The salvage car industry is growing, and with the help of brokers like AutoBidMaster, salvage vehicles are more accessible to the public than ever. With over 180,000 vehicles in our inventory, you’ve got a lot to choose from. There’s more to salvage car auctions than just scoring a great ride for yourself, though: the salvage industry is riddled with opportunity. From starting your own rental service to flipping cars for a living, there are lots of options for you to explore. In this post, we’re giving you some tips on how to start flipping cars for a living.

Learn the rules, and follow them

If you’re interested in flipping cars for a living, you gotta do it right. There are laws you need to follow that vary from state to state that will protect both you and your clientele. States have varying limitations on how many vehicles you can buy and sell. Oregon, where we’re headquartered for example, limits individuals from selling more than 5 vehicles in one calendar year, unless they can prove that the vehicles were “primarily for personal, family, or household purposes or for other purposes that the Department of Transportation, by rule, defines as constituting an exemption under this section.” Otherwise, you’d need to get a dealer license. Selling more cars than you’re allowed to without a license to do so can result in some pretty hefty fines or even jail time.

So, it’s decision making time: do you wanna flip a few cars a year to turn over a small profit on the side, or do you want to make it a full time job? However you do it, make sure you comply with all state laws and regulations to protect yourself and anybody you do business with.

Explore the market in your area

Different places have different needs. If you live in a rural area, focusing on trucks, SUVs, and vehicles with towing capability may suit your market. If you live in a city, then smaller, reliable commuter cars may be in higher demand.

Spend some time at local auto auctions or just browsing your city’s classifieds to see what people are buying and selling to help inform your decision. Talk to local car clubs and see if they have a necessity for parts for their vehicles regularly. If they do, you can use leftover parts from salvage cars to recuperate some of your costs.

Choose a specific vehicle type

It can be helpful to focus on a specific type of car. That way, you can focus on forming relationships with suppliers and mechanics that specialize in that kind of car as well. You can choose to focus specifically on classic cars, Japanese cars, British cars, and so forth.

Do you want to buy a car, fix it up, and flip it in a few weeks? Or do you want to take your time with a more expensive, luxury vehicle and go over every little detail? The turnaround time you’re aiming for can help you decide what type of car you’re interested in fixing up in the first place.

If you focus on a particular type of car, you’ll avoid the age-old adage of “jack of all trades, master of none.” Take the time to truly familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of a particular style or make, and every time you restore or rebuild one, it’ll get easier and easier.

What you should look for

If you’re new to flipping cars for a living, you may want to start with something affordable, reliable, and with plenty of parts available. When looking through cars on AutoBidMaster, pick a damage type that goes in line with your level of expertise. If you’re more interested in bodywork and dealing with cosmetics, you can look for vehicles that have been involved in front or rear end collisions. Often, these kinds of vehicles need a new bumper and other panels to look close to new.

If you’re more interested in cars that are already lookin’ good but have mechanical issues, you can look at vehicles that are listed under mechanical damage. This can be damage to the transmission, engine, oil leaks, and so forth.

Fixing up cars is a skill, like anything else. If you aren’t mechanically inclined yet, start with popular cars like a Honda Civic or a Toyota Camry. Parts are readily available, maintenance and repair is pretty straightforward, and they are in high demand.

Before you buy

The most important thing to do before you buy any car is to run a ClearVIN VIN Check Report and conduct a physical inspection of the vehicle. If you can’t physically inspect the vehicle yourself, you can hire a third party to do so on your behalf. That way, you can see if the vehicle is worth putting money into and if any profit can be made. For those involved in business ClearVIN, our trusted partner, offers a bulk vehicle history report to meet the needs of dealers.

Sign up with AutoBidMaster today with just a few clicks and start your salvage car business right away! Feel free to give us a call at +1 (503) 298-4300, 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM PST Monday through Friday, or email with any questions and we’ll be happy to help.

Happy bidding!

AutoBidMaster Staff Writer

AutoBidMaster members purchase auction vehicles without dealer’s licenses. All-inclusive support & global shipping make AutoBidMaster your one-stop shop.

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