Starting A Takeaway

Takeaways are a commonplace on every high street, serving anything from soup and sandwiches, fish and chips, to exotic meals from all corners of the world.

Takeaways can be a good way for entrepreneurs to showcase their love for certain cuisines, but how do you go about starting such an endeavour? Diving head-first into a business such as owning a takeaway can be tricky unless you’ve done your research, so here are a few handy hints of things to bear in mind when first starting out.

SEE ALSO: Starting A Mobile Catering Business: All You Need To Know

Research Your Market

If you have an idea of where you want to set up your business, look around the area and find out what similar businesses are operating in the area already, and ask yourself the following:

  • What food do I want to serve?
  • How many other similar takeaways are in the area already?
  • How long have they been established in the area for?
  • What kind of food do they serve?
  • How much do they charge for what they serve?
  • What establishments are within the area – including universities?

By taking the time to research the area, run focus groups to find out the tastes of the locals, and look into how much your competitors are charging for similar products, you can give yourself a good start in the process of owning your own takeaway.

Plan, Plan and Plan Again

You can never be too prepared when it comes to working out what needs to go into the takeaway business, and it can be expensive if you haven’t got a handle on things.

Drawing up a mock balance sheet including rental rates, the cost of equipment and supplies, as well as essential extras such as takeaway insurance, staff wages, and employers’ liability cover to help protect you against claims brought against you by staff who suffer an injury while working for you.

When drawing up your business plan, keep the following in mind:

  • How much can you afford right now? – whether you’ve got savings or require a bank loan, work out how much you’ve got in the pot.
  • Finance options such as grants or even franchising opportunities can be a useful way of getting onto the ladder, or you could also consider starting with a food stall to test your products in small quantities to test the market and figure out your customers’ tastes.
  • What can you offer your customers – in regards to product, why is yours going to be better than your competitors?
  • Where do you want to base yourself? – location is key when it comes to setting up a takeaway; you want to pitch yourself as close to a catchment area as you can to ensure frequent footfall into your premises.
  • How much will rent be? – research several vacant pitches and shops and make a note of monthly rental rates, including them as part of your predicted balance sheet.
  • How much do you intend to spend on equipment? – be sure to price up cooking equipment such as fryers and grill tops, refrigeration units for keeping food fresh and safe in between orders, as well as the utilities for powering your equipment.

What Do I Want To Cook?

Deciding on a cuisine can depend entirely on not only your taste but those of your audience as well, for what might be delicious for you might not sell well due to lack of interest, so doing some taste testing and focus groups can help you to determine this and help you going forward.

Also, look into local suppliers and where you might source the ingredients for your menu from. Local producers will always be looking for opportunities to get their product to market, including farms and vegetable growers.

By striking a rapport with local suppliers, you can help to promote local produce and give customers confidence in the quality of your product.

Make Sure You’re Safe

Hygiene is vital when it comes to any food establishment, so making sure your premises are clean can help to keep your food fresh and keep your customers safe. Be wary of allergies and make sure that certain food groups are kept separate to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and the risk of allergic reactions.

You’ll have to apply for and display a Food Hygiene Rating certificate on your premises following a visit from a health inspector from the Food Standards Agency. Ensuring that you put in the correct steps to keep food fresh, store your ingredients safely, dispose of waste and keep your new premises free of vermin can earn you a top rating and lead to an excellent local rapport.

Get Insured

Whether you want to serve baked potatoes or baltis, ensuring you have the relevant insurance before you start out is a crucial part of the process. Specialist takeaway insurance is available and helps to cover your premises, your equipment and your stock from damage from the elements and fire.

You can also apply for a business insurance so that if anything goes wrong, you know you’re in good hands – this is especially useful if you are a franchisor.

Staffing Your Shop

Your staff are essential in running the shop, so take your time to recruit the right people – from your chefs to your front-of-house staff – ensure they are thoroughly trained and have the relevant food hygiene qualifications needed.

If you’re looking to employ staff to help out your new venture, ensure you are covered in the event of an incident causing them injury while at work.

Employers’ liability insurance will help to cover these costs, and it can also be worth taking out some public liability insurance as well to cover you should a customer sustain a personal injury on your premises or bring a claim of illness caused by food poisoning against you.

Start Small, Think Big

For a flagship store, sometimes less can be more, so try focusing on a certain number of products – maybe you have a speciality you wish to try out first – and gradually introduce new foods over time.

Testing out recipes in small amounts can help you to gauge interest in particular foods and give you an indication of your customer’s preferred tastes, so don’t be afraid to try new ideas now and then.

Be Careful

Starting a takeaway business can be a daunting prospect, but by putting in plenty of research, getting your balance sheet right and making sure you’ve everything in place before you open can stand you in good stead and help your business to flourish.

Setting Up An Office

With more and more of us breaking away from the rat race and choosing to start our own companies, many people want to become their own bosses and dictate the pace of their working lives.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur with a fresh idea you want to progress, or a professional who fancies going solo in your line of work, there are a few things you will need to make sure of when you’re beginning your new venture:

  • Draw up your business plan

You’ve got the idea; now it’s time to plan it out! Work out the potential costs of your materials, premises rent, manufacturing costs and of any equipment and technology you may need to do the job itself.

