Looking for a career change, what jobs in the classics industry? - Alfa Romeo Forum
You are currently unregistered, register for more features.    
 17Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools
(Post Link) post #1 of 34 Old 28-03-17 Thread Starter
Status: Just one more project!
AO Silver Member
 
SimonGTV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 2,079
Garage
Looking for a career change, what jobs in the classics industry?

I've decided to give up my well paid secure job as an ICT teacher/Senior Director and try something different. Going with the old adage of if you do a job you love etc I want to do something to do with classic and sports cars.

The slight barrier I have is that other than my home tinkering I don't have any specific industry experience but do have lots of transferable skills so I'm looking at my options, so far I've got.

1. Back to school - complete a restoration course, Leeds college have a good one, fees are 2500. This will provide me with a qualification but as it's a Level 2 designed for school leavers I'm not sure it will teach me that much more than I already know and I'll still be limited to trainee type jobs (and salaries) on completion.

2. Training on the job - if I'm paying 2.5k and no salary to train I might be better offering to work for free or not much at a good restoration firm. This will probably be more hands on which I'd prefer and hopefully put me in a better position when applying for vacancies.

3. Go it alone - buying and selling classics. Lots of people seem to make a living out of this, I could start with flipping cars bought at auction and or light restoration of cars. If combined with a couple of days restoration experience as above I could build up to more extensive restorations and keep the overheads down instead of farming jobs out. Maybe look at importing cars from SA, Italy or the US.

4. Hiring out my cars - I'll probably need to do this anyway to subsidise what ever I choose but I could try and make this work by expanding the fleet. Not sure they'll be much call for the Alfa's so will probably focus on VW Campervans for weekends and weddings.

5. Work for a dealer – there a couple of prestige dealerships local to me, I could try and get a start with them (tricky I know with no direct experience) and work my up to the acquisitions department which I fancy.

What do people think, please feel free to say I'm crazy, any other ideas definitely welcome.

Thanks

Simon

Current cars - 1973 2000 GTV, 1974 Spider 2000, 2002 Porsche 911, 2003 Rover 75 V6.

Gone but not forgotten - 1999 GTV TS, 1987 Alfetta GTV, 1978 Alfetta GTV, 1968 Giulia Super 1600, 1967 GT Junior 1300.

Last edited by SimonGTV; 28-03-17 at 08:10.
SimonGTV is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Status: Meh....
AO Platinum Member
 
Verbout's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: United Kingdom
County: West Yorkshire
Posts: 12,415
Garage

Member car:

Lexus

Can't you start your other career while still doing your teaching job, running alongside each other.

If/when the other career takes off dump the teaching.
Verbout is online now  
(Post Link) post #3 of 34 Old 28-03-17 Thread Starter
Status: Just one more project!
AO Silver Member
 
SimonGTV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 2,079
Garage
Yes, I've got 5 months until I plan to leave so I'll be starting the hire business, I've already got my first wedding booking and I'm looking for a summer project to restore and sell on. I'll also be visiting local companies as mentioned to see how realistic my plans are.

I've always got supply teaching which I can do a few days a week to keep the wolf from the door whilst things get going.

Last edited by SimonGTV; 28-03-17 at 09:15.
SimonGTV is offline  
Status: all running well....so far
AO Silver Member
 
spiderserie4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Germany
County: Nordrhein-Westfalen
Posts: 3,775

Member car:

Alfa Spider 4

Simon,
there's a job going at 'wheeler dealers', since Edd China is leaving...

can't say the pay is good though, he seemed to slave a month for 15 quids profit!

OK, sorry, back to serious tips......
Top Down likes this.
spiderserie4 is offline  
Status: In the garage
AO Member
 
mistamun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: United Kingdom
County: Northamptonshire
Posts: 325
I have though about this myself.

I came to the conclusion I would probably not enjoy it so much if it's an actual job nevertheless I do admire your courage and drive to change your career.

Maybe trying to sell your IT knowledge as an advantage, we're talking about classic cars but not necessarily classic restoration techniques, modern restoration / fabrication technology often requires IT skills.

Not sure I have much more advice specially because I only lived in the UK for a few years and don't know my way around the business that well.

