This is an interview-style post with Claus Stig Christensen.
Q: Hey, Claus. What’s your background and what do you do?
A: I am the CEO of BookAclassic – an online platform that allows the owners of classic vehicles to rent out their cars, motorcycles, trucks and vans for weddings, events and for use in film and television. I am a classic car owner myself and have a Jaguar MKII.
I have been self-employed since 1998. I started an import/export company (Cubrix ltd.) where I imported electronic goods from far east and sold it to the supermarket chains (Aldi, Netto, Lidl etc.) and DIY chains across Northern Europe.
While staring up BookAclassic, I realised I had no know-how and knowledge of e-commerce and the mechanisms that drive the internet so I went back to school (Aalborg University) and finished a Bachelor in E-commerce in 2015.
Q: Where did the idea about BookAclassic come from?
A: I was a classic car enthusiast who realised there was a lot of value in my Vespa Sprint that I wasn’t tapping into.
It started when I was a poor student back in 1991. I did not have the money to store my Vespa for the winter so I came up with the idea to offer it as window decoration in fashion shops on the high street.
It took me one hour and I had rented out my Vespa to three shops for the winter. And in return, I got clothing worth about £400 – this sparked the idea that classic vehicles could be a cash cow instead of a money pit!
Q: What can people find on your platform and how does the system work?
A: BookAclassic is the go-to source for anyone looking to rent a classic vehicle and provides an elegant platform for those who want to make a bit of extra cash from a beloved car, bus, motorcycle or other classic vehicles.
We give the owner full control over the bookings they take, whether they’re driving their classic car for a wedding or allowing someone to take the wheel of their vintage bus for a road trip.
The most popular bookings on the site are vehicles for weddings, proms and other events. To facilitate this, we are cooperating with professional owners and car museums, as well as private collectors.
In these instances, the owner has complete control over their vehicle and how it’s driven. There’s also the option to offer your vehicle for events, photo shoots and for use in adverts, television shows and movies. We know how much people love to see their cars on screen, and we’re very happy to make this happen for so many of our customers.
The secure system automates the booking process allowing owners to easily view jobs and accept or decline them. Owners also have control over their profile, available dates and prices.
Q: What dreams can BookAclassic make come true?
A: We want to help private collectors fund maintenance on their vehicles, buy more classics and keep them on the road. As I mentioned before, owners love to see their beloved vehicles on television, in films or used in adverts.
We have one client in Portugal whose Triumph was recently used in a music video. He was over the moon seeing his car be part of that and the money he got from the booking paid for the car’s maintenance too.
Q: What were your biggest challenges when you were just starting out?
A: Everybody said to me an automatic system couldn’t take care of customers needs better than a person on a call – that got me fired up! I wanted to show everyone that I could do it.
I was the only person that believed it could work and it would be the future.
I have realised that the limits to what you can do are often in your own head. There is no limit to what you can achieve if you set your mind to it.
Q: How has the business evolved over the years?
A: BookAclassic started in just one country and has grown to serve 36 countries across the world, including the UK. The advanced booking systems allows owners to upload their vehicles for free with the company taking a percentage of confirmed bookings only.
The team are all classic car enthusiasts and we built the platform based on how we’d want to rent out our own classic cars, then developed it with feedback from other vehicle owners. This allowed us to streamline the booking process, ensure peace of mind for everyone involved, and make everything as simple as possible with text and email alerts.
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: I have a few:
- Build your business on what you love – then work will become a joy.
- You are never going to be the fastest runner if you follow in others’ footsteps.
- Find your own niche, make sure you are the best, and always work on offering amazing service.
- You only fail when you stop trying.