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What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - vs60
Hello,

I'm starting a PC repair business and I'm looking to purchase a vehicle.

To make this as practical as possible, I'm looking to sell my current car and purchase a more practical vehicle, but I need a vehicle for both home and business so must have the back seats.

Budget up to £10k, something around Focus or Astra sized that looks good in black, with easy loading and rear seats that fold down to leave me with a flat floor. Obviously, it needs to be reliable.

I don't like the Berlingo type vehicles, I'd like something more car like.

Thanks, Geoff.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Pugugly
Roomster too ugly for you ? Seen a black one.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Alby Back
Mondeo estate ? I know where there's a good one. Cheap too. Silver mind you. ;-)

Bulletproof and a very good drive.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - spikeyhead {p}
If you're starting a business, keep your overheads low, spend no more than a fifth of your proposed £10k on a motor.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - vs60
As I said, I'm selling my own car (currently Volvo S60) so can use some of the money on a combined company / personal motor.

Budget is up to £10k, obviously the less I can spend the better, but £2k isn't going to buy what I need.....

I like the Roomster, looks different and something that people look at is always good. Not sure I've seen one on the roads around here.

A 2007 07 1.4 with 10k miles on Autotrader for £7,495.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - oldnotbold
Take advice from your accountant as to whether spending cash on a car is best for your circumstances. It's possible a lease may in fact be better, and that leaves you with cash to use/have to hand.

Having started a business many years ago, even if a cash purchase is the best way for you, I'd say don't spend 10k, yet. Buy a £4k Mondeo, see how it goes, bank the £6k, and then take a view in 6-12 months.

Edited by oldnotbold on 12/08/2008 at 22:55

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - NowWheels
£2k isn't going to buy what I need.....


£2k spent carefully should get you a tidy 5-door estate car which loads easily etc, just what you said you needed. You may of course want a rather newer car, but that's a different matter.

Obviously, it's your money and your choice, but there is much sense in the advice not to put too much money into your car when starting up a business. There is a lot that can go wrong in the early days of a business startup (particularly in the face of a big recession), and the extra cushion of a few more thousand in the bank may come in very handy.

A £2k car may be too old, but you can get a lot of car for £5k these days

Edited by NowWheels on 12/08/2008 at 23:03

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Pugugly
Our analyst in work likes the Roomie - she reckons it has a Zen factor, suitable for a certain type of IT type - certainly mine has proved itself, nearly 12k on it now, reliable, economical (mine's a 1.9 diesel) and unbelievably flexible, with its removable rear seats. The only thing that will persuade me to get out of mine in the next couple of years would be a faster, larger car (see other threads) oh and you can get Cricket on Long wave in it !
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - vs60
Thanks Pugugly

I do appreciate other people taking the time to post, but I am looking for vehicle advice on a vehicle website and not business advice on a vehicle website.

I have done my sums and already taken relevant advice, now looking for a suitable vehicle to ply my trade.

Any other car suggestions would be great ;-)
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - 659FBE
I think that psychologically, a new business start up in the brink of a recession needs something to indicate that the business owner is aware, thoughtful and is not likely to squander his clients' money.

Use the Skoda badge to your advantage - its time has come for a job such as this. When money is really tight you will attract more of the kind of customers you need by this means than you would with a new BMW.

The Roomster is a splendid suggestion. The Octavia estate would qualify as a more conventional alternative. Diesel is a must.

659.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - vs60
Thanks 659

Hit the nail on the head. Myself, if I see a business where the owner's sitting behind the wheel of a Merc or BMW it does make me think he's charging me more than he should to keep himself there.

The Skoda is sounding like a very good idea.......

Thanks.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Avant
I agree with the Skoda suggestions - a Roomster would be different but there are more Octavias around to choose from.

The obvious alternatives are Focus and Astra estates - lots to choose from, but those are what every other PC or photocopier repairer drives, and your new business may want to be different.

