​42 common car flipping questions answered

Table of Contents

How much money do I need to start flipping cars?

You can start with as much or as little money as your feel comfortable with. But most people start with a car costing no more than £1000. If you are planning to flip cars on a part time basis, £1000 is all you will need. Car flipping is largely self funding after your first flip. You simply reinvest the profits into the next flip.

​How do I buy cars at trade prices?

It has been said that all the money in car flipping is made in the buying, if you buy right you just can’t go wrong. You can buy cars at trade prices from various sources, from auctions, classified sites or simply word of mouth. But our favourite way is to buy from franchised dealers. Find our guide to buying cars at trade money and why franchised dealers should be your main focus – How to buy cars at trade money.

How do I value a car?

A very simple question that’s very hard to answer. Even dealers with decades of experience get car valuations wrong all the time. The trick is to get it right most of the time. Find our comprehensive guide here – How to value a car you plan to sell (with tips).

What kind of car should I flip?

We you are starting out we recommend small 5 door hatchback models from 2006 – 2012, with a retail price point of around £3000. Find our checklist bellow from our article – Which cars should you buy to flip.

  • ​​Small cars with low running and insurance costs
  • Retailing between two & three thousand pounds, with a minimum of £1000 margin
  • In either Grey, Black, Blue or Silver
  • In the appropriate trim level and interior colour
  • It should have a manual gearbox
  • It should be Petrol powered
  • Having covered under 80,000 miles
  • Have full service history
  • ​With no major bodywork or mechanical issues​​
  • and be HPI clear

How do I inspect a car?

No matter who you buy from, always look over the car thoroughly, if you are unsure of anything take it to a mechanic for an independent inspection. Find out how to inspect a car here – Inspecting a car you intend to flip.

Where is the best place to sell a car?

FaceBook is currently the fastest and most efficient way to sell cars in your local area. It beats classified websites, paper ads and all other forms of social media. Learn why The best way to advertise and market a car.

What information should I include in a car classified advert?


Keep it simple and make sure to include the following facts in order:

  • Year of registration & registration plate info
  • List of equipment and special features
  • Approximate mileage
  • Full service history if it has it
  • Number of owners if low
  • Price
  • Quality photos
  • Contact details

How much money do you make flipping cars?

The vast majority of car flippers average a net profit of £1,000 per car. With £1,000 riding on each transaction, the real question is: how many cars can a car flipper sell each year?

What are the best makes to buy?

We recommend japanese cars if you are just starting. The traditionally cause less problems. But you can find out favourite flips here – The 12 best cars to flip for a profit.

​Does the colour of a car matter when flipping cars?

Yes it makes a massive difference. Here are the most popular colours of 2018.

  • Grey          20%
  • Black        20%
  • White       18%
  • Blue          16%
  • Red           10%
  • Silver        9%​

How should I photograph a car I’m selling?

As the internet and car sales is such a visual experience this is an important skill to master. We have a simple guide to taking great photos using your smartphone. Check it out here – How to photograph a car with a smartphone.

What paperwork do I need to fill out when I’ve sold a car?

Once you’ve sold a car. Its important to put the deal down in writing in the form of an invoice and include the following details:

1.  The date
2.  Price
3.  Make and model
4. Registration number
5. Vin number
6. The names and addresses of the buyer and seller

Make two copies – one for you and one for the buyer – and make sure all parties sign both receipts!

Every country and state has differing rules and requirements regarding transferring a vehicles legal ownership. But be sure to follow your local requirements. We cover the UK requirements here – ​How to transfer ownership of a car in the UK.

Can I flip cars part time?

Yes you can. In fact this is the most common way people flip cars. It can be a fantastic secondary income.

How much should I spend on my first flip?

Most part time car flippers are operating at the £2- 3,000 price point, working on a £1000 margin. So you need to be looking for cars that can retail at £1995 and owe you no more than £800 – £1000, or £2995 with a stand in price of £1500 – £1750.

What should I do if my car isn’t selling?

If you find yourself stuck with a flip the most common reason is price. If you have advertised it for a week or more and haven’t had any calls it’s price. But if you are having interest and the cars just not sold, then give it more time. Some cars just take longer to sell than others. Want to learn more? We cover the subject in detail here – What to do if your car isn’t selling.

How do I valet a car?

Find out how to valet a car here – Car valeting a step by step guide.

How many cars do I need to buy?

You just need one car. But in general the more cars you have the more money you can make.

How should I take payment?

The only way you should take payment is via bank transfer or cash.

​Does the age of my flip matter?

Age is important and older cars can be harder to sell. But colour, condition, mileage and price are more important. I wouldn’t let age put you off a good car.

What sells best a three or five door car?

Five door cars easily outsell three door alternatives. With most modern manufacturers now only offering five door models. Avoid three door cars if you can.

​How long does it take to sell car?

This really is an impossible question to answer. I have had amazing cars that have taken an age to sell, and sold old wreaks in hours.

​Is a full service history essential?

​Not its not, but it can be a disadvantage if all you competitions has it and some history is a must.

Whats best auto or manual?

When you are starting out I would stick to manual gearboxes as a rule. You are also much more likely to have an issue with and automatic box and repairs are normally always expensive.

Do I need to valet every car?

Yes. Every car you flip should been valeted as it is a great way to ad value to a car and maximise profit.

Does my car flip have to have air-conditioning?

