How To Start a Car Importation Business and Make Money

How To Start a Car Importation Business and Make Money

How To Start A Car Importation Business And Make Money


Are you an African residing in the Diaspora and seeking out a business to start back at home to fetch you huge cash? Then sending cars to your house would not be a bad idea.

This business is not limited to Africans living in the Diaspora; anyone seeking out a legit company in Nigeria can also leverage this information to start making money now.

If you come from any third-world country, one thing that is common to them is the inability to manufacture; the technology level is low to the extent that they depend on other leading foreign nations for technological advancement, at least for now.

When writing this content, here in Nigeria, we have over three own Nigerian brands currently manufacturing cars here in Nigeria.

However, the population is far too big to be reached, so most low-income earners would still go for fairly used cars auctioned and shipped from top world countries like the US, Japan and China.

At least for the time being, you can still tap into this business opportunity and cash out in a large amount. One primary reason I recommend this business is the huge profit margin that comes with it.

If you have been abroad for a long time and seek ways to reach out here to your family and friends, you can start exporting pretty used cars from anywhere you are in the world to your home country here in Africa.

If you seek out other businesses to explore, I wrote a comprehensive guide for various companies to study as an African in the Diaspora, one of which is export trade.

Why You Should Start Importing Cars To Sell.

Developing nations in Africa, most especially Nigeria, will always be a big market for cars, both used and new ones. With a vast market of over 200 million people working hard to evade transportation costs and own their vehicles.

Those who already have are equally working on getting additional new ones or changing the ones they are currently using. Car business should be a top business in any country like Nigeria that has not developed sufficient capacity to manufacture their cars.

1. The Demand For Cars In Africa And Other Developing Nations In Africa Is High.

Over 400 million people in developing nations in Africa have to make it a top priority in their lives to own a car but do not have sufficient funds to buy a new car.

These people are ready to buy a second-handed car to ease the stress of hiking and inconvenient means of transportation currently in this part of the world.

Presently, transportation in populated cities like Lagos has become a sudden nightmare, as public transporters are becoming greedy and purposely hiking the transport fares and making public transportation a nightmare.

2. Lack of capacity.

Come to think of it, Nigeria is vastly populated with minimal capacity for production, which makes it heavily reliant on the importation of various products from all parts of the world.

Developing nations like Nigeria rely solely on importation. This makes its economy weak in production, so it needs support from developed countries like the US, China, Germany and many others.

3. It Is Not A Capital Intensive Business.

Starting a car import business does not require as much capital as it may seem, maybe to those who don’t already know how it works.

Let me break it down by giving you this quick scenario. First, buying a fairly used car from the United States will cost not less than $5000 for just one car; this also comes with an auction fee of less than $200, alongside a shipping fee to Nigeria or any nation of your choice standing at $1200 and finally clearing bill of less than $1200 at your desired landing marine port.

The estimated total of the above-listed expense is just $7600; now, selling this car depends on you; if it is a brand like Toyota Corolla 2009, the selling cost would not be less than $10,000.

You have made over 50% in profit; what a lucrative business. For Nigerians overseas, this is one of the most innovative ways of transferring your money back home instead of direct money transfer that may cost you some charges and put you in danger of money laundering on both ends.

Use the money you want to send back home to buy cars and ship to Nigeria, have a trusted person sell it for you and deposit the funds into your bank account! In doing this, you will even see yourself in another line of business entirely and another income stream.

For aspiring dealers in Nigeria, You can start small with one or two cars and gradually expand into having your car market.

How To Start a Car Importation Business.

Just like starting any business, you have to make sure you plan thoroughly to avoid making mistakes that would eventually lead to your bankruptcy. But unfortunately, the juicy benefits to be enjoyed as an auto importer in Nigeria or other parts of developing nations in Africa make aspiring car dealers ignore the process of planning.

