto Online is easy enough to do, but you’re still going to be spending a lot of time to really rake it in. Whilst a Motorcycle Club might not seem like the best start to everyone, it ensures you’ve always got a stream of contracts coming in that are easy to complete and pay well. You’re never working directly against players, but instead AI opponents that are easier to take care of – it makes a difference.
MOVING ON TO GRANDER VENTURES
Whilst completing these contracts is a good way to pull in some money, you’ll have to get a fair few done before you’re able to move onto the next business venture in our guide – Importing/Exporting. It involves purchasing an office and a vehicle warehouse to start looking at the car stealing and selling side of Grand Theft Auto Online, which just so happens to be one of the most lucrative options in the game. Still, it requires a fair bit of cash to kick off – you’ll need $1 million for the cheapest office and $1.5 million for the cheapest warehouse before you can even think about taking it on. That’s a LOT of cash and you’re going to have to do a LOT of work to get it.
You can keep going with the Motorcycle Club missions (it’s fun, feasible, and takes minimal effort and hey – it’s what I’ve just spent close to three thousand words talking about), though if you prefer you can find your own way of making the cash if you want to perform Heists or compete with other players. Whilst we naturally recommend completing the Motorcycle Club contracts, there isn’t a massive variety and they can feel repetitive at times. It’s a good starting point though and, as mentioned, you’ll never run out of things to do.
As soon as you’ve got that $2.5 million ready though, be prepared to steal some cars and make some SERIOUS profit. Your business empire might’ve started with a Motorcycle Club, but believe me, it’s about to become a whole lot bigger…
Part Two of ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Grand Theft Auto Online’s Businesses’ is coming soon – follow us on Twitter to keep updated!