I am about to take a big jump into a venture that has been circulating in my head for a number of years that I finally feel I’m ready to ‘turn the key & start the engine’ on (sorry).
It forms the basis of my evolving business of classic car hire, car storage and the sheer enjoyment of a driving experience (the latter being almost impossible to monetise) which all stems from owning and maintaining a collection of classic cars (well specifically, for me; modern classic cars).
But how can my relatively modest plans of a warehouse full of cars I want to own be turned into a viable business? By this – I mean one that makes money and doesn’t send me to ruin within 2 years! As much as I’d like, I don’t currently have hundreds of thousands of pounds lying around to invest in Ferrari F40’s, Jaguar E-types or other associated vintage rarities.… so I need to be smart; by starting small, and snowballing this into something great.
I aim to do this by growing my own classic car collection and in turn offer them out for weddings and other event vehicle hire. Think proms, birthday or anniversary treats and magazine and film photoshoots.
I’ve done my research, identifying that the area I’m based (Somerset) is a very popular region for country weddings as well as having some beautiful countryside landscapes. An abundance of grand manor houses with sweeping driveways, pretty rural villages and breath-taking city vistas (Cheddar Gorge or The Crescent in Bath anyone?) means there’s no shortage of backdrops depending on your choice of location.
I’ve sort-of-sorted a first-draft of the website (part of which you’re visiting now) although this is, of course, an ever-evolving product that frankly right now, is missing content. But my view on this is hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Everyone has to start somewhere, yes?!
My current ‘fleet’ (two cars counts as a fleet, right?) consists of a 1988 Golf GTI 16v Mk2 in the garage for a ground-up restoration (when I can work on it at evenings and weekends) and a 1988 E30 BMW 320i convertible in the garage that only needs a few tiny bits sorted before it could be ready for hire.
As time allows (and I will not be rushing here as I want to ensure quality triumphs over quantity); I aspire to have a wider range of cars that appeals to both bride and groom tastes, but most importantly I want these to be cars I want to enjoy owning, and driving.
A long ‘limousine’ style for the bride. Something like a Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit or a Bentley Eight, or Mulsanne. A small ‘kitch’ iconic British car like a classic Mini Cooper. A fast Ford like an Escort RS Turbo to sit alongside my Mk2 GTI to appeal to the ‘boy-racer’ groom. An executive powerhouse like a Daimler or Jaguar Super-Six / XJ6, in Long Wheelbase guise for the ‘limousine’ contingent. A fast Porsche 911 or 912 for that 1980’s ‘yuppie banker’ photoshoot. A novelty car such as a New York or London taxi-cab for something different outside of…well, New York or London… Many of these options above don’t potentially cost the earth to buy right now (compared to their launch price) but cars at the ‘project’ end of the purchasing scale come with the added risk of big bangs, rust, rot, past bodge repairs and therefore big bills. A risk I am prepared to take to kick-start this venture.
Cars, as you probably know are expensive. Expensive to buy, costly to maintain and keep on the road once you’ve taxed and insured it, once you’ve added fuel, tyres, oil, servicing. It soon mounts up, and when you’re multiplying this by 3-5 cars as I initially have planned… well… let’s just say I might be eating baked beans on toast for a few years to come…
And yet I still feel I’ve got a viable business here, and certainly the drive and passion to give this a go.
I’ve never worked for a wedding car hire or chauffeur company. I’ve never maintained a fleet of cars, classic or otherwise. I’ve never started a business before. And yet, you have to follow your passions and interests.
I have separated the ‘strands’ of this venture into several areas of interest, for me.
- Wedding car (and other notable event) hire
- Magazine, Film and Media hire
- Vehicle storage and maintenance
- Social Media, photography, website and blog posts (like this one!)
I am also fascinated by start-up businesses successes. I’m lucky enough to have grown up in the digital age, and with the way the internet and social media landscape lies at the moment, I believe it has never been easier to have an idea, gain a voice and be heard. I believe it takes dedication, passion, a smart idea and a keen business ethic that treats customers with the smaller, fine touches that leaves them smiling and thinking ‘yeah, that was a top-notch experience’. It’s so easy to do things right, and yet haven’t we all been on the receiving end of those memorable poor customer service moments in which you think ‘wow, they were rude’ or ‘man, that was crap!’.
So what do you think? Do you think this is a good idea and agree with me that ‘modern classic’ cars have a future? Have you had any experience in the car hire industry or have a passion for something similar yourself?
Get in touch via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook (or in the comments below) and I’d love to hear from you and discuss the finer points.
Edford Classic Cars