The success of every business venture in the world is solely dependent on crucial planning processes. In this section, I am going to be breaking critical procedures to help you paddle the boat of

1. Settle Your Financials.

Stating a car import business is not a business that you go in with a blank idea on how to invest; you should understand the tariffs and fees that come up with a car import business.

As stated in the post above, buying an already auctioned car in the US comes at a relatively low price, but that is not all; various other tariffs add up to become the final cost of that vehicle when it arrives at the port of a developing nation in Africa such as Nigeria and other African countries.

These fees and Tariffs should be added to your initial capital when you decide to start a car import business.

You need to multiply those fees by the total amount of cars you intend to start selling. Let’s assume you intend to test the waters with just one car; from the previous illustration I gave earlier, that should be around &8,000 USD covering the total cost of buying the vehicle at auction price, shipping and clearance.

The cost implication of importing more than one car varies based on the initial cost of such a car at auction price.

2. Select The Kind Of Car Your Desire To Import.

Understand the kind of cars that are patronized in your community. And one way to do this is to inspect your neighbourhood or the desired audience you intend to sell these cars to.

For example, if you intend to sell cars to the rich, shipping top car brands like Range Rover, G-wagon, Rolls-Royce, and many other American specs will not be wrong.

Let’s now assume all you intend to do is target low or middle-income earners; then, you can decide to ship in cars like Toyota, Honda, Lexus and many others. These cars would be easily affordable for low and middle-income earners.

Another factor that you may also consider when choosing the desired brand is how such a brand is used in your location. For example, bringing in cars like General Motors, Lincoln Navigator, and Tesla will not do so well in places like Lagos, Nigeria.

For example, when you come to a location like Lagos, Nigeria, most of the cars brand you see is essentially Toyota, Honda, and recently Lexus joined the list. Ford is famous too.

Just make sure you make use of these yardsticks to make informed decisions.

3. Get Incorporated.

The next step is to become incorporated in the country where you desire to operate this business.

Incorporating builds a business that is legally separate from its owners. As a result, corporations can do many things that people can do, including acquiring property, signing contracts, having bank accounts, and filing lawsuits.

But if your business is small, you may wonder whether a corporation is required. The most obvious reason to incorporate a business is to limit your liability for business obligations. This can be a good idea if you have lots of outside contracts.

Let’s say you encounter a deep mess; your business would face the direct heat and would not affect your personal life. Incorporating a business is easy, and some of the details you need to provide include.

1. Business Name.

2. Business Address.

3. Name of Decision Makers.

When it comes to Nigeria, the method is straightforward, and entrepreneurs or investors can set up their businesses or their brands in Nigeria effortlessly. If you decide to set up a business here in Nigeria, The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) was established by the Companies and Allied Matters Act, which was enacted in 1990 to regulate the formation and management of companies in Nigeria. The CAC has been bestowed with the responsibility of registering companies in Nigeria.

4. Choose Your Desired Auction Partner.

It is time to get your hands dirty and begin shipping in those cars you dream of. The following practical steps are to identify a legit platform that auctions cars in any desired country of your choice.

The United States has become one of the most significant car auction countries globally; various cars are auctioned in the United States more than in any part of the world.

If you plan to ship from other European countries like the UK, Sweden, or Spain, you should try out the United States. Of course, if you have a friend or family living in the united states, you can decide to skip this crucial part, but it is best to understand how the whole car process works from the backend.

Most of the pretty used cars brought into developing nations like Nigeria are auctioned from developed countries like the US, Canada, and Europe. Auto auctions are a method of selling vehicles based on an auction system.

There are various reasons why Cars are being auctioned all over the world the, some of which include;

1. Some cars have stayed too long at the dealer’s lot, so they are auctioned off as an alternative option to recoup some of the money invested

2. The original owners cannot meet up with their payments, so they’re repossessed and auctioned off by financial institutions to recover their money.

3. Some cars get to the auction house because they are being traded for a new one. In this case, private car owners exchange their old cars to get another car in return.

