OK, so one thing that I did not see on this thread. How about replacing chains? Is there a place to find good chains at a good price?
OK, so one thing that I did not see on this thread. How about replacing chains? Is there a place to find good chains at a good price?
I once had a bike for sale for over 6 months. It was less the fact that there were no buyers but more the fact that I was asking a premium, mostly because I was riding it and really didn't want to sell it. Someone eventually picked it up and got a nice bike, but by no means did I lose money holding onto it. A buyer will come, that's part of selling bikes.
I think part of being a flipper is a balance of loving bikes and selling crap. If you love bikes too much, you won't sell anything, or will restore them beyond financial gain...aka it is an expensive hobby. On the other hand you have people who don't care and don't know, just look at market prices and make sure it looks good and is a bit cheaper then everyone else. The key is to be in the middle, sell well repaired good looking bikes for a fair price and make cash on the side for whatever pleases you.
Push comes to shove, they roll back to ignorance or throw it back at you as "who are you to question me?". That's my cop comment, as they are selling a bike, you are commenting on it, but you have no power to change anything, fraud or not.
So, I do understand your frustration but there is no real way to fix it. The seller may actually think they have an XYZ bike. You may have made them question and now they think they have a ZYX bike. Or they deleted your email, because if the person isn't interested in buying the bike, they don't waste their time. That's just my .02 cents having watched lots of stupid ads (mostly cars, not bikes) go by and there is not much you can do to educate the public besides educating yourself.
There was a time when "flagging" helped moderate CL and that's what CL is intended to be, a community ad service that regulates itself. Loop holes create a dysfunction and idgots get out of hand. Buyer beware, educate yourself before going on these sites.
Hey cl gets pretty ugly mostly because its a free service with no real limits on what one can post. Where I'm at in Denver sketchy DKO guys and somewhat sleazy dealers make up 2/3 the posts or more.
Hi all - I'm not a flipper, but I am semi-tired and CL is a fun way for me to pass time. It seems like the deals come and go in waves, sometimes I don't see anything good for weeks, then several juicy deals at the same time, but too far away to go to check out, so you have to make a decision.
Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think that a good flipper can be an asset to me. There are guys in my area who are flippers, and one is only a mile away, he gets pretty good stuff sometimes, and his prices are fair. I buy a fair amount of stuff from him, because let's face it, I don't want to spend hours and hours driving all over hell and dealing with flaky CL sellers.
My other golden rule of CL is: if I see something juicy, I'm gonna go NOW, not tomorrow, or in a few days. Someone above mentioned mixte's, I have a bunch, the most expensive cost me $125, a beautiful Austro-Daimler "Michelle" with all nice parts and a bag in the front, it even had a generic Brooks seat and perfect tires. I also have a Peugeot mixte for 75, a really sweet Univega mixte $75 frame only, but I bought that for my daughter, it is kind of a pink/red color, very girly.
Here is also a nice Campania frame I recently got for $25.
Don't give up, be ready to travel, and maybe find a good flipper in your area.Attachment 344330
Oh, sorry - I meant to add that when I get an old bike it has probably been sitting for years, so what I do is use a light oil and drip a little into the hubs, BB, steering, and all cables. If you hold the bike at various angles the oil will run into where you want it to go. Most cables, brake calipers, pedals will free up very well, and it costs you nothing, and sometimes using original stuff is preferred.
If you want to flip, the name of the game is to spend as little as possible, and as little effort as possible. This is not a long-term solution but very helpful to evaluate a possible gem as fast as possible, ride it around, see what you think BEFORE investing time and money. You will be surprised how many things will work great with a drop of oil in the right place.
Great thread. My first post here. By the way, thank you all for the great information. While looking at a bike to buy on CL, the research has always led to this website.
Does anyone have any experience with repainting with a custom paint job and then flipping the bike?
I read an earlier post about making the bike more valuable. Here is my plan and I would like to hear your opinions.
To not loose money for initial investment for bike and replacement parts. To make a little money to pay for my personal bikes
To learn more about working on bikes
To express my artistic side
To promote bicycles and their beauty
To learn about other brands I don't own (ride quality, etc)
Buy late 70s to early 80s road bikes like Nishiki, SR, Centurion, etc in decent condition. Good deals come up every once in a while -$60 and lower.
Tear it down. Convert to single speed but keep all braze ons so the owner can convert back to multispeed
Sell or recycle derailuers +$5
Clean as many parts as possible
Replace tires and tubes if needed -$25
replace brake cables if needed -$15
single speed cog -$15
new chain -$15
Repaint with artistic custom and/or themed paint job -$50 paint (I usually have paint in stock)
-4 hours or more prep, -maybe 1 hour masking, -2 hours painting
Use builds to promote custom paint jobs (hopefully customer will want their bikes done)
Promote through stores (window prop), art oriented websites, etc
Marketing might be more toward women but still undecided
Cost so far for around $160
Time 7 hours body, 4 hours wrenching
Sale price $250 or more if possible
I have the patience to look for good deals.
I wouldn't need to sell a bike quickly
I'm creative (have an art and building background)
I sometimes get a company vehicle & gas and have permission to use it for personal errands
It will be FUN to find, paint, build, ride, and sell
Due to space, I can't do more than 2 or 3 flippers because of the storage my personal bikes
I can't predict if someone will like the paint scheme
I can't predict if someone who likes the paint can fit the bike
Might be a slow mover (okay if I will ride it, but only if it is my size)
Any thoughts? Thank you! - Rob
+1 to Bill...
I don't know his area, but you can't get $250 for the insta-single speed bikes here anymore since you can buy a new SS for the same price. I always see the home paint jobs sit for months.
