We junked our car today. 20 years old, failed inspection and repair costs exceeding its worth and value to us. We tried to give it away to a poor soul in need of car willing to shell out a few thousand and maybe put in some elbow grease.
So I found an enterprising company, based way out in Strängnäs, which not only picked up the car but also paid me 500kr for the privilege to dunk the junk. A closer-to-home business would have taken the car for free if I could get it to them. If it had to be towed, it would have cost me 500kr.
I liked the gumption of a company offering a service to take the trash off my hands, sure they could profit on the salvage, and throwing me a bone for knowing it, too.
Win-win trumps me-lose.
I got to talking to the repo man, Safi, as he loaded the car. I was curious how the business worked. As you expect, they profit on the parts and scrap. My heap would turn them a profit of somewhere over 5000kr.
No, it’s not a new business concept, but in wealthy countries like Sweden (and more so in Sister-in-Sw-land, Switzerland), people more often dispose of the unwanted, albeit in a recycling kind of way, than try to repurpose.
Safi, like the owner/entrepreneur, Ali, are from Afghanistan. The other 7-8 employees are all immigrants from Arab countries. It’s the success story of determined immigrant creating a business and employing newcomers.
I asked the delicate question of income and benefits.Turns out, Ali paying Safi a decent salary, does Business Like a Swede.
See the video produced by TCO “Business like a Swede” from their “Like a Swede” series.
Ours was one of the oldest and least “fresh” cars Safi has picked up. He told me that recently they took a 2011 model that had been in an accident. The owners didn’t have enough insurance to make it worthwhile. That car turned a nearly 50,000 kr profit when they fixed it up and sold it.
I’m glad that a fellow immigrant will make some money on my trashed car. I’m even more content that it will provide jobs for immigrants who would struggle to gain access to the job market. And it’s good for the environment.
I never thought I would get so much out of sending a doomed car to the crusher.
(This post first published here)