4. Some cars have suffered damage from weather conditions or accidents. After paying off the owners, the insurance companies want to recoup some of what they paid. Due to the damage history, these cars can only be sold at specialised auctions.

The damages could include scratches, dents, or malfunctions resulting from thickened car fluids caused by winter.

The majority of the cars auctioned from developed nations to developing nations like Nigeria are pretty used. Usually, land in terrible shape is left for repair to be done by anyone responsible. However, buying cars at auction is cheap, and this is all you need to get started as a car dealer.

1. eBay Autos.

How To Start a Car Importation Business and Make Money

eBay is an online shopping site best known for its auctions and consumer to consumer sales. It’s also famous for online merchants to use as a sales channel. eBay’s open in many different countries.

eBay allows you to search for products available nationally or internationally. You can decide to sell as well as buy products. When you have a seller account, you should also know that it has fees.

eBay Motors is where you will find new and used vehicles and parts for fixing, updating, or maintaining your existing vehicle. Various cheap cars are being auctioned daily on eBay; it is yours to decide how to get started.


2. Auto Auction Mall.

How To Start a Car Importation Business and Make Money

Auto Auction Mall is an online car auction website that provides those without a dealer’s license the capacity to offer dealer-only auctions and own vehicles at affordable prices.

These auctions often involve vehicles listed at wholesale prices, conceivably saving you thousands of dollars. In addition, there are thousands of cars available of all different makes and models here.

Auto Auction Mall’s membership is free for everyone, and registration is simple. However, if you come out victorious in an auction, you will be mandated to pay Auto Auction Mall a $299 fee for its services.


3. Insurance Auctions USA Inc.

How To Start a Car Importation Business and Make Money

Insurance Auctions USA is a leading global digital marketplace created to connect fairly used vehicle buyers to sellers worldwide. 

It is headquartered in Westchester, Illinois; Insurance Auctions USA has nearly 4,000 employees and more than 200 facilities throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

Insurance Auctions USA’s unique platform facilitates the marketing and sale of total-loss, damaged and low-value vehicles to customers in low-income countries in Africa and beyond.

Insurance Auctions USA serves a global user base located throughout over 170 countries worldwide, including insurers, dealerships, fleet lease and rental car companies, and charitable organizations. 

Using Insurance Auctions, buyers have access to multiple digital bidding and buying channels and innovative vehicle merchandising designed to enhance buyers’ experience.

Anyone can get started with Insurance Auctions with just browsers and a few clicks of a button.



OVE is a 24/7 online source for vehicles from Manheim, independent auctions, commercial and dealer inventory, and more. is a website where you can access Manheim auctions and lists that Manheim sells across all of its channels. started as a wholesale vehicle auction operation in 1945 and has continued to set the industry standard for buying and selling used vehicles for over 75 years.

Nearly 6 million used vehicles are auctioned for sale and facilitate transactions representing almost $60 billion in value.

You can be guaranteed to find the fancied cars of your dream with; you can join for free.

A buyer’s fee will be charged based on a sliding scale from $150.00 – $350.00. For example, vehicles over $9,000 will provoke a buyer’s fee of 4.5% but will not exceed $450. Everyone that registers will receive proof of all possible costs.


3. Understand clearing Duties In Your Country.

How To Start a Car Importation Business and Make Money

When you ship something to another country, you or your Customer may be asked to pay extra duties and taxes before the shipment is delivered.

Duties and taxes on shipments are legal requirements to settle before your cargo can be released. Although clearing duties differ in various countries, the import duties for Nigeria might be different in Ghana and even other countries.

Customs Duties and Taxes are probably one of the most complex aspects of Freight Shipping to Nigeria or any part of the world. It requires an earlier understanding by both parties (The freight forwarder and the Customer) to avoid recurring challenges.

Improper preparation for customs duties and taxes can cause a lot of hindrances, such as holdups at customs, unexpected costs, ruins the experience of customers, and consequently consumes the relationship with clients.

