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Car 'flipping' To Make A Profit

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#1 New game mini

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Posted 26 December 2017 - 10:31 PM

Hi all,

Just wondering if anyone has ever made a decent profit out of car flipping as a hobby. Buying a cheap car, usually through auction or scouring eBay for bargains, tarting it up and making it roadworthy, then selling it on for a profit. It's something I'm thinking of doing as I've got some spare space and could spare (a bit) of cash, would enjoy it, and think I have a decent bit of car knowledge in terms of what to buy and what to avoid etc.
Does anyone have any experience in this? Good or bad? Would apprecite any stories/advice before I take the plunge.

Cheers 😁

#2 Archived2


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Posted 26 December 2017 - 10:41 PM

Unless youre very good and have loads of free cash to cover the risks involved then I wouldnt recommend this with minis.
Many try but few succeed.
If minis are a hobby to you then keep it that way. Business and pleasure rarely mix.

Over the years Ive lost lots of money with my minis but I dont mind as its an interesting hobby. I could have spent more on hookers and gambling so...
I wouldnt want to try and sustain myself financially on mini sales

Edited by minihobbymini, 26 December 2017 - 10:42 PM.

#3 sledgehammer


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Posted 26 December 2017 - 11:15 PM

I wonder if you would be better getting a newish car that has been written off


& strip it in a double garage


sell the good bit's on ebay & the rest to a scrap man


I seen a few do this & make good money


the hardest bit is getting the car to the garage & getting the right car


just another option


whatever you do , make sure you put a bit aside for the tax man , you will be surprised what he notices

Edited by sledgehammer, 26 December 2017 - 11:18 PM.

#4 6joshh6


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Posted 26 December 2017 - 11:32 PM

Flipping cars is hard, there is some money to be made but for the most part people are already doing it so competition is fierce. Easiest way to double your money on a cheap car is to break it, I did that with an MG ZR 160, easily doubled my money and then some but I've still got loads of bits floating about and storing it is a nightmare, especially if you were paying for the privilege. 

#5 Pistonbroke66


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Posted 27 December 2017 - 12:11 AM

I’ve done it with cars and motorbikes for about 15 years now. As has been said it’s hard and the cheaper end of the market is harder still. My best margins have been on rarer or perceived collectible models. Minis are difficult but I made a good profit on a rover cooper LE. The more expensive the car the easier it becomes. For example I made 27k profit on a 911 GT3 in 7 months to bloke from London I never even met who did not even view the car himself. For the motorbikes I’ve used some of the auctions at the big bike shows as someone always gets carried away, but the fees make hefty dent in your profit. Don’t be greedy, £50 profit is better than bugger all and that’s where I started. Also it takes time, 15 years in my case and I stiil work full time so don’t depend on this to feed the family so to speak.

Currently the big thing is originality so all the books,service documents etc all helps. Also keep a look out for the next ‘big thing’ before prices go up. A good example is 205gti’s. 3 or 4 years ago you could pick one up that was tidy for a grand , now they are all heading for 10k with break neck speed. Availability of spares also has an impact , the better the sales availability that keeps the price down e.g mgb’s always stay around the same price as you can still get absolutely everything .

Also forget anything classic ford escort as they’ve just gone mad.

Hope that helps

#6 Anthony30


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Posted 27 December 2017 - 01:09 AM

Don't bother, It's not worth the hassle.

#7 rkde


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Posted 27 December 2017 - 11:09 AM

I do occasionally but not as much as some of my friends. I have with a couple of classic mini, but when I do buy them to flip I look for MOT failures and like to know what I am getting into. Generally with a classic mini I like to find them with rotten sills or something which is buy panels, weld up and paint or generally easy mechanical work - this can go wrong as I have had a car which looked and felt solid and when I stared work was a lot of fiber glass which took time to fix. 


You have to consider your time as charged, what would you charge someone to do the work? what could you earn doing something else? etc

Next is the profit can be made flipping but generally the profit is in the buying and not the high price margin selling.


