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Anyone flip vehicles as a side hustle??
Old 12-27-2015, 05:09 AM   #1
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Anyone flip vehicles as a side hustle??

Once I "retire" at 38 from the military, I plan on keeping myself busy with a number of side jobs that I enjoy, one will be running my online business, and the other will be finding cars and trucks that I can fix up and sell for a profit. I have dabbled in it a little before and I truly enjoy it. I do all of my own work so I wouldn't have to pay anyone, and mostly deal with small 4 cyl trucks, they sell really well around here.

From what I've read, it seems like most the early retirees on the board still have their side hustles just for fun, just wondering how many actually dabble in buying and selling vehicles? Any thoughts on getting a dealers license and having a small scale operation selling 1-2 cars a month for supplemental income?
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:14 AM   #2
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I had a coworker that did it for years. Informally and with a small 'operation' as you call it. He didn't make much money, but he truly loved cars and so it was great for him.
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Old 12-27-2015, 09:32 AM   #3
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I've done it for years but not as a sideline or really to make money. Mine was more of a hobby or interest in collectibles. I've enjoyed the "hunt" the buying and selling and the fixing up. On making any real money, it depends on what year you ask me.

If you are talking about low end fixer/uppers, then you can potentially make some money if you are doing your own work and getting the cars for the right price. Also finding good reliable source(s) for used parts will help a lot. Of course finding an unknown major problem after buying a car can really hurt. (Been there, done that)
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Old 12-27-2015, 10:25 AM   #4
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I done that a few times, I mainly buy Volvo's from 93-98 because I know those models very well and also have a large stash of spare parts. I am currently working on a 98 that I paid 250 dollars for it.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:00 AM   #5
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I have a friend that does this since he loves tinkering with cars. So far not much money, but he gets to buy a used luxury car, fix it up a little, drive it, and flip it for about what he paid (purchase + parts).

He's also purchased reliable daily drivers that need some work. He'll DIY some of the stuff and take it to his mechanic for the harder stuff where specialized tools or equipment are necessary. I think he made $600 on a 15 year old Honda Accord in this way (not much $ given how much time he probably had in it).

I would never do this as I find auto repairs tedious (much more so than appliance or electronics repairs).
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:19 AM   #6
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I have flipped a few over the years. Most recently, I picked up a 2002 Honda Civic with a blown clutch for $500 two years ago from a co worker (son's car). I replaced the clutch and pressure plate, put in two new axle shafts and a timing belt/water pump, cleaned it up and sold it for $3750. I made about $2000 on that deal and spent a couple of days working on it (a few hours a day actually).

Since clean, used Honda's sell like popcorn at the theater, I sold it word-of-mouth to a young girl that was off to college.

I haven't done any of this since selling that Honda. The used car market is currently flooded with cars now that gas is cheap and financing is readily available so there are opportunities out there. I guess I am getting too lazy to buy and sell anymore.
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:15 PM   #7
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You're right on that, with gas prices down, the 4cylinder trucks are not bringing as much as they did. People tend to think they can afford the gas guzzlers now. I truly enjoy mechanicing on things, I always have. Being able to drive the vehicles around and save miles on mine is a plus too.
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:25 PM   #8
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From what I've read, it seems like most the early retirees on the board still have their side hustles just for fun, j
I don't know if I agree with this.... Perhaps I just haven't paid attention - but it seems like most of the early retirees on the board have non-income producing hobbies....
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:32 PM   #9
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I don't know if I agree with this.... Perhaps I just haven't paid attention - but it seems like most of the early retirees on the board have non-income producing hobbies....
Lots of folks here have rental real estate during FIRE. May not be called a "hobby", but it takes skill and time like a hobby.

Also, hobbies sometimes turn into income producing ventures, even when not initiated with that purpose.
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:05 PM   #10
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I think it is a hard way to make money, but it can be done. I am more like Car Guy, i do it for my older cars because i like them and it's my hobby. I generally can buy, do some repairs, drive for a while and then sell for at least the costs of not some profit. I would never rely on this as real needed income though. I also have a small home-based small business where I sell some parts for old cars. It is mostly for tax write-off, I certainly won't be retiring any sooner or different plans because of it.
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Old 12-27-2015, 03:15 PM   #11
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"flipping vehicles as a hustle"

My first read of that headline had me thinking you were staging accidents and scamming people. Guess not...
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:01 PM   #12
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I don't know if I agree with this.... Perhaps I just haven't paid attention - but it seems like most of the early retirees on the board have non-income producing hobbies....
I am fully retired, and for me the criterion would be, "Would I engage in this activity/job if it paid me nothing?" If not, then it's a job, not a hobby job, IMO.

