Car Flipping

September 25, 2007

Evenlevel is an Internet company and we’re constantly being reminded in the media of the recent wave of social networking online and its impact on the Internet and e-commerce.  We all have our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts (to name a few).  The Evenlevel founders have been throwing around ideas for how to build a really dynamic community around some aspect of the car business.  One idea that has stuck has been to build a community around car flipping.

Car flipping is akin to house flipping.  House flippers look for cheap properties and either resell them immediately because their original purchase price was so far below market or they rehab them and then sell them for a profit.  I flipped a property a little over a year ago and had great success doing so and actually just bought another property a little more than a month ago and intend to do some extensive rehab and resell this property as well.  House flipping is not easy, my business partner is an architect and I could not do this business well without her.  However, with a little knowledge and a lot of hard work there is a ton of money to be made in that business, which now brings us to car flipping.

The concept is basically the same.  Find cars at below market value and resell them at market value for a profit.  I did some research online and found virtually zero resources for an aspiring car flipper, while you get inundated with books, seminars, and infomercials for people “specializing” in house flipping.  I did fine one poignant blog post about car flipping at Get Rich Slowly. This article generated a ton of discussion comments.  The comments seemed to go back and forth between some seasoned “car flippers” and those that seemed somewhat uninformed and skeptical of the whole practice and were calling car flippers “curbstoners”.

Curbstoning is essentially the practice of conducting business without a licence and often refers to the buying and selling of automobiles without a license.  Here in the state of Texas, common citizens can sell up to four cars a year without a dealer’s license.  You’ll need to check on the laws of the state you live in, but a Texas citizen can “flip” up to 4 cars a year.  If you sell 5 or more cars a year and you’re not a licensed dealer, you’re breaking the law and are essentially committing curbstoning…not something you want to do.

However, you can have a lot of fun and make a decent profit by flipping the allowable number of cars in your state each year.  In fact, it appears that many people are doing just that.  I was mentioning our business to one of our local Wells Fargo bankers last week and he told me that he and a friend had been flipping cars for years.  They were finding cars on Craigslist, buying them, and then reselling them on eBay or Craigslist .  They were very tuned in to what was in demand in the local market and knew a good deal when it came across.  They searched through hundreds of cars to find these deals, but had made more than $4,000 in profit on several occassions for vehicles that they resold for less than $15,000.  A pretty good profit margin if you ask me.  Once I told him about our business, he was immediatley interested in using our site to source vehicles as well.

The founders of Evenlevel think that our site could be a great resource for the car flipping hobbyist.  First off, you can sort vehicles on our site by their absolute value under the market average for similar makes and models.  Secondly, we just rolled out a new Email Alerts tool that will send our customers an email whenever a new vehicle is added to our site that matches their particular search criteria.  And we’re working on some other goodies that will definitely help refine these searches even further to deliver only the choicest cars to the consumer that is either looking to buy a used car for personal use or buy a car to flip it.

I’m interested in hearing some feedback from any car flippers out there to see if they would be interested in a section of our site dedicated to flipping cars.  We’ve talked about user submitted articles on best practices, what to watch for and avoid, and how to profitably flip cars while minimizing your exposure to risk, and how to conduct your car flipping business legally.  Additionally, we’d love to start posting success stories and pictures of flipped cars.  If we get some positive responses we’ll definitely push this up the chain on our priority list.

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23 Responses to “Car Flipping”

  1. Gerald James Says:

    I read your article and it’s somewhat misleading as it implies that it’s okay to flip a car just as long as you don’t sell more than 4 per year. That’s incorrect. If the intent is to buy for resale, it’s in violation of the dealer laws. Please keep in mind, most folks buy an automobile for the purpose of having dependable transportation. Unfortunately, when amateurs enter the business, sooner or later, they will make a mistake buy purchasing a bad vehicle. Even sadder is the fact that most often, instead of properly reconditioning the vehicle, usually, they will only just spiff it up cosmetically and then pass the bad vehicle to an ususpecting consumer. In other words, if you buy a bad car, the right thing to do would be to make the proper repairs or at least make full disclosure to the prospective purchaser. Buying, reconditioning and selling good vehicles isn’t as easly as it sounds. Many consumers end up becoming victim in a situation where they thought they were dealing with the true owner and relied on trust. If you are going to purchase a vehicle for the purpose of reselling it, you are acting as a dealer and must be licensed and bonded. Further, any person that purchases a vehicle must first register it in their name and pay the appropriate sales tax. If they “jump” the title to the new owner without first transferring it in their name, they will be committing a felony of the third degree. See Required Statements. http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/TX/content/htm/tx.002.00.000152.00.htm#152.062.00 If you have any doubt about my comments, may I strongly suggest that you contact the Texas Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Dealer Enforcement Seciton and the State Comptroller’s Office. Finally, don’t forget, any profits realized from this type of sale is subjected to Income Tax.
    Regards,
    Gerald James

  2. chrisclever Says:

    Gerald,

    I agree that each person interested in this practice should investigate the laws of their particular state to ensure that they do not breach any of them. One of the reasons we’re thinking of adding this section to our site is to serve as resource to bring more knowledge to people interested in flipping a car and we do not endorse or promote any activity that breaks a law in any state.


