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Bike Flipper Questions

Old 02-27-18, 03:05 PM
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Bike Flipper Questions

Hi all, just curious. I am flipping bikes in my spare time. How much are you usually making per bike in profit? How many do you do per year. How much work do you put into them? Polish the paint, regreased bearings, dip chain etc? Is anyone doing this? Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-27-18, 03:29 PM
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Probably about $0.25 per hour.
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Old 02-27-18, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
Probably about $0.25 per hour.
What? You get overtime???
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Old 02-27-18, 06:27 PM
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I don't do any flipping anymore, got out of that over a year ago. I was never into it for the income, just enjoyed working on vintage steel bikes, restoring them and them selling them for enough to cover my costs. Mostly, I just broke even since the market here in North Florida is rather poor. It's a hard way to earn a living, not something I'd recommend. Now, I just find something occasionally that I like, then restore it, with my costs being far more than I'd ever recoup in a sale, purely for the pleasure of it.
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Old 02-27-18, 07:14 PM
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Check out this thread: https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...ing-101-a.html
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Old 02-27-18, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by hazetguy View Post
Yea I went through it. Figured Iíd get some more recent info
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Old 02-27-18, 08:22 PM
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If I make $100, I'm happy. I do it as a hobby to fund parts for my keepers.
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Old 02-27-18, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
If I make $100, I'm happy. I do it as a hobby to fund parts for my keepers.
Iím right around there on a typical Hybrid (Trek 7200 ish). I have on average 2 hours in them. I rebuild everything including bearings, cables and anything else needed. My philosophy is to sell a bike that I would feel comfortable putting my family on.
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Old 02-27-18, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Wrenchspinnerjr View Post
Hi all, just curious. I am flipping bikes in my spare time. How much are you usually making per bike in profit? How many do you do per year. How much work do you put into them? Polish the paint, regreased bearings, dip chain etc? Is anyone doing this? Thanks for the help.
What one makes on a bike means little without knowing the time put into it. It's not impressive to make $100 if it took you 10 hours of work, but making $50 is not bad if you only needed a couple hours. Don't forget the time put in to advertise and show the bike.

How many one does is entirely your own decision. You have to balance the extra income vs. loss of leisure time.

How much to put into a bike depends very much on the starting condition vs. the potential sale price. You can't be overhauling every bearing and replacing the chain, cassette and cable set on a lower level bike, but a $500 resale bike deserves and justifies 1st class treatment.

p.s. I bow to others with recent experience with flipping, but given the low price of new bikes and the relatively small amount of people who will appreciate and pay for the advantage of a well-prepped bike, I doubt that many with a conscience can make a good amount of money for time spent.
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Old 02-28-18, 12:03 AM
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I don't know. I watch people playing crossword for hours and when they are done,, they have a donations to the recycle can.
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Old 02-28-18, 12:26 AM
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Flipping bikes? Maybe 6 per year. Only as favors to close friends and family. Since almost every used bike on the road needs a new chain and cassette/freewheel, figure at least $50 for this - absolute minimum. I probably lose money on average; it is just a hobby.There is no money in this. If you want to make money, become a hedge fund manager. There is no prospect for profit in any part of the bike industry.
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Old 02-28-18, 06:43 AM
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If i need a new bike/frame, i'd source the used market for one (usually steel, old and underpriced) and fit it with good parts according to my specifications. I do it to use, not sell. But if i do, i'd sell it for more than what i bought it for.
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Old 02-28-18, 09:15 AM
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I flip a bike every few weeks. Probably over 200 by now. I sold a GT road bike last week. I paid $180 and sold it for $250 to a happy customer. All I did was adjust the brakes and trim the rear derailleur. Profit is extremely variable as is the time required to produce a quality product. Your time invested is essentially free if you enjoy it and if it puts you in the zen zone, then it's therapeutic and you can decrease the dosing of your psychiatric medication. You could buy a vintage Fuji for $20 and wipe it down with a rag and sell it for $411 (true story) or a Jamis Quest for $350, do absolutely nothing to it, and sell it for $700 a week later (true story). However, you may have a vintage Schwinn that you bought and knew it needed at least 1 tire, a new seat, and a good overhaul..i mean total disassembly...and find out that the stem is stuck and after soaking it for a month it still won't come out and the bottom bracket axle is pitted, so you end up just breaking even selling the parts (true story). Most bikes are comfortably in the middle of these extremes. They will talk to you and let you know what they need. Pre-brifter generation bikes almost always require a complete tear down and inspection and servicing of all moving parts. I've never lost money, and it's nice to take my wife out to dinner and pay cash.

