All of these numbers are for fully upgraded businesses
Establishing a baseline for comparison:
- The VIP Work: Headhunter with an Oppressor MkII and a player that knows all the spawns and NPC behaviors and best kill methods for every location, takes around 2 minutes and 30 seconds on average (my best is 1 minute and 30 seconds, and my worst is 2 minutes and 50 seconds), and earns $20,500. This means $8,200 per minute (this can only be done once per 10 minutes, so it is not a "grind method", and I am only including it for reference).
- The Client Job/VIP Work grind loop (Diamond Shopping, Headhunter, Targeted Data, Sightseer, Robbery in Progress, repeated in a loop in that order), with an Oppressor MkII using the optimal method (never driving the van anywhere, just flying there with Oppressor and memorizing all locations) takes around 20 minutes on average (my best is 17 minutes and my worst is 22 minutes), and earns $138,500 per loop. This means $6,925 per minute ($415,500 per hour).
- The Vehicle Import/Export work takes on average 4-7 minutes (depending on how annoying the mission is; the breakdown is 1-2 minutes to fly there with Oppressor, 30 seconds to fight and steal the car, and the rest is the drive back) to steal and then 1.5-2 minutes to sell (my usual time is 1m30s), via the Terrorbyte starting method to save time, which means a total time of around 6 + 1.5 = 7 minutes and 30 seconds per car that you steal and sell. With the average damage of 1-2k on steal and 1.5k on sale (due to pursuer bullets), you earn ~$75,000 profit per car, which means $10,000 per minute. You can only sell 3 cars per hour due to the 20-minute post-sale cooldown, so you can only actively work for 22 minutes and 30 seconds and the rest of the hour is just wasted on cooldowns, but if you do only those 3 sales and idle the rest of the hour, you would earn $225,000 per hour.
- Finally, if you combine all of the most profitable solo grinds, and you do a "master loop" which involves first doing a vehicle steal+export (7.5 minutes for $75k), then followed by a Client Job/VIP Work loop (20 minutes for $138,500), which is a total of 27 minutes and 30 seconds of work for $75,000 + $138,500 = $213,500 per each "master loop", then you earn $7,764 per minute ($465,840 per hour). It is also very fun, since you get high-speed car chases, and a very fun and varied client/VIP job loop.
- Lastly, you combine that with the two Passive incomes: First of all, Nightclub, which generates $10,000/hour from Coke, $8,570/h from Cargo, $8,500/h from Meth, $7,500/h from Bunker Weapons, and $7,000/h from Counterfeit Cash, for a total of $41,570 per hour generated totally passively, and you sell it once per around 15 hours, to always get the fast Speedo truck to do the sale in around 7-8 minutes each time. And secondly, the Bunker, which is worth $1,050,000 when full, and fills up via 5 purchased resupplies which each lasts for 2 hours and 20 minutes of passive waiting, meaning a total of 11 hours and 40 minutes of passive waiting, and the supplies costing 5 x $75k = $375k, which means a profit of $675,000, passively earned at a rate of $57,857 per hour, and you sell the bunker by restarting until you get either the two Phantom Wedge trucks or one of the fast Insurgent deliveries (preferably the single-drop one, or at least a good layout for the multi-drop ones), so that you easily do each sale in around 10-12 minutes (the restarts only cost $10,500 x number of vehicles lost when restarting, and your time is worth more than a failed/impossible/slow mission). This means, that the passive incomes, add $41,570 + $57,857 = $99,427 per hour earned passively.
- That puts the total for the "master loop" and the passive Nightclub and Bunker to $565,267 per hour. But for purposes of comparisons with MC Businesses, the passives will not be included at all. Only the $465,840 per hour from the "master loop".
Now let's look at MC Businesses:
- We have established above, that your time is worth $7,756 per minute. That is what you would earn every single minute if you do the "master loop" described above. So anytime that you do anything else, you are losing $7,756 per minute.
- This is known as "Opportunity Cost" in economics: The money you lose by wasting your time with something else, instead of doing the most profitable thing with your time.
MC Business Basics:
- The highest profit per hour is Cocaine, so we will only look at that business for the comparison. The other MC Businesses are much worse. We will also assume that you have the Alamo Sea (Grand Senora Desert) lockup, which is widely known as the best location for fast missions. And as mentioned above, we assume fully upgraded Cocaine production.
- You need to visit either a Master Control Terminal (in Arcade) or the Cocaine lockup three times to resupply. Because you need 2.5 full bars of supplies to generate 1 full bar of Cocaine stock.
