After a car accident, Vangie’s insurance company claimed her car was a complete loss and issued funds to replace it. Agreeing to repurchase her car and repair its front suspension per her husband’s suggestion, Vangie was informed her vehicle was up for auction and she would have to bid for it.
Vangie returned with three vehicles from the auction, none of which were her original. She then hired a mechanic to repair them before selling them. The vehicles sold quicker than Vangie expected, so she then decided to continue purchasing vehicles from auctions, creating a new career for herself.
It’s been 15 years since Vangie’s first sale. She now carries 40 to 50 trucks, cars, SUVs, vans, blue title and salvaged-titled cars purchased from auctions at her buy-here-pay-here lot, A & V Auto Sales, located in her hometown of San Antonio.
Compared to the multiple car lots in San Antonio and its surrounding cities, Vangie says her car lot is different because, “We try to work with everybody, and if they have problems with their cars after the purchase, we’ll go the extra mile to fix it. If I have the parts, I’ll give them to you, just pay for the labor.”
Vangie has always been an entrepreneur. Her passion to sell began as a child selling various items at yard sales with her mom. As she grew older, Vangie made seasonal trips to Mexico to purchase wrought iron presents to sell in the U.S.A. and earn a small profit during the Christmas season.
Currently, Vangie employs two office workers, a salesman and a mechanic. She plans to hire at least one more mechanic in the near future.
Once a friend and former Accion Texas Inc. client suggested she inquire about a loan from Accion, she did. Since approved, Vangie says she is able to make ten more payments on her purchased cars. She is also able to purchase more cars before tax season, which is a high vehicle-selling season. She plans to use the rest of her loan for working capital.
Though she has a successful business, being a used-car salesperson doesn’t automatically guarantee an easy business path. Vangie understands how she has to switch gears when dealing with disgruntled clients. Within her 15 years of service, she says she’s grateful to only have had two unsatisfied clients.
“I just want to try to sell good cars to people and not have these negative problems,” she says. “I try hard to sell a good car. It’s not in my interest to sell a bad car; I’m not like that. If I feel a car is in bad terms, I’ll fix it. I get under the cars if I have to, and if I hit the wall, I’ll give it to the mechanic.”
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.