Turning Your Love of Cars into Cash
Whether you thrill to the roar of a big V8, the swoops and curves of today’s supercars, or you’re more of a tuner, there’s a lot to love in the world of cars. What’s more, you can take that love and turn it into profit for yourself and your family. Does that mean you should resign from your job and start turning wrenches for a living? Actually, no. There are plenty of different ways you can turn that passion into cash without becoming a mechanic working in a shop.
On Cars and Cash
Restore the Classics
If you’re a classic car buff, you can turn your passion into cash by restoring and then selling cars. There’s a massive market out there comprised of people who are just as in love with the cars of yesteryear as you, but without the skills and knowledge to restore them on their own. You can turn a tidy profit here if you’re able to find the right models, the right replacement parts and have a place where you can bring it all together.
Of course, you’ll need to go about it the right way. You’ll need a bit of cash to get started – at least enough for the first resto car, as well as money for replacement parts, new paint, etc. Once you sell that first car, you can put the money into the next car, and so on. Make sure to form partnerships with professionals in your area who can do the things you can’t – upholsterers, paint experts, and the like.
Open Your Own Shop
If you just love to work on cars, you can open your own shop out of your garage. You can do whatever you like, from oil changes and brake work to rebuilding engines and transmissions. If your rates are affordable and your work is good, you’ll find a significant market for your skills (depending on your local area, as well as the amount of competition). You can also start small by working on cars for family and friends, and then building your business through word of mouth.
With that being said, you’ll need a place to do your work (a well-appointed garage), as well as the tools and equipment necessary. It makes a lot of sense to invest in quality equipment upfront, as well. You should also make sure that you have insurance in case something goes wrong (otherwise, you’ll be paying for the damage to a customer’s car out of your own pocket).
Buy and Sell
Maybe your passion doesn’t run toward the mechanical side of things, but you still love cars. You can turn that into profit pretty easily by buying and selling cars. This is easier when you have a particular niche, though. Start with the vehicles you’re most passionate about. Love MGs? That can work well. Love vintage muscle cars? There’s a market for those as well. Just about any type of car you might find has a market, and you can make a very good living buying and selling vehicles. If this is the route you choose to go, make sure you partner with a reputable mechanic for repairs to the vehicles you buy. It’s also worth connecting with other professional service providers, from auto glass experts to painters and everything in between.
It’s All in the Details
You don’t have to own a fleet of cars, open up a repair shop, or start your own dealership to cash in on your love of cars. If you know your way around a vehicle’s interior and exterior, you can translate your passion into profit by opening up a detailing service. You can market your services to anyone at all, or you can choose to focus on a particular niche, ranging from classic cars to luxury vehicles, or even serving dealerships if you want. Of course, your market will vary depending on your location, so a little research is vital here.
Follow the Rules
No matter what you decide to do with automobiles, there are a few rules you’ll need to follow to ensure that you’re successful.
- More Than Passion: Yes, passion is the most important ingredient, but you also need some business savvy. You need to make smart decisions from the very beginning. Passion will not keep you going in the long run. Make sure you understand any potential downsides to the business, as well as what’s necessary to get things up and running, and then keep them that way.
- Build a Support Network: No business owner is successful without help. While you might not have to hire employees, you’re still going to need a support network. This can range from professionals who augment your skills to those who specialize in financial matters (you’ll definitely need a good CPA, for instance). Build your support network as soon as possible, and keep those relationships strong.
- Know Your Area: Not all areas will be good fits for every type of business. You might want to specialize in restoring classic British cars, but live in an area where American pickup trucks are the primary mode of transportation. Pay attention to the area, its demands, and then determine how you can fit in while turning a profit.
- Remember Why You Started: Once your business is up and running, it’s all too easy to get mired down in the day-to-day minutia, and lose sight of the big picture. Remember your passion.
Remember why you got started in the first place. Recognize when things start to go off track, so you can rein them back in.
There’s room in the world of cars for almost any type of business, and the options mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. What are you passionate about? What are your skills? You don’t need to be a mechanic – you just need passion, and the dedication to get started, and to do it right. Find your niche, and turn that love of cars into cash.