Flipping Cars for Profit - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Flipping Cars for Profit

Have any of you guys done this? Buy a car with a problem for a good price, fix it, and sell it for more? Any stories or past experiences you can share? Any tips or strategies? How do you find the good deals?

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Chaduro View Post
Have any of you guys done this? Buy a car with a problem for a good price, fix it, and sell it for more? Any stories or past experiences you can share? Any tips or strategies? How do you find the good deals?
I've done it a lot. I've flipped something like 11 vehicles.

Sometimes I make money, sometimes I break even. But I hardly ever make enough money to pay me more for my time than I would have made earning minimum wage.

The best advice i can give you is to look at the big picture when you're inspecting a car. Too often I have focused in on what I thought the biggest problem was, when it turns out there were 5 or 6 that would need to be addressed else I wouldn't be able to generate a profit margin.

Too many problems is just as bad as too serious of problems.

Good luck

"I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints." - Billy Joel, Only The Good Die Young
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 01:44 AM
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A buddy of mine tried that in the late 80's when muscle car prices were starting to take off. He lost money on some. Made a few bucks on others. Unless you flip a lot of them, get them for way under what they're worth, and flip them quick for a good profit, it's not worthwhile to do it to try to make a profit.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 09:32 AM
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The only one I ever made money on was from an older guy I worked with. He had a Pontiac Bonneville that wouldn't start and had already bought a new car. He said if I would haul it off, I could have it for $1. I pulled it home, replaced the burnt set of points and it started right up. Sold it that afternoon for $600. I had about $5 in it total.


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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 10:13 AM
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Keep in mind to check your DMV....if you sell too many cars a year you will pick up 'dealer' fees and reporting costs.

Plus your neighbors will start to hate you

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 10:15 AM
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i've done a few in past , always made $$ some times little sometimes alot . made the most flipping motorcycles . but with the economy the way it is now i won't even try . alot of people selling , not many buying . if you got extra cash nows the time to buy and tuck away .

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 10:37 AM
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Smaller used car dealers do it a lot. They pick otherwise nice cars that have just a bad engine or bad transmission. Then get a junkyard unit to put in it. You have to have a mechanic that works cheap and know ahead of time how much it's going to cost to get the engine/trans in there. Cars with multiple smaller problems generally aren't worth it. You can't fix up cars cheap anymore. Body shop guys used to fix partial wrecks for resale all the time, not so much anymore unless the car can be had for next to nothing or has special value.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 10:58 AM
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We call it "curbing cars" I did it to help save enough to get the down payment on my first house. Took a year and a half to generate $7200. I was making $28,000/yr in my real job with the Coast Guard. Nearly lost it all on a 78 T/A I got stuck with. Worked out in the end.

Way too much work and way too much stress. Flipping the odd car because we're in the hobby, sure, but trying to make a living...
You're better off being a walmart greeter. lol

Doing brake jobs, oil changes and balljoints in your shop, now that's far more profitable.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 11:22 AM
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I have a friend who owns a hot rod shop and there just isn't a lot of money in the business. People aren't willing to pay for the labor that is required to get these cars up to quality standards.

Check out the progress of my '66 restomod HERE

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302 w/ 289 Heads | T5 from '88 5.0 | Patriot mid-length Headers | 2.5" aluminized x-pipe over rear axles | dual 2.5" Dynomax Ultra Flo mufflers | 3.55 rear gears | 24" Aluminum Radiator | '70 gas tank (22 gallon)| 130 Amp 3G alternator | 1" lowering springs | Shelby/Arning Drop | 1" front sway bar | Export Brace | Monte Carlo bar | TMI Pony Sport Seats w/ headrests | 3 3/8" tach | 2" triple gauges (water, volt, oil) |
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 12:00 PM
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use to make lots buying and parting them out-much more profit than fixing up. had an extra acre of land all high privacy fenced so no complaints.was no acess but thru my property in a residential neighborhood. guys would come to buy new parts and had an old parts car they were through with and got them for next to nothing. wes
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 01:07 PM
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Friend of mine used to do this a few years back. He'd go to the local tow truck storage yards where they auction off vehicles they towed but were not claimed. I think they had auctions every saturday or something. He picked up some cars for dirt cheap, and most of them just needed a set of keys. He didnt make tons of money, but he did make a few hundred bucks on each car.

