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Starting a Classic or Sports Car Hire Company

Are you thinking of setting up a classic or sports car hire company and want to know what is involved, how much work is involved, who can provide insurance and at what cost, will you make a profit etc?

Since Tony Merrygold started The Open Road in 1997 he has received a continual stream of enquiries from people interested in starting a business hiring out either classic or performance sports cars. Some of them came down to see The Open Road and take out one of the cars to sample the experience. Some just expected Tony to give them the benefit of all his experiences for free. He even receives regular calls from insurance brokers asking where to go for self drive hire insurance.

Tony does not believe that the marketplace in the UK, and certainly nowhere else, has reached saturation point yet, and as such is keen to see the whole classic car hire marketplace grow. He believes that this will make the ‘cake’ bigger and better for everyone, as long as new entrants to the market follow the same quality ethos that he, and others, have done for the past ten years.
The Open Road Classic Car HireIn addition to running Classic Car Hire World and The Open Road Classic Car Hire, Tony Merrygold also runs a Sales & Marketing Consultancy company. Combining all this knowledge he has developed an introductory course for those interested in starting a classic or sports car hire business. The course has been designed to answer the host of questions posed by would-be entrants to this very specialised area of business activity.

Led by Tony, the course will benefit anyone who is considering starting up a business hiring out classic or sports cars. The course will give you a complete overview of starting a classic or sports car rental operation, from the generalities of establishing a business, through the intricacies of buying and selling vehicles and providing high levels of customer service.

During the course you will be guided through:

  • Introduction to the course, the speakers and each other
  • Legal, accounting and taxation issues involved in starting a business
  • The market place – classic car hire, classic car clubs, classic car tours, sports / exotic car hire, wedding hire
  • Marketing a classic car or sports car hire business
  • Buying and selling, or leasing in, classic and sports cars suitable for hiring out
  • Guest speaker from a company that has setup recently (July 2008 – Graham Eason – Great Escape Classic Car Hire)
  • Financial model – covering main costs, pricing, income and break even
  • The day-to-day issues involved in setting up and running a classic and sports car hire operation
  • Insurance
  • Trade associations
  • Follow on support available

There will be plenty of opportunity for you to ask questions and exchange ideas with others on the course. The course will be run for as few as 3 people but will be limited to no more than 12 people to ensure everyone receives plenty of personal attention. Since the courses started in October 2005 over 80 people have benefited from Tony’s experience. Some of these have since launched their businesses. A couple of the course attendees were so impressed with the day and subsequent follow up, that Tony has received written testimonials from Joffreny Tours, which set up in central France, Summer Wine Classics which set up in Holmfirth in Yorkshire and GT Classic Touring in Ruthin, North Wales.

The new 1.5 day format for the first time in July 2007 was a great success with the two new presentations from the guest speaker (Tom Barham of GT Classic Touring) and the financial model being rated as extremely useful. We had an extra guest speaker at the January 2008 course, Gary Stretton, Editor of Classics Monthly magazine who presented on how to get the best from the motoring press.

Following the January 2008 course Tony received the followed email from one of the attendees:

Tony, Yours was a great course and and thank you for all the notes and information provided during the one and a half days. There is no where else that any of us could obtain the information and training from and I am sure I would speak on behalf of everyone when I say thank you. It was probably the best course I have ever been on and I have been on many – well worth every penny of the course fee. Many thanks. Dave H. 18 January 2008

Don Buchholz of Classic Cars and Byways in USA makes the folowing mention of the course on his own website as follows:

“In January (2008), I took the course Tony now offers about starting a sports car hire business, and learned more in two days than possible in two years of trial and error.”

Support for the course attendees continues after the course has finished as the course fee includes telephone and email support for a period of 12 months. Attendees can also access an online Forum to receive up to date industry information and share information amongst themselves.