- The supplies cost $75,000 per bar (so it costs $187,500 to fill up the whole Cocaine stock), and this is money that you must pay, because it requires 5 resupply missions to fill a single $75k bar of supplies, which takes a huge amount of wasted time. All smart grinders know, that instead of wasting your time doing manual MC supply runs, you should be using your time on the most profitable incomes you have instead. If you can earn more than $75k in the same amount of time that 5 supply missions would have taken you, then you would lose money by stealing MC supplies. And you'd have to be incompetent to not be able to earn that amount yourself in the time it takes to do all those supply missions (times 2.5 to fill the whole stock, so 13 steal-missions would be required in total to fill a whole Cocaine stock). The cost of any "free" supplies is exactly the amount of money you could have gotten in the same time with your most profitable grinding method. Let's say that you on average take 10 minutes per resupply run, and remember that you need 5 of those steal-missions to fill a $75k bar of purchased supplies, which means that you are wasting 50 minutes to "save" 75k. If you just stole a car and sold it via Vehicle Export, you'd steal and sell that car for ~75k in at most 10 minutes, and could buy the full bar of supplies with that car-money, and then just relax for the remaining 40 minutes you'd have wasted if you did the 5 steal-missions. In short: NEVER steal MC supplies. You lose money by stealing supplies.
- Every full bar of supplies lasts 2 hours in the Cocaine lockup, so you need to visit every 1h50m to order new supplies (since they take 10 minutes to arrive, to perfectly coincide with when the previous supplies are empty).
- Since 2.5 bars of supplies are needed for a full Cocaine stock, it means that it will take 2.5 x 2 = 5 hours of active production to get a 100% full Cocaine lockup.
- Lastly, the whole 100% full Cocaine stock sells for $420,000, minus the $187,500 that you paid for supplies by being intelligent and not wasting your valuable time, meaning that the profit for a full Cocaine lockup is exactly $232,500. But… that's not exactly true profit either…
The Opportunity Cost of Managing the MC Business:
- Flying from central Los Santos (Arcadius as reference) to the Alamo Sea Cocaine Lockup, using an Oppressor MkII, with the handbrake speed trick to fly faster, takes 1 minute and 23 seconds from the moment of sitting on the oppressor and boosting away from the Arcadius ground entrance, to reaching the Cocaine lockup, when flying via the straightest line possible. A perfect flight. The same flight in a Buzzard takes 1 minute and 52 seconds.
- The time above is just a single, one-way flight time! You need to fly there, then go inside and use the computer and order supplies (adds 60 seconds), and then you need to go out and fly back to the city to do your regular grinding loop or whatever you were doing. You need to do that three times for the three resupplies. You also need a final one-way flight to get there to START the sales mission, which takes 1 flight time + 40 seconds to go inside and start the mission.
- So this means, that using an Oppressor, you waste (3 x (1m23s + 1m + 1m23s) for resupplying) + (1m23s + 40s to start sale) = (3 x 226 seconds) + (123 seconds) = 801 seconds = 13 minutes and 21 seconds to do three resupplies and the final flight there to start the mission.
- With a Buzzard, the math is instead (3 x (1m52s + 1m + 1m52s) for resupplying) + (1m52s + 40s to start sale) = (3 x 284 seconds) + (152 seconds) = 1004 seconds = 16 minutes and 44 seconds. And yet again, this is only the time spent on doing three resupplies and then flying there to start the mission.
- Your time is valued at $7,756 per minute ("master loop" money making method), meaning that the travel-time alone up there, costs you 13.35 minutes x $7,756 = $103,542 lost if you use an Oppressor, or 16.73 x $7,756 = $129,758 lost if you use a Buzzard. That is your opportunity cost. That is the money you've forever lost by wasting your time on flying to the Cocaine lockup and buying three resupplies and flying there to do one mission start.
- So, take your "full Cocaine lockup profit" of $232,500 (the $420,000 minus the 2.5 supply costs), and subtract the money you lost by resupplying your Cocaine business instead of doing the "master loop" money making method, and you end up with remaining "Cocaine profits" as follows: $232,500 – $103,532 = $128,958 remaining profit if you use an Oppressor for the resupplies and starting the sale, or $232,500 – $129,758 = $102,742 remaining profit if you use a Buzzard for the resupplies and starting the sale.
Actual Profitability of the Sale Itself
- Always do the sale at 100% full. Everything else is a waste of time and money, due to all the time (and lost money) it takes to do tons of smaller solo sales.
