Disclaimer: I mean skint here as in "don't have any spare cash" as opposed to, you know, homeless.
You'd hope it didn't need to be said, but if you're struggling to make ends meet please do not continue with a car project, sell it and go here instead.
With that out of the way, let's get stuck into a few ideas to make a few extra £££s a month to fund a car project when you're broke.
Sell Your Stuff
Check out my earlier post about selling things on eBay for some great tips for making money online. If you've got decent stuff to sell this is your best bet to get the most profit as it's one of the few places you've got access to millions of buyers (but before you get carried away, always consider the cost/ease of postage and make sure you properly understand the fees!) Gumtree and Facebook marketplace are also good, but I always start with eBay.
Depending on what kind of car project you're doing you might have some second hand parts that you don't want but are still worth something to the right buyer. Original Hella or Audi/VW stamped parts can still sell for more than new repro parts, even if they're not in pristine condition because genuine parts are generally better made and using them keeps a classic car original which a lot of enthusiasts care about (disintegrating plastic trim/rubber seals are the exception to this rule. No one wants those.)
Over the years we've accumulated lots of car stuff- mainly engine parts and bits of interior left over from car projects that we've either replaced, modified or just decided against using (although trying to convince Matt to let me sell it all isn't easy!)
Car boots and auto jumbles are good places to earn some spare cash too, and for a lot of reasons they're less effort than eBay selling. Although you should expect to get less than the true value of what you're selling as people go out to events like this to get bargains. You can do better at car shows- especially if you're selling rare and unusual parts. At shows you can ask a bit more for stuff if it seems like it can only be bought there and then, as long as you don't massively overprice things.
If you're getting stuck for things to sell try asking around friends and family, lots of people have unwanted stuff they haven't got round to getting rid of that they might allow you to sell for a cut of the profits or even have for free.
You do actually need to be already skilled at something useful for a skills trade to work well or at least be determined to make yourself useful (this is called showing initiative and is a very important life skill!)*
Need some ideas? Start by brainstorming everything that you're pretty good at or could quickly improve in (don't overlook anything- even skills that you do all the time for free, like cooking and cleaning, are also actual jobs that some people are willing to pay for).
Be specific in what you're going to offer. Don't say you'll do "anything" because then that other person needs to apply mental effort to think of something for you to do, which is extra work for them not to mention irritating and the complete opposite of making their life easier. So they'll say no. You want to make it as easy for them to say yes as possible.
My blog post on negotiation might be useful for when the time comes to propose a skill swap- the main thing is to find something that the other party wants/needs and you're able to offer. Be polite and respectful- asking someone to work on your car for cheap because you'll be 'helping'/ asking to have free use of tools and equipment is not a fair trade. It's just rude.
If you manage to come to an agreement get a deal drafted up front, ideally in writing, about the work you'll do in return for what. Make sure you're both clear about what's expected of each other to avoid conflict further down the line. It's important that you pull your weight in the agreement- but you shouldn't let anyone take advantage of you either.
*A fast way to piss off your skill trading partner is by hanging around their workshop under the guise of "helping out" but actually getting in the way, ignoring orders and doing nothing and/or doing a really half arsed job of anything you're asked to do. That skills trade will be short lived.
It's possible to make "free" money by getting a credit card with a 0% interest period: 'stoozing' is the insider term for this and there's plenty of great information on it here.*
Because I'm assuming the reader doesn't have fantastic credit what I'm suggesting here is the less complicated version where you get a credit/reward card that offers cashback, pay for everything on it that you would usually buy anyway, pay it off every month (that's very important) and accumulate the money, usually paid in a lump sum at the end of the year.
The percentage of cashback you get is usually very small (I've earned 22p so far this year!) but this will add up over time and can work really well if you're ordering lots of parts for your car project (that you can afford to pay off immediately!) as you'll be getting money back with every purchase.
*A word of caution: When I was newly graduated from uni and pretty skint I'd spend my spare time reading up on ways to save money/live cheaply so I know a lot about the rabbit hole you can fall into on that website. There's a fine line between being a "Money Saving Expert" and "Acting Like A Crazy Person" (if you find yourself considering the viability of reusing tea-bags the time has come to close the browser. You're in too deep.)
Be an Awesome Person
Finally, as I've mentioned before in my No Nonsense Guide to Starting a Classic Car Side Biz, being bloody nice will go a long way.
If you can be reliable, honest and hardworking regularly enough to gain a reputation for such qualities things will go much easier for you. Sustained effort is the ticket here. Unfortunately you can't do something great once, a long time ago and expect to ride that wave of success forever.
I'm not saying a good attitude is all you need to achieve your dreams of car restoration success but people (some people, the good kind) like helping out decent people. Irritating people with an inflated sense of themselves who do very little work and moan about how the world is against them? Not so much.
If you are, for whatever reason, committed to being a terrible person OR you find yourself surrounded by idiots who take these amazing qualities (reliability, honesty, hardworking-ness) for granted your only other option is to become insanely good at a difficult and desirable skill. That can work too.
Want Some More?
Have you funded a car project recently? Share your knowledge in the comments section.
Want some more great articles on making a bit of extra money for/with your classic car? Check out the Making Money section of our blog. How about some useful Car DIY tips? We've got that covered too! Or, if you're feeling stalkerish, check out workshop life to see what we've been up to lately.
Our blog delivers brutally honest advice for the “rotbox” in your life with the aim of raising the standard of car projects everywhere.
Practical, direct, actionable ideas and zero bull.
visit our etsy shop
We're a dedicated, independent fabrication company based in rural North Yorkshire that specialises in classic and custom car panel fabrication and light general fabrication. We fabricate of one off, premium quality panels and stock items, such as metal door cards, metal floor plates, arch tubs and wide arch kits, as well as undertaking general light fabrication work including CNC plasma cutting, CNC sheet metal bending and CNC tube bending.
EMAIL ENQUIRIES ONLY
Unit 2, Pickhill, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 4JU