No. But it does make it harder to sell, especially in the summer.

Does mileage matter when it comes to selling a car?

The lower the milage the better. But with cars anything in the range of 40-80,000 miles is an easy car to flip. We have written and article covering the subject here – Pros and Cons of buying a high mileage car.

Is Craigslist a good platform for flipping cars?

Yes Craigslist car be a great place to sell cars. It can also be a great place to buy cars too. You car learn how to make money using Craigslist here – Craigslist car flipping.

Why is Facebook the best place to sell cars?

Facebook let you put cars in front of people in a way no other advertising product ever has. It lets you manage enquires and listings in a super efficient manner. It’s also free! Check out our guide to selling cars on Facebook here – How to sell cars on facebook (with tips).

Whats the best return you have had on a car?

I once bought a Skoda Felicia for £50 in a job lot of cars. The paint had never been touched, and had faded to the point of being almost matte. But the car had only covered 20,000 miles so, I sent it off for a valet. A month or so later the boss of the valeting company dropped off a Skoda to me. I was like I don’t own a Skoda do I? He had given the car a machine polish and the paint now looked like new. He handed me a bill for £50. The car sold a few days later for £1995!30. Whats best petrol or diesel?
I recommend flipping Petrol cars. I have nothing against Diesel. But with all the bad press they have received lately they are harder to sell on. Also any mechanical issues with a Diesel always seem more complicated and therefore more expensive to fix.

Why do car flippers fail?

The most common reasons are listed below and you can find more detailed answers here – ​Reasons car salespeople fail.

  • Spending too much money personally
  • Spending too much money on the start-up
  • Not preparing the stock correctly
  • Failure to plan or not knowing how to plan
  • Not enough discipline to follow a plan
  • Not enough cash or cash flow problems
  • Not inspecting or test driving a car before buying
  • Can’t manage their own attention
  • Forgetting to test new ideas on a small scale
  • Starting a business just for the money
  • Not knowing how to work with a bank
  • Not listening to the customer
  • Making hasty decisions that could – and should – have been researched
  • Not looking after the customer
  • Ignoring trends and new product development
  • Letting the competition steal you market or stock
  • Not dreaming big enough
  • ​Hiring bad employees

Should I buy a car with body damage?

You are better looking for cars with requiring as little works as possible. Bodywork can be very expensive and time consuming to fix. I don’t advice buying cars that need anything more than a smart repair. Little jobs like bumper corners, painless dent removal and alloy wheel repairs.

What does the ideal flip car look like?

Your should for cars that fit the criteria below. Learn more about why here

  • ​Small cars with low running and insurance costs
  • Retailing between two & three thousand pounds, with a £1000 margin
  • In either Grey, Black, Blue or Silver
  • In the appropriate trim level and interior colour
  • It should have a manual gearbox
  • It should be Petrol powered
  • Having covered under 80,000 miles
  • Have full service history
  • ​With no major bodywork or mechanical issues​​
  • and be HPI clear

Should I pressure clean the engine bay of my car?

With all the modern electronics its largely best to leave the engine compartment alone. If the engine bay is very dirty just wipe the plastics and covers over with a damp cloth.

How do I know if a cars worth repairing?

Wether you find a car at a local garage, classified ad ,barn or storage unit, there is a good chance it will need some work. Most older cars that are for sale or that have been traded in, will have been traded or sold for a reason. Sometimes this is simply because of the age. But often it happens because a car has a fault of has bodywork damage. Learn how to evaluate wether a cars worth repairing or not with our guide – ​Is a car worth repairing?

Is my car insured for test drives?

Firstly as a flipper/private seller you need to decide if you are allowing test drives.

Secondly and very importantly you need to establish who is covering the insurance. If you have some sort of motor traders policy then brilliant. If not you need to see proof of insurance from the potential test driver if they want to go for a drive. 

Simple test drive rules:

1. Always ask to see their driving license and insurance.
2. Never allow a buyer to test drive the car alone.
3. Never leave them alone with the car or keys, and make sure you take them out of the ignition when you change seats on the test drive. If the car has a smart key always keep it with you at all times.

Do I need an expensive camera and professional photographs?

No a smartphone is perfect for the job. Follow our guide to car photograph with How to photograph a car with a smartphone.

​What do you need to check when buying a car?

If you are worried about missing anything find our car buying check list here – Car buying checklist.

Whats the best way to edit car photos?

When editing car photos less is often best. But the likes of Snapseed, Afinity Photo, Pixelmator and RAW Power offer almost unlimited customisation options.

Can I still advertise a car in a local paper?

Yes all the old ways of selling cars still work. It’s just that they often get less attention and cost more than modern methods. But take a look at our marketing guide here – The best way to advertise and market a car

How do I start buying cars from my local franchise dealer?

Simply ask salesman at your local franchise dealer. They will most likely get a cut of any used car they sell or trade. You may have to persist and visit multiple garages, sometimes on multiple occasions. But you will find a garage looking to sell cars at trade money. Don’t be put off if you get a cold shoulder initially, you need thick skin if you are going to flip cars.

Is buying stock at auction best?

It can be a great option. But there are other often better ways. We explore them How do I buy cars at trade money.

What do I need to get started flipping cars?

All you need is a smartphone, the advice on this website and little effort. Checkout our car flipping business plan – Car flipping business plan.

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