Then set yourself some short-term and long-term goals for the business going forward. By having an idea of where you want to be and how long it could take you to get there through careful planning you can help prepare yourself for any pitfalls you may encounter along the way.

  • Set a budget

Work out roughly how much you want to spend on your new business venture, and make sure you split this into several areas, including amounts for rent, equipment, technology and even stationary.

Speak with your bank about the possibility of opening a business account to help you along. These will come with helpful advice for startup businesses and may even offer additional perks that can help your business in its early days.

SEE ALSO: The Basics of Business Deposit Accounts

  • Get registered

When setting up a new business you must register your company with Companies House – a government department for the regulation of businesses – and decide what kind of business you wish to trade as:

  • Sole trader
  • Private limited company
  • Limited liability partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • ‘Ordinary’ business partnership

When you’ve decided on a name for your business and registered it with Companies House for a small fee, it’s time to get your URL registered, research into hosting companies and secure your URL quickly before someone steals in there before you!

  • Establish a location

Establishing your base of operations is an essential part of the process, for not only is it where you operate from but it can, in some cases, be close to your customer base.

Sole traders will usually begin working from home, and this can be useful depending on the type of business you are looking to establish. Whether your business is purely on a digital level or you require equipment and materials for manufacturing your products on a small scale – including crafts – starting off from your home base can be a good start as you already have aspects such as computer equipment and an internet connection already.

Look into rental prices of a number of locations before deciding on your eventual destination, then look into the costs of the utilities involved – including electricity and water, for a large part of what you’ll have to pay will go to the landlord or letting company.

  • Get insured

After you’ve found your new location, sorted out the rental rates, and worked out any overheads, it’s time to insure yourself against anything that goes wrong. Office insurance helps to protect your business from damage caused as a result of factors such as flood or fire damage, covering both your premises and the contents contained within.

Basic office insurance will usually come with add-ons to cover against various factors and possibilities, including window insurance or computer system cover, allowing you to get back on your feet as soon as possible – whether through relocation or from replacing equipment.

Remember, when you’re starting small it can be worth keeping your insurance costs small too, look into some office insurance policies before deciding on which one is right for you and your business.

We recommend you read: What is a Business Insurance?

  • Get equipped

After you’ve found your new premises, it’s time to fill it with things to enable you to trade, including amongst other things:

  • Office furniture
  • Lighting
  • Storage space
  • Stationary
  • Computer workstations
  • Telephone line
  • Peripherals (including printers and photocopiers)
  • Fire extinguisher

There are many more items you will also need to get, but that’s dependant on what kind of business you want to have, and how much you’d want to start with. As your customer base grows and more money keeps flowing in you’ll have the opportunity to buy more things to help the business.

Check out our handy Office Supply Checklist for more information on what your business will need to run and flourish.

  • Get comfortable

So you’ve moved into your new premises, and the groundwork for your communications is being sorted, including your phone line and internet connection, now it’s time to make the place feel a little more homely and personalised for your business.

When considering layout, allow yourself both a work and rest area, as well as seating for potential clients to sit while they wait for appointments. It can be worth starting off in an office block with a communal kitchen and dining area to save on space. Allow yourself and any staff you may recruit in the future an area where they can have periods of rest during work and lunch breaks, and if there’s free coffee available, then all the better!

And finally, when you’ve set your roots into the ground of your new premises, it’s time to…

  • Get trading!

Make sure you’ve everything you need to be able to do business – from computer equipment to machines that manufacture – and then it’s time to get your name out there.

Budget for some merchandise and get your name out there, either on social media or in person at events such as trade fairs. Make sure you establish a good website for your business as well. Some companies allow businesses to build websites to start using an online template system, but if you can make your own and get it live soon after establishing your business, you can start drawing in customer intrigue and interest in your product or service.

Keeping an eye on your finances is also important, so review your situation regularly and always look into alternatives when it comes to location so you can give your business an opportunity to get a foothold in the market.

Buying A Kit Car

Kit cars are smaller, sportier vehicles that are tailor-made for track days and are usually assembled by the owners themselves, but some manufacturers will sell them in a fully-fitted state.

Kit cars are popular with enthusiasts who like the challenge of assembling a vehicle – anything from a small sports car to more unusual vehicles such as dune buggies – they are the perfect vehicles for those who like to tinker with and assemble the vehicles themselves.

Piecing Together

Many kit cars are sold in parts, from the chassis to which you attach the body kit to the engine itself. There are a number of manufacturers on the market from smaller, more bespoke manufacturers such as GKD Sports Cars, to some of the most well-known manufacturers including Lotus, Caterham, Tiger Racing and Ginetta, a lot of whom have had, or continue to have successful racing teams of some sort.

Indeed, it is the appeal of racing that draws some enthusiasts to these small and sporty vehicles, particularly when it comes to older, rarer vehicles and more unusual vehicle types such as dune buggies.

So what should you think about when looking for a kit car? Whether you’re looking to build one from scratch or just buy an assembled vehicle from the manufacturer, you need to bear in mind a few things when it comes to deciding what to buy.

Where Can I Buy A Kit Car?

Kit cars are available to buy either in parts from stockists and manufacturers, from internet auction sites or from the manufacturers themselves. Auction sites are a good resource for both fully-completed kit car sets, partially completed projects, replacement parts, and body kits.