Or maybe a Mazda 6 estate - this has the advantage of rear seats that fold flat in one easy movement.

My Golf estate is excellent, and so was the Mark IV estate that I had a few years ago; but Golfs and Passats hold their value too well and you would have to have an older car for your money.

Edited by Avant on 13/08/2008 at 01:34

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Mapmaker
A 4-year old Mondeo/Primera/Vectra estate can be yours if you look hard enough for 2-3k. I note you're not after business advice, but I think you'll find that most people coming on here looking to spend 10k on a car are told to think about spending much, much less.

Second hand 5 year old cars with 100k on the clock are so cheap at the moment, spending 10k is just throwing away 8k over the next two years.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - madf
Belive me when I say that some pwriod will come when buisness is terrible and you will need every penny to feed yourself...
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - oldnotbold
You should have a serious conversation with yourself about the benefit to the business of spending £10k on the vehicle, over say a spend of £3k.

Will it increase sales? Will it increase productivity/efficiency/no. of calls made in a day?

What else could you spend the £7k on that might improve these areas of the business?

I've used PC repairers, and the only things that I care about is that 1) they provide a good service at a sensible price and 2) that I'm happy to let them loose with my valuable data. I'd be surprised if they turned up in a rotten Metro, but after that I'm not bothered. I don't think I'm unusual.

Your service is often a distress purchase. The PC owner is just glad that you've arrived, on time, and that you get their pictures/invoices/accounts back from the dead hard drive. Don't imagine that they'll be impressed by your vehicle. They'll only be impressed by your technical skills and customer service skills.

Edited by oldnotbold on 13/08/2008 at 18:08

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - DP
If it were me, I'd find the best Astra estate I could for £3k. Should get you a presentable, reasonably low mileage (60k or a bit less) 2001/2 1.6 petrol example without too much trouble.
Reliable, perfectly pleasant to drive, cheap to service and maintain, and hugely practical, plus cheaper than an equivalent Focus.

Cheers
DP
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Avant
"I do appreciate other people taking the time to post, but I am looking for vehicle advice on a vehicle website and not business advice on a vehicle website."

I did admire the way you politely but firmly sat on the people who answered a question you didn't ask! It often happens: threads can gradually move further from the original point.

You are buying for reliability + space principally I think: your vehicle isn't there to impress your clients but to get you to them on time and without breaking down.

I'm sure you've done a business plan and know where your first clients are coming from: assuming that this is reasonably assured, I'd suggest you go for a Focus, Astra or Skoda (Roomster or Octavia) one or two years old with some warranty still left. Look on Autotrader and you should be able to get away with £7,000 to £8,000. £10k should get you something nearly new if this is a priority.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - ifithelps
Saw a 2 litre diesel 54-reg Jag X-type estate on a main dealer's forecourt, marked up at £9,995.

The OP seems a single-minded type of guy who might like to drive something you don't see on every street corner.

Don't know a lot about X-types, except people who actually drive/ride in one tend to like 'em.

And isn't it basically Ford oily bits? Should be reliable.

Looks good in black/easy to load? That's for the OP to decide.

Edited by ifithelps on 13/08/2008 at 22:09

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - oldnotbold
"You are buying for reliability + space principally I think: your vehicle isn't there to impress your clients but to get you to them on time and without breaking down"

Not sure that £3k-£4k cars break down much more than £10k ones, and there's some evidence to suggest that older technology cars (which are also better understood by the trade) take less money and less time to fix than newer ones, in some cases.

Spending £10k to avoid a possible breakdown which might take half a day out per year is not good economics. The interest on the £7k is about £350 pa, which would cover a recovery subscription, and a week's car hire.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Happy Blue!
Starting a business? Lease the car you want, claim the net cost against expenses and get a new car without spending the £10K thats obviously burning a hole in your pocket. Get registered for VAT and you can claim 50% of the VAT as well.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Happy Blue!
Can I refer the OP to my comments in the following thread....

www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?t=65378&...e

Not totally relevant, but gives a clear indication of why you should not being what you want to do just now. Starting a new business? cut costs, save money and don't splash out on unnecessary expense. Advertise? yes; newish car? - why?