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Old 02-28-18, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Jicafold View Post
I flip a bike every few weeks. Probably over 200 by now. I sold a GT road bike last week. I paid $180 and sold it for $250 to a happy customer. All I did was adjust the brakes and trim the rear derailleur. Profit is extremely variable as is the time required to produce a quality product. Your time invested is essentially free if you enjoy it and if it puts you in the zen zone, then it's therapeutic and you can decrease the dosing of your psychiatric medication. You could buy a vintage Fuji for $20 and wipe it down with a rag and sell it for $411 (true story) or a Jamis Quest for $350, do absolutely nothing to it, and sell it for $700 a week later (true story). However, you may have a vintage Schwinn that you bought and knew it needed at least 1 tire, a new seat, and a good overhaul..i mean total disassembly...and find out that the stem is stuck and after soaking it for a month it still won't come out and the bottom bracket axle is pitted, so you end up just breaking even selling the parts (true story). Most bikes are comfortably in the middle of these extremes. They will talk to you and let you know what they need. Pre-brifter generation bikes almost always require a complete tear down and inspection and servicing of all moving parts. I've never lost money, and it's nice to take my wife out to dinner and pay cash.
It definitely does put me in the zen zone. Thatís my time to play. I donít bother to track time spent because I figured itís either that or Iím roaming the streets causing trouble. Iím sure my wife is happier Iím home lol. Iím currently at about 100 bikes per year and I know wahat you mean with the amount you can make. Iíve had some stellar deals and some others that werenít. So far I also havenít lost anything. It was nice though to be able to make enough to take the family on vacation. All bikes I do get completely overhauled. I have a lot of pride in what I do and if it doesnít feel right to sell something I donít believe in I wonít.
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Old 03-01-18, 04:35 PM
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It's What I do,
I only sell good quality bicycles no Wally World bikes but the big thing for me is I get all my parts Wholesale which makes a huge difference. I strip every bike down to the bare frame and do everything to it, new bearings when needed, new tires & tubes, new chain, brake pads & all cables, most are SS. I don't work and I love working on bikes so I don't care about time and I am very anal when I build something. I get a lot of bikes free or dirt cheap also. While I do sell on CL sometimes 99% of them I sell them through the shop I help at and I get much better money there than CL, I just give my boss a cut every time I sell one.

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Old 03-01-18, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Glennfordx4 View Post
It's What I do,
I only sell good quality bicycles no Wally World bikes but the big thing for me is I get all my parts Wholesale which makes a huge difference. I strip every bike down to the bare frame and do everything to it, new bearings when needed, new tires & tubes, brake pads & all cables, most are SS. I don't work and I love working on bikes so I don't care about time and I am very anal when I build something. I get a lot of bikes free or dirt cheap also. While I do sell on CL sometimes 99% of them I sell them through the shop I help at and I get much better money there than CL, I just give my boss a cut every time I sell one.

Glenn
Thatís great to hear that others take pride in it. How many do you do per year?
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Old 03-01-18, 09:28 PM
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I've been flipping bikes for years. I love working on bikes and only work part time, so it works out for me. It allows me to get some grocery money or whatnot but sales can be hot/cold. When I first started back in 2003 I was making quite a bit more money on each bike. Mind, it was very different in the early 2000's. I was doing fixed and SS conversions (mostly) and there was a very high demand back then as only a couple of Manufacturers were selling complete fixed bikes and folks were tripping over themselves to buy conversions. No one sold separate wheelsets* and other parts* like they do today, and with everyone selling fixed wheelsets/parks and super cheap bikes now, it's almost impossible to make much money off of each bike. The only way I make money today is from scoring a super cheap bike on Craigslist/Garage sale or a donation from a neighbor. The other way is to scour Craigslist for deals and act quickly. I've gotten a 1969 Schwinn Paramount P-14 complete track bike for $275, a Titanium Airborne Zeppelin w/Dura Ace groupset for $250, you get the idea. The other way to make more money is to strip the bike and sell off the parts/frame/etc. Again, Craigslist can be kinda fickle, so I'll put stuff up there for a week or two then off to eBay it goes.

