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Side-job??

Old 08-23-18, 10:51 AM
  #1  
2pedals5
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Side-job??

This came in my head and it's got me drilling that I don't know if its worth doing so but let's say I buy a bike off from goodwill stores or buy from owner who sells their bike. If I put in a new life on this bike and sell, would people buy this bike that I had evolved from old to used-new or would they rather get it from lbs?
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Old 08-23-18, 11:14 AM
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It depends on many variables, but here's my experience.

If you can get the bike for next to nothing and spend the minimum possible time getting it working, then you can make a little bit of money. Generally, I get bikes for £10 and sell them for £50. Some require only air in the tyres and a wipe down with a cloth. Others require replacement parts or significant repair. Sometimes it's not until you get a bike home that you discover the seat stay has completely detached from the seat tube (happened to me last week). Occasionally you'll find a £10 bike you can sell for £150. Occasionally you'll find a £10 bike you should be able to sell easily and have it sitting around for months on end waiting for a buyer.

If you decide to do this, you can expect 2 things: you'll have tons of bikes and parts cluttering up what space you have available. You'll spend more time working on them than you realise, and you won't make lots of money. Especially if you can't find a cheap source of replacement parts, tubes and tyres.

Last thing to consider is the bike market in your area. Are people buying used bikes? How much do they sell for? What's popular at the moment? For example around here retro mountain bikes are on the up, and vintage roadies are on the way down. Leisure/ hybrid bikes always sell quicker than I expect and I'm surprised how many people want one or ride them. Also, the 'pub bike' seems to be a thing. A BSO they can prop up outside the pub without fear of theft while they get a few beers in them.

Basically, if you're looking for a hobby that pays for itself and occasionally funds purchases for the bikes you ride, then go for it!
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Old 08-23-18, 11:15 AM
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There's a good sticky in C&V appraisals about this.

Bike Flipping 101
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Old 08-23-18, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
There's a good sticky in C&V appraisals about this.

Bike Flipping 101
+1 what you are describing is called "flipping". Where it probably works best ins in a college or University town where there are lots of students looking for cheap, reasonably reliable transportation and where bike theft is a chronic problem so there is a significant replacement market. You can sell easily at the beginning of the school year and buy cheap (or even free) at the end.
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Old 08-23-18, 12:08 PM
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If you can flip vintage BMX's from the 80's that's where the real money is
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Old 08-23-18, 05:31 PM
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Unfortunately for the seller to you and the person buying from you the profit made from flipping a bike (or car/house/you name it) is dependent on one of those other two loosing a bit in the transactions. or the flipper not really doing much improvement (putting much cost into the bike). Andy
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Old 08-23-18, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Unfortunately for the seller to you and the person buying from you the profit made from flipping a bike (or car/house/you name it) is dependent on one of those other two loosing a bit in the transactions. or the flipper not really doing much improvement (putting much cost into the bike). Andy
I don't think anyone looses in this situation. You buy a bike from someone that does not want it, or who is not willing to put the time/ effort/ expense into it to get what it is "worth". You then increase the value of the bike by putting in your time/ effort/ expense. You sell for a profit. Everyone's happy. Capitalism.
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Old 08-23-18, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MrK. View Post
I don't think anyone looses in this situation. You buy a bike from someone that does not want it, or who is not willing to put the time/ effort/ expense into it to get what it is "worth". You then increase the value of the bike by putting in your time/ effort/ expense. You sell for a profit. Everyone's happy. Capitalism.
+10000000
Thank you for saying this. It really bothers me when people don't understand this.

People sell stuff below its actual value for many reasons. (For example, I gave away a bunch of good stuff for free because I needed space for other things. I valued the space more than the items. I hope the guy I gave the stuff to makes a killing by selling it or builds cool bikes with the parts). You aren't taking advantage of them or cheating them if you're paying what they ask. Or even if you haggle a bit. No one is making them sell it.

If you're willing to hold on to said item for longer and find the right buyer who values it more, then you did a service to both the original seller and your buyer.
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Old 08-23-18, 06:41 PM
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I have flipped a few bikes and only 2 of them made any real money because I made the money when they were acquired for zero or near zero dollars. Those are rare finds that come about only once every couple of years at best, however I have run into two zero dollar acquisitions this year! Who you know pays off at times. Sold one and fell in love with the other so it is now in my collection.
Just like any resell business be it used product or new product, the profit potential is decided upon at time of purchasing from the source. In all industries experienced buyers understand this. Buying off of Craigs list is a crap shoot at best as most people, not all, over price their goods with the expectation of haggling. To haggle down to near zero is usually not possible. Garage sales and word of mouth amongst acquaintances are the best tools of a buyer that is looking to flip.

I forgot to add that knowing a lot about bikes is going to be an asset of immeasurable value. Models, model years, correct components, etc. Must also add that restricting myself to certain brands and models within those brands has been the best modification I made to my flipping process. It has helped me avoid what I see everywhere I go, a garage full of bikes and no where to go because of market value. Know the market and know what part of that market you want.

