MCC

Advice for young person becoming an independent trader

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Hi guys. As the title suggests I am a young person looking to getting into the car industry. 
 

im currently 22 and have trained as an electrical engineer and currently working for a big food and drinks manufacturer earning enough to put me well into the 40% tax bracket and working a 4 on 4 off shift. Sounds great right? No. I loathe the thought of going to what I consider a mundane job every week and although I should be happy, I’m just not. 
 

I have therefore decided that although against what everyone has told me growing up I’d love to do something I’m truly passionate about. That’s anything with an engine. I plan over these next winter months to develop my business plan and what I would like to achieve. As I work the shift pattern I do, I thought this may be a good way to test the waters and see if I can get it off the ground without too much financial risk, I.e still being able to cover rent and bills by having a steady income. I’m not looking to just be a regular side street dealer but a source of interesting vehicles such as classic USDM, EDM and JDM, although I’m fully aware that if it became permanent I may have to resort to this.

The only thing I am honestly concerned about is my age and I’d love to hear if anyone else started out on their own around this time and what sort of obstacles  you faced such as traders insurance and so on. would you start from home or go straight to finding a small yard to have capacity to hold more than 1 or 2 cars at a time? Any advice would be greatly appreciated  
 

I have started work on a website and plan on selling on most online car websites aswell as social media. I am fully aware of what a tough business it is, basically never not working and I’ll probably never be rich but I genuinely can’t stand the thought of working like I am for the rest of my life. The only downside is I may have to sell some of my current cars but hey ho beggars can’t be choosers. 
 

sorry for the long winded post 

Edited by MCC

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£40k PA 4 on 4 off, and you want to trade cars? You need your head feeling. 

Im still in the motor/leisure vehicle industry, I dont trade cars anymore, I did it for many years and managed to escape. Still have friends in the game and lurk around on here so have a fair idea of the job. 

Dont give up the day job

Edited by MrC

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I started at 18 with a 2k overdraft from the bank, I’m now 28 with circa 35 cars in stock, age doesn’t matter, the usual auction guys used to judge me at first but they seem get used to you.

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3 minutes ago, MarkTVS said:

I started at 18 with a 2k overdraft from the bank, I’m now 28 with circa 35 cars in stock, age doesn’t matter, the usual auction guys used to judge me at first but they seem get used to you.

Thanks for the reply, great to know it’s possible if the works put in. 

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Passionate about anything with an engine you say............. Become a mechanic! 

Edited by Dealer

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37 minutes ago, tradex said:

Not liking cars is far better, you can be detached from the product as they are there simply, to make money, end of.

After about 5 years in this job I think about 95% of us have little personal interest remaining in cars.

If it’s an old swapper clinging on to the last few weeks of its MOT it’s good enough for me. 

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59 minutes ago, tradex said:

Great introB)......don't do it would be my my advice too, but if you really must. 

This may sound a very odd thing to say but being very passionate about cars (I think you meant cars, but) isn't a great skill to bring to the table. Even worse if you like 'flashy' ones as my mum would say. 

.....this job will soon turn you off that, there isn't much of thrill in owning and driving yet another Fiesta, Corsa, Focus etc, they don't make curtains twitch either. You are then left in a worse situation than before. 

Not liking cars is far better, you can be detached from the product as they are there simply, to make money, end of. 

Being good at valeting, sparks, on the tools, paint, sales are far better skill sets to offee.

See if you can work on a site to get a measure of how this job really works, be a goffer for nothing if need be, best education you can get, ohh and download the "so you wanna be a car dealer" primer. 

 

This. 

second vote for this option, really go to town and be the best in town you could then write your own bank statements.

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9 hours ago, MCC said:

Hi guys. As the title suggests I am a young person looking to getting into the car industry. 
 

im currently 22 and have trained as an electrical engineer and currently working for a big food and drinks manufacturer earning enough to put me well into the 40% tax bracket and working a 4 on 4 off shift. Sounds great right? No. I loathe the thought of going to what I consider a mundane job every week and although I should be happy, I’m just not. 
 

I have therefore decided that although against what everyone has told me growing up I’d love to do something I’m truly passionate about. That’s anything with an engine. I plan over these next winter months to develop my business plan and what I would like to achieve. As I work the shift pattern I do, I thought this may be a good way to test the waters and see if I can get it off the ground without too much financial risk, I.e still being able to cover rent and bills by having a steady income. I’m not looking to just be a regular side street dealer but a source of interesting vehicles such as classic USDM, EDM and JDM, although I’m fully aware that if it became permanent I may have to resort to this.