When researching your ideal kit car, it is vitally important to ensure that your manufacturer is still in business, for while discontinued makes and models might be rare, they can also be more difficult to find.

Research is key when it comes to buying a kit car, particularly as they can be expensive to run and sink time into. Kit cars can be bought readily assembled or in pieces for self-assembly, but whichever state you wish to purchase your vehicle, it’s important to first…

Take A Test Drive

Before committing to a purchase, consider what you want first. Motor shows are a great place to start, especially if you’re able to have a test drive in the model you want to buy. When deciding on a model for you, remember that it’s important to ensure that you not only fit the car but that you have the workspace and storage space available for you to assemble one.

Can I Buy A Fully Assembled Kit Car?

Some manufacturers will offer completed kit cars for sale, allowing you to drive off almost immediately. But for many enthusiasts, it’s the challenge of construction that appeals to them, so many will choose to buy their vehicles in their incomplete stage and assemble the rest themselves.

On the plus side, fully-assembled kit cars will be instantly available to insure.

Buying Second Hand

Be careful when it comes to buying a second-hand kit car, for the vehicle may not be what is promised on the site, so unless you are able to view the car yourself and take a test drive, you may be taking a risk when it comes to buying the vehicle.

Who Should I Talk To?

If you’re starting off in the world of kit cars, it can be worth looking into joining an enthusiasts club in your local area in order to gain an insight into aspects such as what to buy, what to look out for when it comes to parts and even details of upcoming track days and meets.

It can be worth talking with the manufacturer as well, which is why it is handy to meet them at events and motor shows to get a feel of the vehicle, where best to source parts, and how best to insure your vehicle.

I Only Want To Use It On A Track

Many enthusiasts will use their kit cars as part of track days, races and meets, so making sure you’re insured for these is essential, as you’ll need to be covered both on the journey to and during the event itself, whether you transport the vehicle on a trailer or drive it yourself.

If you only use the vehicle on an occasional basis it can be worth speaking with your broker about the possibility of putting the vehicle on a more short-term insurance policy, maybe even a temporary ‘per-trip’ basis to help save you money on your insurance due to the infrequency of use.

RELATED: Insuring A Modified Car

What About Insurance For A Kit Car?

Kit cars are designed for short-term use, usually for track days and motor shows. There are some enthusiasts who like to use their vehicles for longer periods, but kit cars are essentially not designed for everyday use, which makes insuring them an interesting experience.

The price of your kit car insurance will depend on how readily-assembled the car is. Because of the nature of kit cars and their manufacture, no two vehicles are the same, and so it is important to ensure that all your paperwork is correct when it comes to supplying information for your kit car insurance broker. On the other hand, you may check our guide on How to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance.

Motorcycles: Get Your Gear Right

As fun as they can be to ride, motorcycles can also be unpredictable, even to the most experienced of riders. Because of the risk involved, ensuring you have the right gear before you set out on a journey is essential in ensuring you are protected.

Clothing For Motorcyclists

There are four main articles of clothing that riders wear when riding a motorcycle; Helmet, Jacket, Boots, and Gloves, so let’s take a look at each:

Protect Your Head

Motorcycle helmets are a legal requirement if you want to ride a motorcycle, and can be vital to your survival if you find yourself involved in an accident. It is better to buy a helmet new as you can guarantee that it will be safer.

When shopping for a helmet, pay attention to the following:

  • Make sure the fit is right – try on your preferred helmet and make sure it fits snugly around your cheeks and hug your head (but not too tightly), make sure it doesn’t feel loose as this will not offer much protection during a crash.
  • Check your straps – once you’ve found one that fits your head, make sure that you can comfortably adjust the chin strap so that it fits securely, and be sure to check your straps before each journey just in case they feel slightly looser during a ride.
  • Stay SHARP – the SHARP rating system helps to group helmets by how much protection they offer, ranging from 1 to 5 stars on a scale of how much protection they offer in case of an impact.
  • Check your anti-glare – goggles and visors are available to help reduce glare caused by sunlight, and will often be labelled as ‘for use in daylight hours only’, you must ensure that these are clean before you set off on your journey, especially during periods of strong sunlight.
  • Buy a helmet bag for safe storage – helmet bags can help provide protection against the elements and also stop the visor getting scratched.

Some helmets may also come with airbags built into the neck; these are designed to react in case of a crash to provide extra protection for the rider, so can be worth looking at when shopping around for a helmet.

Protect Your Body

No matter what the size of the bike is, a biker’s jacket and trousers will always be an important part of their attire, for should you come off your bike, you need to ensure that you’re not going to be cut up too much after a slide across the tarmac.

Leather clothing should be thick enough to provide protection, even including built-in body armour and additional padding in the elbows, knees, and hips, and should also be comfortable to wear and flexible enough to move during a ride without coming loose.

If you don’t like leather or are looking for something lighter to wear in the summer months, there are other materials – such as Cordura – which are hard wearing, waterproof, and extremely durable, providing protection all year round.

When choosing a riding attire, try before you buy, and ensure that the garments cover every inch of your body. If possible, try on the clothing new and then check your position on your bike for comfort and flexibility. Like your boots, some articles of clothing will take a little bit of wearing to get them comfortably flexing.

