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Kreb
Kreb UberDork
11/23/19 12:00 p.m.

I have a friend in the SF Bay Area with a successful small towing business. His trick is to appeal to specialty markets: Classic cars, motorcycles and Teslas. He's also a guy who likes to do multi-day motorcycle rides, so he has a partner that shares the load. Seems to me that would be a good situation. Don't try to compete with the big guys. Develop a following with people who want to use you because they know that you're a car person and will take proper care or their loved one.

If you want to get into a fabrication business, I'd recommend either going with custom/prototype work, or develop a low-volume, exclusive  line of stuff for Harley Guys or some such. You are going to get killed if you try and compete in a saturated market like trailers, or a low-profit one like kit cars. 

Nugi
Nugi Reader
11/23/19 12:16 p.m.

In reply to captdownshift :

I looked into these and the self-spray bays when the only one in my town closed a few years ago. The margins were such that a single 'incident' a year could eat your profits. The general consensus with the many owners I spoke with was it was a No-Go in crime adjecent areas, and better to do full service in nice ones. A few actively tried to sell me theirs while admitting it was a bad idea at the same time. As with any venture, do the math.

Those rent-a-lift places seem equally hit or miss, but clearly a few are doing very well, and I wish there were more, so there is that. But I suspect liability concerns could render it moot. 

Managed car storage seems to be growing. Just climate controlled car storage with a plan to start the car, change oil, and roll the tires, etc. Seems a good value, and value-add to the storage idea. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
11/23/19 2:48 p.m.

Part of my retirement plan to fund racing is to part out a couple cars a year. I've got two threads here detailing parting cars out. I move pretty slow because of time availability but my target is about $50/hr and my rough math shows me hitting it. Selling mostly on eBay. 

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
11/23/19 2:52 p.m.
dculberson said:

Part of my retirement plan to fund racing is to part out a couple cars a year. I've got two threads here detailing parting cars out. I move pretty slow because of time availability but my target is about $50/hr and my rough math shows me hitting it. Selling mostly on eBay. 

This + squishing when done + possibly the buying rust-free cars/trucks and selling them up North thing is kinda my goal after "retirement."

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
11/23/19 2:54 p.m.
poopshovel again said:
dculberson said:

Part of my retirement plan to fund racing is to part out a couple cars a year. I've got two threads here detailing parting cars out. I move pretty slow because of time availability but my target is about $50/hr and my rough math shows me hitting it. Selling mostly on eBay. 

This + squishing when done + possibly the buying rust-free cars/trucks up North thing is kinda my goal after "retirement."

You looking for a partner?

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
11/23/19 3:16 p.m.
AngryCorvair said:
poopshovel again said:
dculberson said:

Part of my retirement plan to fund racing is to part out a couple cars a year. I've got two threads here detailing parting cars out. I move pretty slow because of time availability but my target is about $50/hr and my rough math shows me hitting it. Selling mostly on eBay. 

This + squishing when done + possibly the buying rust-free cars/trucks up North thing is kinda my goal after "retirement."

You looking for a partner?

I figured I'd wait to see if we're both still vertical at that juncture, but yeah; you're the #1 ninja I had in mind, Marcy.

rustybugkiller
rustybugkiller HalfDork
11/23/19 3:20 p.m.

I like dcluberson's idea and I have the room and time to do it but I've never figured out what cars to buy.

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
11/25/19 7:36 p.m.

Another idea I had was to sell 4-corner car scales. They are expensive, yet cheap to make. 

But I doubt the demand is there for $2k/month, and it doesn't need the extra 2500sf I will have with this space.    

Parting out cars is a great business, but it is highly regulated business, at least in California, and fines for doing it illegally are stiff.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia Dork
11/25/19 7:42 p.m.

there are a lot of Pic a parts type places around you , 

if there is car model you like get the rust free parts and ship by Greyhound

bmw88rider
bmw88rider UltraDork
11/25/19 8:29 p.m.

I would still think a good setup shop is the way to go. Mounting, balancing for tires that no one else wants to touch and then a good alignment/corner weighting setup. Maybe do light mechanical for issues found while doing the work and possibly coilover/swaybar installation. You can usually charge premium alignment charges. Shoot, I'd love a good guy doing that here local to me. I miss my guy in Austin. 

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
11/25/19 8:47 p.m.
bmw88rider said:

I would still think a good setup shop is the way to go. Mounting, balancing for tires that no one else wants to touch and then a good alignment/corner weighting setup. Maybe do light mechanical for issues found while doing the work and possibly coilover/swaybar installation. You can usually charge premium alignment charges. Shoot, I'd love a good guy doing that here local to me. I miss my guy in Austin. 