The only thing I am honestly concerned about is my age and I’d love to hear if anyone else started out on their own around this time and what sort of obstacles  you faced such as traders insurance and so on. would you start from home or go straight to finding a small yard to have capacity to hold more than 1 or 2 cars at a time? Any advice would be greatly appreciated  
 

I have started work on a website and plan on selling on most online car websites aswell as social media. I am fully aware of what a tough business it is, basically never not working and I’ll probably never be rich but I genuinely can’t stand the thought of working like I am for the rest of my life. The only downside is I may have to sell some of my current cars but hey ho beggars can’t be choosers. 
 

sorry for the long winded post 

Ive always worked in the motor trade since 16 did a bit of property development once started on my own at about 23 im late 30s now-as mark said some of the auction guys would run you up on cars etc even the auctioneers if your a new comer 

my advice would be do what makes  happy and dont sell anything you wouldn't drive yourself .. or put a member of your family in 

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Sorry, but if you are already in the 40% tax bracket, unless you have a nest egg of £100K plus to buy stock with initially, a good forecourt and access to a good (cheap) mechanic and painter, it will be years before you ever get back to it.  If ever.

If that doesn't matter to you, then fine, but to work 7 days a week for half the money at best, doesn't sound sensible.

Good luck if you choose to go for it though.

 

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8 hours ago, Dealer said:

Passionate about anything with an engine you say............. Become a mechanic! 

I did think about that as I do all the work on my own cars but changing peoples oil in their fiesta or a clutch in a corsa isn’t really what I want to achieve haha

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My main reservation about your chances is lack of experience.

If you have a decent amount of Capital and know the trade and know what you want to achieve you will make money. Its hard not to.

BUT...you need to get that experience.

Move into the trade gently. DONT...absolutely DONT give up your day job. Dabble, learn, make your mistakes and losses when its doesn't matter to much because you have an income.

Once you have a bit of experience AND a decent pot... at least 100k and are confident you can make a living go for it.

 

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2 minutes ago, XFS said:

My main reservation about your chances is lack of experience.

If you have a decent amount of Capital and know the trade and know what you want to achieve you will make money. Its hard not to.

BUT...you need to get that experience.

Move into the trade gently. DONT...absolutely DONT give up your day job. Dabble, learn, make your mistakes and losses when its doesn't matter to much because you have an income.

Once you have a bit of experience AND a decent pot... at least 100k and are confident you can make a living go for it.

 

That’s the plan. As much as I’d like to I’m not daft, although some may disagree. I already buy and sell a car here and there so plan on just doing it abit more frequently and going for a particular type of car 

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2 hours ago, tradex said:

Great introB)......don't do it would be my my advice too, but if you really must. 

This may sound a very odd thing to say but being very passionate about cars (I think you meant cars, but) isn't a great skill to bring to the table. Even worse if you like 'flashy' ones as my mum would say. 

.....this job will soon turn you off that, there isn't much of thrill in owning and driving yet another Fiesta, Corsa, Focus etc, they don't make curtains twitch either. You are then left in a worse situation than before. 

Not liking cars is far better, you can be detached from the product as they are there simply, to make money, end of. 

Being good at valeting, sparks, on the tools, paint, sales are far better skill sets to offee.

See if you can work on a site to get a measure of how this job really works, be a goffer for nothing if need be, best education you can get, ohh and download the "so you wanna be a car dealer" primer. 

 

This. 

No I totally get you, the main reason I didn’t train as a mechanic was my uncle who is one advising not to. I can see where he’s coming from but I think it’s something I’ll have to do at some point. As for skills the only skill I don’t think I’m good at is body work but I know a few people round my way so not the end of the world. Thanks for the advice 

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Still amazes me how people view our industry as rock and roll and something to aim for. 

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3 minutes ago, tradex said:

Have you also considered those ohh so boring things like Mortgages and pensions? 

I have indeed. I’m not too concerned about mortgages at this point. Maybe I’ll go for a flat or something cheap with little cost. As for pensions, no one in my family has ever had one as they’ve all either been self employed or ran companies. So a kind of cant afford to loose mentality 

8 minutes ago, justina3 said:

Still amazes me how people view our industry as rock and roll and something to aim for. 

I think most people view it as one of the easiest ways to be self employed. 

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25 minutes ago, MCC said:

I have indeed. I’m not too concerned about mortgages at this point. Maybe I’ll go for a flat or something cheap with little cost. As for pensions, no one in my family has ever had one as they’ve all either been self employed or ran companies. So a kind of cant afford to loose mentality 

I think most people view it as one of the easiest ways to be self employed. 

