Are there any flipper's from Boston , Plymouth or Cape Cod on here ?
I'm in Cambridge and I do it for a living.
new member replying on an older thread--I work at a bike shop, and we get bikes donated thru the shop to me, where I rehab some into the homeless community, some to local schools and churches, and some are hi-graded and sold to finance the ongoing work. Some find there way to my permanent collection, like the Wastyn track bike I have that is awaiting restoration. I have been flipping bikes for 27 years, and have lost count long ago of the total number, sold, donated, or given away. I love seeing what is hiding under a protective coating of dirt, grease and cat hair.
All these bikes in the pics plus a few others not in the pics, I paid for by flipping.
Plus I made a few bucks and gave away about 50 bikes to people in need. I started flipping about 3 years ago.
I dont buy parts I buy bikes not worth restoring and take the parts that includes tires and almost eveything else cept cables.
www.ratrodbikes.com. I think you would enjoy it.
well, I don't have a lot of experience as a flipper (just a couple), but I can give one point of advice if you do it alot of it. Make a business card and get friendly with the head sorters at your local thrift stores. Years ago I had job at one of the Saint Vincent/DePaul thrift stores as a sorter. In the back they had a card file filled with business cards, sorted by what these people wanted. Jewelry, Instruments (by type), bikes etc... Most the good stuff that goes though the donation doors, never hits the sales floor. Half my job was learning how to value an item (is it valuable or not- basically is it name brand, torn/broken, damage acceptable for such item), the other half was learning the card file.
Prices for the items weren't marked up for these people. It was simply a move to keep the sales floor from getting too full. Many of the larger ones get enough donations in a week to fill a another store.
Needless to say those people who's cards were on file were also sorted by us sorters. It's amazing how much coffee and doughnuts could get a buyer bumped to the front of the card file list in each category. But remember it's about turn over, so to keep your name at the front of the file, you gotta be ready to get there when you get the call.
If you buy enough (some resale stores) did enough business with us that we sorted everything we thought they'd be interested into there own bin/section in the back and they'd come in weekly or bi weekly and usually buy most of it. But that was only for volume buyers.
You just can't be really too specific in your requests though, for example....saying your interested only in prewar bikes wouldn't work (unless your sorter is a bike person, but realize you're probably behind him/her on the buying list. The sorters are kinda more of "Jack of all trades master of non" types when it comes to valuing items unless the item was obviously highly valuable, valuations are often made in a matter of seconds. The sorting process is too fast to get too specific by all but the best of sorters, and some of us had specializations. For example, any undamaged musical or recording equipment got in a pile for a specific sorter to price, Another did jewelry, another did books.
Though honestly even if you didn't do it alot, I don't think we ever turned down anyone that asked to see if we had a "fill in the blank" in the back waiting for shelving/floor space. Again Thrift stores are all about volume selling, sure they've gotten better at valuing items over the years, but in the end it's still about selling as much as possible as fast as possible.
That seems a little unethical to me but I know it happens at many of the GoodWills and Sally Anns around here. I see a lot of ads on Craigslist that are people looking for bicycles, which is fine but the ones that bug me are "Looking for a bike for my son and I" or "Bikes needed for charity" and it turns out to be a local flipper, tugging at people's heartstrings.
And it's not like the sorters are doing this on their own, it's part of the job. The files are property of the store. That card file sold more on a weekly basis than the sales floor did.
And I don't see where it's unethical. The purpose of these stores is to make money, the best ones do it to support good works. The store I worked for was, if I remember right, was somewhere around 80% the funding of the rehab center they ran down the street.
But don't kid yourself, they're a businesses, and they operate as businesses. They'll take a sure thing (the card file) over putting something on the floor every time.
What is unethical is the amount of pure garbage that people donate. Dirty diapers, clearly broken and useless items, food wrappers, completely wore out clothes....you name it I probably saw it come through. Ours had a construction site sized dumpster emptied nearly every day. And ours was a smaller one.
Local flipper donates time at a couple of thrift stores to get the inside on bikes and antiques. You can sure tell when he's been pricing items for the floor.
That could be possible in smaller locally ran ones. But the bigger national ones most likely (Goodwill, Saint Vincent, Dessert, Salvation Army) have professional pricers. The store I worked at didn't have any volunteers. The prices are pretty much set.