And I also strip all my bikes down to the frame and pull the fork. Ground up rebuild. I may not make a lot of money on the bikes but it makes me feel good that something of quality is leaving my shop to another. I also take throwaways that are low end and try to save them. Any bike is a good bike if it is of some use to another. I had a crap Huffy fixed conversion that was my grocery bike for about 4 years. I finally sold it to a substitute school teacher who fell in love with it. I think I sold it for $20 because it was so low end. That was 5 years ago and he still brings it to my shop when he needs a part replaced. I am tickled that this damn thing is still rolling. I fix it and parts for free for him because he loves the bike. Passion for his bike, a cheapie still rolling and not another casualty for the landfill. What more could you ask for?





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Old 03-02-18, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Jicafold View Post
I flip a bike every few weeks. Probably over 200 by now. I sold a GT road bike last week. I paid $180 and sold it for $250 to a happy customer. All I did was adjust the brakes and trim the rear derailleur. Profit is extremely variable as is the time required to produce a quality product. Your time invested is essentially free if you enjoy it and if it puts you in the zen zone, then it's therapeutic and you can decrease the dosing of your psychiatric medication. You could buy a vintage Fuji for $20 and wipe it down with a rag and sell it for $411 (true story) or a Jamis Quest for $350, do absolutely nothing to it, and sell it for $700 a week later (true story). However, you may have a vintage Schwinn that you bought and knew it needed at least 1 tire, a new seat, and a good overhaul..i mean total disassembly...and find out that the stem is stuck and after soaking it for a month it still won't come out and the bottom bracket axle is pitted, so you end up just breaking even selling the parts (true story). Most bikes are comfortably in the middle of these extremes. They will talk to you and let you know what they need. Pre-brifter generation bikes almost always require a complete tear down and inspection and servicing of all moving parts. I've never lost money, and it's nice to take my wife out to dinner and pay cash.
What is the maximum number of bikes it makes sense to have at any given time in the bike flipping process?? Is there a sweet spot where you can have some that need work and some that are waiting to be sold?

I purchased a bike today from an acknowledged bike flipper. He said he has been doing it for years. Cool. I've purchased flipped bikes before (I live in Portland, OR and I have bought 8 bikes from Craigslist in the past dozen years). What concerns me is that this person's bike flipping operation had 10 times the inventory I've seen from previous bike flippers. There were easily 200 bikes in his backyard, stacked against each other in tight rows and covered with tarps. Isn't this kind of inventory too costly to hang onto?? I'm currently dealing with buyer's remorse. I am extremely worried that I'm supporting a bike theft operation, and any expert knowledge is appreciated.
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Old 03-02-18, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Wrenchspinnerjr View Post
That’s great to hear that others take pride in it. How many do you do per year?
I all depends if my heath is good or bad lol, But anywhere between 5 & 15, I got two finished this winter and 3 others started and planning stages already plus another 7 finished from last fall at the shop for sale. We are a tourist area and have no people looking for bikes till summer rolls in. I didn't put any bikes in the last year on CL which is why I still have so many left, but they will sell soon. I also have about 20 or 30 more hanging around waiting their turn in line.