In truth hand on heart it would be easier to become a doctor, there is nothing easy about the second hand car industry the customers dont like you the suppliers dont like you the revenue dont like the advertising companies 100% dont like you..hell somedays i dont even like myself.

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10 minutes ago, tradex said:

I've never thought of it that way, but very true, maybe why so many of my trader colleges, over the years, have suffered bad physical health and poor mental health. Cold, damp, filthy and smelly auctions and that's just the clientele. 

Still the perks are great, never want for a dangly air freshener and.......errr.....ohh I know wiper blades, I always have a decent stock in most sizes and everyone hates a smeared windscreen. 

F*ck me, can't even run a decent smoker without paying company tax on it nowadays:rolleyes:

Can never have enough dangly trees 

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Hi MCC -

What do you think makes a good and successful car dealer?  

What do you think would make you good and successful ?

Fresh eyes and lack of industry know how can actually be quite a good thing, it did me no harm and I still like cars to this day. Not as keen on people as I once was though.   Do you have any sales background. I personally can't think of any car sales business that has done well without the owner being extremely good at selling.

Anyone can start up, buy a few cars they like and think its easy. The reality is to actually turn it into a business that can pay the rent / bills / mortgage is difficult. 

You are fortunate you do 4 on 4 off so have time to attend auctions, buy private and advertise cars. Plus you can arrange viewings to suit you around those times. 

 

The one thing I see that all the successful dealers have in common is that they all work incredibly hard 6/7 days with long hours. All have a very positive mindset and an adaptability to changes. I think many of the successful dealers I recognise would be successful in any field they turned to, its a characteristic. 

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11 hours ago, MCC said:

Hi guys. As the title suggests I am a young person looking to getting into the car industry. 
 

im currently 22 and have trained as an electrical engineer and currently working for a big food and drinks manufacturer earning enough to put me well into the 40% tax bracket and working a 4 on 4 off shift. Sounds great right? No. I loathe the thought of going to what I consider a mundane job every week and although I should be happy, I’m just not. 
 

I have therefore decided that although against what everyone has told me growing up I’d love to do something I’m truly passionate about. That’s anything with an engine. I plan over these next winter months to develop my business plan and what I would like to achieve. As I work the shift pattern I do, I thought this may be a good way to test the waters and see if I can get it off the ground without too much financial risk, I.e still being able to cover rent and bills by having a steady income. I’m not looking to just be a regular side street dealer but a source of interesting vehicles such as classic USDM, EDM and JDM, although I’m fully aware that if it became permanent I may have to resort to this.

The only thing I am honestly concerned about is my age and I’d love to hear if anyone else started out on their own around this time and what sort of obstacles  you faced such as traders insurance and so on. would you start from home or go straight to finding a small yard to have capacity to hold more than 1 or 2 cars at a time? Any advice would be greatly appreciated  
 

I have started work on a website and plan on selling on most online car websites aswell as social media. I am fully aware of what a tough business it is, basically never not working and I’ll probably never be rich but I genuinely can’t stand the thought of working like I am for the rest of my life. The only downside is I may have to sell some of my current cars but hey ho beggars can’t be choosers. 
 

sorry for the long winded post 

40 % tax bracket at 22. Well done. do some maths before you go too far. trade insurance, advertising , premises, etc, etc, etc. Do you actually hate what you do or who you work for? If you work 4 on, 4 off, you really should just stick with it and play with this part time. once youve sold a few you will need to register for VAT. 

I could go on and on, I think you're nuts. You'll need at least 100k to start if you want to earn anything like what you do now. but if you really want to do it, you just will.

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5 minutes ago, Rory RSC said:

Hi MCC -

What do you think makes a good and successful car dealer?  

What do you think would make you good and successful ?

Fresh eyes and lack of industry know how can actually be quite a good thing, it did me no harm and I still like cars to this day. Not as keen on people as I once was though.   Do you have any sales background. I personally can't think of any car sales business that has done well without the owner being extremely good at selling.

Anyone can start up, buy a few cars they like and think its easy. The reality is to actually turn it into a business that can pay the rent / bills / mortgage is difficult. 

You are fortunate you do 4 on 4 off so have time to attend auctions, buy private and advertise cars. Plus you can arrange viewings to suit you around those times. 

 

The one thing I see that all the successful dealers have in common is that they all work incredibly hard 6/7 days with long hours. All have a very positive mindset and an adaptability to changes. I think many of the successful dealers I recognise would be successful in any field they turned to, its a characteristic. 

