Starting a Flipping Car Business – All you Need to Know

If you want to make money by fixing other assets, then setting up a flipping car business can be profitable.

Starting a Flipping Car Business - image image adapted by Market Business News.

Just like flipping house or flipping website business, the car business is also getting popularity nowadays. In order to succeed in these types of companies is to do everything correctly in a proper way with ultimate passion and dedication.

The main motto of any kind of flipping business is “buy low, sell high”. This means one needs to buy the asset at a low price and sell it at a higher price.

This idea might sound easy, but there are many things to take care of when one really wants to make a profit.

It is necessary to be aware of as many details as possible about buying, fixing, and selling old cars before jumping into the flipping business.

This article guides the people who want to have a side or permanent income by selling refurbished old cars. The main topics which are covered are:

  • How to legally run a flipping car business
  • How to select the right cars
  • Where and how to get undervalued old cars
  • Where and how to fix the cars at cheap rate
  • How to gain profit

Getting it right with the Law

It is needless to mention that a valid license is obviously required if you want to run a successful business. While starting the new venture in a flipping car, one should possess a dealer license and fulfill other requirements.

Dealer license and other requirements

The rules and regulations to get a dealer license vary in every state. However, the primary Law remains the same in all countries, which is that any prolific vehicle seller needs to have a dealer license.

Now, if anyone is considering flipping a car business as a casual chapter, then applying for a license would not seem productive. This is because getting a dealer license is pretty time consuming and needs lots of paper-work.

To get a dealer’s license, one must expect to spend a minimum of $1500, which is costly apparently.

On the other hand, setting up an office and taking a lease of a commercial place have other expenses too. The casual flippers might not have the time or money to lend a commercial plot to complete their operation.

Although, if being a casual car flipper turns good for you, then you might consider doing it permanently.

As mentioned earlier, the license requirements differ in various states. Some states have a lower or higher threshold in terms of owing unregistered old cars and selling them. Before proceeding with flipping cars, it is always recommended to check with your state motor vehicle registry to avoid civil or criminal penalties.

Finding Undervalued Cars

After getting the license, its time to get the cars that you want to flip. There are many ways one can get such undervalued cars:


Two types of auctions one can participate in to get cars. One is public, and the other is dealer auction.

If anyone doesn’t have the license, they are only eligible to take part in a public auction.  In major areas, public auction happens almost weekly, whereas it happens at least once a month in less crowded areas.

Mostly public auctions bid on cars which are seized by the government, abandoned or repossessed by lenders. It’s easy to get a car from such sales as the authorities’ value volume than bidding money.

Such cars might have blasted engine or significant damage due to major collisions, or only having no or bad transmission, but fixing them can be comfortable with

Newspaper classifieds

Newspaper classifieds are now available both online and offline. To get the details about cars near your location, you can get local newspapers or refine searches by putting your area or zip code. Newspaper ads are relevant as old fashioned sellers only believe in traditional ways to advertise.


Craigslist can be one of your best choices to get undervalued cars as sellers can post their ads for free here. Craigslist has a higher volume in terms of buyers, so there won’t be any problem searching for trustworthy sellers.

However, craigslist doesn’t take any buyers or sellers’ liability, so it’s better to check and confirm before making any purchases to avoid scams.

Other than the portal craigslist, there are plenty of other sites like eBay and offline methods like posters, banners, billboards that can be used to search and get the right cars to fix and sell.

Knowing the used car market

To gain profit, you cannot sell such cars which are not famous or don’t have a good market. For instance, brands like Ford, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Honda would never have a shortage of buyers.

The wise thing would be to understand your locality and geographic position and climate and then decide which cars are suitable for your town.

Minimum capital you need to start flipping car business

Thought the budget is entirely up to you, one can still start with a minimum of $1500 to buy an undervalued car. You need to set a threshold budget to purchase a vehicle, and also you need to have a budget for fixing the car.

This type of low-budget car, after fixing, can get you a $500-$800 profit while flipping. High budget cars obviously will get you more benefits, but you need to find such buyers who can afford such expenses in refurbished vehicles.

Knowing how to get the car

One needs to be very conscious while purchasing a car, whether from an auction or from other places. If you are getting a car from an auction, you need to know all the rules and regulations before proceeding. Plus, registration and transferring title procedures differ state-wise, so it is always recommended to contact the state motor vehicle registry for any doubt clearance.

Inspecting the car properly

Inspecting the car from both ways (interior & exterior) is very crucial. One needs to look for how dirty is the vehicle, or there is any bad smell inside the car. These points will make a lump sum difference while you are spending money to fix the car for flipping.

Check everything minutely, check for dent marks, rust, audio system working or not, pop the hood to check on the engine, and inspect the interior.

If you are allowed to enter the car, you can check on brakes, belts, radiator hose, etc.

Negotiate & fix a final price

You can only make a profit when you can get the deal within your budget. If you are at auction, don’t be too competitive to get a car, as there can be many options within your budget.

If you are buying the car from any other portals, negotiate till the last dollar. Being emotional is not going to do any good for your business.

Clean the car thoroughly

Cleaning the car is a mandatory process that you can’t skip. A clean car is going to raise the selling price margin in the end.

To clean the car, you need to remove the trashes from inside, dust the whole interior along with the floor mats with vacuum cleaner or clothes.

For the exterior part, it is great to go through a car wash session.

Set repair budget

While you are getting a car, you need to think about what changes and fixing the cars need to have a final look.

If you have a low budget, you cannot afford to pay more to repair the car. Setting a repair budget is the first priority, then you can get repair quotes from different shops and then decide which one to choose.


The part ‘selling’ has three steps to cover.

  • Set the price: Once you complete all the repairing, you can put a price tag. There are some car pricing tools available online from where you can estimate the price of the car.
  • Listing the car: Next, you need to find the right platform to do the advertising about the car you want to flip. You can choose any platforms (online or offline) and list your car to get views and interests.
  • Close the deal: The customer will also bargain. First of all, verify all the details about the customer, if possible, meet them in person and then start pricing negotiation. Don’t hurry on selling the car to the first customer you meet; if the deal suits you, you should only finalize it.


Having a flipping car business is not as easy as it sounds. However, if you have the zeal and love such enterprises’ idea, you can give it a try and realize how much money you can make.

Interesting related article: “What is Flipping?”