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Old 05-09-11, 02:28 PM   #1
chewybrian 
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Wholesale bike parts and Ebay costs--a couple business questions.

I apologize in advance if this does not seem like the right sub-forum to ask, yet I know some of you know the answers, so I'll try...

I have an idea to build wheels at home and sell them on Ebay, as a small side business.

I need to know the wholesale prices of a few basic wheel components, like a 105 8/9/10 hub, or a Mavic Open Pro rim, just to get a general idea of mark-up potential. Also, what are the usual requirements to buy wholesale? Do the middlemen tend to require a brick and mortar business, or a semi trailer full of hubs per purchase to get a fair price?

I also need to know the costs of selling on Ebay, as I've only been a buyer to this point. What do they charge for selling? Is it a different cost to have an Ebay Store vs. individual listings? And what is the cost of quality shipping materials (ballpark) for a wheelset, like the box and bubble wrap, postage, etc.

Finally, what unexpected (to me, at least) costs might be incurred, like insurance, refunds/returns, other?

I appreciate any info, insights, advice, by reply or PM. No, I don't think this is a valid plan for quitting my job and buying a mansion. If I can make $25 for an hour or even two hours of work, on my own time schedule, at home, that would be great.
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Old 05-09-11, 03:03 PM   #2
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In order to get wholesale pricing through distributors you need to be an actual bike shop or an employee of one. Someone working from a garage will not get set up on wholesale accounts from any of the big distributors (QBP, J&B, BTI, etc). QBP for example is even thougher as they require you to be a shop in business for awhile. I know a local shop that just got QBP, but only after being in business for well over a year.

I am an employee of a shop and can get great deals on a lot of parts, but would never build wheels to resell. There is not enough money there after costs. Often it isn't cost effective for me to build a wheel(set) for myself as I can often get prebuilt wheels cheaper than what I can buy the parts for.
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Old 05-09-11, 03:03 PM   #3
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first of all the cost of selling on ebay varies with how much the items you are selling cost. you can only get parts wholesale if you own a bike shop. I don't know of any manufacturer or distributer who will sell to someone without a shop. I also don't think you could build wheels on a small scale and be compettitive with the larger companies selling on ebay. shipping wheels can be expensive too.

if you are going to do this a business you may also want to look into insurance and maybe a incorperating yourself for portection against losses
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Old 05-09-11, 04:05 PM   #4
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I think you need to think this through a bit more.

Ebay will ding you about 9% and PayPal at least five. It has reached the point of being ridiculous, in my humble opinion.

You need also to figure in the price of shipping and that is not cheap for a wheel set.

You might learn something by browsing through this article on Packing and Shipping Bicycles. Some of what is contained there might prove interesting and useful.

Hope this is a help.
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Old 05-09-11, 04:17 PM   #5
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Thank you for the help so far. The news is a bit discouraging, but about what I expected to see.

I would not expect to be competitive with the big sellers, especially on the wheelsets they sell most often. I am convinced that there is a niche for commuter/touring/rando wheels, wheels with generator hubs, etc. I don't look to fill it and corner the market, just make a little on the side.

The requirement to have a brick and mortar business could be a stumbling block. It might be possible to hook up with an existing bike shop, and have them buy the parts and sell them to me at a small mark up. It would add a layer of cost, but that could be easily offset by keeping the overhead somewhat nonexistent.

I can't say I am fully discouraged yet; keep trying!
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Old 05-09-11, 04:24 PM   #6
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If you are good enough to be confident selling wheels you have built yourself on Ebay, you would make more money with less hassle offering to build custom wheels for for a fixed cost. People would bring you their parts and you'd build the wheels.
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Old 05-09-11, 04:25 PM   #7
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Offering your services locally, not on Ebay of course.
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Old 05-09-11, 04:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
Thank you for the help so far. The news is a bit discouraging, but about what I expected to see.

I would not expect to be competitive with the big sellers, especially on the wheelsets they sell most often. I am convinced that there is a niche for commuter/touring/rando wheels, wheels with generator hubs, etc. I don't look to fill it and corner the market, just make a little on the side.

The requirement to have a brick and mortar business could be a stumbling block. It might be possible to hook up with an existing bike shop, and have them buy the parts and sell them to me at a small mark up. It would add a layer of cost, but that could be easily offset by keeping the overhead somewhat nonexistent.

I can't say I am fully discouraged yet; keep trying!

Hmm after thinking about it I don't see how it would be possible to make money doing this. Say someone had the parts shipped to you, there would still be double shipping involved and the cost would be a lot higher than just bringing it to the local brick and mortar. When I build my wheels, I bought parts from 3 places, now say I had that shipped to you and you charged a fee for my custom wheel, then you would have to ship it back to me and this would be even more expensive now that they are built (bulk and that alfine is heavy). For that money I could have bought the tools to build it myself or just take to LBS.

I can't see a way to do it unless you do it locally.
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Old 05-09-11, 05:57 PM   #9
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I can't help you with specifics, but your plan is definately doable. Contact Rob, http://www.bikeforums.net/member.php/46002-Psimet2001 , about details. He makes custom race wheels with a similar plan to yours. Except he has enough business to sell locally and through these forums, no need for ebay. No reason to think you couldn't do the same with rando/touring wheels.

Rob is local to me and a good guy. I'd contact him, if you aren't going to make racing/road wheels and only rando/touring wheels, he'll let you know some ins and outs. He started small, built for friends and locals, expanded through the forums and now sponsors a team and has his own shop. This is his site, http://www.psimet.com/

PayPal fees are closer to 3.5%, not 5.
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