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Bike Flipping on CL,Economy or Me

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Bike Flipping on CL,Economy or Me

Old 07-09-09, 09:29 AM
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Glennfordx4 
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Bike Flipping on CL,Economy or Me

This year is my second year of using CL to sell bikes to support my habit and I am finding it very difficult to sell anything. Last year no matter what the bike was and what I was asking the bikes were sold within a few days and I had people lining up for more,this year I have had bikes up for weeks and the only interest I get are the scammers or the really lowball offers. I don't understand when I look at the junk being sold and the prices they are asking my bikes are always the better deal,I don't sell Box store bikes unless it's vintage my bikes are brands like Trek,KHS,Giant and the like and I hardly ever have a bike priced over $150 and I make sure that a bike I sell is a 100% mecanicaly sound and is completely serviced with most having many new parts and upgrades. Are any of you that flip bikes seeing a drop in sales or taking a lot longer to move a bike as compared to last season. On a side note the first bike I did list this season was a Walmart Schwinn Skyliner in good shape for $75 and I got $85 for it when it was picked up and I could have sold it 20 times over,I just don't get it.
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Old 07-09-09, 09:47 AM
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I did notice it took me a week or two on the last bike instead of only a couple of days, but it did sell. I did notice a slight uptick in other folks selling on CL, but not in the quality being sold -just the number. I have also notice more ADS for people buying bikes than there was last year. Perhaps more people are flipping bikes overall? but i will hazard a guess that some of us..those like you and me, put more INTO the bikes we are flipping, because we LIKE the physical bike itself. Whereas I am seeing folks putting up bikes at full price with no effort to restore them. So it is harder for me to find fixer-uppers on CL.
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Old 07-09-09, 09:47 AM
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It sounds like you've got a stupid market.
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Old 07-09-09, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
It sounds like you've got a stupid market.
+1 Stupid market.

+1 I really don't have much competition in the local market (I am going to regret saying that for sure), 99% of what is out there are Huffys, Roadmasters, Magnas, etc., basic Walmart junk. So people looking for a cheap bike will just buy one of the junkers. People looking for something better, or something classic, or something really clean and ready to ride, buy the better stuff.

I have sold more bikes this year than ever before, and at higher prices. I am running out of stuff to sell. Sold nine in the last two weeks, found one. Net inventory down eight. Got a handful left to go, and then the hobby is done for a while. With my bike inventory way down, I don't see a reason to discount them, or cut prices.

I only sell good bikes: cromoly frame, alloy crankset, alloy rims, and so on. They are pretty much spotless when I sell them at full market.

Occasionally I have an odd bike (really tall ones usually) where there is no interest. I just pull down the ad and repost it later. Eventually those sell as well.

What I really see drying up is the thrift store and garage sale bikes. There are more shoppers than ever before, so the bargains are going fast.

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Old 07-09-09, 10:16 AM
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Do you have a lot of crappy flippers (we have a lot in Chicago) and I think it turns people off to the whole CL process, when they see 10 ads for "Racer/Tri Bike", "Taiwan, Imported" with cruddy pics and even cruddier bikes. I think the average person would rather go to WalMart for a shiny new bike, then research, and try to find the 2% of the listings on CL for something decent, and properly put into working order.

I don't flip (bikes), but I troll CL bikes/parts whenever I get a chance, but I have sold a few things, and actually "made" money on them.

One example, I purchased a used (pretty good condition) Nitto Technomic Stem off a guy on CL for 25 dollars. Turns out, had my calculations wrong, couldn't use it, so I took phenomenal pics (both a small 640x480 and a 10MP version), posted an ad with full HTML (not just the four cruddy pics that CL offers) and sold it for 35 a few days later. So, I'm not sure how you are running your ads, but pic quality makes a huge difference. I put both the 4 CL pics in, but have <img> tags pointing to my website (where I upload the big photos), that are high quality.

