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  1. #151
    Senior Member TonyS's Avatar
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    Well, so far it's been a matter of convenience... for example, I'll just go with what I've got in the garage right now... 3 department store mountain bikes, one 80's Huffy DS road bike, and one AMF Roadmaster Scorcher that I picked up last night. When I went to pick up the Scorcher, the guy had like 2 more broken bikes and two DSB wheelsets that he gave me because he was just going to take them to the dump had I not arrived...

    So far total cost for 7 bikes... $15. If between those seven bikes there's enough good parts to make one of them work (there are, minus the cables), I can without any parts cost (other than the aforementioned cables) double my money if I can even sell it for $35... and most of mine have sold for $40-$50. My margin comes from the fact that people give me stuff... because they want it gone.

    I want to upgrade to 70's & 80's road bikes, but the reasons I haven't so far are as follows:

    1: Anything that's not a DSB disappears on CL in less than 20 minutes here. If you're not sitting in the middle of town with cash in hand and a laptop to call as soon as it shows up, you're not getting that bike. There are a billion other college students around collecting low end LBS bikes to make into fixies and flip. They don't have full time jobs, and I do. So by 5:30 pm, it will be gone.

    2: There are 3 markets for bikes in this town: roadies, hipsters, and moms/dads looking to ride with their kids. The roadies are going to buy from the LBS. Period. Their bikes usually never end up on CL, but even when they do, they're both too expensive for me to buy, and I'd never be able to get rid of it because anyone who wants to become a roadie will go to the LBS. Hipsters each have a stockpile of at least 10 old road frames which they are going to turn into fixies, and those compose maybe 5% of CL traffic. The hipsters are also the reason that anything good disappears in 20 minutes or less... The remaining 94% or so of buyers are broke moms and dads looking to ride with their kids, and rather than paying $75 plus tax (lowest priced adult Walmart bike) they want to pay $40 for the same bike off of CL. Whether that's a good idea safety-wise or not is a valid question, but they don't know anything about bikes, and although every one of them has heard the shpiel before about how they should buy from an LBS, not a one of them understands why they should pay 8x as much for a bike they're only going to ride once every couple months with the kids. They are the ones blowing up my phone wanting me to find a bike for them... so apparently there's some reason they don't want to go to walmart to get a bike, and they're as yet an untapped market. AFAIK there's me and one other guy in town selling these things in any condition other than "We left it out in the rain for 3 years and we want it gone."

    Anyway, so has anybody else run into the same problems of stuff disappearing too quickly? If so, how did you get around them?

  2. #152
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    I love the hunt but I have a hard time parting with my children (the bikes I really like), but I am running out of room. I drive by pawn shops, garage sales, flea markets very slowly, always looking for a good child (old road bike) to adopt or find a home for.

  3. #153
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    Find Seat Deals...

    By the way, My local Trek Dealer sells the new seats off of the bikes people upgrade for $15 to $20 and they are Bontrager Brand new. They were asking $20 each for these. and I bargained them down to 4 for $60. These seats come off of $800+ bikes how bad can they be.
    Last edited by macman58; 03-31-10 at 10:01 AM.

  4. #154
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyS View Post
    Anyway, so has anybody else run into the same problems of stuff disappearing too quickly? If so, how did you get around them?
    You need to look well beyond Craigs List. The good bikes, particularly LBS branded ones, go fast, really fast. If you are available to pounce on these deals (like during the day), great. If not, someone else is probably scooping them up. I am semi-retired. So I often get bikes during the day, while my "competition" is working. Garage sales, neighborhood newsletters, thrift stores, word of mouth, etc., are all potential sources. I did pretty good on Craigs List this winter picking up bikes when the market was dead. But this takes a healthy bike fund, and an area to store bikes.

    As far as your market analysis, how long have you been flipping bikes? I have been doing it for several years. I do not find your conclusions accurate for the overall market. Do you have any data? How many bikes have you sold? If you service the bottom feeders, your conclusions are pretty accurate. But there is another market out there I can assure you. Myself, I will leave the $50 bike market untapped. I typically serve the $200 to $400 road bike market, and the $125 to $175 MTB market. Bottom feeders are welcome to look elsewhere.