Best of luck and if you do end up starting your own business then I'm sure we will be in touch.
mistamun is offline  
(Post Link) post #6 of 34 Old 28-03-17 Thread Starter
Status: Just one more project!
AO Silver Member
 
SimonGTV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 2,079
Garage
Thanks Dom, much as I'd love Ed's job I dont think my CV would stack up against Ant Ansteads and yes using Mike and Ed's model I'd never make any money!

Thanks mistamun, I know what you mean about the enjoyment waining, especially if the pressures of teaching are replaced with the pressures of making mortgage payments and feeding the family. Hopefully my IT skills will come in handy when working for someone else or myself.

Im 46 so if I don't give it a shot now I never will and if it all goes belly up I can always go back to teaching I suppose.
stoneystu likes this.
SimonGTV is offline  
Status: -
Club Member
Membro Medio
 
duemila's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: United Kingdom
County: Landon Tan
Posts: 2,458
Garage
Keep your secure job, teachers pensions are good aren't they, go out more at weekends, go to meets races holiday etc.
FrenchSpider likes this.
duemila is offline  
Status: supporting a bank near you
AO Silver Member
 
Top Down's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: West Sussex
Posts: 5,022
My other passion is sailing, to a lesser extent these days having sold the boat and often say "how did I have time to go sailing". When I lived and breathed sailing people would often say "why dont you get a job or a business in the marine industry?" Now there are similarities here which stopped me. First, never 'work' in a business or industry which is your pastime or hobby, because then its not your escape. Secondly, I suspect that classic cars could easily be like the marine industry, put in your own numbers, but it was Tom Sopwith who said to take 1M out of the marine industry, put 2M in first!

Someone said to me, "so whats so special about an Alfa Romeo then?" I told him, "If you have to ask, you wont understand".

Giulia Super Lusso 2.0MA, wife drives 939 Spider 2.2, plus Abarth 595 and there is a 1972 Spider 2000 S2 in the garage for fun days.

Previously, Brera 2.2 Prodrive - 159 SW 1.9JTDm - 1.6TS 147
Top Down is offline  
(Post Link) post #9 of 34 Old 28-03-17 Thread Starter
Status: Just one more project!
AO Silver Member
 
SimonGTV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 2,079
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by duemila View Post
Keep your secure job, teachers pensions are good aren't they, go out more at weekends, go to meets races holiday etc.
Yes the pension is good and I do all the other things but it's not enough, it's taken me a couple of years to come to this decision and I certainly can't see myself being able to do another ten years. The other option is to look for an alternative secure job which I'll be doing as well before I make my decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Down View Post
My other passion is sailing, to a lesser extent these days having sold the boat and often say "how did I have time to go sailing". When I lived and breathed sailing people would often say "why dont you get a job or a business in the marine industry?" Now there are similarities here which stopped me. First, never 'work' in a business or industry which is your pastime or hobby, because then its not your escape. Secondly, I suspect that classic cars could easily be like the marine industry, put in your own numbers, but it was Tom Sopwith who said to take 1M out of the marine industry, put 2M in first!
Yes, this is a worry but it's a risk I'm prepared to take, I could reconcile things with my job being restoring them and my pastime is to drive them as quickly as possible!
SimonGTV is offline  
Status: Alfisti
AO Silver Member
 
Joe90GT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Gloucestershire
Posts: 3,261
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonGTV View Post
Yes the pension is good and I do all the other things but it's not enough, it's taken me a couple of years to come to this decision and I certainly can't see myself being able to do another ten years. The other option is to look for an alternative secure job which I'll be doing as well before I make my decision.



Yes, this is a worry but it's a risk I'm prepared to take, I could reconcile things with my job being restoring them and my pastime is to drive them as quickly as possible!
Not sure of your situation but I worked for a large utility and two years ago was offered a voluntary redundancy with pension, took a bit of thinking about but I went for it and have never looked back, the old cliche "don't know how I had time to go to work" is very true. I did look for a regular job for a bit but realised I hate being tied down to anything that becomes a 9 - 5 so instead i do a bit of DIY, gardening or whatever I fancy etc for people. The biggest bonus you'll soon realise is only doing stuff when you feel like it rather than when you have to, it adds a whole new meaning to life and on the whole you will probably work harder than you have ever worked but really enjoy it, it also means I can go out driving whenever the weather is good and go to lots of classic auctions etc
Good luck whatever you decide Simon; just one thing, I probably wouldn't get a job doing what is my hobby as it is then no longer a hobby
roony likes this.