Bike for example be something like this.
Kids Bikes: $10, Adult Bike $20.00, Better Bike $40.00.
From there the prices would be reduced or increased based on condition accessories, and information about the product that the pricer knows. You don't get research time. you got 5 seconds. At best, a minute to consult with other pricers. Also if another pricer notices your pricing is too low, they can dispute it and then the manager would get the final say.
So a new looking Huffy with a basket, bell, and a rack would cost say $30.00 ($20 base +$10 (for accessories)) could get a higher price than say a 60's Raleigh Sports with rusty rims, a flat, and a beat up saddle say $10.00 ($20.00 base -$10 (for condition)). Of course that would depend on the fact that the pricer wouldn't know that Raleigh is a better brand than Huffy, and that they are unaware that their exists a collectors market for the Raleigh vs. Huffy. It's not like they make these prices up out of thin air, there is a system. So a guy couldn't just go in and say that Fuji track bike that came in is only $5.00 bucks then buy it. If it looked too nice to fit into the pricing system, it went to the card file people, from there the manager might research it, or all the pricers discuss it, or perhaps even call in multiple card file guys to auction between them in a day or two.
When I did this, it was before the internet took off. (Early 90's) and to some extent on line auctions have replaced the pricers in some product categories. Set a low minimum bid and let the market price it. But big items take up a lot of precious floor room and back room space. Here they are less picky about price and more concerned about moving it out. But in the early 90's - with no ebay or craigslist I couldn't have made much money reselling. I was at work during retail hours, and no easy or cheap way to advertise. But I'm sure that they've developed policies to try to prevent such things.
They also have policies to keep employees from getting too much of an advantage over the public. At our store we weren't allowed to purchase on company time (could only purchase during our lunch). Plus we had no discounts, items not on the floor had to be confirmed with the manager, thus pricing fraud is curbed. Our only real advantage we had over anyone else was first pick, and just being there every day.
Plus we had great pay (more than double typical retail at the time) and benefits. I don't think any of us were willing to loose our job over a couple extra bucks here and there. Why loose your job over an extra $100.00 reselling some old bike, when you never know if a first edition of "Leaves of Grass" might stumble through, then I'd perhaps chance my job.
I'm about to "flip" my first bike. . only because I ended up with two bikes instead of one. The problem is the bike I thought I was going to keep, and now considering selling, I already started "upgrading". I'll be happy to break even at this point. Fortunately, though, I found the saddle alone (which I'm selling individually and replacing with one closer to what came with the bike originally) can fetch around 1/4th what I paid initially, so it's looking good.
Time for another discussion on finding good bikes to flip?
You may need to pick the pickers. Just because they got there first doesn't mean they know what to do with it. I have a local guy that saw me collecting bikes and began to pick them. We have a pretty good relationship now, vintage comes to me and I educate him on newer bikes. He Ebays sporting goods/collectables and lives at the local fleamarkets. He sold me 100 hardballs for a local travelling team, little leage, for $15.
I've put putting out flyers door to door (or newspaper box). I'm getting about 2% hits but half of the bikes turn out to be the lowest end junk you can imagine.
The community yard sale did not turn out the bonanza it has in previous years. I got a trashed Royce Union that still had a couple parts worth the $20 I paid. I also got a Giant Sedona and a nice K2 hybrid (with trashed fork) cheap. I picked up a Specialized Crossroads sans rear wheel for free. I'm thinking of mounting my Bionx kit on that for resale as a complete electric-assist bike.
What do you say when the bike is way too big or small for you?
Up untill the last bike, no one seemed to notice or care, but they were all fairly close to my size.
The last bike i bought was too big for me. The owner looked at me a little funny and commented on the size.
I truthfully told him, "my wife is taller then me", I just didn't say she was "that" tall.
I've passed on a few bike's because the ad clearly stated the size of the rider it was for. :(
My wife is usually with me, so i can't use the "It's for my wife" very often.
Not sure if there's a better place to post this, but I am looking to hire someone to look through NYC craigslist for GREAT deals on bikes (in the $125-$1000 range) and email me the links. If you already look through the listings and just don't have the cash, or for whatever reason don't buy the bikes, it would be perfect. I can pay $20 per bike that I wind up buying. Please message me if you want more details.