Where are you going to keep the cars? I generally keep them at a farm I have an agreement with the owner. Currently I have several 2000~2006 new minis there as they make more than classics as generally they are really easy fix. the typical offer for a running car is £700 for an early model - if I have to break it then I will still be in profit. The last one I purchased had a bottom end knock but got it for £300 and in parts alone its worth up to £1000 


Other markets are the "just passed" so affordable small engine cars - these sell well. For this market I will generally low ball sellers till I get someone who wants rid and I will take the time to make the car right and sell it on. 

Audi TT, and S3 are quick movers and are better purchased as broken and repair but be good with the ECUs as that is sometimes the fault.


To do it most of the cars you want to pick up on a trailer and do as little as possible - classic cars can be a money pit to fix correctly and you have to know you are going to loose doing it. You need to be able to do everything and quickly else you will end up just hoarding and not finishing any...

#8 CityEPete


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Posted 27 December 2017 - 02:08 PM

I normally do the reverse, buy a shed, make it mint then sell it at a loss!

#9 minimans


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Posted 27 December 2017 - 04:14 PM

In the USA we call this curbing, selling cars from the curbside......

Don't you need a dealer license to sell cars for profit?

#10 M J W J


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Posted 27 December 2017 - 04:22 PM

I buy cheap cars, run them until they run out of MOT and then break them for parts. I do usually make a small profit but its next to nothing for a years investment. All I really get from it is a years free motoring.


Considering the effort I have to go to, to deal with problematic customers and couriers I do not want to do it full time.

#11 Archived2


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Posted 27 December 2017 - 08:24 PM

I normally do the reverse, buy a shed, make it mint then sell it at a loss!

I think that’s 99% of us on here too. I’d hate to think what I’ve lost over the years.

To be honest it drives me up the wall to sell my own cars when I get bored with them. Nit pickers and tyre kickers etc.
I tend to sell them to guys who like to flip em out so I can avoid the agro.

I used to work at a car sales lot when I was younger... I think that’s whats stopped me flipping cars. It could be a great business if not for the customers! Lol

#12 New game mini

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 06:06 PM

Hi folks, thanks for all of your advice and replies. I'm definitely not looking at doing it full time or to make a sustainable living or looking to do it with classics or minis (although future classics and cars of interest does interest me) just as a hobby really. I did a 2005 ford KA a month or so back that I got for £75 as the woman just wanted rid as it was MOT less, covered in moss and wouldn't start. I jet washed and detailed it, put a new battery in it, It sailed through MOT after I got a spare wheel from a scrappy and I sold it for £700. Think there's a lot of people out there that just CBA to do basic repair/clean up jobs to get cars roadworthy again. Thanks again for all the tips, much appreciated.

Edited by New game mini, 28 December 2017 - 06:06 PM.

#13 Black.Ghost


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Posted 31 December 2017 - 01:18 PM

Ive not tried flipping to make a profit, but I did get a Mk1 Focus for £150, changed the battery and adjusted handbrake. Used it for 2 years and needed just normal wear n tear items. Put it through an MoT where it needed a bit more (although again still just normal wear really). The biggest expense was a timing belt. Total spend on car was around ~£1000. It got written off and I got £800 back from insurance company. Cost me just a couple of hundred over 2 years! Plus I miss the heated front windscreen.

Theres still plenty of people out there looking for cheap cars.

#14 Cooperman


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Posted 31 December 2017 - 08:19 PM

To do it regularly you would need a motor trader's insurance policy. Then you would have to understand the laws in respect of sale of goods, warranties, etc.

Profits would need to be declared for income tax.

It was easier in the 1960's (when I did quite a bit of it to pay for my rallying), but not these days. Classic/older cars are a big risk as there are so many things to be wrong and which would need repair before sale. Giving a warranty on such cars is a big risk and, for example, having to replace a gearbox on a car which you sold 4 months ago would make a big dent in the overall profits. What do you do if you sell a classic Mini and after a few weeks the buyer brings it back with a slipping clutch? You change the clutch at your own expense. Selling on a regular basis is 'motor trading' and does not class as private selling.

#15 r3k1355


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Posted 03 January 2018 - 11:34 AM

At the cheaper end of the market you'll have to deal with total melons, so be prepared to be completely messed around by tyre kicking idiots.



In the USA we call this curbing, selling cars from the curbside......

Don't you need a dealer license to sell cars for profit?



Outside of the "Land of the Free" there is sometimes more freedom?

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