So it could be a bad market, but having the best looking ads on CL really help.
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Old 07-09-09, 10:28 AM
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+1 On the crappy flippers. The Charlotte market is covered up with a guy selling junk, lousy pictures, etc., and basically flooding the market. And then the guy reposts the junk again and again until he hooks somebody. It has gotten to the point that I don't look there anymore.

I would be interested in a link to one of your ads if you want some thoughts. My bikes usually sell in two or three days.
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Old 07-09-09, 10:46 AM
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My Pics are great and detailed(sometimes to much detail) and yes I do put a lot into a bike because I like it and I enjoy working on them and when it comes to the mechanics I am a perfectionest always tring to make it better then it was sometimes even from the factory.I sell all kinds of stuff on CL and just about everything took a lot longer then I thought it would to sell,but it did sell.This is a seasonal biking county with all the islands we have, everybody rides a bike and most don't take care of them so they are always looking but not this season.We have tons of hotels and motels that hire kids from other countrys to work and last year I sold over 40 bikes just to that crowd this year zero. I have had more luck selling bikes to friends of friends or customers that used to come into my lawnmower repair shop.Only a bike guy or gal knows what I have and then after they check out one of my rides they are the ones that will buy it because they know what went into it in the first place and they know what it would cost to get a beater and take it to their LBS and have the work done there to get it to the condition one of my rides are in but they are far and few between.
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Old 07-09-09, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
+1 On the crappy flippers. The Charlotte market is covered up with a guy selling junk, lousy pictures, etc., and basically flooding the market. And then the guy reposts the junk again and again until he hooks somebody. It has gotten to the point that I don't look there anymore.

I would be interested in a link to one of your ads if you want some thoughts. My bikes usually sell in two or three days.
I will give a few I have up with the last one being up since Nov,but it is a kids bike and unless it's a Haro or the like don't sell well.Tell me what you think,like I said I don't get to many real offers and most are scammers.
http://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/1258468511.html
http://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/1258479303.html
http://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/1258507858.html
http://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/1258493355.html
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Old 07-09-09, 11:06 AM
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Only feedback I would have is use Flickr or similar, and imbed the photos in the text of your ad. That way you can put much larger photos into Craigs List and it is really easy to repost (no need to attach pictures)!

Your price on the Trek is pretty good, that bike would sell pretty quickly around here. I sold a KHS very similar to the one you are selling, that price is a little high for this area.

I cannot sell kids bike, no market at all. I donate them to my favorite charity.

Here's a link to my latest ad:

http://greenville.craigslist.org/bik/1261295990.html

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Old 07-09-09, 11:13 AM
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To the OP, it must be your market.
I am in SoCal and there are a bajillion bikes for sale on CL. Lots of junk, some nice 80's steel bikes that people, (like me) have done some work on and sell at a fair price.
I scan the CL ads like a hawk and have done pretty well in the last few months being the first one to spot and buy an undervalued bike, ('84 Trek 420 for $90) or find the good bikes for cheap that need mostly rehab time to make them shine and bring a profit.

I sold 2 bikes this week, 1 was a 1980 Nishiki International. It needed tires, bar tape and TLC when I got it. The guy drove 40 miles because he said he had gone to look at a similarly priced bike and the seat post was stuck. He had no issue paying full price for a nice riding and clean 29 year old bike.

The other was a '84 Schwinn Le Tour. I got it without a rear wheel and a donor bike came in handy for that. Sold it for full price in 3 days. A lot of my bikes go to college kids or guys that want an alternative to their car.

There is a lot of competition and there are some flippers, mostly on Los Angeles CL that list 10 bikes a day. Check the LA CL sometime. There is a flagging war between the full time flippers. Some pretty insane comments on there.

I bought an expensive track frame recently that the guy started to sand down and stopped. I finished the job and made some money on it but took a long time to sell. Won't go for any high end track stuff again unless it's vintage and lugged steel.