- Okay, so you've started the Cocaine sale, wohoo! If you did everything until now with an Oppressor, you can look forward to earning $128,958 after the sale is complete. If you did everything with a Buzzard instead, you can look forward to earning $102,742 after the sale is complete.
- But here's your next issue… delivering a full Cocaine lockup solo is a huge pain in the ass, requiring you to deliver 3-4 vehicles, with missions ranging from "impossible to solo" to "extreme stress and using up the full 30 minutes if soloed" (such as Post Op Vans or Trash Trucks) to, at best, missions that are stressful and using up almost the full half-hour. Many times, you could also have bad luck such as a vehicle getting knocked by an NPC driver and getting stuck somewhere, which means you fail to deliver the final vehicle with just a few seconds too late, meaning that you've wasted half an hour and need to restart the whole mission again…
- And every time you restart an MC sales mission, you lose 0.5 bars of stock (out of the 5 bars). The 5 bars sell for $420,000, which means that 1 bar sells for $84,000, which means that 0.5 bars (what you lose from restarting) sells for $42,000. So every time you restart an MC Sales mission, you lose/erase $42,000 from your profits. And keep in mind that your profit is already only in the $103-129k range as explained above, which means that you actually lose 41% (buzzard math) or 32.5% (oppressor math) of your profits just from a single restart. Leaving you with $86,958 remaining profits if oppressor, or $60,742 if buzzard, but that isn't even factoring in the time it takes to "Find New Session" which is worth money too ($7,756 per minute via master loop), thus erasing an additional $24-40k (avg $32k) of the remaining profits just by losing 3-5 minutes to do the whole restart. Which leaves you with $54,958 remaining profits after restart if Oppressor was used, or $28,742 remaining profits after restart if Buzzard was used…
- …So do NOT restart and do NOT fail the mission! Because it would erase absolutely all profit, and you could get yet another instant-failure mission after restarting…
- You obviously want to get the full $128,958 profit (Oppressor) or full $102,742 profit (Buzzard). So you will need to do ONE mission and SUCCEED.
- Therefore, you ask 3 friends for help. But before we talk about that, let's talk about how much time you are allowed to use to deliver 100% of the Cocaine vehicles, if you want the delivery to be profitable. Your time is valued at, yet again, $7,756 per minute ("master loop" grinding method), meaning that for the $128,958 (Oppressor) profit, you must take less than 16 minutes and 38 seconds. And for the $102,742 (Buzzard) profit, you must take less than 13 minutes and 15 seconds.
- If you take longer or equal to that, then you did all of the Cocaine business work for nothing and just lose money compared to the "master loop" method.
- Your delivery mission from start-to-finish needs to take significantly less than 16m38s (Oppressor) or 13m15s (Buzzard) to have made the whole thing worth your time whatsoever.
- Therefore, we come to the subject of the 3 friends. Notice that I did not say "1-3 friends". You need 3 friends to guarantee that there is 1 person per vehicle if there is a 4-vehicle delivery mission, so that you can get it delivered sufficiently fast to ensure that your time was worth it, otherwise it would all be total waste of time if you are 3 people and get 4 vehicles. You must also be in a solo lobby with only the friends in it, and be fast enough to do the sales before any random people join and grief you and blow up the cargo.
- Alright, congratulations, you were 4 people doing the delivery and you did it all perfectly in 8-12 minutes. Meaning that you've actually made a very small profit compared to the "master loop" solo grinding method. But if you were trying to do this solo or with 1-2 friends (instead of 4), then it would have been a total waste of your time…
- …but wait, it is STILL A TOTAL WASTE OF YOUR TIME even though you managed to deliver it perfectly and rapidly in just 8-12 minutes with 3 friends! Why? Because now your friends expect you to help them sell their own MC businesses, which you earn nothing for at all, and which means that you lose a few hundred thousand dollars: 4 people each doing an average of 12 minutes per delivery that you help each other with (since you also need to fly back to the drug businesses to start each new mission) = 48 minutes to sell everyone's stuff, multiplied by your $7,756 per minute ("master loop" method)…
- …meaning that you could have gained $372,288 "master loop" dollars while you were wasting time doing four people's MC sales, which is only slightly offset your own ~129k (Oppressor) or ~103k (Buzzard) profit since one of the sales missions was your own, and the small ~25k-ish commission for each friend you help (~75k total commission when you've helped your 3 friends), meaning that you gain 129 + 75k = 204k if Oppressor, or 178k if Buzzard, in the same time that you could have instead gained $372,288…
- …meaning that in the time it takes to do everyone's MC business sales, including your own, you could have earned double the money by doing the "master loop" method.
