RNOcommctr From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 834 posts, RR: 3 Posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2138 times:
Anyone ever sold used cars as a part-time job? I realize that if you sell more than a couple of cars per year in most states you need to get a dealer's license. I am thinking of starting out small-- finding good, clean local cars and then re-selling them locally or on E-Bay. I suppose the trick is to find cars which are being sold for a low price... due to financial/family pressures, estate sales, or just plain ignorance on the part of the seller. Then you try to re-sell the vehicle at a fair market price.
I love big old American luxury cars. (Superfly-- are you ready to contribute to this thread?) I think this is a decent target market because many of these cars have been driven by older folks who drive very little and are meticulous about maintenance.
If I could sell a few cars, I'd look into the possibility of getting a dealer's license. I bought my current car from a guy who's a musician in a band on the weekends and sells cars during the week. He rents a little office in a cheap part of town-- I think having an office is part of the requirement for having a dealer's license-- and his girlfriend works at a furniture store that lets him put his cars on their lot. He takes out small ads in the local newspaper.
I don't do car maintenance but of course any potential buyer would be free to have the car inspected by a mechanic.
Any thoughts? Do you think I'm on the right track? Thanks for any feedback.
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11454 posts, RR: 72
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2122 times:
I don't know the laws of your state concerning curbstoning (the unlicensed retailing of used automobiles) but I'll suggest strongly you find out in order to avoid penalties or potential arrest (yes...in GA you can be arrested for re-selling more than 2 or 3 cars in year...probably won't happen, but takes it past misdemeanor).
There's alot to it more than just advertising. E-Bay buyers are looking for the greatest deal ever, and I've found it's difficult to find a buyer who'll pay you a fair profit. Craigslist seems a bit better, but that's just my opinion based on experience.
I'll say that you'll make the most amount of money on one of the private automobile only sites or taking an ad out locally and selling it in person.
Remember that people looking online and in the paper are trying to avoid paying dealership prices and taxes, they're looking for a deal....so you'll need to advertise why your vehicle is special and you'll need to be able to back it up.
People also expect the car to work and will come back to you later with beefs about things that happen normally, be prepared. Also be prepared for the work required to recondition the vehicle after you buy it before you can sell it. People buy cars with good eye appeal, and then look at the other stuff second. Make sure you document the car before you buy it and make sure it's got clean title, good odometer and carfax it to see what you need to disclose (check the laws here, or beware of lawsuits...people get stupid about cars).
It can be profitable but it requires alot of work. Good luck!
ScrubbsYWG From Canada, joined Mar 2007, 1496 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2090 times:
how many low priced cars would there be in a given area consistently available? I can't imagine there is a wealth of these kinda of things.
The onyl people i know that make money flipping cars would be ones that buy cars at insurance auctions and repair them. or more common, buy out of province/state where they are cheaper and the import them to sell.
A332 From Canada, joined Feb 2005, 1644 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2037 times:
Although it's not something you will want to do often without a license, you can get away with a couple flips here and there.
Use Craigslist or Kijiji and find people who are about to trade in their vehicles. Offer them a bit more in cash than what the dealer will give them. This works particularly well with domestics due to the rate of depreciaton and you can price it competitively and still make a good profit.
A few months ago I scored a mint 2001 Grand Prix GTP for $5000 and I sold it 5 weeks later for $8500.
A former boss of mine in Los Angeles used to do this, about one per month, and he did quite well. He had a few general rules when buying cars to flip:
1) Only buy cars in good condition, where you don't have to do anything other than cosmetic repairs and send it in for a good detailing. (He had a detailing shop he frequented which could do minor painting, repairing gouges in rubber parts, etc.)
2) Only buy luxury cars with low mileage for their age, avoiding cars which were used in Town Car type services.
3) Always compliment the seller on their goods, then ask if there is "any room in the price." He always used that exact phrase. He reckoned that if you praised the car, the seller warmed up to you, instead of trying to find things wrong with the car to get the price lower.
4) Always pay cash, always. If you can close the deal right then and there, most buyers will default to "a bird in the hand ...", and take less money for the car when you counter their new, lower price with an even lower offer. He never went shopping without close to 10Gs on him.
5) Advertise the condition of the car as "pristine." That word used to attract buyers.
6) Only buy what you can resell in under 30 days. He never re-registered the cars (to avoid paying sales tax/registration fees). He would tell buyers that he'd just bought it for his wife, but she had won another one on a game show, so they ended up not needing the car. Really, people in L.A. believed him.
7) Make your money on volume, not holding onto each car long enough to make a killing on it. Your potential buyer wants a good deal as well.
8) Don't do it if it isn't any fun for you. You have to enjoy both sides of the wheeling and dealing.
DL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11454 posts, RR: 72
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2004 times:
Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 4): 4) Always pay cash, always. If you can close the deal right then and there, most buyers will default to "a bird in the hand ...", and take less money for the car when you counter their new, lower price with an even lower offer. He never went shopping without close to 10Gs on him.
Don't ever....ever....ever take cash with you to meet some stranger who wants to sell you his car. Meet that person at a bank or other public venue and offer cash in the form of a cashiers check that you will have the bank make out after the deal is done.
It's a fairly common method of stealing from people you know have a large amount of cash on them...you put an ad in the paper and negotiate over the phone and tell them to meet you and bring the cash to do a quick and good deal.
Never bring cash to meet a stranger.
Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 4): 6) Only buy what you can resell in under 30 days. He never re-registered the cars (to avoid paying sales tax/registration fees). He would tell buyers that he'd just bought it for his wife, but she had won another one on a game show, so they ended up not needing the car. Really, people in L.A. believed him.
Tell no lies when selling the car and things won't come back to haunt you. Don't buy a car you'll have to lie to sell. Just tell the truth or say nothing. People sense bullshit most of the time, and appreciate honesty.
Oh, and working the system around taxes and fees is ok, but be aware that there are penalties in many communities and federally for such things. The income derived from such profits is taxable.
Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 4): A former boss of mine in Los Angeles used to do this, about one per month,
Again, be aware of the local laws concerning auto retailing. Some states don't care, and some limit the number you can do without a license.
RNOcommctr From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 834 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1990 times:
Quoting A332 (Reply 3): Use Craigslist or Kijiji and find people who are about to trade in their vehicles.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but how do you know from an ad on Craigslist that the seller is about to trade it in to a dealer?
Your rationale seems sound... give people a better deal that they would have gotten from the dealer as a trade-in. I am just not quite sure how you would identify this kind of seller short of lurking around a car dealer's lot!