Hi. Thanks for the great reply. Although no official sales experience I do have a few cars and swap and change on occasion. Atm I mainly just buy and sell a few bmw parts to fund my 5 series. I just sold an old set of wheels  last week actually that paid for a lovely gs300 that I may use to start my endeavour. As much as I’d like to just quit and go all in I’m not that daft just yet. My old job required me to work 60/70/80 + hours a week a lot of the time so not work shy by any means. I also think having a fairly good mechanical and electrical background is a good thing and will limit my need for a mechanic, although I know quite a few so this isn’t an issue either. 

1 minute ago, MattR said:

40 % tax bracket at 22. Well done. do some maths before you go too far. trade insurance, advertising , premises, etc, etc, etc. Do you actually hate what you do or who you work for? If you work 4 on, 4 off, you really should just stick with it and play with this part time. once youve sold a few you will need to register for VAT. 

I could go on and on, I think you're nuts. You'll need at least 100k to start if you want to earn anything like what you do now. but if you really want to do it, you just will.

If it was easy enough to earn that sort of money from the get go I think everyone would be doing it. I don’t plan on quitting the day job anytime soon although I wish I could hah. 

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20 hours ago, MCC said:

Hi guys. As the title suggests I am a young person looking to getting into the car industry. 
 

im currently 22 and have trained as an electrical engineer and currently working for a big food and drinks manufacturer earning enough to put me well into the 40% tax bracket and working a 4 on 4 off shift. Sounds great right? No. I loathe the thought of going to what I consider a mundane job every week and although I should be happy, I’m just not. 
 

I have therefore decided that although against what everyone has told me growing up I’d love to do something I’m truly passionate about. That’s anything with an engine. I plan over these next winter months to develop my business plan and what I would like to achieve. As I work the shift pattern I do, I thought this may be a good way to test the waters and see if I can get it off the ground without too much financial risk, I.e still being able to cover rent and bills by having a steady income. I’m not looking to just be a regular side street dealer but a source of interesting vehicles such as classic USDM, EDM and JDM, although I’m fully aware that if it became permanent I may have to resort to this.

The only thing I am honestly concerned about is my age and I’d love to hear if anyone else started out on their own around this time and what sort of obstacles  you faced such as traders insurance and so on. would you start from home or go straight to finding a small yard to have capacity to hold more than 1 or 2 cars at a time? Any advice would be greatly appreciated  
 

I have started work on a website and plan on selling on most online car websites aswell as social media. I am fully aware of what a tough business it is, basically never not working and I’ll probably never be rich but I genuinely can’t stand the thought of working like I am for the rest of my life. The only downside is I may have to sell some of my current cars but hey ho beggars can’t be choosers. 
 

sorry for the long winded post 

If im honest. if your confident go for it! You need to be dedicated, and you could be doing more than 40k if you trade enough cars pa!

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Like you I have a great passion for cars, so in Feb this year I sold my 2017 Focus RS to fund starting this business and follow that passion, as a result of that decision I’m currently driving a....Peugeot 307 CC :blink: 

Like you I’m doing this alongside the day job. I also bought and sold a lot of cars over the years, sometime just changing my personal car, sometimes purely to make a few quid. This time I’ve done it all 100% legit, VAT registered, warranties etc etc, and I have to say it’s a lot harder to turn a decent profit now.

Its not all doom and gloom though, I love doing this, love buying, selling and even preparing. It’s a lot slower than I ever thought it would be, I only have 3 cars though so that doesn’t help. Like the others have said, £100k sounds about right before you could get serious momentum doing this. I can honestly see it taking me 5 years or more before I could do this full time, unless things picked up at some point.

You do sound like you’ve got a sensible head on you, especially for your age, that will definitely help. Try to see it as a hobby to begin with, enjoy it, keep the day job going and maybe one day this will take over. Good luck with it.

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21 hours ago, tradex said:

Have you also considered those ohh so boring things like Mortgages and pensions? 

On one hand you’re absolutely correct BUT on the other life’s too short to base your whole younger working life around a pension that kicks in at the end of your life.......assuming you reach retirement age. 

For decades I was the proverbial wage slave, company cars, pension etc., and like so many, blindly bought into the whole corporate machine. The best thing I did was sack the whole lot off & do things my way, although admittedly it helps to have some financial security.

Many people aren’t cut out for self-employment, but I wish I’d done it decades before rather than piss away 2 to 3 hours of my life most Mondays to Fridays just on commuting.

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Good luck if you go for it.

Just be aware of how much profit you might actually make.

Unless you set up a limited company you are already paying 40% tax on any profit.

Add 20% Vat on your margin, difference between buying and selling price.

So if you want to walk away with £500 profit in your pocket by the time you account for all the prep, advertising, etc then you will need a couple of grand mark up.

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