Italian tune ups are an essential part of an Alfa Romeo maintenance shedule
Joe90GT is offline  
Status: -
Club Member
Membro Medio
 
duemila's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: United Kingdom
County: Landon Tan
Posts: 2,458
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonGTV View Post
Yes the pension is good and I do all the other things but it's not enough, it's taken me a couple of years to come to this decision and I certainly can't see myself being able to do another ten years. The other option is to look for an alternative secure job which I'll be doing as well before I make my decision.



Yes, this is a worry but it's a risk I'm prepared to take, I could reconcile things with my job being restoring them and my pastime is to drive them as quickly as possible!
Well you sound like you've made up your mind, work on 3,4,5 in your post with some supply teaching in between and good luck,
SimonGTV likes this.
duemila is offline  
(Post Link) post #12 of 34 Old 28-03-17 Thread Starter
Status: Just one more project!
AO Silver Member
 
SimonGTV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 2,079
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe90GT View Post
Not sure of your situation but I worked for a large utility and two years ago was offered a voluntary redundancy with pension, took a bit of thinking about but I went for it and have never looked back, the old cliche "don't know how I had time to go to work" is very true. I did look for a regular job for a bit but realised I hate being tied down to anything that becomes a 9 - 5 so instead i do a bit of DIY, gardening or whatever I fancy etc for people. The biggest bonus you'll soon realise is only doing stuff when you feel like it rather than when you have to, it adds a whole new meaning to life and on the whole you will probably work harder than you have ever worked but really enjoy it, it also means I can go out driving whenever the weather is good and go to lots of classic auctions etc
Good luck whatever you decide Simon; just one thing, I probably wouldn't get a job doing what is my hobby as it is then no longer a hobby
If they offered me redundancy with a pension i'd bite both their hands off! Glad to hear it's working out for you.

With your auction experience, do you see a profit margin between the auction sale prices and open market prices?
SimonGTV is offline  
Status: T-5 Days to Unicorn Paradise
AO Platinum Member
 
TheGrimJeeper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: France
County: Riviera
Posts: 38,319
Good luck!
TheGrimJeeper is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
sparkeysprite's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Derbyshire
Posts: 49
Hi Simon,

I'd been having similar thoughts to you for a few years, and last September I gave up a well paid job, company car, security etc and decided to go it alone - along the lines of your option 3. I had a few project cars unfinished and bought a few more cars and motorcycles and rented a small workshop and spent the winter improving them. Just started to sell them now and so far I have made the profit I predicted on what I've sold so it may work out, but it's early days!

It's fantastic to be your own boss and wake up and decide what to do on a daily basis and so far it hasn't put me off classic cars at all. I'm a similar age to you and thought that it's now or never. I'm glad I did it and am enjoying it, although I will admit that I occasionally have a panic attack and think "What am I doing !!" Working predominantly alone also takes a bit of getting used to, as does not having a guaranteed monthly income, but it is an interesting way of getting by. It's useful to have a wife that's willing to put up with me trying to live the dream as well !

Hope it goes well whatever you decide.

S..
anglospider likes this.
sparkeysprite is offline  
Status: Alfisti
AO Silver Member
 
Joe90GT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Gloucestershire
Posts: 3,261
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonGTV View Post
If they offered me redundancy with a pension i'd bite both their hands off! Glad to hear it's working out for you.

With your auction experience, do you see a profit margin between the auction sale prices and open market prices?
You could always ask...., its has been a revelation as your priorities change completely; recent auction prices have been good (relatively low) so there is profit to be made, people will always pay top dollar for a good one. If your starting out you might struggle to make a profit but as a lot of classic re sellers ladle it on for a quick polish they probably make good money especially as market is overheating.
I've seen a few immaculate S3 Spiders go for relatively very little but then the S3 isnt the one in demand, I've also seen some very rotten boat tails go for daft money as well, i'd love to dabble myself but don't have the space
Joe90GT is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: South Coast UK
County: UK
Posts: 142

Member car:

1750 GTV Mk2

A brave decision, and one most of us probably wish we had the balls to go through with!

I'd go with Option1 for sure, it works geographically for you and will make you more "legit" if you want/need to work for a restoration firm or dealer. While you're doing the course, there is no reason not to be filling your back garden with projects you can practice on and start getting ready to flip...

