“Timid salesmen have skinny kids.” Zig Ziglar, arguably the world’s greatest car salesperson and the author of that quote, did not have skinny kids. He knew how to make money in the auto industry: buy good vehicles cheap and sell them for more than he paid. Zig Ziglar also had a few other tricks up his sleeve and so can you. Fatten up your children by learning how to sell cars for a profit!

Sell Cars for a Profit by Buying Them for a Song

Find a steady supply of inexpensive automobiles, like a local auction house or swap meet. Searching for cars to purchase chews up precious time, and time means money. Every community already has a place to buy and sell used vehicles but these venues are not always well-advertised or in prominent locations in town; it is up to you to seek out the good deals.

Become a car dealer. Authorized car dealers are invited to auctions and liquidation sales not open to the public. Look for great deals at seized car auctions, car salvage lots and auctions hosted by cities or towing companies. Law enforcement agencies auction off surplus, unclaimed and confiscated vehicles while banks and other lending institutions look to get their money back on repossessed cars from deadbeat customers. No special license is required to participate in these auctions and you might even get a special treat in one of the confiscated cars. Look for announcements in newspapers, sign up for online auction directories or talk to banks or government officials directly to find auctions in your area.

Use the newspaper and online classified ads to find vehicles to sell for profit. Online use car sales are an emerging tool for savvy salespeople looking to pick up cheap autos and sell them for a profit. Keep your eyes peeled for cars sitting in front yards bearing a For Sale sign. While you are talking to the owner, ask if you can help her find a vehicle to replace the one you are buying.

Look for hail-damaged cars. These vehicles typically suffered only cosmetic damage and are in perfect running order. They ain’t pretty but they move quick. Contact local car rental lots. When customers return abused vehicles, car rental companies do not invest time or money in repairing these cars; they typically leave the car sitting in whatever city it ended up. National car rental companies often hold regular auctions at local lots. Contact these companies frequently to find out about upcoming auctions, both in your area and in other locations. Improve your odds of getting a good deal by asking your local car rental lot manager if you can directly purchase cars pulled from the fleets rather than fighting with the masses on auction day.

Buy donated cars. Consumers get a break on taxes for donating used cars to various charitable organizations. These charities frequently liquidate donated assets for funding and, since the charity got the item free, are willing to sell the cars for next to nothing. Everyone benefits and you look like a hero! You can have a pocket full of silver and a heart of gold.

Create a business plan

Zig Ziglar said there are, “two sure ways to fail - think and never do or do and never think.” Create a business plan to focus your thoughts, determine the best revenue streams, establish a renewable source of vehicles and, most of all, impress any financial institutions you will rely on to process loans for your company or for your clients. With a business plan, you should be able to accurately predict just how much weight each child will gain in the near and the far future.

Start with your short term and long term objectives. Objectives include financial goals, number of cars in inventory, retail location and staff members. Set specific goals that you would like to reach three months, six months, one year and three years down the road. To say, “I want to make a million dollars a month for the rest of my life” is exciting but it will not impress any bankers thinking about giving you a loan. Financial institutions want to know, above anything else, how soon they will get their investment back.

Resist the urge to run screaming and crying from the room when you hear this: you must develop a mission statement. As stupid as they might sound, a mission statement defines exactly what it is you are trying to do. An example of a mission statement could be to sell used cars for a profit in the suburbs of Detroit. Your mission might be to sell American clunkers in Belize. You might even decide to sell only to families in southern Indiana with skinny kinds, but a mission statement sets you apart from the rest. Develop a bullet point list of what special skills and talents separate you from the rest. Establish yourself as the world’s leading expert on Pinto wagons or Volkswagon Microbuses, for example. Banks really like that.

Write up a company summary to sort out legal issues that can suck profits from your future coffers. Establish yourself on paper as the owner of the company and assign titles to other individuals involved in starting the company to avoid legal ownership complications later on down the road. You never know when the person you hired to haul home one car from one auction suddenly says you promised him a full partnership in the business. Talk with a financial expert to determine if you can better protect your profit by establishing your company as an LLC.

Your spouse, neighbors and municipal codes will not allow you to sell enough cars from your front yard to make money – you must rent or own retail space. Name the address of your future location in your business plan. This helps you sort out the mundane, vital details such as how much rent, electric and heat/air conditioning will cost you. Find out about any quirky flaws like frequent construction or poor access to your intended location, along with any stupid local fees and taxes that remove profit from your pocket.

Expect your expenses. Write out your basic financial needs, like how much it will cost you to secure a location, utilities, staff and inventory. Detail how you intend to acquire this capital if you are not already and independently wealthy landowner. Make a list of all your assets; your banker wants to know what he gets if you cannot sell cars for a profit.

Show a unique vision. Describe everything you will sell immediately and hint at what you hope to sell in the future; talk about why you cannot sell these cars now and how you plan to enable yourself to sell them in the future. For example, express the desire to buy cheap cars from one state and truck them to your retail space; explain how you plan to purchase a semi and hire a driver to move those cars. Do the same thing with services: write down any services you want to provide today and tomorrow, then lay out how you intend to accomplish your goals.

Analyze the market objectively before you enter the field of auto sales. Market analysis helps you realize the general upward or downward trend of selling used cars and helps you think of ways to capitalize on those trends. Decide on your pricing structure and develop promotional pricing gimmicks that bring in customers without breaking your bank. Hammer out a sales strategy and seek out strategic alliances in the industry. Collaborate with a web development company, for example, to reduce the costs of starting a first-class website advertising your company.

Write down the names of your competitors and compare their strengths and weaknesses with yours. Decide what gives you the competitive edge. Identify weakness within your operation that could give your competition an advantage. Develop a SWOT analysis, which lists your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Don’t be afraid to perform a SWOT analysis on your competition; adopt practices that seem to be working for him and avoid duplicating his errors. Most importantly, never interrupt your competition while he is making a mistake.

Selling automobiles promises to be lucrative for those few daring enough to take the challenge. As large dealerships downsize, opportunities for individual car salespersons open up – Americans are not going to stop buying and driving vehicles any time soon. Pad your wallet with revenues earned by learning how to sell cars for a profit. Develop a business plan to establish a clear path to wealth. Zig Ziglar will be so proud of just how fat your kids have grown.