In good times and bad, repairing older model cars is common - in every size community. The cities and metros have made it nearly impossible for a car-breaking-business... as a result, it is an opportune time for a small community to review this business. It involves mechanical, as well as marketing and distribution possibilities.
When I owned a used car lot in Council Bluffs, one of the ongoing requirements for such a business activity was the availability of used parts, since nearly every "old" car that we bought or traded for was in need of "maintenance" - or at least that was my philosophy. Yes that does differ from the image, as well as the actual practice of many in the used car business, at least with the older used cars.
One of the activities that we analyzed at the time was the ability to buy used cars, take them apart (break them) and then use or sell the used parts. We soon discovered that the big cities are not interested in any business that is associated with grease (.. .the lubricant, not the 1978 movie!) . They pass ordinances that will not allow such activity and as a result this is a perfect business activity for a small community that has a greater interest in jobs, than whether or not some of the residents get dirt under their fingernails, and grease on their work pants.
Breaking Cars Complex
"Breaking cars" is a term or description of dismantling a vehicle to salvage those parts that are popular and profitable for resale. Typical parts most often include engines and transmissions, but otherwise virtually any part that is easily removed that has resale potential. Breaking cars can actually be the start of a complex business enterprise. It can spawn a series of profit centers.
This type of business is of particular interest to small communities where the codes and restrictions are much more lenient than large cities/metros. Larger metro communities are much more interested in "clean" businesses that do not have the same image as a "greasy, dirty junk yard".
Vehicles for inventory can come from a number of sources: metro area auctions, insurance companies, car dealers, leasing companies, etc.
We-Pull-It - is a "service" that has potential for those individuals and businesses that are willing to use "used" parts. Many small/medium vehicle repair shops are very willing, and indeed often recommend used parts when repairing customers' vehciles. There is a significant cost savings. In most cases such major used items, such as engines and transmissions, are typically sold with a "workable warranty".
Repair shops would be very willing to use a "we-pull-it" service that would allow them to remain in their shop where their labor rates are much higher than the cost of the service of seeking and pulling parts. Considerable time can be spent logistically traveling between locations offering u-pull-it-yourself salvage yards.
There are several "U-Pull-It" type salvage yards, but most are frequented only by individuals that are willing to pull their own parts. In all known cases, U-Pull-It does not offer a service to pull parts for customers. In fact, there are few that will even tell you what vehicles that they have on their lot. And that is understandable since individual vehicles can often move (or turn) rather quickly - particularly the popular model cars, as well as any later model cars. Thus a We-Pull-It service that regularly scouts the lots for vehicles for which they have customers orders, can be a very attractive service.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but the we-pull-it service described herein is not dependent on any one u-pull-it or salvage lot. Even a business that breaks cars and offers we-pull-it service does not have to rely soley on their own inventory.
A natural extention of Breaking cars and We-Pull-It activities is stocking and then distributing those parts that have been pulled but do not currently have orders/requests for such. This would require an extensive database and network in order to expand the marketing capabilities.
Another natural extension of Breaking cars is to have repair/rebuild facilities for those items that are pulled and do significant resale value, but "broke" or otherwise not working properly. Again, the larger items, such as engines and transmissions are the most common, but also alternators, starters, etc. Often times the vehicle owner and/or repair shop will not be willing to use "used" parts, but is perfectlu fine using "rebuilt" parts - particularly if they can be warrantied "same as new".
NOTE: The idea of "rebuilding" is not a new, nor unique idea. My knowledge and experience comes from having been introduced to such a concept several years ago in Springfield Missouri, calling on a company by the name of Springfield Re-Manufacturing. I highly recommend a book "The Great Game of Business ", written by Jack Stack who was (may still be) president and CEO of Springfield Re-Manufacturing. This business has grown extremely large from their early days of rebuilding engines for International Harvestor company. (click here to visit Springfield Re-Manufacturer website)
At any rate, the point is that they did not do anything that could not be done elsewhere. They didn't start "large" - they evolved there. This is a great concept for a small community to begin on a very small basis and grow that organization over a controlled period of time. Area Economic Development agencies should be eager to be active and involved in such an effort.
Dealer Sales (license required)
Having access to a wide range and variety of vehicles in varying degrees of operation, it would be a natural to be able to offer vehicle sales. many times the vehicles received may need nothing more that service and tune-up to be "road-worthy" and provide reliable transportation for individuals and families that can not afford new or late model cars.
A high percentage of the vehicles that are received can only be broken down so far in retaining the parts with reslae value. Eventually the remaining pieces and parts have disposed of as salvage metal.