Discussion in 'Cars, Bikes 'n AFVs' started by Brandt, Jan 1, 2010.
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Best of luck Brandt. I've owned a number of classic cars, and I think there could be a market for what you are thinking of.
A small suggestion if I may - If I were looking for a particular type of car I (as most classic afficionados do) would expect to view several examples before buying. Might there be an option for reduced rates for increased numbers of assessments?
There mate did the survey , just make sure theres a place in the market for you first seen loads of people in essex start classic car establishments of some sort that go bust in first year , but if its ur hobbie and u want it go for it for fcuk sake uv'e worn green u should no that , first year in buissness you always lose a bit just keep that in mind make sure you have the funds mate for ur sake
sorry about spelling and grammer , i wanna be a grunt not an officer
I thought about doing something similar when I lived in the U.S, importing British bikes as the classics go for nearly twice the price they do over here. Good luck, let me know when you get a '57 Plymouth Fury in stock! ; )
Will you be doing mobile inspections or will vehicles be brought to you?
What civilian quals do you have as a vehicle inspector?
How will you check for originality ie VRN matches chassis, matches block etc?
How will you be insured against an incorrect valuation/inspection?
Fuck me, advice from a 17 year old chav, just what we need.
Seriously don't rely on it for an income, most classic car enthusiasts realise that they're buying a money pit.
If I might throw in my two pennies. Most of the old car and bike buffs I know would not use your services as they would back their own judgement as too condition and provenance. This is not in any way trying to decry your idea. But most of these folk tend to be keen on one particular marque and they are usually fully clued up about their particular favourite.
The term 'Classic' means different things to different people. A classic to me means a pre mid sixties Alvis, Bentley, Bristol, etc. A classic bike would be a Vincent, Brough, G50, 7R,Manx or Velocette. Crap cars and bikes are just that, the passage of time does not improve them, being old is not a virtue in itself.
There is money to be made, a lot of it in some cases. But do beware, you must know your subject intimately, one person cannot know all there is to be known about all marques. A friend of mine recently sold a motor cycle at a large auction house. This bike was listed as an ex works competition machine. It came from the National Motorcycle Museum after the fire at that establishment. The frame for this bike was I am sure genuine. However, the engine was made up from spares and the crankcase numbers were made to match those of the frame. This mate of mine makes a very good living at this game but he is like a shark and what he doesn't know about his favourite marque could not be printed on a pin head in very large type. This bike sold for the thick end of ten grand, it cost him fifteen hundred to build.
Where you might score is advising the older person who is hankering after something that was around in their childhood. Most folk get misty eyed about that sort of thing.
Can I suggest that you look into some sort of insurance cover in case someone pulls the wool over your eyes. If someone bought a vehicle on your say so, and it turned out to be a bit suspect, and your client had spent a shed load of money, you would be liable for the loss. My mate who sold his iffy bike has been caught and he buys high end of the market stuff.
Having said all that, if you are confident of your own abilities have a go. It's what I do. And remember, if some one offers you a 'barn find' that is too good to be true, it probably is.
As a general rule of thumb, I would recommend not setting up in business to do something you enjoy doing. I've done it twice, and both times it cost me money. If you have that kind of aptitude, maybe work for someone else for a while (in anything loosely connected to your field of interest) and get to know the market, find out where the gaps are and develop a plan to fill them.
Setting up a company cost me around Â£1500 all in, plus c. Â£1k a year for liability insurance, plus the cost of waiting for around 120 days before the first pay cheques clear (assuming that I bill at the end of the first month, and they don't pay for 90 days). Add on min. Â£600 to get your website up and running, c. Â£2k a year for accountancy fees, plus phones and computers....IMO it's much better to spread these costs over the first year, while you're learning the market and being paid by someone else, than to have them all at once while Mrs. Brandt starts to worry how you're going to pay the rent.
And yes, I had a number of what I thought were classics (Triumph Herald, various MG's), but love for the lines overruled any sense regarding their mechanical deficiencies, so I wouldn't have paid anyone to tell me what I already knew but didn't want to acknowledge.
