Many car enthusiasts dream of spending every working day on their passion, but few ever try to make it happen. The thing is, whether it’s working with modern engines or restoring the classics, it’s possible to turn that love into a money-making opportunity, and, perhaps, even turn it into a business. Want to know more? If so, read on to find out how you could start making a career change today and create a business around your love of cars. Let’s get started right away.
What you need for success
First of all, we wouldn’t advise anyone thinking of working with cars to jack in their current job and get started tomorrow. Keep working and earning money, and slowly build up your car business in your spare time before taking the plunge to go ‘all in.’ Also, bear in mind that it will take a lot of hard work – not just passion – to make your dreams a reality. You will need a good support network, too, as well as a few decent contacts in the car industry who you can use for advisory purposes. Starting any kind of business – from a part time restoration company to a full-time, successful garage – is exceptionally difficult if you don’t have a mentor or someone who you can bounce around a few ideas with.
Buying and selling
Anyone can start buying and selling cars – the only thing you have to remember is to inform HMRC that you are going into business. And it’s a great way for car lovers to get involved with the trade. If you know your vehicles, it can be incredibly easy to start making significant profits buying and selling – particularly if you work out a little niche. For example, if you have a love for old Minis, then find out everything you can about them – the classic models, how their engines work, and the best way to fix them. You can then start buying any bargains you see, doing any repair or paintwork to get it back into shape, and then sell it on to another enthusiast. Many car lovers have created huge businesses doing precisely this, and if you have the passion, there is no reason why you can’t, either.
Have a love of the classic car? If so, restoration is probably the easiest way to get into the car business. There is a huge market out there for classic cars, and as long as you know what you are doing it’s possible to make some serious money. That said, it’s not something that you can do on a whim. Even broken down, old classic cars can fetch a pretty penny, and it can take significant investment to whip them back into shape. But if you can raise some real money for your first project and ensure that all profits go back into the business, it shouldn’t be too long before you start doing well. One thing to bear in mind – it’s good to develop a relationship with a reputable mechanic who knows their stuff. Or, alternatively, you could try getting qualifications yourself, which we are going to explore right now.
If you want to repair and look after cars professionally as a mechanic, it’s important to get your qualifications. There is no standard route for doing this, and you might get an apprenticeship with a local garage or head off to college for a couple of years – more if you go part time. You will need at least two years of experience before qualifying to work as a certified mechanic. You can also consider doing an Associate degree – they are 6 or 12-month programs that are supported by a variety of automotive firms and manufacturers.While the road might be a long one, it’s more than possible for anyone with a dream of running their own garage or working with cars to make it happen within five years or so.
Opening a shop
Love getting your hands dirty and dealing with different customers every day? Are you a keen problem solver with an excellent eye for detail and thorough knowledge of a wide range of cars? If so, you should consider opening your own shop. You can either open a shop that does anything and everything with cars, or specialise in one particular area. For example, you might offer oil changes and brake work, or maybe even rebuild broken down car engines.
Developing your niche
You’ll find that developing a small niche can pay off, as many people prefer to choose particular expertise for their problems, rather than taking their faulty vehicle to a generic garage. And it’s easy to get started, too. Just begin by working with your family and friends’ cars, persuade them to recommend your services, and you should start getting a steady stream of customers through word of mouth alone. Throw in a website, social media channels, and some advertising in the local paper and you should be able to build a viable business quite quickly.
Find the right insurance cover
One thing to bear in mind – you must get insurance, even if you only do your business activities on a part-time basis. It makes sense that full-time businesses in the motor trade have access to full motor trader coverage, but can anyone get part time traders insurance? In short, yes – as long as your side or part time business has anything to do with vehicles, from servicing all the way through to basic valeting. There are a variety of different cover levels to check out, of course, so think about how your business will operate and choose the right policy for your needs.
Valeting and Detailing
Don’t think you have the capability to work with car engines and complicated restorations? If you love cars, there is still a way into the industry., If you have some artistic flair, why not consider something like detailing? One day you might be spray painting a car a different colour, the next you might be ripping out seats and replacing them with sportier versions. And if that sounds too much for you, try valeting. Cleaning cars is surprisingly well paid as long as you are quick enough, and the startup overheads are incredibly small. Good luck with the car business – and why not let us know how you get on?