Adventures of Starting an Adventure Business
How We Started a Small Business Without Taking Out a Loan November 12 2016, 2 Comments
How is that possible you might ask. How can you start a tour company with kayaks, mountain bikes, ATV's, a van, trailer, insurance and promotional material without taking out a loan? I can barely make my current car payment now. We believe our dreams were possible due to two reasons: first, we lived modestly, driving older cars living in a small house and eating at home. We don't buy designer anything, eat at expensive restaurants, or take luxurious vacations. By living modestly we have been able to save money. I should also note that we are have been very lucky to have all our education costs paid off and do not currently have children. Secondly, we bought almost everything we could used rather than new. By buying used, we saved tens of thousands of dollars, reduced the pressure of quickly making a profit so we can focus on customer happiness, and can sell all of our assets as the same price we paid for them if our business doesn't work out.
We spoke with some people about buying a used van. Some people thought it was a bad idea, that having a reliable vehicle is the most important thing in our business. We agree that having a reliable vehicle is important, but not worth the price of a new vehicle. We purchased a 2003 For Econoline 350 with approximately 100K miles for $6,000. The inside of the van was immaculate, it was never used for towing, and our friend who is a mechanic gave it a thumbs up. While I was working, Safak searched for weeks on the Goverment GSA Auctions, craigslist and Autotrader ads within 400 miles of our area. We saw an add at 3pm on a Friday, and were in our car by 5pm on our way to San Diego. Yes, it wasn't easy to find that perfect van, but look at the alternative. A new 2013 Ford Econoline Extended Passenger van is around $35,000 new according to Kelly Blue Book. It would take us a half a year of profits to pay for our van. If we need to sell our used van in the near future, we can still get the $6,000 we paid for it, but if we had to sell our van, we would get thousands less than the purchase price.
My recommendation, listen to your gut and do what you are good at. Safak and I are good at buying used vehicles on craigslist, all of our cars have been bought from craigslist, and we have not had any major problems with the dozens of motorccles or cars we have owned over the past ten years.
I think about the terrible businesses I have dealt with in my life, the unhappy employees, the terrible customer service, the feeling of being taken advantage of that I have experienced with other companies that have been in business for many years. We believe that we can do things better than your average Joe, and have followed our dreams. I encourage you to join me to do what makes you happy in life!
Here's our awesome van we purchased for $6,000.