Sunday, April 27, 2008


KL Nichols
If you missed Part I of this article, you can find it just below this article.

A lot of you guys can skip this part because you have grown up scrounging for parts and cars and telling you how to find a part is like telling a dog what to do with a bone! But for the newbies, here goes;

You will need, besides an innate love of cars, a phone (I suggest VOIP and cell), a computer, some sort of filing system that will help you keep track of your wants and finds. (You must be and stay organized)

Here are a few pointers;

1. I have never thrown away a business card (I trade business cards with everyone) and as a result, I have about 40 or so, 3-ring notebooks full of them dating back about 30 years. When a phone number or address changes, I note it on the business card.

2. However, I am slowly moving all of my info to a program that I like called Any Time Deluxe and is available at for about $40. It has all kinds of goodies, a great phone book/directory, a Phone Dialer, yes it will dial the phones of my Contacts, & you can send emails directly for the Phonebook, you can schedule Appointments and Things To Do in it also, plus a bunch of other features. All of this and much more with a very small learning curve!

3. I carry a printed list of the top 200 (some of them are long term wants) most important wants. I like to focus on the most profitable, so I revise it frequently. I keep it in a text file on my Desktop in my computer for easy editing and easy to print out. Yeah, a lot of what I do is on the computer, so if you are seriously computer inept, I would suggest that you get a partner that is good on the computer.A word here about computer illiteracy, "Computers are a tool and are here to stay, so get used to it and learn how use it, even if you have to go to a local college for a short non-credit class in computer usage!

4. Email: I have a large email list just for locating. Yes, they all are friends or businesses that are in the business (I also publish another newsletter for The Want List and also maintain a website for it. And believe me, you better get permission from each person that you add to lists like mine or you can be banned from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and they don't kid around or just ask you to stop sending UCE (UnSolicited Email) known to many as (Sp*am). They just turn you off!!I make about 50-100 calls a day, I spend 6-8 hours a day on the computer when I am in the office, I email about 1000 emails a day (a lot of these are 10 to 20 at a time, as CC's), all in the name of locating collector cars and parts. I collect names, phone numbers and URL's (website addresses) of everyone and anyone that might be of help in my searches.

5. As a tool for your business, I suggest that you spend $7.00 and buy the ebook "Classic Salvage Yard Locator" at It has 200 plus Salvage Yards, phone, URL & and in most cases an interest area, like Fords, Chevy's etc, etc.The database I have boils down to a whole lot of friends and when I call, I ask for a certain individual that I know and I generally don't get put on hold. (Time is money!)

6. I communicate with my customers frequently, because you never know when they will turn up the Wanted Item on their own or thru another Finder. One thing that has helped me is to focus narrowly in a field that I know a lot about, be it a make, model or year. This being said, don't focus so narrowly that you ignore someone that wants to give you money!

7. There is also a lot of money in helping individuals, widows and estates to sell off collector cars or even complete collections. One time a lady called me having been recommended me by a friend of hers and asked if I could help her sell her late husband's old cars. I went out to her place just outside of a small town in South Dakota, it was a long drive, but I decided that she sounded like she needed help. When I got there it turned out to be a small hobby farm and with about 11 or 12 out buildings, she took me past 6 or 7 of the buildings to a nice looking small barn and opened the door. Inside were 12 cars in #1 or #2 condition. I told her I would be glad to get some values for her and help her sell them. I took a lot of pictures and as we were leaving I asked what were in the other buildings, she said. Oh, nothing but a bunch of old car parts….

All in all, the "late husband" had $1.2million in the cars and "old car parts", it took me 6 months part time to get them all sold , my commission of 10%, and I took a month off in Hawaii!!

Not all of my finds have been that great, I have had to tell a lot of people that the rusting Corvair framework that they have had setting on the ground in their backyard for 15 years is definitely not going to fund their retirement! Also I can't tell you how many people that I have had to count as a loss when they wanted to sell a rusting 57 Chevy 4 door part car for #1 book value! So like any service business, you take the good with the bad.

Most of the money I make is after the fact, meaning after I find the part or car. However, and this is a judgment call, if the part of vehicle the customer wants is hopeless or possibly "extremely long term" (I have looked for 12 years for a specific car with a specific vin # for a person who drove it to high school and is now rich enough to pay anything to find it.) This type of customer I charge a search fee to help me stay motivated. I also charge a flat fee to parts wanted customers to weed them out. You will find a lot of people want you to work for fre*e! But as for asking for a lot of money up front, you set off a lot of alarms in the minds of customers, not to mention the Better Business Bureau and Law enforcement organizations.Deadbeats? Yes there are some in this field too. If you take credit cards that helps and you can also take checks over the phone, the software for this is available for $10-$12 at

One last thought, don't try to cheat your customer because bad news travels at the speed of light. I know a more than a couple of Finders/Locators that spent a little time in the hoosegow because they messed with the grandfather of the local sheriff or some other local person of importance! Good luck and good hunting!

Copyright 2008 KL Nichols

No comments: