Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Flipping bikes in a college town

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Flipping bikes in a college town

Old 08-26-08, 02:39 PM
  #1  
bikemore 
Too many bikes
Thread Starter
 
bikemore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Boston MA
Posts: 1,375
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Flipping bikes in a college town

Or maybe it is just Boston.

I have been trying to clear out my basement of so-so (and some fairly
ones) bikes that I haven't gotten working quite right. I fix them up fairly
slowly and then post them on CL at what I consider a reasonable price. Not
enough to really cover my effort, but the price is lower then the other flippers.
Anyway, there seems to me to be a bit of an air of desperation on some
of the people replying to my ads. I posted a Trek Multi-Track today and
I got 4-5 responses. It is a nice bike, but nothing special. The last responsor
replied - after I told him I think it is sold - said "I have cash in my hands".
As I said my price isn't high so I keep the bikes moving out (I have 7 more
to go), but it is not real competitive with Walmart and Target either.

Anyway, I am just a bit puzzled. I am sure someone will pipe up and
say I should raise my prices. The bikes just aren't that great. And I have gotten
a few people who want to barter me down - haven't had to drop my price
yet (save for one really poor department store bike). The ads says "Ready
to ride". I have seen more then a few ads at higher prices and things
like "needs new tires" or something.
bikemore is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 02:45 PM
  #2  
bikemore 
Too many bikes
Thread Starter
 
bikemore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Boston MA
Posts: 1,375
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sort of the opposite of the situation described here

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/453319-cl-question-want-buy.html
bikemore is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 02:52 PM
  #3  
RobbieTunes 
Half drunk? Finish!
 
RobbieTunes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Very Southern Indiana
Posts: 26,353
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 378 Post(s)
Liked 938 Times in 593 Posts
1-If you're on this forum, you're really not competing with Walmart and Target, are you?
2-Assuming #1 above, determine how the quality of your bikes compare to the entry market at LBS's.
3-If you can sell for 40% of the entry market and make money, you will. $400 used vs. $1000 new works.
4-If demand is steady, raising prices is up to you. Hopefully you have the right size bikes for folks.
5-If demand is dropping, or people want bargains, that, again is up to you.

My experience is that, unless you have a better bike, 50% of the new bike price will drive them to buy new.
I can outfit a Centurion Ironman in Shimano 600 tri-color, new tires, decent saddle, and it will be a better bike than the entry-level bikes at $1200-$1400. But it definitely won't sell for $500, or even $400 for that matter. My market here is $200-$400, with rare exceptions for really built-up bikes.

Then again, I'm not a flipper. I'm slowly adding riders to the area, and making about $1/hour plus my investment, but I'm having a blast. Being exposed to the market and constantly searching for bikes does give me some opportunity for a great deal I can flip, but most of the time, it's a bike I can make right, and then sell right, and I've made a friend. Can't buy that.
__________________

I have unfinished business.


Last edited by RobbieTunes; 08-26-08 at 02:55 PM.
RobbieTunes is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 04:21 PM
  #4  
sirpoopalot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 441
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You should price your bikes higher. Multiple serious responses means that your price is too low. I price stuff on craigslist to get a single- one buyer.
sirpoopalot is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 04:28 PM
  #5  
roccobike
Bike Junkie
 
roccobike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South of Raleigh, North of New Hill, East of Harris Lake, NC
Posts: 9,574

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Specialized Roubaix, Giant OCR-C, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, Stumpjumper Comp, 88 & 92Nishiki Ariel, 87 Centurion Ironman, 92 Paramount, 84 Nishiki Medalist

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 54 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
When I sell a bike, it's usually well below the going rate for that type of bike. The exasperation on the part of buyers is finding a good bike for a fair price. Far to many flippers want very high dollars for not much bike. I see it here in the Raleigh area all the time. Eg. step through, entry level Schwinns with friction shifters, $125. Trek 800's $175 and it needs work!
I sell bikes for a price that lets me sleep at night after I've fixed anything that needs fixing and lubed anything that needs lubing. I've had people return or call asking if I'm selling another bike.
If you can sleep at night for the price you're charging, and you're happy with what you receive, IMHO, don't raise the prices.
I believe a higher power is watching, that's why we find so many good deals on bikes we want.
__________________
Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator
roccobike is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 05:10 PM
  #6  
sonatageek
Senior Member
 
sonatageek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Cleveland,Ohio
Posts: 2,780
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I have started to price nicer bikes at higher prices, and then been willing to wait for a buyer. Makes the effort to fix em up seem a bit more worth while.
sonatageek is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 07:18 PM
  #7  
bikemore 
Too many bikes
Thread Starter
 
bikemore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Boston MA
Posts: 1,375
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sonatageek View Post
I have started to price nicer bikes at higher prices, and then been willing to wait for a buyer. Makes the effort to fix em up seem a bit more worth while.
Ya, I have raised prices. Perhaps not enough. I am not that crazy about waiting for that one buyer. I
have a 700sq foot basement that I share with 6 other people.

