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Flipping Cars


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clatonious
Novice

Apr 7, 2013, 6:52 PM

Post #1 of 11 (2118 views)
Flipping Cars Sign In

As a teenager I used to be really into working on cars, of course that was in the 80's and college and marriage took me a whole other direction. Now I find myself drawn to working on my own rigs again and have even considered seeing if I could earn a little coin on the side. What I've done for my own personal rigs is wait until I see someone (usually a local craigslist ad) with a project they can't afford to finish up and are willing to take a loss on to pay the rent or whatever. I have limited tools and have learned for the sake of parts that sticking to mainstream rigs would be smart. I also had a friend tell me look at interiors and paint first because motors and drivetrains are the least of your worries.

I also had a friend that used to do this with extremely cheap cars, he'd buy like a 91 topaz or something and put a tune up on it and a set of used tires and turn 300 into 800.

Bear in mind I'm not looking to be a business, build rods, do restorations, be Gas Monkey Garage, or expect huge returns...I simply want to have some fun and have a hobby that returns the investment and a little more. So if this were you, what would you buy and work on? Where would you buy it, what would you spend and how would you value your intended target price/goal?


nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Apr 7, 2013, 7:08 PM

Post #2 of 11 (2093 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

Most of the time you would lose money. Cars have changed so much over the years that you are thousands of dollars behind in tools and training to even try to touch them. I'd worry more about the drivetrain than the paint and interior. You can always polish paint and shampoo the interior. A good detailing will sell a car, trust me. WalMart sells a Bissell Little Green shampooer for less than $100 and they clean up well. Use Simple Green for the shampoo as its cheaper and cleans like crazy. Also has the benefit of smelling nice, so cars that were smoked in a lot come out well.

Avoid things like a 91 Tempo. They sucked in 91 and unlike a fine wine they don't get better with age. Look at 95-03 minivans, sedans and SUV's. Also keep an eye out for little compact cars with a stick shift. If it just needs some basic tune-ups and brakes you might be in your element, but realize that CL is loaded with scammers so it is on you to look closely enough to be sure they aren't lying to you about what is really wrong.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend even bothering with it. If it was that lucrative we all would've quit our jobs already.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Apr 8, 2013, 4:40 AM

Post #3 of 11 (2042 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

With Nick - you are highly unlikely to win at this. At least around me for decades on end the (used to call it) 1/4 lots which were cars under $2,500 and pro dealers go out of biz like a pretzel cart on the corner all the time and they are getting stock real cheap.


I used to do it but frequently knew the car or a history ahead of time. Needed too much for owner to go for it so could get them so cheap or free even there was room to fix them up. Then and more now, cars have to pass all safety items and emissions and again as Nick said takes unreal bucks in tools for newer stock.

The other is the "Glitter" lot cars. Those are big bucks, awesome cars, need nothing, look and run as new. You can actually make more bucks on the high price stuff than the low price stuff. Yes - make 10-15% on a $20,000 car and now you can make some $$ but still need to buy right,

T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 8, 2013, 5:45 AM

Post #4 of 11 (2035 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

A`few years ago it was a good business to be in but not now. The used car market has gotten real skimpy and you have to pay way too much for junk. If you buy on Craigslist, you are sure to get burned. They are selling mostly real crap, usually with deep hidden problems. If there happens to be a good deal, it is gone in the first 30 minutes and even some of them find an eventual surprise they didn't expect.

The clunker buy back program took half of the inventory away.



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carjunky
Enthusiast

Apr 8, 2013, 9:46 AM

Post #5 of 11 (2023 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

I actually know of a guy now that buys cars on the cheap side, that all he does is details and cleans them up, then flips them for a nice profit. Yes in today's market. I don't even think he tunes them up much, besides a basic oil change and filling up fluids.

It's not easy, but you have to make sure to buy them right, maybe from a person that just got low-balled from a dealer on a trade in.


(This post was edited by carjunky on Apr 8, 2013, 9:49 AM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 8, 2013, 10:23 AM

Post #6 of 11 (2015 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

Yes, if you have a pipeline to trade in's, that would be great but the problem is that everybody is trying to do this and that is driving the price of used stuff sky high and you end up with junk anyway. I tried to do it for a while but finding cars worth buying is nearly impossible these days. The prices are all too high.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Apr 8, 2013, 6:41 PM

Post #7 of 11 (1996 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

I make more money cutting up junk cars for scrap than I have selling used ones. Never get comebacks from a scrapyard.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 8, 2013, 6:44 PM

Post #8 of 11 (1993 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

That's true. that can be very lucrative, especially if you grab the Cats first..



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



nickwarner
Veteran / Moderator
nickwarner profile image

Apr 8, 2013, 7:50 PM

Post #9 of 11 (1984 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

I bought an ESAB mig welder with what I got for two 55 gallon drums of cats. Customers had decided to scrap the car and buy a different beater, I was the nice guy who hauled it free of charge after grabbing what parts I was after. They got cash for their junk, I got compensated for my time and using my truck. We all won.

At that time the cats on a Caravan were fetching $71 each. I had 10 of those alone. It was a good day.


MarineGrunt
Enthusiast
MarineGrunt profile image

Apr 8, 2013, 10:10 PM

Post #10 of 11 (1974 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

You've got that right about anything cheap on craigslist worth buying is gone in the first 30 minutes. I ran into that when I was looking for a truck last summer. Since I was already looking, I kept my eye open for cars too. I'd wake up at 5:00 am and look for a few hours. Any decent car or truck for a decent price was gone in no time at all.

As an example. I had a 2000 grand am with a V6. It sat in the driveway for well over a year with either a cracked head or bad gasket. I had purchased it for cheap in hopes of fixing. Well, work got in the way so there she sat. We were going to be moving so I just decided to list it on craigslist. I listed it for $1000 and said the engine was toast and would need a new one. Within the first 20 minutes I bet I had 20 calls. I guy from St. Louis drove 3 hours and gave me $900 for it. That was twice was I paid for it. It also needed new tires. Granted, a lot of those calls were scrapers saying they'd give me $250 for it but I had other offers in the $700 range.

I don't know much about buying cheap, repairing, and making money but it seems there are so many people out there trying to do the same it's hard to come across a decent deal.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 9, 2013, 3:17 AM

Post #11 of 11 (1968 views)
Re: Flipping Cars Sign In

Yep, that's it in a nutshell.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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