How do I turn a hobby into a motor trade business?

With the ever increasing number of vehicles on the road in UK there is more opportunity than ever before to profit from the growth of the motor industry. As a motor enthusiast you are in a great position to take advantage of this and utilise your expertise for financial gains.

There are a diverse range of motor traders in the UK. Even in the repair sector, the niches range from body workshops to MOT testing stations, engine repairs to car service garages.

Recently there has been a surge of hobbyists looking to get involved in buying and selling cars, also know as “flipping”. With rises of up to 487% in the prices of classic cars, this pursuit has been further incentivised. With used car sales rising to 2.1 million on Q1 2017 it is a buoyant time to consider investment in this sector.

The internet is filled with stories of motor trade enthusiasts that have built on their hobby to become a business. From car part sales to car restoration many once hobbyists are now managing thriving motor trade businesses and inspiring others to do the same.

Licences and Legislation

Take the time to consider if you need any licences for your business. Unfortunately advice for this varies across the UK as different councils have different guidelines. There can be penalties for not attaining this, for example in early 2017 two motor traders were fined for not having the correct paperwork.

It is also worthwhile to note that a portion of your property incurs business rates if choosing to work from home. When you start operating on a self-employed basis in the UK it is essential that you register with HMRC.


It is essential when turning your hobby into a business that you take the time to consider the insurance coverage that you may require. Limited liability insurance is an important investment for all start-ups, and for motor traders extra insurance is legally required.

Specialist insurance should be considered rather than a generic product. For example Recovery trucks will be able to find specialist insurance to meet their specific requirements.  Companies such as mobile tyre fitters will benefit from investing in specialist truck fleet insurance. By working with an insurance broker entrepreneurs will be able to find motor trade insurance that supports their growing business.

It is also important to consider the clauses in home insurance and mortgage conditions before trading from home.

Start a motor trade business on a part time basis

It is not necessary to commit to your new venture on a full time basis. Lots of motor traders working in niche sectors find that choosing to work part time from home initially, minimises risk and reduces overheads. The good news is that motor traders insurance can now be offered on a part time basis, meaning it is more financially viable than ever before.


Building on a hobby is an exciting prospect but ensure you have a good business plan in place. Take the time to assess the market conditions and your competitors, and gain enough knowledge to construct a marketing plan to support your business goals. There are associations that can support UK entrepreneurs in this, including the Federation of Small Businesses and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.