- Furthermore, MC Businesses bring constant headaches, such as raids every 3 hours (if no security upgrade) or every 6 hours (if security upgraded), which is counted every time you're in freeroam sessions. So you have to factor in the stress and annoyance from going there to rescue the MC Business from police attacks. That's even more money (time) that you lose. And some people get around it by never registering as MC President, but that's stupid, since then you can't spawn your instant Oppressor for rapid grinding via the "master loop" method.
Are MC Businesses ever worth your time?
- Longer answer: Noooooooooooooooo.
- But the best-case scenario is if you have an Arcade with a Master Control Terminal, and you only do the best MC businesses (Cocaine, and possibly also Meth), and you just casually refill their supplies via the MCT supplies when you see that it's completely empty (don't do it prematurely since you'll lose even more of its meager profits), whenever you're at the MCT to refill your much more profitable Bunker. And then, when the MC business is full, bring in some friends and just relax and don't worry about the time, and then randomly help them another time.
- In that case, you're doing the resupplying "without wasting time", since you only do them when you're already at the MCT to refill your bunker. And assuming that you buy the security upgrades to get 6 hours of freeroam time between raids (remember that Cocaine fills up in 5 hours), and that your friends are on frequently enough that you can do the sales before any raids trigger, then you won't have to waste any time on defense/raids. So in that case, you're getting the full $232,500 profit, minus the ~3 minutes ($23,268 "master loop" dollars) that it takes to get all your friends to travel there and start the sale together, meaning that if you do casual resupplies via MCT and then travel there with friends to start the sale, your final profit is $209,232.
- But, even though you've optimized things a bit by having the MCT, the number above ($209,232 of profit) is still before subtracting the time you'd have to use to help your friends with similar sales missions at other times.
- So, in the end… no. MC Businesses will NEVER be worth your time, whatsoever, compared to professional money making methods.
- But perhaps, if you reduce the grind via the MCT, and just casually do sales with friends who are willing to help, and you are willing to help friends sell too, then you could have it as a low-effort income, which is not as intense as the professional money making loops. You'd just have to make your own sale with a few friends, maybe defend your product a few times when your friends are not online, and then casually help them with their own sales. If you think that sounds good, then do it.
- But keep one final thing in mind: Let's say your own sales mission, with helpers, takes 12 minutes, to give you that $209,232 profit. In that time you could have stolen and sold a car for an average of $75k profit and also done a Diamond Shopping mission for $32k profit, for a total of $107k profit. And let's say you do that veeeery casually and at a relaxed pace and take the full 12 minutes to do the car theft and diamond theft. That's also very low-effort work, and pays very well. And sure, in this comparison you would get 100k extra if you do a cocaine sale in that amount of time. But is that 100k worth the time you'll have to spend being "indebted" to help your friends with their own MC sales? Instead of wasting time on their and your MC sales, why not just do a car export and Diamond Shopping for yourself ($107k profit), and then do it once again for the first friend you would help (+$107k), and then for the next (+$107k), and then for the final (+$107k). Suddenly you've gained $428k (4 times: car export + diamonds, taking 12 minutes each time), instead of the $209k that you'd have gained by selling cocaine and then going away to help your friends with their cocaine sales.
- To put it another way: Even casual players earn more money if they just spend their "casual time" doing one car sale and one diamond shopping.
- So, very long story short: There is NO scenario where ANY MC business is worth your time. EVER. Not even for casual players. Even the best business, Cocaine, is a total waste of your time and energy and stress.
- Is it at least worth getting a Cocaine lockup when you are new and starting the game? No. Get a high-end apartment so that you can host heists, give yourself a high payout in all heist finales, buy the cheapest office (Maze Bank West), then buy a Vehicle Warehouse and start doing vehicle thefts and sales for ~75k per car, and then buy a fully upgraded bunker (Farmhouse (best location) or Chumash (has trouble reaching the east side in time but still decent) are required for solo grinding), and then work your way up to a Nightclub and connect it to your Bunker (your first of the five passive Nightclub incomes), and buy a small Warehouse and connect that to the Nightclub too (your second passive income), and then save up for a Terrorbyte (for Client Jobs) and Oppressor (for fast grinding with efficient travel and strong missiles), and finally buy and connect the Cocaine, Meth and Counterfeit Cash MC businesses to your Nightclub (just to finish off your final three passive Nightclub income sources), without ever doing the MC businesses manually. There is no point where any player ever needs any MC business!
- The end. Congratulations if you've read this far!
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