Make sure your jacket and trousers fit comfortably before you ride, check the stitching and general condition regularly and be sure to replace if you find any tears in the material.

Protect Your Hands

Gloves are an essential part of a motorcyclists’ gear, for not only do they protect against the elements but they also protect you against losing skin as a result of an accident:

  • Check the weather – there are gloves available for both summer and winter conditions, and it’s important that you have a set of both so you can adjust depending on the conditions outside.

Summer gloves will be sturdy but still lightweight, while winter gloves will have a thermal lining to protect against the cold, as well as being tough on the outside to prevent scraping.

  • Make sure they fit correctly – they should be snug on your fingers but still allow you to bend your fingers comfortably, allowing you to operate the controls on your handlebars comfortably.
  • Check the strapping – ensure that your gloves are comfortably strapped around your wrist and are not coming loose as you ride.
  • Ensure they are comfortable and in excellent condition – check the stitching on your gloves after you’ve owned a pair for a while, and replace them if you notice any tears in the leather.

Protect Your Feet

Leather boots are another essential piece of kit for bikers, protecting the lower leg, ankle and foot. When trying on a new pair of boots, ask yourself the following:

  • Is it a comfortable fit? – bear in mind that new boots are likely to rub as your foot adjusts to them, so make sure you wear thick socks as well to protect your feet against uncomfortable rubbing and chafing.
  • Do they cover my ankles? – go for a boot that is both durable but that also covers over your ankles, how long you want to go depends on your comfort level. Ensure that you can comfortably zip the boots up, so they don’t let in water or come loose during a ride.
  • Are the soles thick enough? – the sole of your boot should be both thick and non-slip, this can help ensure that it helps you to brace yourself should you need to put your foot down during a ride.

Making Sure You’re Seen

While it’s important to be well covered and protected, being seen is also important, so consider articles of clothing that have reflective strips built in, and ensure that you have some form of high-visibility clothing when you ride, especially at night.

By ensuring that your motorcycle attire is comfortable and protective, you can ride safely in the knowledge that, should anything happen during your ride, you will be well protected to reduce the risk of injury.

Mini: A British Classic

The original Mini was produced from 1959 by the British Motor Corporation, which during its operation helped to produce many iconic British vehicles, including the Morris Minor, the Austin A99 Westminster and the Austin Farina – considered by many to one of the first mass-produced hatchback vehicles.

Mini produced some models up until 2000 when the brand was relaunched with a new and modern design that retained the original quirkiness of the original Minis. Some older models remain highly collectable, with some enthusiasts clubs out there for fans of older Mini vehicles.

SEE ALSO: Deciding What Classic Car To Buy

A Place On The Silver Screen

The Mini, with its unique shape and nippy driving ability, has become a symbol of the automotive history of Britain. Featured in many iconic television programmes and Hollywood movies, it has become a symbol in its own right.

Indeed, the quintessentially British Mini has made its mark in the world of Hollywood over the years as well, featuring in such movies as:

  • The Italian Job (both the original 1969 Micheal Caine classic and the 2003 remake) – seen as a classic heist movie and involving one of the most iconic car chase scenes in cinema history through the streets of Turin, the Italian Job helped to catapult the image of the Mini into film history.
  • Mr Bean – one of Britain’s most successful comedy exports, Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling but lovable buffoon drove an ‘applejack-green’ Mini Mk II, and could often be seen in a constant battle for road space with a rival vehicle – a blue three-wheeler, often causing it to tip over on its’ side.
  • Magical Mystery Tour – George Harrison of Beatles-fame owned a Mini decorated with psychedelic colours, which appears in this 1967 movie inspired by the Fab Four’s travels in India.
  • The Bourne Identity – in the first of this high-octane film series starring Matt Damon as a hitman trying to piece together his memories, Jason Bourne practically buys Franka Potente’s clapped out Mini Mayfair on the spot and proceeded to lead the police on a chase through the narrow Parisian streets.
  • Goldmember – Micheal Caine returned to driving a Mini once more during the third of the Austin Powers spy-parody movies in 2001, this time in an updated Mini Cooper, decked in Union Jack colours of course.
  • Goodbye Pork Pie – this iconic road movie from New Zealand involved a couple of misfits leading the police on a mad-dash from the North to the South of the country, having to sell bits of their yellow Mini along the way to afford petrol during the pursuit.

Redesign And Relaunch

In 2001, Mini (now owned by BMW) relaunches with a new and modern design that still encapsulated the attraction of the original Mini. Retaining the iconic vehicle shape, the newer models such as the One and the Clubman have helped to modernise the brand, even going so far as to develop convertible and estate models along the way.

Mini continues to be a popular brand both in the UK and abroad, with the new-style Minis proving particularly popular across the pond thanks to its compact size and charm.

Sporting Connections

Specially-built Minis were once a feature in British motorsport, triumphing in events such as the British Rally Championship, various rally events around the world and even winning the iconic Monte Carlo Rally several times during the 1960s.

Mini also entered the World Rally Championship a couple of times with cars based on the newer models, and several Minis also made an appearance in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012, further cementing its’ place in British automotive history.

Collectable Classics

Old-style Minis, particularly pre-2000 models are still highly collectable, and owners of older models can normally find spare parts on online auction sites, at breakers’ yards and through fellow enthusiasts.