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Old 08-23-18, 06:45 PM
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I'm a retailer. I do understand it. I just wanted to offer the flip side (sorry, bad pun). Just as in retail there are good players and not so honest ones. From the bikes I see coming into our shop for service after used purchases I see far too many that have had little or no added value by the seller. If the OP does do good for both the seller and the buyer my helmet's off to him.

We get the "do you take trade ins" all the time. We've learned that to do professional improvements on the bike usually requires us to not pay (and a trade in is buying, unlike what many think) the market value. I freely explain this and suggest the seller works directly with the their privet buyer. I ask them do they want to make the money or let the shop do so. I can count on my fingers the number of bikes the shops I worked at bought the bike, well I might need a toe or two too. Andy
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Old 08-23-18, 07:03 PM
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I used to flip cars to help pay for college. Much better return on investment but also requires more up front investment, tooling and knowledge.

I've thought about flipping bikes but the profit margins doesn't interest me enough to turn a hobby into a job. While I'm not rich enough that $50-$100 is chump change I'm also not so destitue that I need the hassle of CL buyers either. I usually just give away a bike to friends and family or just enough to cover my costs.

There are those instances where you can make good money off a nice used bike but those are rare and even rarer still off CL.
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Old 08-23-18, 09:36 PM
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For a couple of years between jobs i made decent “pocket money” buying and selling 35mm SLRs. With dSLR all the rage, people were offloading their film cameras and lenses on CL for next to nothing. I would buy the good stuff (Nikons, Canons, OMs, Contaxes etc) clean them up and fix light seals etc, then put them out on eBay. There was (and is) an enthusiastic market for decent film stuff, especially overseas. I usually made 2-4x when I paid for them. Not enough to live on, but enough to make some significant purchases for the house and to feed my own SLR collecting habit
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Old 08-23-18, 10:07 PM
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I don't know the conditions where you live. In my town, there are already quite a number of bike flippers competing with one another.

I run a side-business, but it's not bike related. It's hard to figure out how to actually make a profit after you've considered your costs for tools, parts, and supplies. My guess is that some of the flippers are already losing money, making it hard to profitably compete with them.
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Old 08-24-18, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
We get the "do you take trade ins" all the time. We've learned that to do professional improvements on the bike usually requires us to not pay (and a trade in is buying, unlike what many think) the market value. I freely explain this and suggest the seller works directly with the their privet buyer. I ask them do they want to make the money or let the shop do so. I can count on my fingers the number of bikes the shops I worked at bought the bike, well I might need a toe or two too. Andy
When I first got into biking as an adult in the mid-'80's most of the LBSs I frequented did buy (usually as "trade-ins") and sell used bikes. Now nearly none of them do and the only one I'm familiar with that still does is in a college town and sells only used bikes.

I'm not sure if the change is based just on economics because they couldn't get enough value out of the used bikes or also on legal liability issues because it was too costly to be sure the used bike met safety standards.
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Old 08-24-18, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
We get the "do you take trade ins" all the time. We've learned that to do professional improvements on the bike usually requires us to not pay (and a trade in is buying, unlike what many think) the market value. I freely explain this and suggest the seller works directly with the their privet buyer. I ask them do they want to make the money or let the shop do so. I can count on my fingers the number of bikes the shops I worked at bought the bike, well I might need a toe or two too. Andy
Same here. Every so often, even after all my efforts to persuade someone to sell their bike privately, he (it's always he) will insist that I "must" buy his bike in order for him to buy a new one (mind you, I already know I'm not selling a bike, so this is just for sport). So We'll go through the math, and even at 25 points, and adding the parts required and costing labor at zero, we get to a number he isn't happy with. [SCENE]
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Old 08-24-18, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
...Sold one and fell in love with the other so it is now in my collection.
This is my problem. When I get them done they are so nice I don't want to let them go.
When I do sell them I lose money.
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Old 08-24-18, 04:01 PM
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So @2pedals5, what do you think? Have you tried doing what you are thinking about? Perhaps that's the way to get your question answered.
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Old 08-24-18, 05:21 PM
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Selling used bikes or flipping bikes all comes down to the name.

People buy bikes made by the big names. For example, Surly sells very well around here. Diamond back does not. Mongoose does not. See where I am going?
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Old 08-24-18, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by tonyfourdogs View Post

If you decide to do this, you can expect 2 things: you'll have tons of bikes and parts cluttering up what space you have available. You'll spend more time working on them than you realise, and you won't make lots of money. Especially if you can't find a cheap source of replacement parts, tubes and tyres.
Yep, this was basically my experience during the very brief time that I did it. While it was a fun hobby, the time I put in wasn't worth the return.

IMO, good tools are a must for this kind of enterprise - and that can be a bit of an investment.
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