717
9 min 7 sec

Car Enthusiast Races Towards Reselling Success

A former product manager sees the potential in importing specialty car parts.
Niche Ideas Product Reselling Retail

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What It's About

A reselling side hustle that's really racing to the finish line!

Business Model
Reselling
Skills Required
Sourcing & Coordination
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

From time to time, we look at a reselling side hustle that uses drop shipping where the seller never holds any inventory.

Tim’s model is different because he’s actually the importer himself. This requires a lot more work, but it also has the potential to be more sustainable since he controls so many more of the variables.

Fun Fact

In 1896, in England, a design for a car that could be assembled at home was developed. In the USA, in 1912, one particular kit car could be bought for $140.

Notes from Chris

Episode 717

Tim Trampedach is a self-proclaimed car and motorsports nut. So much so that 5 years ago, he decided to build his own kit car called a SuperLite Coupe. A kit car is an automobile sold as a set of parts that the buyer assembles into a functioning vehicle. Kits can vary widely in the amount of assembly required.

Currently, most kit cars are replicas of well-known and expensive classic cars, such as the Porsche 550 Spyder or Lotus 7. You can definitely say for this type of vehicle, some assembly is required!

When Tim was building his own kit car in San Francisco, he decided to import the seats from a company in the UK called Tillett Racing Seats. Tim’s Coupe was limited on what model seats would fit in the car—but Tillett fit the bill. He also chose Tillett because he knew someone else who had successfully installed the seats in their car.

But importing such an item overseas can be difficult. The seats are bulky and there can be a long factory lead time—up to 14 weeks. Why not just buy from somewhere in the USA? At the time, there was no one in the country who stocked the seats. Tim knew if he could bring inventory stateside and have them ready to ship, there was a demand for such a product. He recognized this as a potential business opportunity.

Tim reached out to Tillett about importing and selling the seats here in the US. He started slowly—these are a big ticket item, and not simple to store—for most it’s not feasible to keep a large number of bulky race car seats stashed around their home! The seats start at around $900, and most customers buy a pair.

At the start, Tim would sell 3-4 seats per month on average. He met lots of cool people, got to hear about their cars, and would help them troubleshoot when they had problems. As a part-time business, Tim estimates he generated $40,000 in annual sales with an approximate 35% gross margin. It was the perfect side hustle for a car enthusiast to earn some extra cash to fuel his own car hobby pursuits.

Earlier this year, Tim decided to turn his side hustle into a full-time online auto racing parts and gear business—on his website, Torqued. His rationale for doing so involved several key points. The opportunity with Tillett was getting bigger and required more of Tim’s time. Timing was also right for his family since his wife recently gave birth to their son. She is returning to work and this will provide them with a steady income.

Tim feels that Torqued is the perfect fit for his varied skills. He has enough technical knowledge to mostly build the website himself. He knows how to build a great user experience through his work in product management. He’s naturally very organized, which lends to running an efficient warehouse. And his knowledge in motorsports allows him to provide excellent customer service in such a niche market.

You could say that he’s is racing towards his own finish line!

 
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Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"I provide all the help I possibly can, both pre-sale and after-sales support. You live and die by your reputation in such a niche business."
—Tim Trampedach #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau