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Re: Costs of the restoration hobby

From: Bill in SD
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Date: November 20, 2003


I'm sure it also depends on what part of the US you live in also. Heck even what part of the state. I own my own building so I don't have to worry about rent. On the south side of the state in Sioux Falls (at the intersection of I90 & I29) rent for a house is about 3 times what it is here up north. There are a couple of small shops that do restoration work around here and don't charge an arm and a leg but they are so busy you have to be put on a waiting list. Before I got into building engines one of the shops rebuilt an engine for me and only charged $200 labor. I've been working on others peoples (coworkers, friends etc) cars for years. My father has had his own business since the early 1960's which I've worked with him on. I've also had a previous business in the past (which wasn't car related) that I made money by volume. I'm also checking into becoming a distributor for performance parts. Buy at wholesale charge retail. I know the fauly code readers are expensive. But most shops around here work on at least ten cars a day. Even at $50 to check the codes that would be $500 a day. They can have the thing paid off in a week. Here in the Dakotas most everyone is a do-it-yourselfer. If I'd charge $65 a hour I wouldn't get any business. It may work for moderrn cars but I has no desire or interest to work on those types of cars. I'm planning on sticking to pre 1965 cars but already have a guy that wants me to restore a 76 TransAm. I'm trying to talk him his into a FL Mopar with a hemi. Awaiting projects: 51 Chevy pu, 45 Willys Jeep, 59 Edsel, 55 Chevy, 61 Imperial, 55 Nomad, 59 Merc, 57 Dodge, & WWII antiaircraft GE 60" searchlight. I guess I'm willing to take the risk. If the business fails then so be it. I have a full time gov't job now to fall back on. besides its not as much about making money as it is preserving history. Thanks for the advice all.


Last changed: July 19, 2018