I recommend you seek out crucial information regarding the relevant import duties in your country of operation.

You can also use an online tool called Easy to ship to make your work a lot easier. Easyship is facilitating eCommerce sellers with worldwide shipping. At Easyship, their mission is to shred down the last barrier of eCommerce: shipping.

Easyship has eased the complex world of cross-border logistics for more than 100,000 clients worldwide. With Easyship, you access over 250+ Shipping Solutions,50+ Global Fulfillment Partners, various platform integration, taxes and duties visibility and over 26 Markets Covered.


4. Set Up a Garage To House Your Cars.

A garage is a walled, roofed structure for storing a vehicle or vehicles that may be part of or connected to a home or a separate outbuilding or shed. This is important if a likely customer desires to inspect the car to be sold.

This kind of a garage can be anywhere open; it can even be your home; just make sure it is safe and prevents direct sunlight and other elements of nature from penetrating those cars you just newly shipped.

5. Promote Your Business.

Finding a product or service to sell is only the beginning of a lifelong marketing process. Marketing is the lifeblood of every business; to survive and grow, your business needs customers.

To get customers, you need to promote your business. Various ways could be employed when promoting your business; in this article, I will detail how you can utilize promotional platforms both digitally and non-digitally.

1. Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

Word-of-Mouth remains one of the oldest means of marketing. Do you know 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions?.

Word of mouth marketing means your brand is being recommended in the most trustworthy circumstances possible.

It varies from natural word-of-mouth recommendations to a company’s products and services in how it may come from promotion and encouragement offered by the party in question.

One way to leverage the power of Word-of-mouth marketing to promote your car dealer business is to start by spreading the word to people in your circle and asking them to tell people about your new business.

You can leverage personal apps like Whatsapp, personal Facebook accounts, etc.

2. Social Media.

Social media marketing is a compelling way for businesses to reach prospects and customers both locally and globally.

Your customers are already interacting with brands through social media. If you are not speaking directly to your audience through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you’re missing out! Leveraging the power of marketing on social media can bring exceptional success to your business, building devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales.

Social media marketing is a form of online marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks to achieve your marketing and branding goals.

Social media marketing includes activities like posting text and image updates, videos, and other content that drives audience engagement and paid social media advertising.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are some of the best places to promote your businesses and reach out to a vast audience beyond your reach.

These platforms have a built-in ability to show your post beyond your initial audience for just a token.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on this blog to help you boost your social media marketing strategy across every platform. Click the link below to get started.

You should also read the recommended article below to get a deeper insight into how paid advertising works.

3. Design a website.

Do you know that 84% of today’s consumers think a website makes your business more credible than companies that only have social media profiles?.

A website helps prospective customers reach out to you concerning your business. A website also serves as a business card and can be used to represent your business digitally.

Your office will not be opened every time; you need a website to help serve prospective clients when you are closed or out of the office.

One way to use a website in your car dealership business is to include a complete list of all cars in your inventory. You can also have a contact form or a payment gateway to collect payments quickly.

Making a website functional requires much more effort than buying a domain name and a WebHost.

A website offers a wide variety of benefits for small businesses, and most of these benefits increase in value exponentially year over year, just like the Internet itself.

Some of the benefits include;

1. Being able to attract customers from Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

2. The ability to showcase your product and service.

3. You get the chance to display product reviews and testimonials.

4. Make it easy for prospective clients to contact you.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get started with owning a website, and I recommend you click the link below to get started.

4. Claim Your Google My Business Listing.

Do you know that businesses that have a business listing that shows up on the side panel of the Google search page are not lucky? They are bright and learn how to go about it.

In this section, I will show you how to go about getting your business listed via the Google search engine results page for relevant search queries to your business.

According to Google itself, Google My Business is “a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.”

Google holds the title of the most popular search engine in the world. Google my business is one platform created by Google to help a business get noticed by potential customers looking up the search engine.