Sold two bikes tonight. The second brought her boyfriend and he wants one too. Don't even
have to bother with CL. Seemed to think by price was OK.

The people I am selling to right now are looking for basic transportation. At least as far as I can
tell. That is part of the reason I am confused. Basic transportation - doesn't matter what bike. No?
It could be just the look of older bikes.
bikemore is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 07:24 PM
  #8  
RobbieTunes 
Half drunk? Finish!
 
RobbieTunes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Very Southern Indiana
Posts: 26,353
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 378 Post(s)
Liked 938 Times in 593 Posts
Sounds like you've found your market, and you're in a big enough place to have a craigslist be viable.
If they're coming to you from word of mouth, etc, and are satisfied, you're not ripping them off and you're providing value for the price. No problem there.
__________________

I have unfinished business.

RobbieTunes is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 07:28 PM
  #9  
redxj
N+1
 
redxj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 1,318

Bikes: A few

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I usually price bikes lower than some of the outrageous local "flippers". I.E. asking $200+ for a low end gas pipe that I would price at less than $150, and in most cases would probably pass if I saw it for sale for $20. They give barely a description with maybe a single CL hosted picture, and I give a huge description and big pictures. My bikes look better to perspective buyers. But, usually I say you can always go down on price. So if I think I can get $150 pretty easy I price at $160-175, and most of the time I do get the asking price.
redxj is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 07:29 PM
  #10  
sonatageek
Senior Member
 
sonatageek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Cleveland,Ohio
Posts: 2,780
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I struggle with the thought of fixing up department store Huffy and Murray 10 speeds ('road' bikes) from the 70's and 80's. They always need tires and tubes, which means $20-30 and then another $5-10 for cables and brake shoes. That would put things at $40 for the parts, so to make it even worth the trouble, I would need to charge $75-80 for the bike. That seems like too much for that quality of a bike, even if it has been completely serviced.

Do others bother with these kinds of bikes and if so, what do you list and sell them for? These seem to be the only kind of bikes I find for free.
sonatageek is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 07:35 PM
  #11  
Old Fat Guy
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 5,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I've sold over a dozen bikes in the last 5 days. None were priced real high, none real low. I think the cheapest was a Continental that I did'nt do much to besides clean for $125, the most expensive was a Raleigh Competition for $300 and it had a complete rebuild, but the Brooks went to a friend. Most were around $175 for basic, solid Schwinn's/Raleigh's. I sold a very clean 1968 Collegiate for $200 today.

Everything is relative. What can you buy today that will be rideable 40 years from now? The Collegiate still will, with minimal care.

I sold a Collegiate 3 yesterday to a fellow that was bike savvy, He gave me a fair price for a townie bike that he knows he can ride for a school year and resell for close to what he paid.

I'm in the Midwest, and though I'm sure I could get more for my bikes, I've sold everything I have with a clear conscience, and no haggling.

I did sell a bike to a student who just returned from 4 years undergrad on the East Coast, and he commented how nice it was to be back in the Midwest where folks are honest. I'd like to think everyone of us C&V folks are at least honest, even if opportunists.

I have no problem selling a bike that I paid less than $2 for at a 1500% profit. That's an opportunity. Selling a piece of crap, untouched off the curb on garbage day is a sin, and I'm not religious.
Old Fat Guy is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 08:12 PM
  #12  
bjornb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 110
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If your price is too low, people will be flipping your flips....
bjornb is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 08:13 PM
  #13  
redxj
N+1
 
redxj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 1,318

Bikes: A few

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by sonatageek View Post
I struggle with the thought of fixing up department store Huffy and Murray 10 speeds ('road' bikes) from the 70's and 80's. They always need tires and tubes, which means $20-30 and then another $5-10 for cables and brake shoes. That would put things at $40 for the parts, so to make it even worth the trouble, I would need to charge $75-80 for the bike. That seems like too much for that quality of a bike, even if it has been completely serviced.

