MrC

And now the end is near...

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This year has never really got going properly as far as I am concerned, I've just about scratched a living from cars and have had a record number of after sales repairs on daft things that a few years ago I would not have had the customer ring up about.

I'm finding more and more that auction prices turning in to retail prices and I have spent an increasing amount on garage bills. 

So as of Friday I contacted HMRC to pull the plug on the job and once I've seen my accountant this week I will register the new business.

However all is not lost, I'm putting all my efforts in to VW camper vans. I enjoying building them and they sell fast if done right. My last one, an £18.5k van sold in 9 days and could have sold the thing several times over. And yet I have £2k cars sat here taking up residence and attracting the champagne cars for lemonade money brigade. 

Dont get me wrong its hard work and very labour intensive, but I enjoy creating a van. But now its going to be full time, I have found 900sqft unit that I'm going to rent, sadly I cant have it till mid to late Sept.  I'm lucky that I do have space at home to work however I need a secure unit on a nice industrial estate especially if people are entrusting me with their pride and joy for several weeks. And I refuse to work outside mid winter!  

I have had more good times than bad times, I certainly wont miss the auctions, "CASH tonight mate" brigade, tyre kickers and no shows. 

Anyway Im not going away as I quite like this forum. 

I can be found here https://www.facebook.com/freedomconversions/?view_public_for=284216838653868 Or https://www.freedomconversions.co.uk/

 

 

Edited by MrC

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Good luck with the new "area of specialisation". What's the market like for camper vans generally, and where do you source them in any quantity?

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45 minutes ago, metcars said:

Good luck with the new "area of specialisation". What's the market like for camper vans generally, and where do you source them in any quantity?

 

I had two buyers on the same day wanting the van, they couple who missed out are wanting me to build them a van once they find a suitable donor vehicle and are in regular contact with me. I have two other very serious buyers lined up for the next one. I do find that in general buyers are genuine and I am yet to receive a "how much for cash" text.  The VW camper and as I have found out Caddy world is led by recommendation and getting know for a decent job, these people see the value the work rather than trying to beat you down on price. You tend to find they are passionate and if you are the same it shows.

My only problem is sourcing decent vans at the right price, T5's hold the money and clean honest ones even more so. 

Edited by MrC

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Good luck, I'm sure we can agree that we know exactly where you are coming from! Auctions are getting harder and by the time we pay all the extra add ons, the margins are getting squeezed considerably! 

People buying their "brand new" second hand car from us is becoming more evident!

i shall keep plodding along for now though ....

Gary.

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I took a similar route a few years back offering custom racking to commercial vans, along side supply and fitting ply wood to new commercial vans, we are now number one supplier for four main dealers in our area, I also did the transporter thing one major pitfall i found was building vans for customers spec there a nightmare with there designs in the end i stopped as nothing was good enough for them and there time scales where insane, coupled with the crazy prices the T5 where starting to bring I moved away from this avenue. 

Plenty of people out there doing well with this business though not to be knocked. 

My car sales is almost a hobby these days to what it was like.

 

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Like the others,I wish you well.However,I hope you have the VAT position clarified just incase it is a grey area.Is there a difference between buying,renovating and selling an old camper van/motor home/caravette ( as they were then called) and buying a van,converting it to a camper van and selling it.The last thing you want is a VAT inspector to make some dubious assessment in 3 years time which ruins your business.I recall one young inspector trying unsuccessfully to assess us for VAT on road tax because applying for,paying and collecting road tax on behalf of a customer was a service ! which was nonsense........Good Luck !

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8 minutes ago, trade vet said:

Like the others,I wish you well.However,I hope you have the VAT position clarified just incase it is a grey area.Is there a difference between buying,renovating and selling an old camper van/motor home/caravette ( as they were then called) and buying a van,converting it to a camper van and selling it.The last thing you want is a VAT inspector to make some dubious assessment in 3 years time which ruins your business.I recall one young inspector trying unsuccessfully to assess us for VAT on road tax because applying for,paying and collecting road tax on behalf of a customer was a service ! which was nonsense........Good Luck !

Do you carry your Scythe everywhere 

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3 hours ago, justina3 said:

Do you carry your Scythe everywhere 

No,but based on my own experience,I think traders should be awhere of HMRC......or they could get stitched up !