Getting your business listed on Google can help potentially identify with your brand in just one search; you can appear on the SERPs when a customer searches for related terms concerning your business.

Also, getting your business listed on Google via the Google-my business app helps display relevant business details to your customers; these details include addresses, website, Photos and business activities.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get a business listed on Google using the Google-my business platform. Click the link below to get started.

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization is improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches via various search engine platforms such as Google, Yahoo e.t.c.

Search engines such as Google and Bing use bots to crawl pages on the web, go from site to site, collect information about those pages, and put them in an index, which is then displayed to end-users.

Next, algorithms examine pages in the index, taking hundreds of ranking factors or signs into the record to discover how those pages should appear in the search results for a given query.

When potential clients seek out information, the first place they lookup is through search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and many others.

Placing your business strategically on the SERPS requires tons of hard work and effort tied to effective content marketing(blogging).

Search engine optimization is one of the effective means of getting organic traffic from potential customers interested in your product or service.

Search engine optimization does not happen overnight, as concrete work has to be put into content creation. Creating relevant and informative content allows your business to show up to potential customers actively searching the Internet through a search engine.

SEO is a fundamental part of digital marketing because people conduct Millions of searches every year, often with commercial intent to find information about products and services.

Search is often the primary source of digital traffic for brands and complements other marketing channels; the bottom line is that search engine traffic is free.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get started with search engine optimization on this website. Click the link below to get started.

6. Email Marketing.

Email marketing is another potential channel to attract, manage and follow up with a potential customer.

Email marketing allows you to send promotional messages in the form of email messages to a targeted and developed audience.

Today, most businesses do not need to add email marketing to their business marketing strategy; they focus their attention on social media and assume that email marketing is outdated.

Here are just a few facts to change your narrative about email marketing.

1. Do you know that active email accounts topped 5.6 billion in 2019?

2. 78% of marketers report continued increases in email engagement.

3. Are you also aware that, for every $1 businesses spend on email marketing, they receive $42 in return.

Not only is email marketing alive and prosperous, but it also offers significant benefits for your small business.

When you initially get started with email marketing, you might find it challenging to secure the first email sign-up; this makes building an email list challenging. Still, in the long run, if you get it right, you will continue to impact your marketing efforts.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on how to get started with email marketing. Click the link below to read that guide.


6. Buy This E-Book.

How To Start a Car Importation Business and Make Money

Nigeria is a heterogeneous country with hundreds of millions of populations with a strong will for owning cars. 

Thus, not everyone has the luxury to buy a brand new one, and as such, the imported vehicles are the most patronized.

With the Nigerian population and people’s love for the car, there is no doubt that the business is Lucrative and profitable; the market for imported vehicles exists.

In conclusion, you need hands-on practical experience on how to begin importing cars from America, the UK and Canada into Nigeria.

I want to recommend a course to you that will guide you on how you can go about this without making mistakes; you also get to learn how to do this business at a low-cost margin.



Starting a car dealership remains one of the most lucrative businesses today. This is because there are so many people on the middle class earning level, and all they can afford is a fairly used car, so you would be doing them a favour by making it available to those people.

Also, on the economic part, here in Africa, I think we need to develop capacity and grow our economy to reduce the level of poverty here in Africa. So I am a person who believes that Africa needs to do better than allowing auctioned cars to flood our economy.

We need to optimize production and create an enabling environment to allow local and foreign manufacturers to do their best to develop Africa’s auto industry.

Are you seeking other business Ideas? I wrote a comprehensive guide on a list of recommended business ideas that can help you make money today. Click the link below to read that article.

What do you think?

Written by Udemezue John

Hello, I'm Udemezue John, a web developer and digital marketer with a passion for financial literacy.

I have always been drawn to the intersection of technology and business, and I believe that the internet offers endless opportunities for entrepreneurs and individuals alike to improve their financial well-being.

You can connect with me on Twitter


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