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  1. #1
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    Bike flippers, advice needed...

    I don't really "flip" bikes normally, but 1. I'm kinda interested in starting so that I can help pay for my bike habit and 2. Sometimes I see bikes that just seem like easy money, and I'm sure as hell not rich so why not.

    Anyway... Would you guys pick up these couple of bikes? I was thinking about grabbing the Sanwa as long as it has aluminum wheels. The Raleigh I wasn't quite as sure about, but was thinking it seemed like a good buy too. Any advice for a possible newbie flipper looking to make a few bucks to pay for a bike habit?

    http://madison.craigslist.org/bik/1887513262.html
    http://madison.craigslist.org/bik/1888417487.html

  2. #2
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    It depends on your market. I've seen local flippers buy and re-sell the same bike on CL the very same day!!!

    Do you plan on refurbishing them first or do you plan to simply re-list them with better pictures and better ads? How much do you want to make on each bike? I have a C-note minimum, if I'm not making at least $100 I dont buy it.

    In general a refurbished bike needs 2-6 hours of work depending your skills and the starting condition of the bike and they usually need $30-50 in parts.

    I dont want to come across the wrong way but if you have to ask you shouldnt be buying it. But, we all started off somewhere!! I'm gradually getting away from entry level bikes and trying to concentrate on mid to high bikes.

    To make $5000 profit in a year I need to flip 50 entry level bikes while clearing $100 on each. With careful buying i can profit $5000 flipping 10-20 mid to high end bikes.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  3. #3
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    Not coming off the wrong way at all. I get what you're saying. I am just starting, though, and am just looking for advice as to whether the bikes I'm looking at will even turn a $10 profit. I'm not looking to profit all that much, though. As for ability and the local market, I've been taking my own bikes apart since I was 6, started trying to upgrade them by probably age 12, and am now 26. I'm not a pro, but I can change a tire easily, tune gears well, and grease bearings no problem. I live in a Very bike friendly college town where Lots of people ride bikes and the market is what I would consider fairly high. I see WAY more overpriced bikes than good deals. Used bike shops here want $500+ for a scratched up 70s Schwinn Varsity. I was thinking I could probably sell the Sanwa pretty well as-is, maybe a good wipe down, new tires, and a little tune up. The other I figured will need minimum of new tires and cables and a good tune-up/cleaning. In my area, though, I think I could get at least $100 pretty quickly for the Raleigh, maybe $150 depending on condition when I see it in person. No idea yet on the Sanwa, but I read they were decent. Figured I could check it out in person and see how decent of a bike it seemed to be.

    I know a person isn't exactly being paid for their time at this, but at this point I'd be happy If I averaged ~$15/hour for my work. If I bought for $30, put in $30, worked on it for a couple hours and sold for $85-100 then I'd be ok with that. If I got more I'd consider the flip a success. It may be different now, but I've never done this before, and I've got to start somewhere.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Last edited by 3speed; 08-10-10 at 01:28 PM.

  4. #4
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    Good read and good advice. Thanks. I'm not really looking to flip lots of bikes as a major source of income or anything, so maybe I'll find that it's not a very good route for me to try to get extra bike spending money. I don't have the money to dump a ton into buying up bulk parts to get them cheap, etc. I more just figured if I could pick up a good deal here and there when I'm on CL anyway(I usually take a glance at the bike section every evening) and make a few bucks for my own bikes then that would be great. Otherwise I don't really have any money to put into a nice bike for myself. Maybe I'll just try a couple and if it doesn't work out then I'll stick to beating around on my Bridgestone and longing for the better classic road bikes.

    Thanks again to you both for the advice. Quality info to read and think about.

    So do you flippers only obtain bikes that are free-$10 or something? I don't think I've seen a non rusted out working bike for under $25 in this area in 6 months (haven't lived here that long), and even those were department store and the like. I can't believe how many people here are trying to sell beat up 95 Huffys for $40, and the listings actually disappear, so they must be selling them.

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    I like that Sprite for $25 and if it's complete and not afu it would seem to have potential. But, that's just my opinion and I don't flip bikes, so what do I know?

    I don't think it was mentioned above: if you're going to do this with an eye on making a couple bucks you probably need to have real good estimation skills with respect to what you're going to do with the bike -- what it will need.

    If that Sprite's not a rust queen and if you're not looking at doing something like replacing the wheels with aluminum rims and SS spokes it looks to my amateur eye like a good candidate. Notice how long the head tube is for such a small frame and how the bars end up being higher than the saddle -- women of a certain age like that geometry. I know this because I bought my wife a Sprite almost exactly like that one and she loves it. Hers is 10 speed though.

    edit: Of course, if it's your goal to clear some amount of money on a bike flip, the market for that particular bike has to be able to sustain that. It's necessary that the market will support the value that you add to the bike through maintenance, repair, detailing, upgrade, and marketing. The problem with the Sprite may be that there are a lot of bike markets in the U.S. in which a really nice Sprite is just not valued that highly. Perhaps a free Sprite needing minimal work/parts can't be sold in your market for enough to justify the effort.
    Last edited by desconhecido; 08-10-10 at 05:15 PM.

  6. #6
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    I love saving the junkers and converting them into my own "franken bike" creations that are really fun to own and ride. I usually profit 100-300% after expenses and thats not even trying . If you build something unique, there is a market out there for the strange and abnormal. I don't take my time into consideration because its more of a hobby, its great for relieving stress....but it can create more if your not always on top of things

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    I think I do have a pretty good market, but I was still going for basically exactly what you said(chromoly frame, 3 piece crank, alloy wheels) minus some old mixte stuff that I think the college campus girls will buy. They seem to love that stuff. Cute little mixte with fenders and a rack. Those things are quite often about the same price as the road bikes here around campus. $100-200 depending mostly on condition more than the model of bike (I'm guessing this is obviously just because they don't know what makes a good bike beyond nice paint and a comfortable seat/riding position).

