Leslie Vander Baan turned selling her 1997 Jeep Cherokee into a million-dollar business and she isn’t even 30 yet.
Four years ago, Vander Baan, who’d been around cars her entire life, found selling her vehicle a headache. She had to find time to meet with potential buyers after working long days at an auto auction. She had to sneak related phone calls during busy work hours. But she did all that because she knew she’d get more in a private sale than a dealer trade-in.
There must be a better way to sell a used car, she thought. Maybe a consignment shop. She pictured a car lot where sellers could drop off their wheels and pay her to find a buyer.
Six months later, she opened Automotive Consignment on Independence Boulevard’s auto row with $500,000 in startup funds. She started with five cars that she bought herself so she would have some inventory. Now there are about 120 cars on the lot at any given time and last year the business posted $1.2 million in sales, she said.
Consignment in general is nothing new. But the goods for sale typically are clothing or furniture, not cars.
Photo by Automotive Consignment.