  5. #155
    Senior Member TonyS's Avatar
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    Thank you for proving my point so beautifully! There are people just like you in my town (lots of them!), and since I have a day job and little capital to work with, I'm at an extreme disadvantage trying to compete with them. So rather than try to enter a market with such large barriers to entry, I'm carving a different niche for myself... My advantages are that I'll probably be given a lot more free parts (and bikes) than they will, my inventory is probably more liquid, and the capital and time requirements are a lot lower for me (those DSB will still be there at 5:30).

    And I'm only 2 weeks and 4 sales deep into this, but my phone has been blowing up every day with broke folks eager to have someone who knows about bikes help them out, but without selling them a hunk of scrap metal like the other CL posters will, and without pressuring them to spend money they don't have like the LBS guys would.

    That having been said, I'll poach the LBS market while I'm at it if I get the chance...

    Picking up an 80's Motobecane tonight.
    Last edited by TonyS; 03-31-10 at 03:55 PM.

  6. #156
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Something like this?





  7. #157
    Senior Member TonyS's Avatar
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    That'd be the one...

  8. #158
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    That looks like a Reynolds decal at the top of the seat tube!
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  9. #159
    retro-rider/mech javaride's Avatar
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    Okay, I've searched this whole list, and I can't find any info on shipping, how to pack, best place to find boxes, best (cheapest) shipper to use etc. I am admittedly very new to flipping, but I do have 30+ years experience wrenching/riding bikes, and I have all the appropriate tools. I'm finding places to pick up some cheap rides, one for $5.94!, and I've been in sales for 20+ years, so I feel pretty confident about 90% of all this. I just don't know squat about the shipping, other than local pick up must rule!!! PLEASE HELP!!!!

  10. #160
    Senior Member kingfish254's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by javaride View Post
    Okay, I've searched this whole list, and I can't find any info on shipping, how to pack, best place to find boxes, best (cheapest) shipper to use etc. I am admittedly very new to flipping, but I do have 30+ years experience wrenching/riding bikes, and I have all the appropriate tools. I'm finding places to pick up some cheap rides, one for $5.94!, and I've been in sales for 20+ years, so I feel pretty confident about 90% of all this. I just don't know squat about the shipping, other than local pick up must rule!!! PLEASE HELP!!!!
    You can get a boxes from just about any friendly LBS. You will also want to get some pipe insulation from you local hardware store. Go to YouTube and search for "how to pack a bicycle to ship" and you will see plenty of videos to help you out. I have used both FedEx and UPS. I think UPS is a little cheaper.



    Here are some pics of a 64 Sting Ray I packed recently. (Paid $15 , Sold for $500)

    I put all of the extra parts wrapped individually in a smaller box that I packed in with the frame. One big thing to do is reenforce any where you think might get punctured from an axle or fork or such. Good luck.



    May the Fold be with you

    48 Rudge Whitworth Sports - 59 Schwinn Panther II - 68 26" Columbia Roadster - 79 Schwinn Spitfire 5
    68 16" Graziella Tandem Folder - 73 Raleigh Twenty Folder - 89 16" Dahon Stainless Classic III Folder - 05 20" Dahon Jetstream P8 Full Suspension Folder - Dahon Mu XL Sport
    - plus various bikes to flip

  11. #161
    Senior Member TonyS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    That looks like a Reynolds decal at the top of the seat tube!
    Indeed it is, good sir! I'm thinking I'm going to restore this beast as close as I can get it to its factory glory on my (extremely) limited budget.

    How much do you think I can sell it for?
    motobecane 001..jpg
    motobecane 002..jpg

  12. #162
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    I'm not a flipper per se, though I buy bikes I want if they're cheap, and work on 'em, ride 'em and then sell them at some point within a year to finance another project.