If you have a soft spot for Minis and are looking to purchase one to either renovate or just to collect, bear in mind that the cost of specific Mini insurance may be affected by the age of the vehicle, so it can be good to have accumulated some No Claims Discount to reduce your premiums.

Prestige And Luxury Car Classification

What do you consider to be a ‘luxury’ car? Some will think of large cars such as Rolls Royce and Bentley, while some may consider sports cars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis to be so.

Prestige can be used to symbolise a sign of wealth or status, and many luxury cars range from small and nippy compact cars to big and powerful saloon vehicles – including many models of BMW, the iconic Rolls Royce and even those new to the marketplace such as Tesla.

What Constitutes A Prestige Car?

Prestige vehicles come in many different shapes and sizes to suit all types of drivers, owners, and in some cases, the owners’ drivers.

So here’s a quick guide to vehicle classifications when it comes to luxury and prestige vehicles.

Premium compact

Those in the premium compact category are usually based around a hatchback or compact wagon style and can be a way of enticing those who are new to the luxury car market with smaller yet still prestigious models.

Vehicles in this class will usually be lower in engine size and be more fuel-efficient than some of the higher end prestige vehicles, some examples include:

  • Audi A3
  • Volvo V40
  • BMW 2 Series
  • Lexus CT
  • Mercedes Benz B-Class

Compact executive

Compact executive cars are considered to be an entry-level for luxury cars, providing the opportunity for enthusiasts to dip their toes in the executive car market.

Usually including sportier features and slightly reduced storage space inside, compact executive vehicles may not be as powerful as a higher-end vehicle with a V8 engine, but the combination of sleek design and a powerful engine can be selling points to those new to the market.

  • Audi A4
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • BMW 3-Series
  • Jaguar XE
  • Mercedes Benz C-Class

Mid-size luxury

Mid-sized luxury cars are the most commonly recognised type of luxury car and can provide the next step up for those looking for a more powerful engine.

Stocked with technology, V8 engines, and superior handling systems, mid-sized cars are designed to be powerful while still retaining an elegance about them, and are a popular choice with those looking to make an impression of wealth or status.

  • Audi A7
  • Mercedes Benz E-Class
  • Saab 9-5
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • BMW 5 Series

High-end luxury

High-end luxury cars are also known as grand saloons or full-size luxury vehicles and offer a more extensive engine size, more sophisticated interior decoration and stockier design. Usually associated with bussing celebrities and politicians to and from events, these vehicles are also popular with those who have a penchant for particular manufacturers.

  • Porsche Panamera
  • BMW 7 Series
  • Maserati Quattroporte
  • Jaguar XJ
  • Mercedes Benz S-Class

Ultra-luxury

Ultra-luxury vehicles include manufacturers such as Bentley, Rolls Royce and Maserati – names that are usually associated with prestige.

With longer wheelbases, these sleek looking vehicles combine comfort with power, ultra-luxury cars are loved by the rich as famous, and can often be found in business districts all over the world.

Ultra-luxury vehicles are either driven by the owners themselves or to be chauffeured in as a symbol of wealth for some.

  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Rolls Royce Ghost
  • Maserati Ghibli III

Luxury SUV

The Luxury SUV category offers a powerful engine while retaining the spacious interior for everyday family use and off-road abilities.

  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Mercedes Benz GL-Class
  • Nissan Infiniti QX70

Insuring The Prestige

Because of the size and power of prestige and luxury vehicles, getting it insured could be an expensive business as they are seen as a greater risk to other road users and pedestrians.

As a result, younger drivers may not be able to get a particularly cheap policy, so it can be worth building up not only some driving experience but also some No Claims Bonus to help reduce your premiums in the future.

SEE ALSO: Young Drivers – Reducing Your Premiums

Indeed, because many choose to buy prestige cars later in life, ensuring you have a clean driving record once you come to buy one can help to reduce the cost of your prestige car insurance premium.

For those with chauffeurs, it is vital to ensure that you also have some specialist chauffeur insurance to protect against third-party claims.

Securing Your Motor

Because of the value and in-car technology in prestige cars, they can be vulnerable to theft, so making sure your expensive vehicles are kept safely secured at all times can help reduce the cost of your policy.

Additional security measures such as alarms and wheel locks can help protect your car and prove to your insurer that you are taking steps to protect your prestige motor.

Looking For A Quote

When searching for a prestige car insurance quote, it can be worth looking around to find a quote that suits you. There are some brokers who cater for the more expensive motor; provided you’ve got a good driving record including plenty of No Claims Bonus, you can ensure that your policy is kept low.

A Guide to American Muscle Cars

American cars are known for being big and powerful, and many manufacturers are synonymous with those known as ‘muscle cars’, including:

  • Dodge – makers of such vehicles as the Coronet, Charger and Challenger
  • Buick – maker of the Wildcat, Skylark and Grand National
  • Chevrolet – includes models such as the Impala, Bel Air and Camaro
  • Plymouth – makers of the Barracuda, Road Runner and Superbird
  • Ford – includes models such as the Maverick, Torino and the iconic Mustang
  • Pontiac – makers of the GTO, Grand Prix and the iconic Firebird

Many of these vehicles have been featured in a variety of media since the 1960’s, featuring in everything from popular music (Mustang Sally) to big Hollywood films (Gran Torino) and have become engrained in popular culture through merchandising and frequent references in modern TV shows.