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Old 03-02-18, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jung1emonkee View Post
What is the maximum number of bikes it makes sense to have at any given time in the bike flipping process?? Isn't this kind of inventory too costly to hang onto?? ... I'm currently dealing with buyer's remorse. I am extremely worried that I'm supporting a bike theft operation, and any expert knowledge is appreciated.
How can anyone give you a number without knowing the cost of said inventory, your storage space, and even the tolerance level of a spouse/mate? There's also no way for any of us to know if the bike flipper has stolen bikes or spends a lot of time curb and garage sale picking. I will say that if one lives in an area with a lot of rain and snow it's a bad idea to have a pile stored outdoors that keeps increasing.
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Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

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Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!
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Old 03-02-18, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
There's also no way for any of us to know if the bike flipper has stolen bikes or spends a lot of time curb and garage sale picking.
This being Portland in March, there is a Lot of rain. As to storage area, the yard (50' x 20') was completely full of bikes stacked so close together the only walkable area was a pathway to the back door. A small garage had another 4 bikes in the process of being fixed. Most bikes were low to mid-end (from what I saw).
This particular individual I dealt with said, vehemently, that he obtained all of his bikes from Craigslist. But, that seems the most expensive way to obtain bikes! Do you think I was lied to?
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Old 03-02-18, 04:03 PM
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I try not to have more than 4 to flip any any one time. More than that and I lose track of what parts came off what. I really need to get more organized. I have had 2 that I thought might have been stolen. One of those I ended up selling to a police officer....I didn't know he was until I was standing there with the bike and I was thinking "oh crap". But a week later he emailed me and said how happy he was with it.

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Old 03-02-18, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jung1emonkee View Post
What is the maximum number of bikes it makes sense to have at any given time in the bike flipping process?? Is there a sweet spot where you can have some that need work and some that are waiting to be sold?

I purchased a bike today from an acknowledged bike flipper. He said he has been doing it for years. Cool. I've purchased flipped bikes before (I live in Portland, OR and I have bought 8 bikes from Craigslist in the past dozen years). What concerns me is that this person's bike flipping operation had 10 times the inventory I've seen from previous bike flippers. There were easily 200 bikes in his backyard, stacked against each other in tight rows and covered with tarps. Isn't this kind of inventory too costly to hang onto?? I'm currently dealing with buyer's remorse. I am extremely worried that I'm supporting a bike theft operation, and any expert knowledge is appreciated.
I know where you are coming from. I once purchased a stolen bike. Had no idea it was stolen. Looking back I should have read the guy a bit better. I posted it in CL and lo and behold I had two cops and the original owner show up. Luckily I still had the guys address. Definitely hurt. My best advice is to look who the seller is. Have to learn to read people. Thatís the hardest part
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Old 07-05-18, 05:30 AM
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Hmm, jung1, with that many bikes, especially low/mid end Iím not thinking stolen, Iíve dealt with a lot of resellers and in my experience people with that many often have arrangements with scrappers or goodwill stores, or have some other way of getting large quantities of bikes at a time, although it does sound fishy that he said they were all from Craigslist, unless he responded to someone who had containers full

as for what you try to make, I try to stick to 150 on a full strip down and rebuild, Iím in a popular area in Chicago and if I get bikes cheap enough I can do a cool single speed build or something like that and make 150 on it most of the time, after expenses, but I have a lot of experience and I have an account with a parts distributor, and arrangements with bike shops for 20 percent over cost if my distributor doesnít have what I need, Iíd be struggling without that

Iím ramping up towards opening a shop, hopefully in the next year, itís my sole source of income right now and Iím getting by out of the garage, but a shop would make a lot of things easier, we also have a lot of great plans for it, we want to make it a social space with trivia, comedy and bingo nights, and that will only make our shop more popular

Iíd be honored if you all followed me on Instagram, itís brianbikeman, and our shop is Cog Cycles Chicago, itís on Facebook too (canít get them to remove the motorcycle shop part of our designation though, be careful about Facebook, they donít seem to care much)

Now if youíll allow me to hijack the thread for a moment, but also keep it going, anyone here build any interesting bike storage, Iím looking to store frames, maybe with handlebars, derailleurs, cranksets, etc, but without wheels, in the smallest possible space to maximize the room I have in my garage, Iíve seen some interesting 2x4 storage systems constructed, Iím wondering if anyone here has one to share

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Old 07-05-18, 07:11 AM
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Hey Brian, nothing special, but a friend gave me some scaffolding pipe that works good for hanging space. Looks like you single speed a lot. How's that market holding up?
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