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Crashedtoys.com Sells "Totaled" ATV's, Motorcycles, Boats, Etc.
A Minnesota company is doing a booming business on the internet selling damaged equipment that insurance companies said was too damaged to repair.
Many of the boats, motorcycles, ATV's and snowmobiles don't appear to be badly damaged. For example, if you twist an ATV frame 1/4-in. in a rollover you may never notice it. But if you file an insurance claim, it may be totaled out.
"Ninety per cent of the time, it is the cost of labor that kills repairs," says Joe Peltier, owner, St. Croix Specialties, Inc., Stillwater, Minn. "If parts and labor exceed 60 to 70 percent of the value, it's totaled out."
The result can be a good deal for buyers, whether they're looking for parts, something to repair or something to jump on and ride.
"If an ATV frame gets bent 1/4-in., it doesn't affect how it drives one bit, but the insurance company says the frame has to be replaced," explains Peltier.
He cites a used Honda Rubicon ATV that sold for $6,000 new and has a used value of $5,000. If the frame had to be replaced, it would cost approximately $1,200 for parts. Labor at a skilled shop would run about $60/hour and take 30 hours. The insurance company looking at a $3,000 bill totals it out and writes the owner a check.
Once, the insurance company might have recovered 20 percent or less of the totaled-out machine's value selling it for parts. Peltier, an independent accident investigator and damage appraiser for insurance companies, saw an opportunity. Today, he markets totaled-out machines from his website. He auctions 20 to 30 rigs each week. The Rubicon described above might sell for $3,000. As a result, insurance companies are recovering 50 percent or better of their costs. A buyer is getting a good deal, and Peltier collects a commission. Such potential deals have attracted interest from both buyers and insurance companies.
"We have had buyers from Maine to Seattle and down to Miami, Florida," he says. "And we are now doing business with 12 different companies, including five of the biggest insurance companies in the U.S."
Peltier's website - www.crashedtoys.com - had 3.2 million visitors in March alone. He had revenues in 2002 of $360,000 and projections of $600,000 in revenue for 2003.
Peltier encourages other entrepreneurs to look for opportunities like the one he found. In this day of big and super big business, it's easy to think there is no room for the little guy.
"It's easy to think that these huge companies are so big they don't need anybody," says Peltier. "Our philosophy is that even a small company in Stillwater, Minn,. can help major companies save money."
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Joe Peltier, St. Croix Specialties, Inc., 1775 Industrial Blvd. Stillwater, Minn. 55082 (ph 651 275-9245; fax: 651 275-9253; website: www.crashedtoys.com).

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2003 - Volume #27, Issue #3