Auto appraisers assess a car to determine its value for a variety of reasons. Auto appraisers are often required to assess the damage and costs of repair when an automobile has been involved in an accident. They may also appraise a car for reasons such as bankruptcy, divorce or for someone making a charitable donation. While there are no formal requirements, many auto appraisers have a background in cars and may have been mechanics, experienced dealers or auto insurance agents.
Learn everything there is to know about the various car makes and models. Gain experience estimating repair costs by enrolling in a technical mechanics course. Or become employed with a local mechanic. Read literature on how vehicles are assessed, and what features will increase or decrease a car’s worth. Set yourself apart by focusing on classic cars or specialty cars whose value can’t be established via Kelly Blue Book. The American Society of Certified Appraisers offers certification courses on standards and ethics, car parts terminology, classic cars, diminished values and how to put an appraisal together.
Take a job working alongside a car appraiser to learn the ins and outs of filing paperwork, filling out reports and assessing damage. According to the Bureau of Labor, the majority of auto appraisers learn their trade through on-the-job training under close supervision from an experienced appraiser. Establish relationships with insurance companies and dealerships and begin to make a name for yourself so that when you do branch out, you will have an in.
Contact your state licensing department to learn what permits are needed to start your auto appraisal business. Register your business and purchase liability insurance.
Purchase those tools you do not already own, such as a digital camera, computer and valuation software, which will allow you to generate standardized appraisal reports. The majority of your work will be done at home, making calls and filing reports. Be sure to set up a comfortable home office in which to complete your work. If necessary, hire an answering service to answer calls.
Contact local dealerships and rental companies to let them know that you have formed your own company. Develop professional business cards to give to potential clients.
Stay abreast of any new car models and repair techniques.
Shanika Chapman has been writing business-related articles since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in social science from the University of Maryland University College. Chapman also served for four years in the Air Force and has run a successful business since 2008.