Tips, Tricks & Trends

Golf Carts Are Not Just for Golf Courses, Part 1

I am an auto enthusiast. As such, I have always had dreams of owning and operating one car business or another. The first limiting factor, of course, is capital to either get the business started or to purchase an already existing one. Also, I recognize that jumping into a full-fledged automotive business without taking steps to learn different positions might be disastrous. So, the next limiting factor is experience. You need experience in everything from sweeping, to turning wrenches, to sales and marketing.

Stay with me because I am going to switch gears here for a moment. Thirteen years ago, I was looking at the possibility of having to move. If I sold my house, I was going to be able to pay all my bills off and would become fully available to any business endeavor. So, I decided that I was going to look nationwide at other opportunities for work as well as businesses to get involved with.

Time For A Change

Now back to the auto enthusiast introduction. As an auto enthusiast, I thought that the sale of my house would be the perfect time to pursue an automotive business, even if it meant starting in a low-end job at a custom shop somewhere. My mindset was such that I would begin by learning from working on vehicles and the shop’s back-end operations until I could move forward with either purchasing that business or create a rival business somewhere else. This was a long-term plan. But it was my plan.

The House Sold

Sure enough, the house sold. I paid all the bills off and found temporary living quarters. But I still had not narrowed my choice of the automotive business to get involved with. Daily I wondered which business I would single out for my barrage of resumes and in-person networking visits. But I felt pressure to decide quickly since my temporary living quarters were temporary, and I needed to quickly have some income, or I would burn through my personal daily living funds, as well as the cash for the business.

Car on a road trip
Every memorable road trip needs planning, start with a checklist | Nina Raingold/Getty Images

Weekend Road Trip

Days turned into weeks. I was stressed. At this point, with encouragement from my family, we decided to take a weekend to just chill. I agreed. Open road therapy is great for me to deal with stress. The family pointed out that there is a beach nearby. So, we drove to Colonial Beach, Virginia. It is a cute area that is nearby a military base that, at the time, was expected to balloon in size very quickly.

I know I was trying to de-stress from my business and employment search. But I could not help myself. While I was in Colonial Beach, I kept looking for automotive shops and dealers. Then, it happened. I kept noticing that golf carts were all over the place. They were not just at the golf course. They were parked at supermarkets, the Post Office, the ice cream shop, in people’s driveways, and everywhere you looked. There were new carts, old carts, and a few modified carts. Wait, did I say modified carts? Yes, I did!

A Red Rolls Royce Golf Cart Conversion
Singer Emmylou Harris poses with a custom golf cart owned by Gene Autry | Photo by Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

That is when I landed on the idea of a golf cart dealer and customization business. I figured the capital needed to start such a business would not be as extensive as purchasing a shop for regular cars with multiple bays and loaded with diagnostic equipment. The business would also give me the experience I need to eventually translate into the regular car business later if I wanted it too. Plus, that area was primed for growth. So, if I got a job there, or started a business there, it would grow as the population and the military base were expected to grow.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow to find out what action I took, and other things that were in play with the business decision.