Option 2 then would be a great way of applying your new skills in an environment with access to tools and knowledge you won't have access to on your own. I'd like to think that if you approached a restoration frim for work experience with some specific goals, i.e. 1 day a week on upholstery until they'd trust you to do a job solo, and 1 day a week on fabrication, they'd see you as a potential asset. So many of these places rely on "greybeards" who have a lifetime of skills with no apprentices to pass them on to, they should bite your hand off for someone mature and motivated who they could possibly employ in the future.

Option 3 alongside both of the above would give you really useful industry insight and build up a network of contacts, it will also be, I'm sure, a quick way to learn some valuable lessons before your financial life relies on them! I'd love to think I could make a living off buying at auction, putting 20 hours of work into a car and then making a couple of k on it in a week or two, however, overpaying, buying lemons, not being able to find a buyer, and making a loss, would all be lessons I'd probably learn on my first car and it'd put me off for ever!

Good luck and please keep us updated, I can imagine there will be quite a few people sat at computers day-dreaming about this today!
Alex_P is offline  
Status: Garage time..
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: United Kingdom
County: Derbyshire
Posts: 1,007

Member car:

71 1750 Spider,

Simon

Your more than welcome to pop down to Derby and practice your welding skills on my car!

Last edited by roony; 29-03-17 at 19:06.
roony is offline  
(Post Link) post #18 of 34 Old 29-03-17 Thread Starter
Status: Just one more project!
AO Silver Member
 
SimonGTV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 2,079
Garage
Thanks for the support and info all, I've got a lot to think about but nothing has put me off yet.

Sparkysprite, where about in Derbyshire are you, I'm south Sheffield, would you mind me popping over for a chat?

Ta
SimonGTV is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: North Yorkshire
Posts: 260
I admire your courage we only have one life to live.
I am currently a stay at home father of 2 who loves to spend time in the garage at weekends-currently restoring a 64 Vespa that I have owned for almost 10 years.
You could start a local forum/discussion group for like minded people like yourself with the very same interests -you may find some that would love to partner with you in a joint venture which may negate some of your start up risk.
Any classic car clubs/meets local to you?
Wishing you the very best of luck!
Paul777 is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
Trifffclarke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: United Kingdom
County: North Yorkshire
Posts: 96
You've got plenty of options and some time to test them out, so go for it.

From the experience of my friends and family (I'm the one with the steady job) it can be long hours for (relatively) little pay but if happiness is measured by job satisfaction rather than by bank balance it's worth it.

Classic prices are seasonal so one question is whether you have the space to buy cheaply in autumn/winter and sell on in spring/summer possibly a year later?

Do you sell much on eBay? Another related option, again if you have space for breaking.

If you've not run your own business before then networking can be invaluable, both for generating leads, but also for support.

All the best.
SimonGTV likes this.
Trifffclarke is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
sparkeysprite's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Derbyshire
Posts: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonGTV View Post
Thanks for the support and info all, I've got a lot to think about but nothing has put me off yet.

Sparkysprite, where about in Derbyshire are you, I'm south Sheffield, would you mind me popping over for a chat?

Ta
Hi Simon, I'm just over the Hills in the High Peak. You would be welcome to come over for a chat, just drop me a PM and we can sort something out.

Cheers
Steve
SimonGTV likes this.
sparkeysprite is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
sparkeysprite's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Derbyshire
Posts: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trifffclarke View Post
You've got plenty of options and some time to test them out, so go for it.

From the experience of my friends and family (I'm the one with the steady job) it can be long hours for (relatively) little pay but if happiness is measured by job satisfaction rather than by bank balance it's worth it.

Classic prices are seasonal so one question is whether you have the space to buy cheaply in autumn/winter and sell on in spring/summer possibly a year later?

Do you sell much on eBay? Another related option, again if you have space for breaking.

If you've not run your own business before then networking can be invaluable, both for generating leads, but also for support.

All the best.
The seasonality and space bit is one of the biggest opportunities and challenges. I'm also into motorcycles which are even more seasonal than classic cars and there is great opportunity to buy both cheaply in the Autumn. This challenges space and cashflow...