    As for the CL timing, actually I work afternoon/evenings, so I'm usually looking morning, early afternoon or late at night. I think being in a college based town, though, all hours are common hours.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Thumpic's Avatar
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    I flip for the same reasons as you; to pay for several habits........ You could look at both bikes as potential flippers; as well as learning tools. I would never be able to make real money at flipping; I'm not that good. But it is addictive and if flipping can at least pay for itself; you are way ahead of the game.

    I don't even want to think how much bass fishing has cost me over the last 40 years.....

    You can clean up the Raleigh and re-sell it for sure; probably make money. The name alone will interest the casual new lady rider.

    Assuming it's not some rare "sleeper", it's probably the same for the other bike. Just cleaned; tuned and put in solid ridable condition; you should double your bucks.
    Last edited by Thumpic; 08-11-10 at 11:10 AM.
    Thumpic....

    Green is the new "CHEAP"

  9. #9
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
    It depends on your market. I've seen local flippers buy and re-sell the same bike on CL the very same day!!!

    Do you plan on refurbishing them first or do you plan to simply re-list them with better pictures and better ads? How much do you want to make on each bike? I have a C-note minimum, if I'm not making at least $100 I dont buy it.

    In general a refurbished bike needs 2-6 hours of work depending your skills and the starting condition of the bike and they usually need $30-50 in parts.

    I dont want to come across the wrong way but if you have to ask you shouldnt be buying it. But, we all started off somewhere!! I'm gradually getting away from entry level bikes and trying to concentrate on mid to high bikes.

    To make $5000 profit in a year I need to flip 50 entry level bikes while clearing $100 on each. With careful buying i can profit $5000 flipping 10-20 mid to high end bikes.
    Hi Jim...I do what you['re discussing...I only touch bikes that I am confident will sell for $300 plus. It takes a little longer to find them, but it takes much less time to sell them and to work on them. I am very happy with how it's working out and my goal is to fund 2/3rds of my hobby with flips. I am definitely doing that and might actually be coming out ahead.

  10. #10
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    I was where you were about two years ago. I was buying everything I could get my hands on. I took a mechanics class at the local bike shop so I knew a little about how to repair bikes. Your right you have to start somewhere, so just jump in and start fixing bikes. Eventually you'll find your nitch and work mostly on Road bikes or Mountain bikes or BMX or something else. I went for flipping 50 bikes the first year to about 20 so far the 2nd. I made a choice not to work on mountain bikes and went with Road Bikes. Road bikes seem to be worth more and are actually less complicated when it comes to shifting unless you have index shifters. It will definately pay for your habit and probably will pay for your next vacation. Its a great way to make a few extra bucks and you always get to shop for another bike all over again. have fun, I do

  11. #11
    Member LuggerJones's Avatar
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    Lot's of good advice here. I'll share some more with you if you promise not to use it in my area. I'm in a similar situation to you, living in a town with lots of young girls looking for stylish 'vintage' Mixte or step-through frame road bikes. Having ascertained this I focus almost entirely on flipping this style of bike.
    The emphasis is WAY on the condition of the paint/chrome as well as having a decent seat and getting it in good working condition to minimize trips to the bike shop. If you're selling a ladies bike name recognition means very little in my experience. I made my biggest profit on the sale of a Zebra-Kenko Thunder, a no-name bike that had gorgeous paint. What does mean a lot is having it clean and shiny. Adding 'custom' touches like coloured housing, using a paint pen to outline lugs and colour co-ordinating with the bar-tape or grips is key. I use my fiance as a style consultant and on average we clear $200 for bikes we sell.

  12. #12
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    I know what you mean about name recognition. I sold a French bike called a Pierre a few months back. It was a 60's French bike, similar to the Peugeot. It was all original , but only in fair condition. Could not find anything on the net about it. I figured since it was unheard of no one would want it. It sold the next day for $150. I know most people want a bike to look great, but in that situation the charisma must of taken over. I almost always make sure the seat looks good or I replace with one that does. Bikes don't seem to be like cars, where everything has to be original. Looks and functionalitiy seem to be most important, and a good price. Its nice to a have a style consultant. I have to wing that on my own. Most of the early Peugeots and English Bikes, such as Raleigh had those touches on the frames your talking about. I haven't tried that , but may consider that. The Mixte bikes sure are popluar with the ladies, I know thats a sure sale
    Last edited by spathfinder3408; 08-13-10 at 12:28 PM. Reason: mis print

  13. #13
    Senior Member toytech's Avatar
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    I have good luck with smaller size frames (adds more women to the buyers pool) I agree with Miamijim on the 100.00 profit per bike minimum too. I appraise each potential flip as to condition, desirability and component value before I make a decision, some bikes are worth more in pieces than whole. I tend to stay with vintage road bikes, occasionally a vintage mtb (I put slicks on and sell as commuters). I stay away from BMX unless it is vintage and cheap. I figure my time at 40.00 an hour and parts at double cost to try and keep close to 65% minimum gross profit margin on bikes and parts combined just like a business. I also enter everything into an excell spread sheet so it can be tracked.
    All this is to keep my bike hobby self sufficient, I certainly could not survive on what I make on bikes.
    "Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day."--Harry S. Truman

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