What Constitutes A Muscle Car?

Muscle cars are vehicles that are built for speed and power and were designed for street racing. Many were a two-seater, rear-wheel drive vehicles with powerful V6 and V8 engines designed to tear up the tarmac in drag races.

Indeed, muscle cars are synonymous with high-performance cars and enjoyed a revival of sorts in the 1980’s as enthusiasts sought to add better tech to old models – including boosted transmission and fuel injection methods – designed to give a little extra kick and an advantage when it came to street races.

RELATED: Powerful Cars And How To Insure Them

Because of their sheer power, build and sleek design, muscle cars are still a popular feature in the world of drag racing, attracting fans with the lure of the sound of a revving V8 engine.

Muscle cars are also popular vehicles for modification, and you can find many a personalised paint job or engine modification in the muscle car scene.

SEE ALSO: How to Insure a Modified Vehicle

Why So Popular?

Big American vehicles such as Pontiacs and Dodges are deeply lodged in US motor history, providing iconic symbols that help to remember a time when car production the States was big business, allowing cities like Detroit to flourish with a booming automotive industry.

As manufacturers were looking to outdo each other, engines got bigger, and now the roar of a powerful V8 engine is a common sound at motor shows and drag racing events.

Starting out as powerful street-racing cars, muscle cars adapted to the mass market and soon became available in four-door varieties that were designed for everyday family use.

Famous Muscle Cars

The American muscle car has its roots embedded deep in the 60’s and 70’s when manufacturers such as Chevrolet and Ford were competing with each other for business with more powerful engines and vehicles that are as iconic today as they were in their heyday.

Television shows helped to catapult some models to fame, including in such series as:

  • The General Lee (The Dukes Of Hazzard, 1979-84)
  • Knight Industries Three Thousand (KITT) – (Knight Rider, 1982-86)

Movies also helped bring the vehicles to prominence, including classics such as Smokey and the Bandit, the car chase scene from Bullitt – considered by many to be the greatest of all time – and of course the iconic Delorean time machine from Back to the Future (Parts I, II and III).

Indeed, the popularity of the vehicles can be found in the sheer amount of merchandise and toy cars produced to celebrate them, many of which are still highly collectable and rare versions can still be to at auction houses for high prices.

Aside from being a big enthusiast scene for these large and powerful vehicles, there are also a fair few collectors of die-cast models, old advertisements and even parts of older cars to be used as decoration.

Still Collectible

With their big engines and big personalities, American muscle cars are popular amongst enthusiasts who like a big powerful vehicle. Many will take on rebuilds as a hobby, often trawling breakers yards and online auction houses to find replacement parts for their iconic vehicles.

Import Market

American car enthusiasts can be found all over the world, often paying to have vehicles shipped over from the US or embarking on country-wide road trips after picking up vehicles.

The US car import market is still popular to this day, with special events in the UK such as Santa Pod celebrating their power and performance, attracting fans with the sights and sounds of drag racing.

Many specialist dealerships in the UK will have American muscle cars in stock, and can also take care of the relevant taxes and import duties as part of the price.

When buying from a dealer, you must ensure that they have all the paperwork present and that the vehicle has passed an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) in order to ensure it is safe for use on the roads in the UK.

American muscle cars have remained popular to this very day, and with a flourishing enthusiast scene keeping them running, these iconic vehicles are seen to remain in driving history for a good while longer.

Buying A Japanese Import Car

When it comes to motor vehicles that have not been built in the UK, there are two types of classification to symbolise imported cars:

  • Parallel imports – cars which have been imported from within the EU
  • Grey imports – cars which have been imported from outside of the EU

Japanese cars are popular amongst enthusiasts who like a slightly larger, more powerful vehicle which is built for speed and has increased torque.

Car ownership in Japan is usually short-term, with many choosing to replace their vehicles after two or three years, this is due in part to the stringent vehicle safety checks that cars have to go through in Japan, meaning that vehicles can become available with low-mileage and in good condition.

Japanese import cars will usually have low mileage on them when you buy them, which you think would be good from an insurance point of view, but there can be other pitfalls along the way which affect the cost of a premium.

However, with grey imports, you also have to factor in the costs of importing the car into the UK and the stringent tests they have to go through to be deemed suitable to be driven on roads in the UK.

Enhanced Single Vehicle Approval

If you’re looking to import a car into the UK, there are several things you have to do to make sure the process is safe and legal. By putting the vehicle through an ESVA test, you are essentially proving that the car is safe to drive on the roads in the UK.

An ESVA test is a more thorough MOT for imported cars and is an essential part of the import car ownership process. Your car will be examined thoroughly by a mechanic, and in some cases will have to be modified to bring it up to standard for driving in the UK – including replacing tyres, modifying suspension and even having to change bodywork to meet UK road requirements.

Remember that cars built in Japan will usually have different specifications to those built in Europe, some are built for speed and so are popular with enthusiasts who like to modify them to show them off at car shows and participate in meets and competitions.