Do others bother with these kinds of bikes and if so, what do you list and sell them for? These seem to be the only kind of bikes I find for free.
They are an absolute waste of time. I don't bother with any bikes from a department store. For free I might grab it just to take to the scrap yard or rob a few misc parts from it, but never to fix up and resell. My basic standard for a bike to buy has to have three piece cotterless cranks and a straight frame/fork. So yes, I pass up every Varsity, Continental, and three speed crusier bike I generally come across. For me it is mostly road bikes with a few older MTB/hybrids as well.
redxj is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 08:42 PM
  #14  
bct555
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Faber Va
Posts: 62
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have three college towns within 100 miles and one within 25. Huffy, murray, and schwinn bikes are just as popular if not more so than the bigger brands. I price any road bike at a minimum of $125 and they dont last more than a few days. A huffy or murray with new tires and tubes, bar wrap, cables and housing, and brake shoes and all bearings serviced will give just as good service to a college kid as a twice the price top brand.
I'll take all the one piece crank, safety levered, stem shifting dept store bikes I can find and be damn glad to get em!
bct555 is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 08:55 PM
  #15  
Old Fat Guy
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 5,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by redxj View Post
They are an absolute waste of time. I don't bother with any bikes from a department store. For free I might grab it just to take to the scrap yard or rob a few misc parts from it, but never to fix up and resell. My basic standard for a bike to buy has to have three piece cotterless cranks and a straight frame/fork. So yes, I pass up every Varsity, Continental, and three speed crusier bike I generally come across. For me it is mostly road bikes with a few older MTB/hybrids as well.

I have to disagree ever so slightly with my good friend, redxj. I won't take a dept. store bike for free, unless it has tires I need, and only a Varsinetal if it has tires and is preactically free, and clean to begin with. Where I disagree is an old Schwinn Collegiate/Suburban. I don't car if it has heavy, one piececranks, it has fenders, and sometimes a chain guard.

My best seller is a Collegiate. It has 5 speeds, which is fine for most campus jaunts, it has fenders and a chain guard, big pluses, if sold properly, it's stylish as all get out, and the biggest plus for college kids, you can ride it after a few drinks!

Three speeds fit into the same category, even simpler, especially if it has a Sturmey Archer hub. I can sell every one redxj passes on. Thank goodness he has a job, finally, so he doesn't have time to polish turds all day. ;-)
Old Fat Guy is offline  
Old 08-26-08, 10:50 PM
  #16  
redxj
N+1
 
redxj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 1,318

Bikes: A few

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Old Fat Guy View Post
Thank goodness he has a job, finally, so he doesn't have time to polish turds all day. ;-)
Now, I polish turds all day and get a steady paycheck for it. A lot of my hatred towards dept store bikes and many of the low end Schwinn's etc. comes from working in a bike shop and having to fix them up day in and day out. Many days I don't feel like working on bikes for 8+ hours and then going home to do the same some more.
redxj is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 06:37 AM
  #17  
ParaWK4
Senior Member
 
ParaWK4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Indiana
Posts: 166

Bikes: 85 Fuso, 86 Peloton, 84,88 Paramount

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I would guess that selling bikes in a college town would be a very seasonal business. Now, everyone is returning to campus and deciding that they need a bike to get around. In May/June, all the students are selling bikes because they are leaving campus.
ParaWK4 is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 06:47 AM
  #18  
Old Fat Guy
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 5,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
In May/June, all the students are abandoning bikes. They rarely sell them, at least around here.
Old Fat Guy is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 08:02 AM
  #19  
fiataccompli 
Steel Member
 
fiataccompli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,480

Bikes: N + 1

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
so, does it work out to be profitable flipping bikes? I've flipped all sorts of things & generally do it for fun, or as a result/means of upgrading, etc., but I wondered whether the folks with the sorta expensive (to me...for something I've seen at yard sales for $15) older URBs ("universal road bikes") are actually making a profit.

Last edited by fiataccompli; 08-27-08 at 08:08 AM.
fiataccompli is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 08:04 AM
  #20  
Old Fat Guy
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 5,280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Depends on your skill level and what your time is worth.
Old Fat Guy is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 08:12 AM
  #21  
bikemore 
Too many bikes
Thread Starter
 
bikemore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Boston MA
Posts: 1,375
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fiataccompli View Post
so, does it work out to be profitable flipping bikes? I've flipped all sorts of things & generally do it for fun, or as a result/means of upgrading, etc., but I wondered whether the folks with the sorta expensive (to me...for something I've seen at yard sales for $15) older URBs ("universal road bikes") are actually making
Well, I more or less sell the bikes for more then my costs. Sometimes a lot more.
I've only been wrenching for a couple of years so I am not that efficient, so
from a time point of view it isn't profitable. By doing the flipping I hope to
attain the skills needed to turn a bike around quickly. Sort of what you
might expect from an experienced HS kid working in a bike shop. So
that is where I get the profit. Most bikes I sell I get for free, although
they are almost never rideable when I get them.


