GTA Online Guide – How to Make Money with Smuggler’s Run

Thanks to all for getting back at us for a new episode of GTA Series Videos Tips & Tricks You already know, I’m Gary7 MT for the GTA Series Videos crew – but if you didn’t, now you do! This time we’re peeping out the new business opportunity introduced in “Smuggler’s Run” and drop everything you need to know about costs, time, profits and whatever else you didn’t think you wanted to know yet.

But do! So let’s get straightly to it! Like all other businesses, with “Smuggler’s Run” you will only be able to “buy-and-sell” in public sessions – unless you find some way to play on the down low. This business follows the same structure of the businesses added in Finance & Felony and Import/Export. To sell a product you have to steal it, so your presence and active participation is necessary to get paid. First things first, what’s the best Hangar to buy? Its ain’t like there’s a wide selection: two are located at the Los Santos International Airport and three at Fort Zancudo. The cheapest are at LSIA while the hangars at Fort Zancudo grant players a low-level clearance to the Fort – in other words the ability to enter and fly over and inside Fort Zancudo without gaining a 4-star wanted level.

Thanks to that, the three hangars located in the Fort are the most appealing, but whichever you choose, be ready to face some hard competition. Hangars do not offer any kind of upgrades, staff to pay, etc. Buy the place, decorate it, add a workshop if you want and it’s done. Once inside you can change the position of your planes. You can park a “Pegasus vehicle” changing its status to Personal Aircraft – that can later be called from the interaction menu – or customize your fleet with upgrades, colors and more. To begin smuggling in San Andreas you need to complete a setup mission, which always involves stealing a Mogul from some bikers; once the caper’s done, you can start making money.

Sourcing is the main aspect and focus of this new business. Under the office there’s enough space to store up to 50 crates of goods like, Narcotics, Chemicals, Medical Supplies, Animal Materials, Art & Antiques, Jewelry & Gemstones, Tobacco & Alcohol and Counterfeit Goods. Each individual crate can be sold for $10,000 – fully stocked its worth hits a cool $500,000 – but that’s not all – even more cash can be raised thanks to a bonus we’ll get into later. These missions are crucial for players who wanna buy new aircraft – because completing them, unlocks discount prices – something that in both Import/Export and Gunrunning was tied to a specific, and fun to play, group of missions. In “Smuggler’s Run” instead, after the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th and 21st source missions, you unlock the trade prices for the Ultralight, Rogue, Alpha-Z1, Havok, LF-22 Starling, V-65 Molotok and Tula. But that’s not all, the Bombushka, Howard, Mogul, Pyro, Seabreeze, Nokota and Hunter all have their trade prices as well, that unlock after missions 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39 and 42 are complete.

Like any other business, you need to become a VIP, CEO or MC leader – that last one is not recommended for your health. That’s because first, spawning an armed Buzzard is more useful than any bike can ever be. Second, the most you’ll be able to collect in a single mission is 4 crates – even if you have a full 8-member MC club active. The reason for this is to stop players from filling and then selling out full Hangars in less than an hour. To start a mission, in the new office turn on the PC and choose the material you want to source.

Every mission has a 20-minute time limit. If you’re not able to complete all objectives and bring the crate to the hangar in the time allotted, the mission fails. If in the case of doing the mission with a friend – he manages to get his crate inside the Hangar before time is up, his will be valid and marked as collected – even if you don’t get yours back – the mission is passed. Once a sourcing mission has ended, you can immediately start a new one, unless you are interested in collecting the same material. In the event you do want to stick to the same product, you’ll have to wait. How long you wait depends on what kind of product you want: a four minute cooldown for Narcotics, Chemicals and Medical Supplies, three for Animal Materials, Art and Jewelry and two for all remaining categories – you also have to add an additional minute for every crate collected by one of your associates. There are various missions to play when collecting goods. Most of these require reaching an area, killing up a shitload of enemies and retrieving the cargo dropped by murdered goons, tucked inside fake crates that must be destroyed, or already in other aircraft that you need to jack and take back to your own hangar.

