Avoid these 11 mistakes when flipping cars

Avoid these 11 mistakes when flipping cars. There are lots of things that you should do when it comes to buying a car. But you also need to know what mistakes to avoid. Below you will find a list of the common mistakes you should avoid.

1. Overpricing a car

This is the most common mistake made when selling a car. You can hear endless reasons for why a car isn’t selling, but just about always it the price. The car market is price driven and highly competitive so you can’t afford to overprice a car and expect to get away with it. If you want to learn how to price a car accurately read how to do it here – How to value a car you plan to sell (with tips).

2. Buying in haste and repenting at leisure

If you are new to flipping cars you really need to do your homework. Buying the wrong car in the wrong spec or colour is easily done and can be very hard to sell. But this buying the wrong car can happen to even the most experienced dealer or flipper. Sometimes you do a good job inspecting a car but it’s just a dog and it ends up costing you money. Auction fever can also kick in and you end up paying too much for a car once fees and shipping are included.

Not sure what to buy? We have written about that here – Which cars should you buy to flip.

3. Bad photography

Again a very common problem. But as the internet and car sales in general is such a visual experience you really need the photos to be good these days. The good news is it’s never been easier or cheaper to achieve quality photos. If you have a quality DLSR or mirrorless camera then that’s great. But in most cases a modern smartphone will produce outstanding photos, and more than good enough for a classified or facebook post. Learn how to take better photos with a smartphone here – How to photograph a car with a smartphone.

4. Skipping the test drive

Never buy a used car without test driving it. It’s easy to get complacent and just give the car a quick look over and buy it. But don’t always always test drive a car, it can save you a fortune. It’s also the easiest bit or the inspection process and it normally telly you the most.

Just drive the car listening for any engine noises or suspension bumps and rattles. Feel for any vibrations from the steering and keep an eye on the various gauges. It’s best to let the car come fully up to temperature but a simple five minute run should be enough. After the test drive it’s often best to pop the bonnet again. You can sometimes smell if a car is running hot, losing a bit of coolant or leaking oil.

5. Taking a cheque as payment

Never ever take a personal cheque either for a deposit of full payment. Always take payment via bank transfer or in cash and never release a car or process and paperwork without clear funds.

I’m sure we have all hear stories of people selling a car and taking cash and then being robbed the following night. I’m not sure if they are true but why take the risk in the digital age.

6. Overspending on repairs

We are all human and have all done this at some point. But it’s essential that you get quotes for any major work before you buy a car. As you gain experience you will be able to more accurately appease the cost of repairs. But until you are confident it is best to visit a garage or workshop for a quote or estimate.

You also need to bear in mind the cars age and the price point you intent to sell the car at. A car worth a thousand or so doesn’t have to be in showroom condition to sell.

7. Not processing the paperwork correctly

You must get the paperwork signed and processed in as timely a manor as possible. Don’t let the new owner take the car with our signing and always process the paperwork yourself. This avoids issues with the new owner not filing paperwork and you getting speeding and parking fines for the rest of your life!

The same goes if you have a problem processing the paperwork. Don’t leave it until they call you, contact them straight away and inform them that there will be a delay.

8. Lying

​Never lie when selling a car. If you don’t know the answer just tell them that you don’t know. I was told on my first day selling cars to never lie to a customer. The advice that has served me very well ever since.

Tell the truth and don’t hide anything it will always come back to haunt you in the end.

9. Not washing a car before a test drive

Always clean the car prior to a test drive. Skipping this simple step is a cardinal sin in the motor trade and can waste both the buyers and your time, and cost you money. A clean and well presented car will do have of the sales process for you. So make sure the car is spotless inside and out.

10. Buying the deal and not the car

You need to buy the right stock, and the right stock isn’t always the cheapest. Especially if you are just flipping cars on the side and looking for a quick and easy flips. Just because the green three door Suzuki Ignis is cheap doesn’t mean you should buy it.

You should focus in buying easy to sell cars at the right price point.

Your ideal flip should look something like this:

  • ​​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

We cover this in more detail here – Which cars should you buy to flip.

11. Not carrying out pre-purchase checks

Similar to not test driving a car. You must carry out pre-purchase vehicle checks when buying a flip. The inspection process isn’t difficult or time consuming but it is essential if you are to succeed as a car flipper of dealer.

Learn how to inspect a car in more detail here – Inspecting a car you intend to flip.


All the above mistakes are easy to avoid. With the invention of the smartphone and the huge amount of car information available online, you have no excuse for not researching your flip. You can find information on this site teaching you everything you are going to need to be successful at flipping cars. Avoiding these basic mistakes will save you thousands in potential repair and other costs.