Telling The Taxman

Not only will you have to tell the DVLA about your new vehicle and satisfy their stringent safety checks, but also declare the vehicle to HMRC to ensure you’ve paid all the relevant vehicle taxes.

After you import a vehicle into the UK, you will have 14 days in which to inform HMRC using a system known as NOVA (Notification of Vehicle Arrivals). Only after your vehicle is accepted will you then be able to start the process of registering your vehicle with the DVLA.

If you’re buying from a dealership, they will usually do this for you as part of the import process, always be sure to double check that this has been done and that the vehicle has all the relevant paperwork before you commit to a sale.

How Can I Import A Vehicle?

There are a number of different outlets you can use for sourcing an import motor:

  • Specialist Dealerships

Import dealerships will be experienced in the process of buying and selling on import cars, so finding a local showroom can be your first point of call, as not only can they source and import your preferred vehicle, but they may even have one in their showroom.

After importing the vehicles, the dealership will then prepare the car to ensure it meets ESVA standards before selling it on to you, whether you’ve pre-ordered an import or bought from the showroom floor.

Be careful though, do some thorough research and look to see if they have a website and premises before you commit to a sale.

  • Online

You can buy vehicles through auction sites and private buyers these days, but you must make sure that you thoroughly research the vehicle, and in particular its history before you commit to a sale.

Paperwork is the most important part of buying an import vehicle, and you must check that the seller has the relevant paperwork to hand.

What About Sourcing Replacement Parts?

One of the main pitfalls of owning an import vehicle, especially an older model, is that replacement parts can difficult to source. Many enthusiasts will add parts such as tuning kits to boost performance

There is no shortage of specialised stockists of import car parts in the UK, while the Internet provides another source of stock, be wary of shipping costs if you’re buying from abroad though.

Do I Need Specialist Insurance?

Because Japanese import vehicles will have more powerful specifications than cars built within the EU, they will require a specialist grey import insurance policy.

There are some specialised brokers who can provide cover for import vehicles, so it can be worth researching into multiple options before you decide on a policy.

Japanese cars are popular with those who like to tune their vehicles to increase speed, reduce drag, and spruce them up with body kits, but remember that making modifications to your vehicle can add to the cost of your Japanese car insurance policy.

How Can I Reduce My Premium?

Much like a regular car insurance policy, being careful with your vehicle as well as your driving habits that can help keep your insurance premium down.

By accumulating some No Claims Bonus and maintaining a good driving record throughout your ownership before you buy a vehicle, you can help keep your costs low.

If you’re only going to use the vehicle on occasion, either for car shows or race meets, consider adding a limited mileage allowance onto your policy, which could help keep the cost of your car insurance policy down if you stay below the mileage limit agreed with your broker.

For more details, you can check our comprehensive guide, How to Reduce The Costs of Your Car Insurance.

Insuring A Modified Car

Modified cars are popular with enthusiasts who like to beef up the performance of and change the design of their cars to impress or to improve performance on the track. Popular with boy racers as well as track day enthusiasts, modified hot hatches and Japanese vehicles can be exhilarating to drive, but expensive to insure.

What Is Considered A Modification?

A modification is a change made to a vehicle from its original factory settings to improve the performance or make the vehicle look sportier and pleasing to the eye, often for their fellow enthusiasts.

There are many types of modifications that can be added to vehicles, and these can be split into two sections; Performance and Functional, and both of which will have an effect on your insurance premium if you’re not careful.

What Is A Performance Mod?

A performance modification will change the way your car initially operates, either under the bonnet or on the bodywork of your vehicle.  Common performance modifications can include:

  • Alloy wheels – this can involve increasing the size of your wheels and adding new designs
  • Sound systems – some will make changes to their audio systems within the car, adding extra speakers and fitting a different model of radio system
  • Engine tuning – usually used to improve the performance of a hot hatch car
  • Body Kits – including spoilers and body kits
  • Paintworks – including decals, respraying, badges and specialised paintwork
  • Brake kits – used to improve performance, usually by those who own Japanese cars, which might have different specifications and need to be modified for UK roads
  • Suspension kits – used to stiffen up suspension to improve cornering
  • Tinted windows
  • Neon lighting – used for aesthetic purposes, usually installed on the underside of a car

Tuning kits are popular amongst enthusiasts who want to add a little more power to their rides, either for racing or merely to show off, and are a common addition to Japanese cars and those known as hot hatchbacks.

What Is A Functional Mod?

Functional modifications are those which are used to aid drivers in some way, either to assist with driving, navigation or to allow for better access. Useful modifications can include features such as:

  • Sat navs
  • In-car phones
  • Parking sensors
  • Roof racks
  • Towbars
  • Air conditioning
  • Sunroof

Features that help to improve access for users of wheelchairs; such as wheelchair clamps, lifting equipment, ramps and hand controls can also be classed as functional modifications and will need to be declared to your insurance company upon fitting.

What Should I Tell My Insurance Company?

You must let your car insurance provider know of any changes that you make to the vehicle immediately after making them, especially if they are those which change the specifications from those of the original factory model.

Depending on what changes you make you might find yourself having to pay a little extra on your car insurance as a result, so it could be worth thinking about whether you really can afford to fit that body kit or invest in some larger rims.