I remember now reading from another BF member. The sweet spot seems to be the bike you buy for $100, put $30 into it and sell for $250. That's my game plan now, at least in principle. I did get a bike last week that is so nice I will keep it.
Good luck to you Glennfordx4
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Old 07-09-09, 11:17 AM
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I've been selling my restoration bikes on the local CL for a few years now and use both Flickr and Photobucket for embedded images, describe the item in great detail and have worked out a posting formula that has been very successful for me. However in the last several weeks there is a moron who responds to every ad I put up with 'overpriced junk', 'you must be dreaming', 'who are you trying to gouge' and multiple variations on the theme. I've complained to both CL and his ISP and forwarded his harassing emails; the emails have stopped but now for the first time ever, I'm getting posts flagged and removed so I figure the moron has started flagging me.

As for the general market, yes it's much slower, and yes, my posts stay up a lot longer, but eventually I sell everything I put up--it just takes longer and multiple deletes/reposts of my sales items.
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Old 07-09-09, 11:59 AM
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I've been traveling back and forth from the SF Bay Area to LA for the past few months for work. And, at the same time, I've been pouring through CL and EB trying to satisfy this obsession I had to find an 80's steel road racer. I'd like to make a few observations about the West Coast market.

#1, the bike prices are WAY over valued in my opinion by $50-$150 for adult steel road bike. On average, a Japanese steel frame bike will have a selling price of $225-$270 regardless of the model or condition. And the trend seems to be going up. If the market couldn't bear these prices, over time they would be going down. So, it seems to be a sellers market here.

#2, the pictures really, really do matter. Every day there will be another 100 or more bikes listed on these CL's. As a buyer, trying to read through all these posts day after day, one automatically develops there own editing process. I will rarely look at a post that doesn't have a pic. If you are going to take only one crappy pic of you bike, take it of the right side of the bike. People who post one off-drivetrain side photo either don't know what they are doing (which could be good), or they are trying to hide something. If your ike doesn't sell in a week, try taking another photo and reposting it. I've seen several nice bikes with one crappy pic sit for weeks. Your photos are good ones. And it's apparent the quality of care you have put in to those bikes. If those bikes had been posted here, I have no doubt they would have sold very quickly.

#3, Another reason for the high prices, there seems to be some sort of Bike Angel Coalition out there. This has happened to me several times. Someone has a great price for a really nice bike, but when I contact them, I'm told that "some nice person has told me that the bike was worth more then I was asking so I'm taking it off CL and selling it on Ebay." Who the hell are these people.

#4, there seems to be a boom in home-grown bike flipping businesses here. I talked to an old brick and mortar used bike dealer in LA, he said his business was down, which surprised me, he told me to go to the huge local Salvation Army where they typically had a hundred old bikes for sell. I went there and they had one sad kids bike. Why, because there are so many people who think they can make a fast buck by snatching up these bikes, hiding any defects, and swindling the buyer who ends up with an unsafe piece of junk.

I've said to much.
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Old 07-09-09, 12:35 PM
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I've flipped three bikes this year. Previously, I would get my asking price in a day or two, with a flood of responses. This year, I'm still getting my asking price, but it's taking a week or two with only a few responses.

CL still has lots of bikes listed, and the prices are still sky-high for rolling basket cases. I assume there are a lot of flippers that have flooded the market, as there are a ton of bikes up that look like they were fished out of the dump or thrift shops and need significant work. But if I'm having sluggish sales with completely overhauled bikes that are presented well with good pictures, I find it hard to believe the bikes I see listed are moving.

But the prices have remained high, so who knows. All I know is that I had a good run, and now I'll sit and watch for a while.
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Old 07-09-09, 12:39 PM
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This is kind of sad but I received and e-mail earlier today about a CL bike and said to myself, "I dont have anything on CL, do I?" Yep, I have one listed I forgot about.

I think the economies catching up to people. I've had more low ball ridiculous offers than I've ever had and we have 2 or 3 guys who place WTB ads on the local CL. Last fall there was a little resistence around $300 this spring and summer the resisitence seems to be around $275.