I'm gonna pile on here!  Specialist shop for high-end and custom car clientele.  Include exhaust fabrication work.  Treat your clients cars like they were your own not a beater or daily driver.  Do a solid job and INSPECT THE TECHS WORK before you release the car to your customer.  Advertise or promote at local car events-Cars&Coffee, autocross events, drag strip, car shows, etc-and in this area at least, you could do well. 

wawazat
wawazat HalfDork
11/25/19 8:49 p.m.

Oh, and I'd like to throw my hat in the ring for the Angry and Poopy Dismantling Experience.laugh

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
11/25/19 8:50 p.m.

So uh, if you wanted to provide indoor storage for say 4 to 6 cars, would you need some special insurance policy or would it fall under your general business liability insurance?

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
3/24/20 1:25 a.m.

Let's see, I picked the perfect timing to sign a 3 year lease for a 3300sf building to open an r/c race track.  Doh!

I have started to think, is it possible to drive an r/c car with FPV on the internet?   Real racing, not simulated racing.

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 Reader
3/24/20 6:46 a.m.

Why not just license as a car dealer.  Normally the requirements are fairly easy to meet.  Flip all you want.  Retail some.  Crush some.  Could provide a good tax write off also as you attribute expenses to the business.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
3/24/20 7:43 a.m.

Honestly,  the shift is away from brick and mortar structures to internet sales. Looks like you may have already signed a lease but rent is only one cost. You will have utilities, the city will tax you, insurance ( business,health, disability, WC etc.) , up keep, employee payroll, advertising (as well as signage), product cost depending on what you are selling or in your case r/c track build out......just to name a few. Oh and the IRS will want a cut and it's best not to get behind with them. Not trying to be negative it's just that I have been self employed and run a business my whole life. When I started, the internet didn't exist. A few years ago I started an internet business as well and frankly it's doing far better than my physical business as far as profit per dollar spent.  My physical business makes way more money but cost eats up the majority of profit. Oh ya,  my physical business is now shut down for 3 weeks by law (COVID19), but I still have all the expenses. My internet business is still open and doing well.  Again, I don't mean to be a bummer for you. Good luck with your decision and I hope you do well with it.

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
3/24/20 1:53 p.m.

In reply to nimblemotorsports :

One not to get into business with is the trailer building business.  Your costs are based on volume  your volume is based on sales. Sales are based on costs Cheapest usually wins. 
 New, novel ideas take a while to catch on so you'll start with an unproven idea and high initial costs. 
 Now you are competing against well established high volume companies that buy components at a minimal cost. For new sales. Used trailers, and homemade trailers. 
Add all the headaches of dealing with employees and their problems. Plus regulations and insurance. 
 

I tried that with a great low cost idea. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
3/24/20 2:04 p.m.

In reply to Loweguy5 :

Check your state's requirements - the requirements may be more expensive than expected as at least some states basically require a fixed place of business that can't be your home, bonds, insurance and all that fun stuff. Might not be financially viable unless you shift a reasonable number of cars.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 Reader
3/24/20 2:44 p.m.

I personally think there is a HUGE need for a lightweight foldable or extendable aluminum ramp (maybe 7' long) that would eliminate the need for separate and expensive race ramps. Something aluminum with potentially flip down supports to get the needed capacity. You could bring it around to track events and sell a dozen of them for 400 or 500 bucks a piece I would think.

Patent not pending but would appreciate being a test subject for a design. Thanks in advance!

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
3/24/20 9:40 p.m.

The space I have leased was zoned for r/c racing and I've already invested thousands to setup a r/c track business.

It isn't zoned for car dealerships, or manufacturing of trailers,

and landlord doesn't even allow car repair although it is zoned for it, but will let me work on my own projects there.

However, given the circumstances, I have considered making race trailers, it isn't like I will be building hundreds of them, one a month would be ok.

This trailer design is rampless.  The back half of the trailer pivots to function as the ramp.  Different than my older design, which was harder and more expensive.

I could post pics of it, but don't have any at the moment.  It needs more work for production, I'd like to automate pulling the pins instead of manually doing it.

My rent is $2,000/month.   I figured r/c racing would bring in $1k to $2k.  Now I am bringing in ZERO to pay this rent, and landlord of course isn't saying don't pay rent until this shutdown is over...

I think I need to look into racing over the internet..although my guess is once I get it all engineered, tested, and ready to rollout, this shutdown will be over!

But maybe not, and maybe it would still be interesting to race an actual car with others around a track from home?   

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