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UEA graduate’s journey from trainee accountant to successful self-employed car salesman

Jacob Freshwater is the founder and director of Fresh Motors in Watton. Picture: Ian Burt

Jacob Freshwater is the founder and director of Fresh Motors in Watton. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

A 22-year-old car salesman is racing towards a £250,000 first-year turnover with the help of start-up funding from his university.

Jacob Freshwater is the founder and director of Fresh Motors in Watton. Picture: Ian BurtJacob Freshwater is the founder and director of Fresh Motors in Watton. Picture: Ian Burt

Jacob Freshwater had been trading used cars for more than three years when he decided to incorporate his business, Fresh Motors, when he finished his accountancy degree last July.

With more than £80,000 of sales secured in the last six months, he hopes to turn over £250,000 by the end of Fresh Motors’ first full year this summer – of which he estimates £40,000-50,000 will be profit.

The University of East Anglia graduate received another boost in February when he was awarded a £3,000 grant from the university’s Do It fund, which offers financial support to student start-ups. With the funding, he plans to start offering finance options to his customers.

Mr Freshwater’s car-selling career began during his first year at university, when he sold a car he had bought from a garage in Wymondham.

“I was fascinated by the whole industry,” he said. “I do have a passion for cars naturally, so it works in that way.

“I did a springboard internship at UEA in finance in the careers department, which was when I realised that kind of environment was not for me and I would prefer to do something off my own back.

“After three years I have ironed out a lot of mistakes and learned how to buy and sell.”

Fresh Motors has an appointment-only policy, which Mr Freshwater said tends to attract customers who are “more serious”.

The business operates mainly online, advertising its cars on Auto Trader and Gumtree. After first specialising in hatchbacks – an easy sell for a student salesman – its stock has expanded to include premium hatchbacks and saloons, although Mr Freshwater says hatchbacks are still his bread and butter.

So far the company only has one other employee – Mr Freshwater’s 18-year-old brother Isaac, who left his job as a maintenance worker at Center Parcs to support his sibling.

“At the moment it is basically a one-man band so it is quite manic,” Mr Freshwater said.

His premises in Watton include an office and workshop, with the stock – between 15 and 20 cars at any one time – stored in a compound nearby.

While the arrangement keeps the rent low, Mr Freshwater plans on expanding to a garage and forecourt in the future.

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