All of our cars have a history – a “story” of their own. This story is built over years, often across multiple owners and caretakers, with each chapter adding an important element to the car’s story. As long as it is captured and preserved, this history becomes an important part of the car itself and adds to the car’s value. Organizing, managing and documenting this history is not always easy, but it is definitely worth it. Here are 3 great reasons to tackle the task.
- Money. I learned early in my career that you always lead (and close) with the money. The fact is that for high value cars, documentation matters. It especially matters when it is time to sell the vehicle. Whether it is in an auction listing, a web posting or a classified advertisement, if a car has been meticulously documented throughout its life it will be highlighted as a key selling point of the car with phrases like “well documented”, “complete maintenance history”, “excellent records”. Based on our own research – for high value cars – we estimate that a well documented vehicle history can be worth as much as .5 to 1% of the car’s value when sold. It is not a line item on the bill of sale, but buyers will hand over more money for a vehicle that has a fully documented history.
- Sanity. Another great reason to keep good, well organized vehicle records is to help maintain your own sanity. If you are a DIY type that does your own maintenance, repair and even restorations – keeping up with what has been done, what needs to be done and even what you dream of doing sometime in the future can be a daunting task, even if you are only tracking one car. When you add multiple vehicles into the equation, keeping up with everything quickly becomes completely unmanageable without a great organizational system to help you. At best, being unorganized is frustrating and inefficient, at worst it will cost you real time, money and eventually your sanity!
- Fun. There is certainly nothing sexy about documentation. The most enjoyable thing we do with our cars is drive them – as it should be. But for some, there is a certain amount of pleasure received from taking proper care of a prized possession and documenting a “job well done”. I recently published another blog about an important lesson I learned from my father that “the job is not done until the tools are cleaned and put away“. I have since extended that mantra to append “… and fully documented on RideCache“. For those of you who enjoy organizing and keeping meticulous records of your vehicles, this is second nature to you. For the rest of us, it is not pure joy, but we take some satisfaction in knowing the effort will pay off in the end by building real value in our vehicle and also by helping us maintain our sanity.
So not matter what system you employ – from the old school 3 ring binder, to newer school spreadsheets and computer files, to the latest purpose built technology like RideCache – I strongly recommend that you do the work to keep those documents in order. If not for the shear fun of it, then do it for your own sanity. Oh yeah, and for the money!