    I live in nyc, land of the lock-up commuter and no such thing as a truly cheap/free bike. The bikes that wind up in landfills or by the curb elsewhere are often the ones we ride to work on everyday and replace with equally abysmal bikes when they get stolen or trashed by vandals

    1. Live in the NE or Mid-atlantic? Pick up cheap, free, even slightly rusty old geared bikes and bring them to NYC in a van each Spring. 2-4x. (No, never done this myself, but if I travelled and owned a van, or I'd certainly try
    1. Market governs present value. Pay attention to what sells.
    2. If you've won a classic bike on eBay that you plan to flip, don't post it the following week for a starting bid of twice the amount you paid for it without some thought. Especially if you can't be bothered to wipe it down or change the tires. Even more so if you beat out 15 other people to get it. Fifteen people have already decided its worth; you paid the most. They'll remember the bike and they'll remember you.
    3. Be ethical. If you got a bike free or cheap because it's seriously damaged or has significant issues, don't resell without at least stating this upfront or improving it.

  13. #163
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    Good stuff here!

    I don't flip bikes, per say. People bring me bikes all the time.

    I know, everyone here wants to know how can that be.

    I own a pawn shop! LOL! So I see all types of bikes all the time.

    bought two treks, one fx7.3, one smaller 520, both for $50 total.
    needless to say I sold the 520 for a good price and rode the FX untill my shinny new surly came in.
    now the FX is gone for $300.

    Good luck to all.

  14. #164
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    I have flipped about 75 bikes in two years. I start by doing a good clean up. A small pressure washer makes this go fast. Next it goes on bike stand to see if wheels are trued. Make sure brakes are adjusted and do not rub rims. I clean chain and derailers with WD40 and wipe down with rags. Lube chain, derailers with good bike oil. Apply lube on all cables till they move smoothly. I found a good lube oil in a motorcycle shop that put the oil right into the cable housing thru a thin metal housing about the size of a needle. If tires look safe I don't bother replacing. If the wheels spin o.k. I don't lube. I found over time that I wasn't getting paid to totally rebuild a bike, so i just get a bike safe to ride and work properly. I found people were would buy a bike as long as it work properly and was safe. I would have to charge twice as much to change all the tires and do all the bearings. i would price myself out of the market. On a high end racing bike I would make sure the wheels and tires are all like new and regreased, just because those kind of bikes bring in buyers that are willing to spend more to get the great bikes.

  15. #165
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    spathfinder3408, great story! How much time per week do you spend on this venture of yours? I am trying to decide to get deeper into this or to back out of it.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  16. #166
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    I am sporatic as far as time. I used to buy bikes cheap that needed a lot of work and found its better to spend a little more and get a bike in good condition. For instance. No rust. Tires o.k. Buy a bike that you know will sell in your area. If I buy a bike that just needs tires pumped up, cleaned and tuned, your looking at 1 hour of your time for that bike. also make sure the wheels are true or near true. a bent wheel can take forever if ever to fix. If you use these guidelines you can make a good profit with very little effort and have fun doing it . I would be willing to spend more time on a bike if it would bring in $300 to $400. Less if its $150 to $200. I mostly do Road Bikes now because Moutain Bikes don't have the value for the most part in my area. If the shocks on the Mountain Bikes are bad your looking at buying another set on Ebay. Can't rebuild when there so old. Its worth it, just need patience. enjoy

  17. #167
    Senior Member MitchL's Avatar
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    how much capital do you have invested in these flipper bikes? to flip a nice racing bike you must have to spend a decent amount to get it in the first place.
    "I have no idea what I'm doing... but I know I'm doing it really really well."

  18. #168
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MitchL View Post
    how much capital do you have invested in these flipper bikes? to flip a nice racing bike you must have to spend a decent amount to get it in the first place.
    Wrong assumption. The harder you look, the more you will find at low prices. My first flip was a Giant Rincon MTB. Picked it up at a garage sale for $10. Cleaned it up, adjusted the derailleur, trued up the wheels, and sold it two days later for $100. So at that point, I was +$90. My second flip was a Schwinn Criss Cross. Picked it up at another garage sale for $10. Cleaned it up, adjusted derailleurs, trued up the wheels, sold it a couple of days later for $125. So now I had $205 in my bike fund (I paid back the initial $10 investmen)t. At that point, I got a little more serious about it, picked up some internet tires, tubes, cables, and bearings (parts purchase came out of the bike fund), and did a more thorough job of rehabbing bikes.