  3. Hi,

    My name is Greg, and I am a licensed dealer in LA. I’m starting an online community of people involved, or interested in buying, and reselling cars, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. I’ll do my best to answer it, write about it, and post it on my website.

    http://the-car-flippers-companion.com/


  4. I actually had bought, fixed up and flipped a 2000 Ac Integra got like $6500+ on top of what I paid for it. Had to be the easiest cash I’ve ever made. Great ride tho thats for sure.

    I used the site http://www.BargainAutoNetwork.com – its got to be like the largest car online directory. It finds New and Used cars in YOUR area.

    So finding gems is super easy, lol they even give you a $25 Gift Cert. from PEP Boys just for signing up. Niiice! –dont believe me?? check it out for your self.

  5. erik Says:

    I have been flipping car for about 4 years now. I love it and I am planning on getting a dealer’s license later this year.

    I have bought cars for as little as $100. So, you dont need a lot of money to get started. In fact, I would say that vehicles for under $1000 are some of the best buys because of the huge potential return on your money and the small risk involved.

    I have learned a lot since I first started flipping cars for profit. I would not touch most of the cars I bought when I first started. I still made money early on, but I am making a lot bigger return on my investment while risking less money.

    The most important thing is to be patient and wait for the right deal. You don’t want to pay to much or buy a vehicle that ends up needing major work that you were not expecting. I have been averaging about 200-300% return on my investment. Try getting those returns day after day in the stock market. On one car I even made a 1000% return!

    Happy car flipping!

    • Lisa west Says:

      Hi looking for someone to flip my 1996 Jaguar, I’m very serious and ready to get started, can you help me? 225-202-1943

  6. Todd Schafer Says:

    I wouldn’t swear to it, because I don’t know the gentleman, but; dollars to doughnuts, Gerald James is a dealer with overhead to pay.

  7. Daryl Jones Says:

    I have made it a personal hobby to bring down people like you who break the law. Texas law stipulates that you may sell less than 5 cars without a license, PROVIDED that the cars are registered to you. That means that you MUST HAVE PAID SALES TAX ON THEM.

    You have openly admitted to committing tax fraud, as well as violating the laws of the State of Texas. You enjoy the benefits of living in this great country, and the great state of Texas. Those benefits are paid for by taxes. You are stealing from each of us.

    I am not an auto dealer, nor ever have been. I simply take great pride in helping contribute to an even playing field. (Ironic, considering the name of your business, isn’t it?) I have succeeded in starting investigations that have resulted in the collection of almost $200K in back taxes and penalties. I have also taken part in having 4 criminals deported for willfully violating the laws of our land.

    You can expect a visit. Your IP address and domain name registration will be sufficient to find you. Have a nice day.

  8. David Says:

    Daryl Jones, Un-American communists like you are destroying the great country of America. You make me sick to my stomach. Just because something is a law, doesn’t make it right.

  9. badmutha Says:

    ooooohhhhhh, Daryl Jones is an internet toughguy. He sounds pretty scary NOT!!!

  10. Ryan Says:

    I am in the process of getting a dealer license to conduct auto sales online. I am not an expert on the laws, but best I can tell they were put in place to protect the car dealership business as well as ensure that Texas can double, triple, quadruple tax the sale of a car. When I buy a coffee table at Ikea then sell it next year on craigslist does the buyer have to pay sales tax?? Of course not…that would be ridiculous; so why is the state allowed to capture tax revenue each time a car changes hands?

    I would recommend taking a look at getting a dealer license this way you can legally flip cars and not look over your shoulder all the time.

    I’m curious – Did the poster (I’m not sure who he was targeting) who Daryl Jones was “Bringing Down” ever actually see any result from this threat? A forum like this should be a place for open debate; not a way to “catch” someone…

  11. hujlos sijjuo Says:

    ergreg

  12. John Moffatt Says:

    I found a site that caters to this, http://www.carflipper.org

  13. Joe Edwards Says:

    Hello. How can you title jump without getting caught? I’m unaware of the limit of how many cars I can sell per year in california, but title jumping would be so much easier (since I don’t have to pay tax). I already know how to do it, you just have the seller fill out their info and leave your section on the title blank (the buyer) and then sell to someone else. But what happens when the original owner turns in the release of liability form? it would have my name/address on there. Basically I’m asking how to title jump without getting caught. Thanks for your help.

