By Nathan Cracraft
If you enjoy cars and are thinking of starting your own business, consider starting a small business designing, assembling and selling custom, handmade model cars. Your business will turn individual, detailed customer specifications into one-of-a-kind, rolling works of model art. This is a great business idea for automotive aficionados who are looking to start a home based, part-time or internet-based business. With a little model-building experience and some creativity, this business should also be fairly easy to start.
Your business strategy will be straightforward. Your primary product line will be custom, handmade model cars. Within this product line you may want to offer different model styles such as standard, slot car or remote control. When ordering your products, your customers will provide you with detailed specifications for their cars. These specifications, along with payment, will prompt the start of the build process.
When starting this business, you should focus on the following keys to success:
- Quality – Your customers will pay good money for your products. Their expectations will also be high. Make sure you (or your employees) have the necessary skills to produce consistently high-quality models that satisfy customer specifications.
- Sourcing – Customers will often request unique car makes and models. You’ll need to establish several wholesale sources for your model kits. Multiple inventory sources will increase the probability that you can find a model kit that matches unique customer requests.
- Communication – Involve your customer throughout the build process. Not only will this approach help reduce potential errors; it also brings you closer to your customers. Send photographs of your work throughout the process, asking for customer approval along the way.
- Expenses – Your initial urge in this business will probably be to go out and buy the latest and greatest model building equipment and supplies. While a properly equipped model building workshop is an important factor in product quality, spend slowly and watch your expenses carefully.
- Advertising – To grow your business you’ll need to advertise aggressively. Focus your advertising efforts nationally from the start. Place ads for your custom models in magazines or newsletters related to each product line you offer. Appeal to emotions in your ad copy.
As your business grows, leverage your resources and expand into other product or service lines. These expansion ideas could include selling:
- Classic car t-shirts, posters and other gift items
- Handmade model ships, motorcycles, airplanes or trains
- Model making equipment and supplies
- Model train, airplane or slot car repair services
- Slot car rental and racing facilities
Nathan Cracraft is Managing Editor for the small business website MySmallBiz.com The site caters to people who want to start their own small business and need some help coming up with ideas. For access to hundreds of categorized, small business ideas and thousands of helpful startup resources, check out MySmallBiz.com New ideas and resources are added weekly.
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