It may seem harsh, but it is true. In Florida and many other “golf car friendly” states, you can throw a rock in any direction and I guarantee that you will hit someone who claims to be a golf car builder. Most times they either work out of their own personal garage or shed or they have a spot in the back of a mechanic’s shop. I have even seen a golf car builder set up a table at the local flea market. While I appreciate the hustle, there are several reasons why I recommend proceeding with caution when you contract with someone to custom build or repair your golf car.
- Garage Builders Are Breaking the Law
It is simple. When an individual who doesn’t have a business license, permit to collect and remit sales tax, or insurance advertises as a business, it is illegal. People who are serious about their businesses will take the proper steps to ensure that it will thrive and grow. If you decide to build your golf car with a garage builder, proceed at your own risk.
- No Insurance = Your Potential Loss
The builder could skip town, he could do a terrible job, he could fail to protect the golf car, he could blow it up. These scenarios may seem dramatic, but over my past 10+ years in the golf car industry, I have seen golf car owners lose considerable money due to each of these situations. I know a former garage builder who had a customer’s golf car stolen out of his backyard shed. He had to buy a new golf car for the customer. Another golf car owner told me that a garage builder upgraded the motor and controller in their golf car and the electrical system literally blew up the first time they drove it. It’s all fun and games until someone blows up a golf car.
Garage builders don’t carry insurance, so you will have to sue the individual to recoup your loss.
- No Published Reputation
If you are like me, you check Google and Yelp reviews before you eat at a restaurant or go to a mechanic. Finding someone to service, repair, or build your golf car should not be any different. Garage golf car builders do not have online reviews or Better Business Bureau scores, since they are not legitimate businesses. Why would you trust your $5,000 golf car to someone with no online reputation?
And, no, your neighbor’s cousin telling you that this guy is the best around does not count.
- It’s an Afterthought
In many cases, the tow truck operator or trailer salesperson (you get the point) decides that they are going to build and repair golf cars, too. Building your expensive golf car is an afterthought for them. They don’t have a passion for golf cars, they just want to make a few extra bucks. They may not know which year the dash configuration on the TXT changed or why (4) 12 volt batteries will not yield the same run time as (6) 8 volt batteries. They simply don’t have experience because they haven’t made a business out of golf cars. Don’t allow your important investment to be an afterthought.
If I seem a bit snarky, it is because hearing about stories of unsuspecting golf car owners being taken advantage of is disheartening and exhausting. Do your due diligence and make sure that the person working on your golf car is affiliated with an actual business that is dedicated to golf cars.
About the Author: The Owner of WHEELZ Custom Carts & Accessories, Julie Starr was one of the industry’s first online retailers of golf car products. Her eCommerce store, www.WHEELZLLC.com, has been serving golf car owners since 2008 and the store remains a popular online shopping experience for golf car owners who want to take their golf cars to the next level.