The appeal in becoming a vintage car dealer lies in two important factors. First of all, it means selling a commodity for which there is a high demand. This means that even with the minimal amount of marketing, you will be able to attract a large customer basis. Second, unlike being a regular car dealer, it is a branch with significantly less competition, which means that you will, more or less, be able to dictate your own terms and prices, at least in your home region. Still, how does one become a vintage car dealer? Let’s find out!

How good are you at restoration?

The first question you need to ask yourself is how good you actually are at restoration. In theory, you would take a vintage vehicle at an affordable price, restore it and sell it for a small fortune. In reality, things don’t always run as smoothly.

First of all, renovating is a lot of work; a lot of expensive work to be a bit more precise. This is why it might not be worth your while in a situation where you have to involve a lot of other people in the process. In the case where you can’t actually complete a restoration on your own, it might be more cost effective to buy and sell, without the renovation.

It all comes down to simple math really, you take into consideration the amount of money invested in the process and then, the amount of money you can charge for the car. If the figures don’t match, it’s simply not worth doing. This becomes a problem for a lot of people who are passionate about this line of work. Keep in mind that pursuing your dreams is a beautiful thing that doesn’t always mesh well with the reality of running a successful business.

Get registered

The next step is more or less the same as if you were to register a regular car dealership. In other words, your first step is to acquire an auto dealer license. This is a simple four-step process, that requires you to A) determine your state’s DMV requirements, B) obtain the necessary bond, C) submit the application and, finally, D) receive a license. Once you have completed this step, you have successfully dealt with the first legal obstacle on your path to becoming a vintage car dealer. After this, you have to deal with other legal issues such as taxes, self-employment and various forms of insurances. This is also where you can start thinking about things such as tax deductibles and the benefits of working from home.

Learn about your target demographic

Finally, perhaps the greatest difference between a vintage car dealer and a regular car dealer lies in the fact that they deal with vastly different audiences. You see, when you are a vintage car dealer, there is a high probability that the buyer knows even more about the vehicle than you do, seeing as how they spent a long time looking for it and inquiring about it.

Second, they know exactly what they want. This last part can be a good thing since you know from the very start that you have something that they desire. In his famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie claims that if you know what people desire, you have an easy way of influencing them. It goes without saying that this book is probably a must-read for every salesperson out there.


To break it all down, in order to become a successful car dealer, you need to possess three vital skills. First, you have to be good at restoration or at least good at estimating when the restoration is not worth your time and resources. Second, you need to look at your car dealership from the perspective of a businessman and a business owner. Finally, you need to become a better salesman, which means further improving your people skills. For those who manage to get the grip on all three of these aspects, success is almost guaranteed.

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