Survey done. Not necessarily a good customer recommendation (no money to buy and no where to store a car) but I would use a service like this if I were to buy another classic. I like the cars but I'm not a great mechanic and, despite everything I tell myself before I view, I tend to let lust overcome caution. As a result I've bought one real dog of an MG and a dodgy Alfa (are there any other kind) and have been lucky with another 2 cars. I've looked into using a service like this in the USA when I was investigating buying a yank tank. There's a company that runs it and subcontracts around the States so for $250 you can get a car checked out practically anywhere. The real question, asked above, would be your qualifications and history.
You might want to offer a sourcing service - rather than checking each car as the buyer finds them you do the search and find the right car for the budget, fully checked. You could charge a bit more for this service (a percentage of the sale price?).
I've just completed the survey. I hope it helps.
Just an added FYI, the Mustang was rebuilt pretty much from scratch, and bought for a bargain, so some of my answers may be rather entertaining, especially the cost of after-sales problems.
My two cents:
I have owned, and currently own, a few classic sports cars. I've got a thing for Aston Martin's (DB4, 5, 6, 9), but have also owned a couple of Ferrari's (365GTC, Dino) and an E-type (Series 1, flat floor).
I know very little about the engineering side of cars, but do know enough to understand that a "second pair of eyes" is critical when buying. Restoration jobs are very, very good these days and the majority of repairs/alterations will go unannounced. I'm not nearly smart enough to spot them. If you're going into this business then you really must be able to deliver. You must have the experience I lack but am willing to pay for.
1. try to specialise in one or two popular marques, particularly those (like Aston, Ferrari) that are relatively recession proof........and really, really get to know the stupid minutiae that only an anorak would be interested in. You need to get a reputation for genuine expertise.
2. I've hired "second eyes" frequently at auctions, where caveat emptor really means what it says. Try to form some sort of relationship with the auction houses, or at least be available to travel to the classic auctions......this is where the serious buyers converge for high end cars (e.g. the annual Newport Pagnall Aston auction).
3. advertise in Classic & Sports Car. There's remarkably few people offering this service, and again concentrate on specific marques.
4. be prepared to travel at the drop of a hat. People buying classic cars tend to have little time. Organise insurance to drive any car and be prepared to deliver cars as necessary.
5. advertise exactly what you are going to provide via website, from "sniff" to "full monty" analysis and price accordingly (you may even be able to charge twice if the initial sniff is positive). Provide a professional, well presented write-up, not just a phone call summary. Allow the prospective buyer to reflect, so add as much colour as you can (again, goes to marque knowledge and specialisation).
6. don't be afraid to say you don't know if that's the fact. Nothing worse than a bullsh*tting advisor.
7. charge reasonable rates, people don't mind paying for genuine expertise...........but the operative word is genuine.
I'll fill your survey in at some point this afternoon.
In truth the only time I would consider your services is if it was considerably cheaper to get you to look at something a long distance from me than got take a look myself.
Even then I would be dubious, simply because with somethings I know what I'm looking for. I've fiddled with 30 plus 1960/70's Jaguars and you would have to work pretty hard to convince me you could give me an accurate report.
No insult intented at all but I would want to see for myself.
On the other hand, most of your target customers are far more like Banker than myself, stick to the high end cars and be sure you miss nothing and you will get customers.
The vast majority of classic cars cost more money to renovate than they will ever be worth and many just aren't worth saving.
I have filled out the survey. I hate these things with a passion, they never seem to ask the right questions.
Just be very careful, as was stated earlier, stick to one or two marques only, there is a lot of trickery out there and if you don't know your subject you will be turned over. If you look at something as simple as a Austin/Morris Cooper and Cooper S. There are more of these things running about now than Longbridge ever produced. You can often talk to some one at a show or meeting who will tell you that their car is genuine, but if you look closely you will find it is anything but. It is easy to copy a Cooper or 'S' but a copy doesn't make it genuine, a copy is a fake, and if you advise a prospective buyer wrongly, your arse will be in the sling. Also, if you check a car that is being sold as genuine, and you tell the seller differently, believe me, they can take the hump, big time.
As said before, get to know the market, it is fascinating, good luck.
Come on CQMS he said he was 19 not 17 and i don't see any company giving a 17 year old a bmw never mind his bmw m6 5.o liter gose like sh*t of a stick company car thought means u have more fun because it aint mine"
Wide awake in dreamland me thinks!
Get in with the owners clubs of the marques you intend to cover.
Separate names with a comma.