My bikes, by far, are the best used bikes on CL and its reflected in my pricing, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately most buyers dont care or dont understand which makes it difficult to sell a RX100 bike in excellent condition for $25-50 more than 105 bikes that needs a tune-up and tires.

Thankfully this is just a hobby for me.
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Old 07-09-09, 12:50 PM
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Gotta agree with miamijim. I have some of the best bikes available in my market and they are priced accordingly. I still sell them without much issue, it just takes a little longer than last year.

The only exception is the fixed gear market which I just started dabbling in. I listed one yesterday and it sold in about 15 minutes. Road bikes are taking a little longer, usually a couple of days.
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Old 07-09-09, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Machin Shin View Post
Gotta agree with miamijim. I have some of the best bikes available in my market and they are priced accordingly. I still sell them without much issue, it just takes a little longer than last year.

The only exception is the fixed gear market which I just started dabbling in. I listed one yesterday and it sold in about 15 minutes. Road bikes are taking a little longer, usually a couple of days.
Your market mirrors mine!!!!
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Old 07-09-09, 12:54 PM
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Because of the bad economy, this year is good to buy very expensive bikes. Because sellers are motivated to sell the bike due to loss of good paying job and to get the money for mortgage. But there are virtually no one who want to spend 2K for that Colnago, be cause they fear they minght loose their job, so they need to save money. That means rich people sell their hi-end bikes for less. While cheap bikes are still affordable, and if someone is looking for a bike they would rather spend $80 for a cheapo bike rather than a few grand for a carbon wonder. I've seen CIOCC, with full Campy sell for $480 a few month ago.
Also it seems that fixies sell for much more that same bike but geared, and with brakes, etc. What is the reason behind it. Are fixed gear bikes so popular.
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Old 07-09-09, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Procione View Post
Because of the bad economy, this year is good to buy very expensive bikes. Because sellers are motivated to sell the bike due to loss of good paying job and to get the money for mortgage. But there are virtually no one who want to spend 2K for that Colnago, be cause they fear they minght loose their job, so they need to save money. That means rich people sell their hi-end bikes for less. While cheap bikes are still affordable, and if someone is looking for a bike they would rather spend $80 for a cheapo bike rather than a few grand for a carbon wonder. I've seen CIOCC, with full Campy sell for $480 a few month ago.
Also it seems that fixies sell for much more that same bike but geared, and with brakes, etc. What is the reason behind it. Are fixed gear bikes so popular.
Small nit. Folks that are wealthy may be losing wealth, but they don't need to sell off valuable things to make ends meet. If they do, they are not wealthy. It's the folks that were on the bubble and stretched a bit to buy some nice things that may have to sell off stuff to generate some revenue.

If you have money, now is a good time to be buying luxury items.
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Old 07-09-09, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Only feedback I would have is use Flickr or similar, and imbed the photos in the text of your ad. That way you can put much larger photos into Craigs List and it is really easy to repost (no need to attach pictures)!

Your price on the Trek is pretty good, that bike would sell pretty quickly around here. I sold a KHS very similar to the one you are selling, that price is a little high for this area.

I cannot sell kids bike, no market at all. I donate them to my favorite charity.

Here's a link to my latest ad:

http://greenville.craigslist.org/bik/1261295990.html
I tried using Photobucket but it didn't make much difference whether I used their 4 pics or 10 highly detailed pics and whether I use my 3 megapixel camera or my 10 megapixel camera,so I just got lazy and started using their 4 pics with my small camera.If it is a bike that I really like I take a lot of detailed photos for my own library of bikes that I have owned,own or sold.I think I might have the KHS sold to a lawnmower repair customer that was just here,last year I sold him my very first bike that I fixed up and he loves it and now wants another to keep at his second home but he likes bikes also and if it wasn't for his wife he would own half of my flippers lol.I told him $130 on the KHS as I sold one last year that was to small for me for $175 the second day it was listed and they didn't try talking me down.To me money talks BS walks so I am easy to get along with when it comes to sales I have been selling things for the last 26 years,if it had a gas engine I have sold it LOL.
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Old 07-09-09, 01:12 PM
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Yeah, may be that the poorer folks who have to sell their hi-end bikes at these times. This year I've seen a lot of old department store bikes sell for the retail price or just $10 less. But there are some nice carbon, or alu-carbon bikes that used to sell for $1500, not are somewhere around $800. As an example '07 Felt F55 with full Aura-Ace, and Aksiums was $850 a few weeks ago.
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Old 07-09-09, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
Your market mirrors mine!!!!
Yep. Welcome to the Philadelphia market. I need more fixed gears!
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Old 07-09-09, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Glennfordx4 View Post
I tried using Photobucket but it didn't make much difference whether I used their 4 pics or 10 highly detailed pics and whether I use my 3 megapixel camera or my 10 megapixel camera,so I just got lazy and started using their 4 pics with my small camera.If it is a bike that I really like I take a lot of detailed photos for my own library of bikes that I have owned,own or sold.I think I might have the KHS sold to a lawnmower repair customer that was just here,last year I sold him my very first bike that I fixed up and he loves it and now wants another to keep at his second home but he likes bikes also and if it wasn't for his wife he would own half of my flippers lol.I told him $130 on the KHS as I sold one last year that was to small for me for $175 the second day it was listed and they didn't try talking me down.To me money talks BS walks so I am easy to get along with when it comes to sales I have been selling things for the last 26 years,if it had a gas engine I have sold it LOL.

Your doing something wrong.....I take pics at 2mp and upload them to Photobucket and then copy the HTML into my CL ads. Each picture takes up the entire width of my 19" monitor.
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Old 07-09-09, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
This is kind of sad but I received and e-mail earlier today about a CL bike and said to myself, "I dont have anything on CL, do I?" Yep, I have one listed I forgot about.

I think the economies catching up to people. I've had more low ball ridiculous offers than I've ever had and we have 2 or 3 guys who place WTB ads on the local CL. Last fall there was a little resistence around $300 this spring and summer the resisitence seems to be around $275.

My bikes, by far, are the best used bikes on CL and its reflected in my pricing, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately most buyers dont care or dont understand which makes it difficult to sell a RX100 bike in excellent condition for $25-50 more than 105 bikes that needs a tune-up and tires.

Thankfully this is just a hobby for me.
I feel the same way that my bikes are the nicest and safest bikes in my area that includes the junk box store bikes,I don't even have any other people in the area doing what I do,theres one guy that is selling bikes from this area on CL and I know him(I bought some bikes from him and sold them on CL) and all he does is pick them out of the trash and post them no work goes into them yet he has Huffys listed for $75 and tons of other beater bikes for $50 and up.I wish I still had my Lawnmower shop as it was on a main road into town and I know they would sell there everything I put out there would sell quick.
This is more then a hobby now because I do have money vested in parts and bikes but I do it at my own pace and the way I want it so I enjoy doing it in fact I got to get off of here for a bit and go finish a Diamondback for my brother,I'll be back.
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Old 07-09-09, 01:29 PM
  #24  
sonatageek
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I have noticed that things have really slowed down -- a week or more to sell something that would have gone in a day last year. I also think the flood of flippers with crappy bikes that they re-list every few days has made CL a bit less inviting for people who are looking for a good bike at a good price.

I am putting together my first fixed gear and I wonder how that will do?
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Old 07-09-09, 01:37 PM
  #25  
Glennfordx4 
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Bikes: Too many Bicycles to list

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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
Your doing something wrong.....I take pics at 2mp and upload them to Photobucket and then copy the HTML into my CL ads. Each picture takes up the entire width of my 19" monitor.
So do mine I ment no difference in whether the bike sold or not,in fact I just sold a Riding lawnmower on CL and did use the photobucket links as I was tring to show that it was a new mower(used 3 months) but it didn't matter I only got $500 for a $1600 mower that was like new(I sold it for a friend) and it was up there since April.(I would have kept it before selling it that low)
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