Alistair Kaye, Proprietor autoVIP
I’m a real townie, all the way from industrial Bradford in the days when it still had industries. I’ve spent most of my life in the motor trade, but I joined the exodus from home to the ancient city of York, where I climbed the corporate ladder with the main BMW dealership.
However, I always fancied having a business of my own and the internet made it possible. I swapped a giant showroom and forecourt with multiple workshops for a shed and a telephone in a village you won’t find on a satnav. Admittedly it’s rather a posh shed but the overheads are low, and next door there’s a garage that can fettle anything from a vintage Land Rover to an MGB and another that specialises in Porsches, McLarens and other exotica.
The way it works is a bit like ‘We Buy Any Car’ but we don’t buy just any car. People phone in for a quote on their sports, luxury or vintage car. We have independent vehicle assessors who go to the customers’ homes and carry out exhaustive checks, on the basis of which we make an offer. Most of the cars go back into the trade, although we occasionally have a customer look over a car at the office – that’s if he can find us!
Theoretically I could run the business from a deck chair on the patio of our little farm near Thirsk in the beautiful Hambleton hills, where my wife breeds horses, but I prefer my thoroughbreds smelling of high octane fuel and anyway, every man needs a shed.