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30 minutes ago, Arfur Dealy said:

I wish you the very best of luck, follow your heart :) 

Thanks

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All the very best fella, be doing my own conversion soon hopefully so might be in touch for a few pointers if that's cool, sold my T3 westy a few months back and I'm pining for another camper.

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3 hours ago, trade vet said:

Like the others,I wish you well.However,I hope you have the VAT position clarified just incase it is a grey area.Is there a difference between buying,renovating and selling an old camper van/motor home/caravette ( as they were then called) and buying a van,converting it to a camper van and selling it.The last thing you want is a VAT inspector to make some dubious assessment in 3 years time which ruins your business.I recall one young inspector trying unsuccessfully to assess us for VAT on road tax because applying for,paying and collecting road tax on behalf of a customer was a service ! which was nonsense........Good Luck !

 

I think this is how it works..

I buy a van commercial VAT is 20% which I can claim back. Then I can claim back VAT on all materials to do the conversions. I sell to an end user wont be able to claim VAT back as its no longer a commercial vehicle and therefore HMRC's interest in the van ends.

I pay VAT on the profit of the van not including money spent to do the conversion. So buy for £10k sells for £20k pays £2k VAT. 

 

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great news

doing something you love getting paid and genuine thankful customers

all the very best from me

and a nice manageable unit to work from

im  jealous:)

get cctv up and smd lights mind,make it difficult as hell to get broken into,even put a pole across your roller shutter inside to stop the thieves slowly running an old transit up to the door and driving backwards to peel it out of its frame:)

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2 hours ago, s and b said:

get cctv up and smd lights mind,make it difficult as hell to get broken into,even put a pole across your roller shutter inside to stop the thieves slowly running an old transit up to the door and driving backwards to peel it out of its frame

Im going on a Trading estate that shuts its gates at 6pm, has 24 hr security, CCTV and ANPR. I did find cheaper units on shady looking places but Im happy to pay for the security.

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Good luck with the new venture, hope it all works our for you. 

Just out of interest, not being a hipster tree hugging surf dude and having a particular dislike for VW, why are these VW Camper things so popular? In time, could you be open to the idea of other makes of donor vehicle (with the exception of Vauxhall obviously) or does it have to be VW?

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24 minutes ago, sparky said:

Good luck with the new venture, hope it all works our for you. 

Just out of interest, not being a hipster tree hugging surf dude and having a particular dislike for VW, why are these VW Camper things so popular? In time, could you be open to the idea of other makes of donor vehicle (with the exception of Vauxhall obviously) or does it have to be VW?

There are a few people out there who think the same and buy transits which are everywhere to buy, however the market share has been and i strongly think will always be with the VW bug lovers, to be fair the VW van up until the T6 which is showing early electrical headaches is a well built bit of kit, (apart from the silly sliding window which leaks like a brown paper bag trying to hold water) so you can see why there popular. 

I tried a few different makes the transit was the worst sat around for ages and ended up hardly clearing a profit on it, the Vivaro did well that said i did buy it cheap to start with so that might be the reason who knows. 

And in the other brands there all the same Vauxhall Nissan and Renault same as the Aygo C1 and 107 theme. 

And i would avoid the Mercs like a wasps nest they rust faster than a 2001 Ford KA

 

 

 

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MrC you've always got to do what you think is best and sometimes it takes guts, all the best

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12 hours ago, sparky said:

Good luck with the new venture, hope it all works our for you. 

Just out of interest, not being a hipster tree hugging surf dude and having a particular dislike for VW, why are these VW Camper things so popular? In time, could you be open to the idea of other makes of donor vehicle (with the exception of Vauxhall obviously) or does it have to be VW?

They just have the massive following that no other van has. Look at the amount of VW shows every year and then subculture shows like Busfest and Camperjam. 

Personally I could not get excited about converting a Vivaro or Transit. 

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Thats another one turned around, I was on schedule for completing it in 4 weeks but I had a small disaster at the end which put me back 5 days.  I only advertised it on Friday evening and have two viewings on Tuesday! 

 

Take one Sparkies work horse, chuck some money and time at it and go from this..


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Great conversion, I've had a couple of T5 Kombis of my own in the last few years as family wagons.

Can't grasp the fascination of these (not knocking what you have done bud because I admire your work and skills) but they go for mega money - A dealer local to me is asking £30k for one similar to yours!

What are the rough numbers for yours if you don't mind sharing?

Congrats on finding a niche for yourself that makes you happy and pays you a wage.

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