With the exception of the selling missions, you can destroy any given aircraft containing the crates, collect the goods on foot and use the vehicle you like the most to fly back to the Hangar. Moreover, while we talking about destroying aircraft, if these are marked on the map with a white icon, you can simply ignore them and use a different aircraft, while instead a colored icon indicates that using – or at least getting aboard – that aircraft is necessary. But let’s get back to missions. The simplest one requires reaching a Maverick crash site and finding and collecting the lost crate.

Most of these missions are designed to use the abilities of the new aircraft, like dogfighting enemies in Lazers using the new Molotok and Nokota. One of the best missions involves the use of the Tula and killing a group of scavengers in order to retrieve crates lost at sea. Other lit ones are where you silently attack enemies from the Air Ambulance or parachute in for mass stealth-killings of your enemy – then grab the crates. The most common missions unfortunately are, longer and more boring. The first example is the one created for the Hunter – an attack helicopter returning from the 3D era. In these missions, all you have to do is destroy an indefinite number of scramblers around Los Santos and Blaine County to reveal the location of a Brickade, destroy it to retrieve its cargo and take it back to the Hangar.

The same can be said for the Seabreeze, a new, faster plane able to land and take off on water, used for a long mission centered on bombing Tugs and Trash Trucks to retrieve their hidden cargo. Just like for the mission on the Rogue where you have to carpet-bomb roofs filled with enemies just to find out where a couple of Buzzards with cargo are. The last example is the mission featuring the Mogul. Here we have to defend a Titan from armed Buzzards for almost twelve minutes flying continuously in circles waiting for the next fleet of enemies to spawn. All these missions can be played alone and the ones which involve destroying stuff, are undoubtedly better played as such because there will always be fewer and fewer things to bomb before you find the merchandise. Not for nothing, but the design of the new aircraft and missions require at least one friend who can man the aircraft’s secondary weapons. This makes the missions hella’ easier. But its also possible to collect cargo without dealing with missions at all.

Like vehicles from Import/Export, you can destroy or steal other players’ crates. The first option – also known as the “that-motherfucka-method” – awards players who destroy other player’s crates only $2,000. The second option instead – just stealing it – adds an extra crate to your stock only available when an enemy player is on his own source mission. During an enemy’s selling mission, his cargo can’t be ripped off, only destroyed. But don’t forget – the same goes for you! Incorrectly, the game informs you that by destroying or stealing other people’s cargo, your stock will increase – now this is true if you put the stolen crate in your Hangar – because you’re gonna have one more crate, that’s the value increased, not if you destroy other people’s cargo. It doesn’t matter if your stock’s full or if you only have one crate, you can still start a selling mission.

But, it’s important to understand, this one is different from all other updates in that inspite of how much stock you’re selling, you can still find yourself with several aircraft to manage at once, even if you’re selling a single crate. Avoid selling alone in a public session, without a friend, or two (or more) to watch your back and your crates because you might end up getting hit and having all your profits blown to hell. In a selling test we did with a full stock of Chemical materials, we missed a single drop out of fifteen and for that, we lost almost half of our profit. You can choose to fill your Hangar with crates of the same type or get random and take a bit of this and that – but if you’re aiming for maximum profit, always source the same material of one of the first three types. That’s because if you collect at least 25 crates of Narcotics, Chemicals or Medical Supplies, the value of your entire stock gets a 35% bump. If you fill up your Hangar with one those materials, a 70% bonus is unlocked.