Or, I could see an income producing hobby, if I gave every penny of the income to charity.

But yeah, I see your point. I worked hard to fully retire. The last thing I want at this stage in life is a j*b for money. Maybe others feel differently but this is how I feel about it.
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:47 PM   #13
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I am fully retired, and for me the criterion would be, "Would I engage in this activity/job if it paid me nothing?" If not, then it's a job, not a hobby job, IMO.

Or, I could see an income producing hobby, if I gave every penny of the income to charity.

But yeah, I see your point. I worked hard to fully retire. The last thing I want at this stage in life is a j*b for money. Maybe others feel differently but this is how I feel about it.
It's a personal thing, for sure.

Some people just have to stay busy. I am one of them and I have several retired friends that are the same way. I don't believe having a hobby that produces income is all about the income potential, but probably more about doing and creating something productive.

I have a friend that is retired and nuts about RVs. He has a big one that probably cost twice what our house cost. He loves to work on it and help others who have them and have no skills for working on them.

Over the years with this hobby of his, he amassed a large inventory of spare parts and equipment that he sells to people needing a specific RV part. He now has an online business selling parts, some used, some rebuilt by him. Never started out this way, but it just happened. He is happy as a clam with his income producing hobby. No telling if it's profitable, though!
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:53 PM   #14
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Some people just have to stay busy.
Yes, I'm one of them! I just don't work for money that I am going to put in my own pocket. YMMV
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Old 12-27-2015, 04:57 PM   #15
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Before I sold my lake house, I enjoyed buying/selling boats for a bit of extra cash. I would only buy boats that I wanted to use and that were also good deals. I would typically keep/use a boat for 1-3 months before selling for a profit. I have also done this with a couple of RVs -- used each one for 6 months or so (and put around 10k miles on them), then sold for a profit of a few thousand bucks. I enjoy buying/selling but with the twist of enjoying the boat/RV for a while.
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:25 PM   #16
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Yes. I've done this since high school. I worked my way through college flipping cars and have enjoyed doing it through my working years. I always use them for daily transportation for several weeks before reselling to make sure there are no hidden issues. I always have people asking me if I have any cars to sell at that moment for their son / daughter/ sister / friend, etc... It helps to specialize in a few makes and models that you become very familiar with. I plan to continue on this same path after ER.
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Old 12-27-2015, 06:34 PM   #17
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For those of you that flip cars - don't you need a license of some sort, otherwise you'd owe sales tax when you bought it, then the buyer would owe sales tax ?


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Old 12-27-2015, 07:07 PM   #18
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IIRC, In Nevada if you sell more than 3 cars a year you need a dealer's license. If you like doing it and you get a little fun money then go for it.
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Old 12-27-2015, 08:09 PM   #19
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One of the problems with the used car business is that it takes an auto dealer license in order to obtain a sales tax number. And to get the dealer license, it takes a real business location--and insurance on that business. It's just not so simple.

Many auto flippers will work for an existing used car dealer who's often their "money man." They're essentially piggybacking on The Boss' business license, insurance policy and checking account. The deal is that they pickup vehicles in the morning, move them across town to another used car dealer and do a quick sale picking up $250-500 a pop. And they do this day after day--splitting the profit with The Boss. In a year's time, these car flippers do very well. I know one car dealer in a large U.S. city with a couple of dozen car flippers working for him with over 1000 cars in stock at any given time.

I think I'd just keep it small and operate such a business as a quiet sideline. Get the Sellers to leave the Buyer's name, address and sales dates off the titles so you can transfer the titles to the new owners without penalties, etc. But you cannot drive them in the meantime on the streets.

And pickup trucks, Hondas and Toyotas are the best cars to flip--pulling very high prices on the used market.
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Old 12-27-2015, 08:14 PM   #20
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I met a Brit (actually an Aussie living in the UK) that had an eye for knowing what to pay for old cars. He found cars enough to fill a shipping container and got them to.the UK for reasonable shipping cost, and said the ones he decided not to fix would go for nearly double what he paid. But he also said it was getting harder to find the right cars. Like anything, if you have a passion for it, you can probably figure a way to stay afloat, but you'd need some luck to really make any money.
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