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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
 

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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..
 

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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!
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks all, Top Down yes your advice is spot on, thankfully my wife runs her own business and she's quite rightly asked all these questions, I'd rather go up against the Dragons than her so yes there won't be any rose tinted glasses.

Thanks for your comments too Jim, the very hard work for crap money combo is certainly reality check, oh and you've been brilliant the couple of times I've phoned you've picked up, thankfully I dont think my calls fell into the above categories 😄. There must be some perks to working there though, at least you can look at the cars!
 

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As a fellow IT teacher who would love to do more dabbling in classic cars, this is an interesting thread. Focusing on one car may be a good idea, Joe Knight, lives close by and he does only Fiat Coupes, which means he can diagnose and do every job and has the spares too. He certainly puts in the hours but is just about to celebrate 10 years. You could do Alfas 105s and 116s?
Some good advice here, we all want this to work, can you work from home or would you need to rent a space?
 

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Very difficult and brave decision you have ahead of you. Good luck!

Not wishing to throw a spanner in the works, do think very carefully before you give up your day job. I know that teaching is a difficult and stressful job (I know because my wife was one) but if you can hang in there until you are eligible to start to get your pension (I think the minimum age might be 55) the you would have the financial security of a DB pension (which are becoming very rare now) and lots of time to pursue your dream. Why don't you see if you can take a year off work (unpaid sabbatical) and see how this goes? It your new business takes off then great, you can switch jobs to your business, if this isn't going so great you have your job to go back to (and you would only of have missed one year of pension contributions).
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I'm ok for space in that I have a double garage, the only problem is that I have 2 Alfas in there which I have to think about what to do with them. It's funny in that I was talking with my wife last night and said about selling the Spider to free up some space and capital but she talked me out of it saying I'd regret selling it!

FrenchSpider I like the idea of a sabbatical that may well be the perfect solution.
 

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A very interesting conundrum and I'm sure one which we must all have considered during our 'normal' work. And one which we've probably rejected after another winter weekend fixing the Alfa only to find we made a problem worse, or managed to shear a fairly inaccesible bolt.
But a colleague said to me some years ago (when I had a slight change of lifestyle) 'When you're 70, you don't regret what you did - you regret what you didn't do'.
Food for thought. I'd try for a balance as stated earlier in the thread: part classic work, part supply teaching to fall back on.
Good luck in whichever way you choose to go!!
 

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So what happened Simon? Did you take the plunge, and how did it work out?
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I’m still there but I have made some positive changes.

In the end I just couldn’t make the numbers work to totally walk away as whatever avenue I went down looked like too significant a drop in salary.

I have changed my role though, stepped down from the heady heights of middle management (much less stress) but more importantly I’ve gone down to four days. I’m using my fifth day to pursue other business ventures in the hope that they take off so I can drop another day in a year or too or get to the point when I can realistically look at a sabbatical to properly make the switch.
 

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I’m still there but I have made some positive changes.

In the end I just couldn’t make the numbers work to totally walk away as whatever avenue I went down looked like too significant a drop in salary.

I have changed my role though, stepped down from the heady heights of middle management (much less stress) but more importantly I’ve gone down to four days. I’m using my fifth day to pursue other business ventures in the hope that they take off so I can drop another day in a year or too or get to the point when I can realistically look at a sabbatical to properly make the switch.
Good move Simon - I was in the fortunate position to be able to take redundancy / early retirement four years ago and never looked back since, however the old adage, "never knew how I had time to go to work" is so true, however its all enjoyable time now, you never know how stressful working to live is until you stop doing it ....
 

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I wonder if there's some sort of keyword in this thread which has resulted in it being deluged with spammers since September?
 
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