You get 12% per every 10 crates of Animal Materials, Art & Antiques and Jewelry & Gemstones – – giving you a maximum profit of $800,000 for a full stock of a single material. The remaining two categories, Tobacco & Alcohol and Counterfeit Goods instead only get a 5% boost and that’s for every five crates, for a max price of $750,000. As always, the “High Demand” bonus is active. We’re talking about a positive bonus of 1% more for each enemy player in the lobby at the moment of the sell. However, to balance it all out, Rockstar Games also added a negative bonus. For every sell completed, Ron will get a 2.5% cut from your profit. That means $250 for a single crate goes to $21,250 for the full stock of prime product sold. Damn! Like sourcing, selling missions also center on the new aircraft added with Smuggler’s Run – and even here the cooldown between two selling missions, no matter how many crates – is just a paltry three minutes. One mission that calls for 2 players – literally it won’t even start if you’re alone – is focused on a new cargo plane, the RM-10 Bombushka. Thing is, with the Bombuska, you have to fly low to drop crates to buyers.

Meanwhile your friends have to arm the machine guns in case they have to end any fools trying to attack in a Buzzard. In another mission you fly Ultralights under a height limit – to avoid activating the “Global Signal”. That’s a becon that broadcasts your position on a map to all the other players in the session. Nothing’ a G wants. But there are also classic missions that require simply flying towards checkpoints using an Alpha Z-1, or dropping cargo in a designated area from a Seabreeze. Still in others you only use a Skylift to bring a container aboard a cargo ship. There are two different missions where helicopters are used. In one, the Cargobob is utilized, while in the other – the Havok.

Each requires multiple deliveries for each player. What this means is that more than one helicopter for a single player is needed if you use the Havok – there will be from two to eight Havoks depending on how many players you have and how much cargo you’re selling. In the mission involving the Cargobob, each player needs to get aboard a Cargobob, lift up a small cargo container and deliver it to a specific place. This process must be repeated at least once. One odd thing we noticed about selling missions, is the number of aircraft the game gives you. With the exception of one selling mission involving four players and eight Havoks, all the missions we played gave us two to three aircraft – even if our team had four players. And like we already said, you could fuck around and end up with three aircrafts to manage during a selling mission – even if you’re playing alone and just selling a few crates. To maximize profits and blow up those paydays, you know you have to fill your hangar with Narcotics, Chemicals or Medical Supplies. Remember, this is so you can sell your full stock for $850,000.

Considering missions can’t take more than 20 minutes – but that most of them can be done in 10, you’ll be able to have a full stock in two and half to a maximum of four and half hours while playing with a team of four. Instead, if you play alone, collecting 50 crates could take up to 18 hours. So, let’s move on to what all G’s are in it for, the math! Here we breakdown costs, profits and more. The least expensive setup for a hangar is $1,200,000, while the most expensive rockets up to $5,670,000, but that’s all. You don’t have to spend money on anything else to run this business – there are no upgrades, fees to pay for having info about the crates or such. Your hangar is even perfectly protected and cannot be raided. To recover the cost of the cheaper hangar, and make a profit of half a million, all you have to do is sell two full stocks of prime materials. But you’ll need to sell seven to get the top one and profit by $280Ks. Both are definitely doable because in the first scenario, even playing alone, in less than 40 hours you’ll be able to record a profit, while in the second scenario you’ll be able to make a profit in less than a single week.

So, it’s definitely easy to break-even in Smuggler’s Run in less than ten hours of abusing your friends’ patience, you can cover all the expenses necessary to start and run your own filthy business. If you’re able to isolate yourself and your friends while selling, you’ll be able to put some serious money in the bank. Still, the Bikers and Gunrunning businesses are better because they keep making money even if you’re focused on something else – and even if you buy supplies, your profit will be nice. The real problem of “Smuggler’s Run” is not its content, but what came before: over a year of updates that followed the same logic and structure. Also dragging it down are the repetitive and long missions, the removal of co-op missions and the fact that you’re still being forced to do everything in public lobbies full of motherfuckers with just one thing in mind: screwing you – surely this isn’t helping the way players are starting to see GTA Online.

And that ends this Tips and Tricks episode. Leave a comment and tell us what you thought about “Smuggler’s Run”. If you want to chat with us and other players or find someone to play GTA Online with, join us in our Official Discord Server or follow our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. That’s all, from the GTA Series Videos crew and yours truly, G7MT. See you next time..

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