No harm in trying to find somthing different, but do it when you can afford to do it. My IT guy drives a yellow Smart. Does it bother me? No - all I want himt to do is to turn up promptly and fix the problem. As long as he is clean, efficient, value for money, informative and doesn't look like a total scruff, I don't care what he drives.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Alby Back
My apologies in advance for "borrowing" your thread vs60. It has though, opened a line of thought which I find quite interesting.

Several years ago I started my own business. Prior to that I had worked in various large companies whose field of activity centered around the fashion industry. A business environment which was traditionally, and perhaps naturally, more image concious than many.

I continue to operate in a high profile role as a one man band at the sharpest end of this style, image and marketing led corporate jungle.

The company cars I was provided with were always chosen to attempt to exude a certain style. Some were what might be described as premium or sporty models, others were more mainstream but always the most style led version of the model. So there was a cross section from GTi to Sri to 5 series to T5 and so on. You get the picture.

When I started the business, I had good funds in place but could see that for a while at least I would be financially fragile if things ever cut up rough commercially. I took a view that despite the apparent obsession with car image in my industry that I would run a car I could afford without having to think too deeply about it every month. I bought a workaday car and got on with building my business.

I am pleased to report that it went on to be something of a success. At no time did I feel that my proletarian transport was a hindrance. In fact it continues to be my strategy to this day to run affordable, even dare I say it, ignorable cost cars. In this most self-concious of environments it just does not seem to matter as much as it did in the past. Maybe it is selective perception on my part but maybe the public mindset has just moved on. Maybe no one actually cares what anyone else drives as long as the goods or services they provide are better quality or value or are more reliable than their competitors are offering.

I apologise once again for straying a mile from your original question but I'm sure you will find something to suit. Perhaps even one of the suggestions from other contributors will prove to be the answer. All I really wanted to add was that I wish you all luck and fortune in your venture and offer my advice that no one will be judging you by your car unless it is extreme in some way.

All the best.

Humph
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - jbif
Espada said:
No harm in trying to find something different, but do it when you can afford to do it.


Humph said:
I apologise once again for straying a mile from your original question


plus comments in the same vein by others.


All very good and sensible advice if the OP was seeking advice about his business. As he has made it clear, he has got all that advice already, and it is his decision that he wants to spend circa £10k on a car.

For all we know, he may be able to afford £100k but has sensibly decided that for this business, he will spend the £10k and use the car for personal use too. I am acquainted with people who are doing similar things simply to combine a "hobby" with some income generated from it, having retired early with a large lump sum and secure large pension.

If he had not mentioned the business aspect, no one would have gone off tangent advising him on how to run his business.

Edited by jbif on 13/08/2008 at 23:54

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - ifithelps
I am acquainted with people ... having retired early with a large lump sum and secure large pension.>>


jbif,

Know a lot of ex-coppers do you? :)
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Alby Back
OK, in an attempt to make amends. :-)

Buy a Mondeo estate. Good motors, tons of loadspace, very reliable, should get a good one for £10K. Look OK in black if you like washing the car twice a week.

Good luck !

Humph
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Pugugly
Funnily enough our IT contractor turned up to fine tune a CRT Monitor today - In a Skoda Octavia Estate. Seems like a good omen for you.

Edited by Pugugly on 14/08/2008 at 00:43

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Mapmaker
If he had not mentioned the business aspect no one would have gone off tangent
advising him on how to run his business.



I disagree. Most people coming to this website, with a budget of 10k, are asked whether they wouldn't prefer to spend 1-3k on a 3-5 year old car. Some say yes, some say no.

Lets be honest. 10k doesn't buy you a new or virtually new car... so it is as well to think moving a couple of years older and save 75% or more of your money.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - jbif
I disagree. ... so it is as well to think moving a couple of years older and save 75% or more of your money.