I sort of didn't get my question answered. I guess mainly because it is
hard to read the mind of the average CL responder (if such a thing even
exists). There are 200 bikes a day listed on Boston's CL. You would think
with that sort of volume there wouldn't be the need or temptation to wave
cash in front of the seller's nose to get the bike being offered. The prices
I ask are above the cost of filling an SUV tank twice - sort of in the middle
of the range of bikes being offered for sale.
bikemore is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 08:26 AM
  #22  
fiataccompli 
Steel Member
 
fiataccompli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,480

Bikes: N + 1

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
around here (east TN & ATL), the cheaper ones on CL seem to sell fast. I rarely follow up on the ones that are obviously in flip mode (not that I would never do so, because most folks seem to value their time less than I do so sometimes their flip is still worth the cash to me...a real win/win), but the cheaper $30-40-60 bikes I have called on have all sold super fast & some with the seller asking for bids or saying he's been offered more than his asking price. I get the impression it's not the same deal with mountain bikes...maybe I'm wrong there.

Also, on getting experience/skills/etc., I understand totally. I've flipped more cars than anything else & I have been exclusively my own mechanic for all things for at least the last 15 years and for most stuff 20 years. I'd rather do it myself - acquiring the tools, know-how, etc. to learn the job. The first time through, I probably break even compared to paying someone else...but from there forward I save money & after a few years into it, I had a strong enough tool collection that 99% of the problems that hit me I was prepared for. I think I'll be adding a few real 'bike' tools (plus a stand set-up...need to search archives for that!) to my collection soon, however. I wouldn't do it if I did not enjoy the process of repairing/learning/diagnosing/etc. & I usually enjoy meeting all the folks along the way in the process.
fiataccompli is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 08:34 AM
  #23  
KJColumbo
Ride on...
 
KJColumbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Honey Brook, PA
Posts: 84

Bikes: Just starting my collection.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
After working on my Raleigh, and dreaming about getting my Treks on the road again, have been thinking about getting into flipping myself. I really enjoy working on bikes, and it would help teach me more about bikes and help to find some good bikes some good homes. Another good excuse to get my "shop" stocked in my soon to be completed house too...hehe! I'm out in the amish country in PA, with some college towns, and phiily near by, so CL would probably be a good avenue for me.

Any tips or recommendations to a newbie about where to find bikes/parts to get started on?
KJColumbo is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 08:36 AM
  #24  
A.Winthrop
Senior Member
 
A.Winthrop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Old Fat Guy View Post
In May/June, all the students are abandoning bikes. They rarely sell them, at least around here.
.
Hi,
.
So true in my college town as well. The week after graduation,
campus security tags every bike in campus racks with a notice
saying the bike will be assumed abandoned in 30 days if the
notice still appears on it. Those bikes are cut free of the
racks and stored over the summer in the gym. Before classes
start in the fall, returning students have a shot a reclaiming
their bike if they want it. After classes start, incoming
freshmen get first shot at the bikes for free and then the
rest of the students have a shot at them. The two local bike
shops get the rest and most of those are given away to local
kids. It's a pretty good process and it doesn't seem to
effect sales of new bikes at the two LBSes. They are mobbed
now and in early September each year.
.
A nice spin-off of this system is LBS old-parts bins brimming
with ancient parts from the ancient, abandoned bikes once
owned by ancient parents of graduating college students.
Just yesterday, I plucked from one shop's pedal bin a perfect
pair of Sakae SR SP-100 quills, Campy copies from the mid-'80s,
and a matching perfect pair of black nylon toe clip straps.
Can't argue with the price: FREE!
.

Last edited by A.Winthrop; 08-27-08 at 10:59 AM.
A.Winthrop is offline  
Old 08-27-08, 08:42 AM
  #25  
bikemore 
Too many bikes
Thread Starter
 
bikemore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Boston MA
Posts: 1,375
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by KJColumbo View Post
Any tips or recommendations to a newbie about where to find bikes/parts to get started on?
I have had the best luck with Freecycle from areas more then 20 miles
outside of Boston. Trash day works sometimes. Somewhere on here there
is a picture of someone pickup up a whole yard full bikes on one day.
Moving day is this weekend in Boston, I wonder how many bikes will be out
on the curb. I am out of town so I won't know. (For those not from Boston,
about 80% of the leases renew on September 1st and Labor Day weekend
is the big move). Also charity type sales (churches, Mason's, etc) are a good bet,
but you need to be there at the opening.

Also CL listings of items not well described and not having a picture. A lot
of buyers insist on pictures so when there is none the response can be poor.
bikemore is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.