  14. Blaze Says:

    Title jumping is illegal. It’s a risk you take by doing it. If I buy a car your name better be on the title or the deal’s off. If I sell you a car I will put your name on the title when I sell it to you or you won’t be buying it from me. I work hard and pay my taxes. Having a dealers license protects consumers. You have to get bonded to get the license so if you make a bad deal you are covered in a lawsuit, but your license will be terminated negating your ability to take a second person on a scam. Why not get a dealer license? If you get the license you DON’T HAVE TO PAY SALES TAX WHEN YOU BUY A CAR!!! You are a dealer in a legitimate business aquiring inventory at wholesale rates. Does Coca Cola pay sales tax on the stuff to make their soda?? No.. Have a dealers locense makes you a wholesaler exempt from sales when you BUY cars to resell. People who buy your cars will pay sales tax when they buy them legally and you won’t have to look over your shoulder. This article is bad advice.

  15. j. callow Says:

    I don’t think in this economy a Judge is going to do much more than fine you even if it goes that far, there are millions of illegals in California committing untold numbers of felonies. If you’re out of work and it’s a temporary thing I don’t see the manpower being harnessed to go after people, there are much more pressing issues right now.

  16. Gerald James Says:

    I have been a car dealer for 34 years. I am not opposed to the concept of buying an selling for a profit. But there is in fact a real problem when people do it with cars. First, please understand that most folks buy a car that is going to be their sole means of transportation. As mentioned in my earlier posting there are a lot of people that get into this business without either the experience or working capital. When they make a mistake and buy a bad car, they often end up passing it along to an unsuspecting consumer. As compliance chairman for our local automobile dealer assocation, I have had the unfortunate experience of hearing from consumers that have fallen victim to unscurpulous unlicensed people. I don’t see car flipping as competition but rather as a problem in the sense that it is unregulated. When consumers purchase from a dealer they usually get some form of warranty. In Texas, they are guaranteed to receive clear title as all dealers are bonded. In closing, I am personally not opposed to someone trying to make a buck. There are many other types of businesses that are licensed but sadly, there are unlicensed parties that work in those industries but they are unlicensed. Plumbers, Electricians, Barbers, Nail Salons, etc. must be licensed yet you will find people that aren’t licensed operating in those industries. Just because they are successful at it, just because an unlicensed barber can make a profit on a $3.00 haircut doesn’t make it right. If you want to be a car dealer in Texas, get a license and learn the trade, work hard develop good relationships with your customers and they will come back and send referrals. You’ll make a good honest living! Stand behind what you sell and pay your taxes. If you buy a bad car, either fix it up and then sell it or make darn certain the purchaser has a clear understanding of the defects. It’s the right thing to do.

  17. Sam Says:

    For more comprehensive info on buying and selling cars for profit go to http://www.carflippingprofits.com. It covers everything from where to buy and sell to how to title and deal with taxes.


  18. does anyone know a very realiable car dealer in greenwell springs LA ?,~,


  19. used cars are always a bargain coz they cause very little compared to brand new cars :

  20. Rick Kenyon Says:

    I was an F&I manager at a new car dealership for years. I quit this business because my conscience bothered me over the scams that this certain new Ford dealership pulled on customers. Some examples are: selling worthless dealer-installed accessories with 1000% markup; intentionally indicating customer wants credit life insurance on a contract when the customer said he didn’t want it and then hoping the customer doesn’t notice the charge for it when he signs the installment contract; lying about the cost of the vehicle; generating fake in-house dealer invoices; not paying off customer’s trade-ins; scams like you wouldn’t believe. Dealers pull as many scams, if not more, than curbstoners. I am not a curbstoner but I have no tolerance for the vast majority of auto dealers, new and used, who for the most part care only about lining their pocket at the expense of first-time buyers with little buying experience. In internet is full of articles on how both new and used car dealers lie, scam, and swindle unsuspecting customers.

  21. Jerald Says:

    They believe that there is never something for nothing and so hesitate in using the Card, fearful they will owe something later.

    Es kann also vorkommen, dass Ihre Hausfinanzierung oder Ihr Kredit auf Grund dieser Eintr.

    ft bekommen; Obwohl es extrem so wichtig wirkt, Ihre Suchoptionen erforschen, w.

  22. Mama Bear Says:

    Wow,Gerald,I am going to flip cars.You sound like a jealous individual (what’s with the German,Hitler?)and after being treated like a pos by several alleged reputable dealers,I have ZERO compassion or interest in your opinion.And MR. IP Address Guy,you just sound like a miserable,stone cold pric*.Find my ip,Buttwipe.
    Thank you to the Blog writer for helping this single mom of four find a way out of the hole.Smooch to you!


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