Agreed that you would have given advice about car choice and saving money.

But you could/would not have gone off tangent and told him how to run his business, unless you are a mindreader.

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Mapmaker
He was the one who mentioned business...

Only a fool is offended by helpful suggestions. OP I hasten to add has shown no sign of being offended; he's merely told people not to waste their effort, but this is like a pub, a conversation will continue even after the person who began it has disappeared!
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - vs60
No, I am still here, just interesting to see how the thread has run.......

Maybe I should have left out the business part to make things less confusing, I was just giving a bit of background because what I'm going to buy needs to move PCs and associated bits so the type of car needs to match the business.

Thanks for people taking the time to post.

Edited by vs60 on 14/08/2008 at 19:56

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - tawse
Hi Geoff,

I am thinking of starting the same kind of work. I was an IT contractor for 10 years but just got too stressed and too ill trying to keep up on the IT treadmill and everyone expecting me to be like a computer myself and knowing EVERYTHING about EVERY computer in existence at the rop of a hat. Not good for the long-term health and I know so many people who have become very ill from working in IT. I have even considered doing something completely different.

I know quite a few people in the Home Counties who have quit IT contracting and started up successful white van man PC repair businesses - in that part of the world they can almost charge contract rates and seem to have no shortage of customers.

I am in West Wales and I am just holding back at the moment as I am not so sure that there is a market here that would sustain such a business. Also, there are numerous hobbyists out there and you se everything from people who do free call-outs to people who charge a fiver call-out to others who charge 30 - 40 per call out which includes the first 60 or 90 minutes. There are so loads of people who have a mate of a mate who will do it for a fiver and, for years, I used to help friends by fixing their PCs but get nothing back in return for it. I was a mug - once someone gave me 4 cans of guinness after I spent an entire weekend repairing their PC. Mug!!!!

The other thing that is putting me off now is that we are going into a recession and I wonder whether a PC is an important enough need to merit paying for repairs - can people live without them now? Or will a recession cause people to hang on and repair their pcs? Hmm...

This has become a huge business in the US and it is known as 'black jeep' as opposed to our white van man. Numerous firms like the Geeks are doing big franchise operations now, the PC World Tech Guys over here and a few other venture capital firms are looking to set up similar operations in both the UK and US. From what I can tell though people seem to prefer someone they know and trust as opposed to going to some big chain. The big chains charge a ridiculous sum though for things like installing anti-virus or new memory. Frightening really but obviously they seem to think people will pay it and I noticed that one big chain, when it launched it's PC support business last year, started off with high charges and then quickly put them up further - I assume because there was a demand??? Or perhaps repairs were taking longer than they expected? Who knows.

Anyhow, I have been looking at a petrol Toyota Verso 1.8 T3 which I have seen for as low as 11K but usually more. Like you, I would rather not pay more than 10K and would like something 1 or 2 years old, preferably Japanese, for reliability and newishness. I am tall and also want something with a high up seating position. I woud have one for a 4x4 6 months ago but, for tax, fuel and image reasons, I have pretty much forgotten about one of them now.

If you can fit in a Focus - I can't - I saw some brilliant pre-registered 'new' and 1 year old ones in Motorpoint Newport for from 8K to 12K a few weeks back. All look spotless inside and out.

Hope this helps,


T.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Avant
"Or will a recession cause people to hang on and repair their pcs? Hmm..."

I would think that most people wouldn't be willing to give up their PCs - alongside their TVs and their cars. But they could well put off replacing them - meaning work for freelance repairers, particularly if they can undercut the main dealers and come to people's homes / offices.

Taking a computer to a shop to be repaired is, I'd have thought, an unpleasantly fraught operation....