He also worked at a body shop and could fix body damage after hours, so he had an advantage at the auctions....most guys there wouldnt bid on the cars with body damage, so he'd steal em basically.

Another good idea is to not transfer the titles into your name......

1966 GT Coupe - See it here>>> My 66 GT
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 03:12 PM
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I used to go to a dealership auction in Norwalk, CA with a buddy of mine. I picked up a few "gems" like an 89 Mustang convertible for $850.00. After a tuneup and some cleanup turned it for $2400.00. Two weeks later the buyer brought it back with new tires all around and sold it back to me for $500.00. He broke up with his sugar mama and needed a road stake. Got a T-Bird Turbocoupe and doubled on it before I could do anything for it. The guy wanted it even after I said, "Well let me show you what's wrong with it first."
That led me to another Turbocoupe almost identical except with a 5 speed manual for $250.00 and a newer Supercoupe for a grand. I kept those for a good while and a lot of fun and still made a bit when they sold.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 03:39 PM
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I would highly recommend watching the TV show, "Chasing Classic Cars" in Velocity Channel. Wayne Carrini is the best in the business and he often loses his shirt buying and selling cars.

I've thought about this a lot. The only strategy I could see working would be to pick up Hondas and Toyotas which require timing belts and CV axles. This typically happens at 100,000 miles. Although these cars still have a lot of life left in them, many people aren't willing to spend the money for this maintenance and will sell them cheap. It's one of those things which is almost all labor. But the parts are actually pretty inexpensive.

I pretty much did this unintentionally with my son and daughter's cars. I bought them each a Honda Civic just under 100,000 miles. I got each car for a good price because they needed timing belts and CV axles. It takes some work to get the engine torn down then put back together with the new timing belt and water pump. And it's more work to install CV axles. But once I was done, my son and daughter each had a very nice, reliable car. When they moved out of state, I sold each car for a very good price.

But I probably still won't bother to do this. Although I think I could make some money, as mentioned, if you consider the hours required, you can't even make minimum wage. And I think I could make money only with a Honda or Toyota because those cars bring high prices even with 100,000 miles on them. I wouldn't even consider other cars as most people won't buy them if they've got 100,000 miles on the odometer.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 08:36 PM
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Agree, there's just not much money to be had in flipping cars unless you get really lucky in getting them at really low costs. Even less money in flipping classic cars, since they always need a whole lot more than you think they do. I got Jane for a very good price and could have made a few thousand selling her back, but then I'd be short a dream car, wouldn't I? All that potential for making money is gone though now that I've dumped money down her gullet to fix her up right

There is, however, a LOT of money in flipping household goods like furniture, appliances, paintings, etc. Friend of mine spends a ton of time at yard sales and on craigslist. He has 2 rooms in his house dedicated to all of the stuff he finds, which he then lists for resale at his leisure. Saw him pull in a $1300 bedroom set for a couple hundred bucks once, and it was gone for $1000 the next day. Usually he won't pick up things unless he knows he can make at least $100 on it, but he has a real good eye.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 11-02-2011, 09:36 PM
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There is money in flipping cars but you just never know when you are going to find a really good deal... I know two places in Houston, TX that specialize in selling classic mustangs that i really hated... Because I would find a classic mustang that I was interested in by the time I got a hold of the seller they said it was sold... Then in a matter of days they would have the cars on their lot selling them for $5,000 or more than the original seller was selling the car for... I called about a couple of them and asked what did they do to the car after they got it... I was at least giving the guy the benfit of the doubt think maybe he had fixed some things on the car. A least the guy was honest and said he didn't do anything to it... I really wanted this one car but i refused to buy it since i knew what this guy paid for it and in two days wanted to make $6,000 off the car just by marking it up...

Life is so good I can taste it in my spit!

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