    So in the last several years, the ONLY money I put into flipping was that initial $10. Out of the bike fund has come seven keeper bikes, a nice selection of tools, and some money for the general fund.

    I routinely pick up nice racing bikes (in need of TLC) in the $25 to $75 price range. What I paid for my last five bike pickups: $5, $10, $10, $30 and $70. The $5 bike was a no name donor. The other bikes were two Fujis, one Specialized and one Peugeot. From the $5 donor so far, it has supplied a saddle, a set of pedals, FD, RD, tires, tubes, brake calipers, wheels, bottle cage, and handlebars. I will still harvest the bb, then the rest is trash.

    I do occasionally pay more for a flip bike. But the bike fund covers it.

    Can't find them in your area? You really have to look aggressively, and be willing to drive a distance.

    Where to start? Its that old adage, start small, win big; start big, lose big. I started with a $10 investment. You don't get much smaller than that.
    Last edited by wrk101; 09-10-10 at 07:05 PM.

  19. #169
    Senior Member kingfish254's Avatar
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    I agree with WRK, it doesn't have to take a big investment to get started. In less than two years, I am a few grand in the black plus I have multiple keepers, plus I have a backlog inventory of about 40 bikes to work on.
    May the Fold be with you

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    - plus various bikes to flip

  20. #170
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I haven't been keeping track of my finances. I have a lot of bikes, though.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  21. #171
    Senior Member MikesChevelle's Avatar
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    I do it only as deal present themselves, I dont do much seeking for bikes to flip, that said, Im up a grand at least and I have only been doing it for about 4 months.
    1988 Centurion IronMan "Miami Vice" - 2008 Gary Fisher Genesis
    Moved to Boise....I miss all my old bikes....Time to start over.............

  22. #172
    Senior Member kingfish254's Avatar
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    Another cool side benefit is that it gives you seed money and materials for fun side projects. I have a few rat rod projects planned and a couple of longtail projects (one with my Raleigh 20) in mind. Yesterday I picked up a cheapo suspension bike so I use the tail end for my full size homemade longtail. And today I found a skateboard to use on that back racks.
    May the Fold be with you

    48 Rudge Whitworth Sports - 59 Schwinn Panther II - 68 26" Columbia Roadster - 79 Schwinn Spitfire 5
    68 16" Graziella Tandem Folder - 73 Raleigh Twenty Folder - 89 16" Dahon Stainless Classic III Folder - 05 20" Dahon Jetstream P8 Full Suspension Folder - Dahon Mu XL Sport
    - plus various bikes to flip

  23. #173
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    flipping guidlines

    I use a rule of thumb I learned from selling on Ebay. Don't spend any more then one third of what you expect to sell a bike for. That covers expenses for renovating, listing ect. You should at least double your profit or its just not worth your time. That rule works pretty good. Sometimes I make more profit and sometimes less, but the average is at least double. Scrounging extra parts off other bikes is the key to extra profits




    Quote Originally Posted by MitchL View Post
    how much capital do you have invested in these flipper bikes? to flip a nice racing bike you must have to spend a decent amount to get it in the first place.

  24. #174
    Senior Member kingfish254's Avatar
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    When ever you buy a bike, make sure you also ask for any accesories or spare parts they might have. Many times they will throw those in to help close the sale. There have been a few bikes where I have made just as much from selling the extras as I have for the actual bike.
    May the Fold be with you

    48 Rudge Whitworth Sports - 59 Schwinn Panther II - 68 26" Columbia Roadster - 79 Schwinn Spitfire 5
    68 16" Graziella Tandem Folder - 73 Raleigh Twenty Folder - 89 16" Dahon Stainless Classic III Folder - 05 20" Dahon Jetstream P8 Full Suspension Folder - Dahon Mu XL Sport
    - plus various bikes to flip

  25. #175
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    That's brilliant. I'll do that from now on.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

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