Unplug everything
Disentangle wires
Try to move PC
Unplug the wire you forgot
Trip over cat going downstairs
Put on ground while you fumble for car keys
Unload gubbins from car boot on to back seat
It won't fit in boot so gubbins back in boot
Set off in car
Brake sharply to avoid small Nissan reversing into road - PC falls on to floor
Park miles from shop
Do your back in lifting computer out of car
Wait in queue behind several people, one of whom is buying their first computer at age 85
Eventually 16-year-old youth sucks teeth and says 'It's the software mate'.

There's a market out there for you, Tawse and VS60 - best of luck.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - vs60
Hi T

Great to read a post from someone who in a similar situation.

My background, I've been a computer engineer for the last 10 years working for other people and I'm now pushing out on my own.

I'm based in East Sussex and yes, like you, there are plenty of people around here advretising in the back of the free papers willing to work for next to nothing 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

From my experience, I think that home and business customers will always be available for engineers or firms who do a good, competent job for a reasonable price.

People want to talk to someone who is confident in what they are doing and happy to entrust them with their computer system or computer network. I think that the personal touch and personal service counts for so much in the computer industry, as much as another industry.

From where I am, people are willing to pay for a good job. I don't see any reason to work for peanuts (good plumbers, electricians and builders don't) and I don't think the recession will really effect us People are still going to need their PCs repaired, but more than that, businesses need their PCs to work, so get several local businesses on maintenance contracts and keep people happy.

Thanks, G.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - tawse
Yes, I agree about the plumbers comments. PCs are now such an important part of both SMEs and home users that it has come of age as such and is now a small business in its own right.

One of the big mistakes that new businesses have when they start apparently is not knowing their own worth and being afraid to charge what they are worth. You can always bring your prices down but it is nigh impossible to put them up. At the end of the day a plumber has a value for his work, all trades and professions do, so why should not IT PC Repair businesses.

I am inclined to aim for the higher end of the market and will charge acordingly as I would rather offer skill, expertise and professionalism and not have to run myself ragged chasing every bit of work because I charge too little.
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - jbif
At the end of the day a plumber has a value for his work, all trades and professions do, so why should not IT PC Repair businesses.


In my experience, people suddenly put a value on their PC when something goes wrong which prevents them from accessing their irreplaceable stuff which they have neglected to back up.

Now that you can buy a good spec PC for around £300 to £400, which will meet the needs of 95% of joe-public, that is what will put a limit on what you can charge to repair a PC. The value they put on the data can of course be zero to thousands of pounds.

When a PC repair man adds up all his costs of running the business, including car capital and running costs, and the hourly rate soon becomes uneconomic for the ordinary joe-public.

Today's news that further IT redundancies are in the pipeline will add to the pool of startups of "PC repairers".
www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/14/eds_nervous_worke.../
www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/14/hbos_axes_100_it_.../

Says much for Gord's NuLab Gubermint aiming to increase the number of qualified IT workers in the UK. It has been reported on C4 today that Gord is planning to give away 1 million laptops to the poorest families. That may be where the future work for PC repair businesses lies.

Edited by jbif on 14/08/2008 at 23:31

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Pugugly
I do appreciate other people taking the time to post, but I am looking for vehicle advice on a vehicle website and not business advice on a vehicle website.


From the OP earlier on in this thread:

In other words back to the topic !
What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - tawse
Have you considered a Mazda Bongo Geoff? I did but, as I am tall, they weren't any use to me alas but if you are not too tall you can get some pretty decent ones out there.

Check out www.bongofury.co.uk

What car to buy? £10k, easy loading, reliability.. - Paddler Ed
Have a look at a V50 or similar, or a V70. Both of which will be at around the 10k mark, but possibly a bit older.

What about putting a discreet private plate on the car? Hides the age and possibly makes you more identifiable. I can remember there being a builder near where I used to live who had a Ford P100 (cortina style) pick up with the number plate B158MAD... when he changed it he took the plate with him as it was so distinctive (as evidenced by the fact taht I've not lived there for about 3 years and I can still remember the number)
 

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