Is it time to hire or fire your classic car?


There’s no getting around it, times is tough. And the turning of a new year is often the time to take stock and review.  Which is never a great time for classic cars.  Or their fans.  Because in tough times it’s hard to justify a classic car. Over the last 12 months classic car enthusiasts have been advertised the opportunity to hire out their classic car and make some money to justify its keep.  Quietly, under the radar somewhat, at Great Escape Classic Car Hire we’ve been offering this service for over 7 years.  Today over 70% of our classic car hire fleet of 80 vehicles is offered to customers this way.  We even have a dedicated Owner Operator Network where customers can hire classic cars direct from the owner. But there’s a reason why we do this quietly.  Hiring your classic car isn’t right for everyone.  We know, we’ve found out the hard way.  So if you’re considering renting out your classic car for hire, either directly through your own website or through a third party, here’s some questions to consider and advice from us.  Feel free to call us on 01527 893733 or email graham@greatescapecars.co.uk.  If we don’t think classic car hire is right for you, we’ll tell you.  If we think it is, we’d be happy to have an informal chat.

Hire your classic if…

• You want to cover the cost of owning, running and improving your classic • You own a classic that you don’t use very much but do not want to sell • You want to finance a car that you otherwise could not afford to buy and maintain • If you want a small annual income from your car • You do not use your car very much and will not miss your car while it is available for and out on hire • If your car is not a prized, concours car • If you are willing to let other people that you do not know drive your car • You like the idea of others enjoying your car • You want to ensure your classic is regularly exercised and maintained • You don’t mind it being used in all weathers

Do not hire your classic if:

• You don’t want or need an extra income to pay for its maintenance • You use your classic regularly • It is a prized or concours car and you highly value its condition • You do not like the idea of other people driving it • You will worry about it while it is on hire • It is in generally poor condition, unreliable or needs mechanical work

Our five key rules for hiring your classic:

1. It must be in good and reliable condition with no major mechanical or visible faults 2. Although we work to minimise all risks, you must be aware of and accept that there are inevitably risks involved in hiring your car 3. It should not be a highly prized possession and you should expect minor damage like stone chips 4. Your car will generally be treated well but not as well as you would treat it 5. You will cover the cost of owning and maintaining the car and receive a small income but this is not a get-rich-quick scheme


Which Option is right for me?

If you think you do want to hire out your cars, or are considering buying some cars as an investment, there are three main options available to you, all with different pros and cons.

1. Running a classic car hire business

The most straightforward and obvious option is to set up your own classic car hire business.  This solution may suit you if you are retired, semi-retired or looking for an extra income.  It will work for you if:

  1. You want to maximise your earnings

  2. You have some IT skills and can create and manage your own website

  3. You want to see who hires your car and personally manage the handover to give you more control

  4. You want access to the car while it is not on hire

  5. You want a greater share of the income

  6. You will enjoy meeting customers and sharing their enjoyment of your car

  7. You are available evenings and weekends to meet customers

  8. You are prepared to be flexible to accommodate customers

  9. You are practically able to meet customers at your home without disruption to your neighbours – or you have a local storage site that you can use

  10. You do not mind meeting customers at your home or vehicle storage site

2. Placing your car with an existing hire company

This is the simplest option as you can earn an income without any day to day involvement.  You avoid any business set up costs and the burden of the fixed costs that come with running a hire company.  However, as you will incur additional costs (for storage) and split the income, you need to choose a hire company that can maximise the return on your car.  The hire company must also be experienced in managing hire cars so that your car returns to you in the same or better condition than when it left you.  This solution may work for you if:

  1. You want a ‘hands off’ approach with less direct involvement in the hire of your car

  2. You do not have facilities or do not want to meet customers at your home or vehicle storage site

  3. You are willing to release your car to Great Escape between March and October without immediate access to it

  4. You trust Great Escape to manage your car professionally and effectively on your behalf

  5. You accept a lower proportion of the hire income

3. Working in partnership with an existing hire company

This option combines the advantages of 1 and 2.  The hire company generates and administers the hires for you and arranges insurance while you fulfill the hires and manage the maintenance of your own cars.  You avoid the hassle of generating the hires and setting up insurance etc and have the advantage of keeping you