@DakotaInTheSky: If you are going to want $250 for your conversions, there's going to be more involved. Some of the older bikes won't allow you to remove the large chainring (swaged cranks). Condition of the chainrings also might not be good, and that would mean you need to replace. Also, you should get singlespeed chainring bolts (BMX bolts). There is also the issue of redishing the rear wheel to get proper chainline. A lot of older bike's spoke nipples are frozen and will break the spokes if you try to adjust them. The biggest thing I also see is an outlay of 11 hours of your time for a potential profit of $90. That works out to ~$8/hr, which is not good. Maybe you can do as others suggested which is paint other people's bikes. You could customize a bike or 2 for your personal use and use the pictures to promote the business of creating one of a kind, custom single speeds for others.
I just don't see much profit in bike flipping now.
Lotta competition for every "cheaply priced" bike on CL-and there is always "something" that has to be fixed.
And there are very very few underpriced bikes on CL-at least that is the situation in NOLA
Besides even when there were more underpriced bikes- say 1/2 price-$300 bike for $150-after picking it up spiffing it up-$100 for a 20 mile car trip-several hours work
You will never make money paying low retail for bikes, buying new parts, making it like brand new, and then having to ask for used nice bike prices. Unless you get one hell of a deal on the original bike, it's not exactly a hobby/business model that works well unless you are a fanboy of working on bikes.
Cheap bikes-ones I would sell for $50-$125 sell in hours to days once you hit $160 they sell much more slowly.
bikes considered walmart bikes-bought $20 sold $40- sell almost immediately if they are in good shape cosmetically-which they usually are since they aren't old and they work just fine most of the time-heavy USUALLY but they work OK.
I strictly do it for fun-which means I frequently buy bikes I kinda like-and would ride.
When I did it more-I would specialize in short adult bikes- bikes that would fit me-5'5"-
usually cromo steel- 26" rigid "MTBs" 13"-15"
then sell them to young women as "urban suburban potholed streets l light trail grass shells gravel do anything bikes with light but sturdy quality steel frame and humane see where you are going riding position and good brakes everything works needs nothing fixed"
Lotta college and post college women here in NOLA- some are short-and they want a decent steel frame-but don't want to pay $500 for a bike.
A trek 800 or hard rock whatever diamondback whatever from the mid late 90's fits the bill.
No one who actually rides on our crummy streets with dodgy drivers would chose a drop bar skinny 700 tired bike over an upright riding position 2" tires 26" bike
OK many many do but my ad suggests the "urban suburban do anything bikes"- the ones I sell -are better choices
Women are much easier to deal with as buyers-than guys. They make an offer-it is usually ballpark-and that is it.If they pay asking-I throw in a pump or a lock or something-so they don't get shorted-but they get a good deal in any case.
Strictly a hobby for me-allows me to try various bikes-then send them on their way.I like to tinker.
Of course-sometimes-I curse an evil bike-usually one I paid less than average for because of "problems"
the high end stuff-really isn't much of that around here-and it usually is correctly priced-meaning they ask a bit more than market.
I like to tinker.
For you folks using all resources, garage/estate sales, thrift stores, C.L, and in general driving far and wide, how do justify the expense of the search? How often do you go searching and return empty handed vs. the number of times you actually snag one of those $5-$20 deals? Do you include gas and vehicle use cost in your expense calculations? This issue is the main thing that is probably keeping me out of the bikes. I'm sure every week there are great deals at thrift stores or garage sales but how many miles do I have to drive to find it? One could easily spend $10-$20 driving around to all the garage sales on a Friday or Saturday morning, and probably close to that much making a round of the thrift stores. Many of the good deals will be advertised with poor pics and/or by somebody who doesn't know much about bikes, therefore, how can you determine what exactly the bike is, the size, or what kind of condition it is in before you drive all the way across town to investigate it and possible come home empty handed?
Free bikes work like this where I live. 60% crap, 20% stuff that is workable, 10% great, 10% stuff you keep for your personal collection.
Funny thing is, after writing the post you quoted above this morning I decided to take a gamble and drive across town to a garage sale that advertised having bikes (no pics or info). I ended up picking up a couple early 90's univega mtn. bikes. Using your ranking I would call them workable, they are quality entry level bikes. They were obviously left outside so they definitely need some work but they have very few miles on them (rotten tires still have the little hairs), nice chromo frames and shimano altus components. $10.00 for both of them and the guy threw in a couple brand new tubes he had, so essentially I got the bikes for free and paid normal price for the tubes. Not big money makers by any means but something to play with anyway, maybe I'll keep one for awhile, not sure yet.
Thank you for the replies. I'm thinking it will be better for me to go higher end bike refurbishing (customization/conversions as a precursor to lugged frame building) as opposed to bike flipping. Maybe I can flip bikes if there are any leftover parts because the parts pile up quick. I've filed the paperwork for a non profit which will combine my love for bicycles with my work in the rapid prototyping/fabrication field. I hope to get things going by January. Cheers! - Rob
Do you guys find that bikes are worth more sold in pairs? For example, I often see matching his and hers bikes for sale on C.L.? Or what about two identical men's bikes? I mentioned above that I picked up a couple mtn bikes, they look exactly the same. I don't really need two of the same bikes so I was thinking of selling one as is, as needing work, for $20-$30 in order to help with the cost of refurbishing the other, but for some reason I'm a little hesitant to break up the pair. Neither one of the bikes will make a lot of money, but would their value increase if I get them both in good condition and sell them together?
Smaller bikes always sell better, but even pairs? Haven't found a set. I have no problem selling an extra bike...