Are Classic Cars Your Hobby? Turn Restoration Into a Business

Cars are a passion for both young and old worldwide. Some people are forced to work on their cars in order to keep them running while others like to accessorise them with the latest spot lights and in-car entertainment system. There are a growing number of car fans, however, who restore old wrecks to their former glory over long periods of time. In many cases, it is years. These hobbyists work all day and then lock themselves into the garage in the evenings doing what they love.

Classic CarsMore and more of these enthusiasts are turning their passion into a business by giving up their day job and concentrating on what they love most. You can do it too if you have the determination and enough funds to last you through the first restoration. After all, working long hours should come as second nature after the time you have spent on previous restorations. Let’s take a look at what you will need to do in order to start your own business.

Business Plan

The thought of coming up with a business plan often makes people nervous. The business plan can be as simple, or as complicated as you wish to make it. You may find that writing your ideas and a few costings on a piece of paper is all that you need. A business plan will need to drawn up in greater detail if funding is needed from a bank. Don’t let this put you off, however, as there is plenty of help to be found on the internet or local to you.


Most people thing that funding is only available to those with property to act as security. This isn’t always the case. Banks will sometimes lend money as long as you take out insurance on the sum borrowed. This method of funding is called an insured loan and can be very useful. To acquire an insured loan, the business plan will need to be very convincing indeed.


A suitable place to work is arguably the most important consideration for your new venture. You have probably been working in your own garage up to now, where there is little room to work safely on a full-time, professional basis. Ideally, a large workshop is required so that several projects can be worked on at once. There may be a fully equipped garage close to you that is available for rent. If it is negotiated to a fair price, you will have solved the first problem. Alternatively, if you own some land or have a huge back garden it is possible to have your own garage built. New techniques mean that the steel buildings construction process is fast, and good value for money. A bespoke garage could be designed and erected for you in a matter of weeks. Standing in your workshop for the first time is possibly the most exciting feeling you will encounter.


When you have secured premises, you will need to take out adequate insurance. Consider fire, flood, theft; anything that could bring your business to a standstill. There may be valuable cars in your workshop when the worst happens so never skimp on the level of cover you require. It will often be much higher than you anticipated at first.


Probably the most important piece of equipment is a car lift so that you can work underneath vehicles safely. You may be able to solve this problem by building an inspection pit into the floor, but this method does not give the same flexibility as a lift.

In your restorations, do you intend to paint the cars yourself? If the garage is being built for you, it makes sense to leave room for a spray booth. A custom built spray booth is essential for achieving the super-high quality finish that is needed for show cars. Often, especially for the concourse category, the finish is far superior to that found on brand new luxury cars.

A high capacity compressor will be needed, and the air should be piped to various outlets around the building so that tools can be conveniently fed wherever you are working. As you are aware, there is a full range of air tools available. They are safer than their electric counterparts and will last longer too.

Spend money on good lighting in your workshop. Inadequate lighting is usually the part of the design that lets home workshops down.

Self Employment

You will need to register with HMRC when you start working for yourself. If you are going to earn less than six thousand pounds in the first year, you will be exempt from paying National Insurance. Once a year you will be required to submit a tax return and pay the relevant duty on the profits. It may be worth your while employing an accountant to deal with the tax office for you from the beginning so that you can be confident everything is being done correctly.

The Future

How do you see your business progressing? It is never too early to make plans for the distant future and start working towards them. You will find that, your own restorations aside, other enthusiasts will bring their cars to you for repair. Now the trouble you went to, to create the best workshop possible, pays off. A lot of money can be made by repairing vehicles quickly thanks to the money you invested in the best equipment.

You may consider employing staff before long. In order to do this, you will need to take out employees liability insurance.

Being self employed and doing something you love is a dream to which many people aspire but never achieve. If you have taken the leap, the rewards are there for the taking. Long hours don’t seem so long when you are working them voluntarily, and control over the finances is all yours. Whether the business succeeds or fails, is all down to you. The signs are good though, as hundreds of restoration businesses are succeeding thanks to the nations nostalgia and love of cars.  It is a powerful recipe.

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