Mods that increase engine power and even change the paintwork can be seen as high-risk, as can the addition of technologies including sat navs and stereo systems. Insurers will not look kindly on some modifications as they are perceived to be at greater risk of theft due to the cost of some of the equipment, and so could lead to a higher insurance premium.

How Can I Bring Down My Premiums?

As with regular car insurance, experience can count when it comes to lowering your insurance premium. By driving carefully and accumulating some No Claims Discount, you can help reduce the cost of your premium as you’re showing yourself to be a safe driver.

It is usually the younger drivers who make a hobby out of modifying their vehicles to show off to their mates and at motor shows. Combined with a perception that they are a greater risk of having an accident as a result of their inexperience, many will find their high-performance car premiums to be sky-high as a result of the modifications to their vehicles. If you have a high-performance car, you may check our detailed guide on Powerful Cars and How to Insure Them.

While it may be more expensive to add modifications to your car, there are also some which can be seen as aiding driving, including parking sensors and tow bars. If you’re driving slower than the average driver, you could be looked upon more kindly by your insurer.

How Best To Save Money?

When searching for a hot hatch insurance quote for your modified car, it can be worth looking into several options when it comes to insurance, run searches on some providers and be as honest as you can when it comes to describing what work you have done to the vehicle.

Powerful Cars And How To Insure Them

Sports cars have long been a symbol of wealth and status, particularly in the world of celebrity, but you don’t necessarily have to be a celebrity to enjoy driving a more powerful motor.

High-performance cars are usually classified as being higher-end models of traditional makes of car, often with added features for extra power and torque, or a sports mode with differing braking systems and suspension to enhance the driving experience.

Manufacturers are always trying to one-up each other when it comes to attracting buyers, combining sleek looks with power under the bonnet. Enthusiasts of high-performance cars will use these vehicles for everyday use as well as modifying them further to increase speed or handling, electing to drive them occasionally on track days.

Whatever your reasons for owning a performance car, be it an everyday runaround or occasional track car, insurance is an essential part of owning such a vehicle, and it can be an expensive business if you’re not too careful.

Ownership And Insurance

Because of the increased specifications of vehicles such as performance cars and those with built-in ‘sports’ features, high-performance cars will have more powerful engines and higher spec brakes to cope with an increase in speed.

Because of the powerful nature of these vehicles, insurers may look upon them as a high risk to other road users, and as a result, you could find yourself paying a sky-high premium. But there are a few things you can do to ensure that you can keep your premiums low and allow you to enjoy your motor.

To save on premium costs, see our detailed guide on How to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance.

Age Matters

Younger drivers who want to drive more powerful vehicles will find it more difficult to get a decently-priced high-performance car insurance quote.

Depending on the type of driver you are can help to reduce your premiums in the future. By ensuring that you drive carefully and accumulate some No Claims Discount over many years, you can help to reduce your premium price.

Older drivers are usually seen as more trustworthy drivers, remember though that offences such as speeding can also add to the cost of your premium if you’re not careful. So while you might have more power at your pedals, be careful how you use it for it might end up costing you more on insurance in future.

ALSO SEE: Young Drivers – Reducing Your Premiums

Reduced Use For Lower Prices

If you intend to only use the vehicle for track days or occasional trips, speak with your insurance broker about the possibility of setting up what is known as an approved mileage limit on your policy.

An approved mileage limit essentially allows you to set a maximum mileage for the year, and providing you don’t exceed this limit you could find yourself saving on your premiums as a result. Every broker is different when it comes to offering this feature, so it can be worth double checking not just with your current broker but with others when it comes to your renewal.

Don’t Overly Modify!

High-performance cars are usually very powerful vehicles, designed for increased horsepower and handling to boot. Some enthusiasts like to make modifications to their cars – including body kits, tuning kits and new alloy wheels.

You will have to declare all modifications to your vehicle to your insurance company as you apply them, and applying too many aesthetic extras to your car could have an effect on your insurance policy, so bear this in mind if you’re thinking of adding to your already powerful vehicle.

Be Wary Of Being Tech Savvy

Be wary when buying gadgets for your vehicle as well, as electronic devices such as sat navs and stereo systems are usually a prime and easy target for thieves, so be sure to bear this in mind if you’re thinking of adding them to your vehicle.

However, some gadgets may also help you to reduce the cost of your premiums, especially when it comes to alarms, security devices or even parking sensors. By showing that you’ve taken steps to increase the safety of yourself and other road users you could stand a chance at reducing your premiums.

Watch Where You Park It

Locations can affect the price of your insurance premium, particularly when it comes to storing the car at night, and keeping it covered could be the best way of saving yourself some money.

Those kept on roads outside at night could be seen as being at a higher risk of theft, whereas those stored in secure parking spaces or secured compound, such as private parking at apartment complexes are seen as being of a lower risk.

If you commute using the vehicle every day and your workplace has a secure car park you may find yourself with further savings as your vehicle would be well protected during daylight hours.

Be Part Of A Club

It can be worth hooking up with fellow enthusiasts by finding a car club for your vehicle type in your local area. Not only could you chew the fat over your vehicles and pick up hints and tips for better performance, but some may even offer the chance to reduce your high-performance car insurance premiums.

High-performance cars may be expensive to buy, but by ensuring that you drive safely and are sensible with your ownership, you can help reduce your insurance premiums.