I occasionally sell cars and bikes on eBay, and surprisingly about half go abroad. I have a French chap flying in to pick up a Motorcycle tomorrow night..
S..
sparkeysprite is offline  
Status: Village Idiot
AO Member
 
Jim Spackman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Cardiff
Posts: 371

Member car:

75 TS

I did exactly this after being made redundant at the age of 43. Fortunately the redundancy payment paid off the mortgage so I was able to afford to work for crap money because the car industry doesn't pay much at the ground floor.

1st job was in a Jeep Dealer working on the service desk. I did this for a year. Learned a lot about the car business (basically what a load of sharks the average customers are...) but the pay was terrible, about 13k a year as a service advisor.

I left to work for a Mercedes restorer. This used my experience as a home mechanic and went quite well right up until the point in 2008 when the recession hit and people started putting off that full restoration and I was laid off!

Things I learned...

Classic car restoration is hard work. Very hard work.

There is nothing more soul destroying than flatting bodywork. And you have to do this several times to get that mirror finish paint. As soon as the car is finished your reward is another pile of scrap for you to turn into a beautiful swan.

You will get dirty. And dusty. Your hands will be permanently covered in an ever changing pattern of fresh scars. You will ache, in places you wont believe.

The money isn't brilliant.

After redundancy I ended up at Alfaholics, been here for nine years now and after starting in the warehouse packing boxes am now the sales manager. Promotion was somewhat accelerated by the way the business expanded. I was lucky that I pitched up into a company it just the right time!

Everyone says that i have their dreams job but a few things you need to be aware of...

1. I don't get to drive around in these fantastic cars all day (or at all for that matter).

2. The hours are long.

3. It's hard work.

4. I spend a lot of my time diagnosing faults over the phone (often from a description of a noise) to people who want me to tell them that there's a cheap fix for it. Or trying to value a car without seeing it. Or explaining how to fit parts we've sold to people who really should be giving the car to a garage! It's incredibly frustrating at times, especially when you're being told that something doesn't fit when you know damned well that it does because you fitted one yesterday.

The job can be very rewarding but don't let anyone kid you you that it's a bed of roses!

Hope this hasn't put too much of a dampener on your plans!
FrenchSpider likes this.
Jim Spackman is offline  
Status: supporting a bank near you
AO Silver Member
 
Top Down's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: West Sussex
Posts: 5,022
Let me start out with a question for Simon to think about. Do you need to earn a living from this adventure?

You have been given a lot of encouragement here, but I'm going to play devils advocate just for a moment. I should point out that I have all my life either worked for myself or run a business. In the 70's early 80's I had my own garage/general car repair business.

Before you commit to this lifestyle change you need to do some careful research, perhaps Steve can help you here. Martin goes to lots of auctions and we do hear of some of the good value cars he sees. Perhaps you should just watch some cars on CarsandClassics and Ebay etc to see how swiftly they sell and learn some idea of what they fetch. A bit of market research to establish some idea of profit you may be able to make.
Next, unless you are very lucky and have a large barn or workshop away from other houses you will need to rent a workshop. Even nice neighbours can get funny when you run a business from home, especially motortrade. Do a calculation for rent, rates, H&S expenditure, heat, light, phone etc etc.
Finally, just remember there are others who have been doing this for years, very skilled and experienced, know all the contacts, know what to buy, what not to buy, know all the dodges and short cuts. You will apart from the actual fun bit have a very steep learning curve.

Others have talked of the romantic side of this, sorry I have to be the one to say do the market research, do the due diligence, be very conservative with the numbers.

But all the same, good luck.
Top Down is offline  
Status: -
Club Member
Membro Medio
 
duemila's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: United Kingdom
County: Landon Tan
Posts: 2,458
Garage
4. I spend a lot of my time diagnosing faults over the phone (often from a description of a noise) to people who want me to tell them that there's a cheap fix for it. Or trying to value a car without seeing it. Or explaining how to fit parts we've sold to people who really should be giving the car to a garage! It's incredibly frustrating at times, especially when you're being told that something doesn't fit when you know damned well that it does because you fitted one yesterday.

I imagine all of number 4 infuriates everyone in the trade, I feel for you Jim and others in this situation.
Jim Spackman likes this.
duemila is offline  
Reply

Go Back   Alfa Romeo Forum > Supported Alfa Romeo Models > Technical & Vehicle Assistance > The Classic Alfa Romeos

Tags
career , change , classics , industry , jobs

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome