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How is business lately?

Old 09-04-10, 12:48 PM
  #1  
auchencrow
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How is business lately?

This question ^ is directed to all you flippers who are trying to sell your flips on your local CL.

Things have slowed considerably in my ‘hood. (Detroit Metro Area CL).

I’ve posted several nice bikes lately for less than what I would have asked before, but still there is little interest.

I hope this is just a temporary, localized phenomenon, and things will return to normal - if not now, then at least in the spring.

HOW IS BUSINESS BY YOU? Are you selling as much, as quickly, and at the same price as last year?
(- And where (about) are you located? )
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Old 09-04-10, 01:13 PM
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Happens each year about now. Everybody is gettin ready for learnin, I guess. The university kids will arrive this week. Watch the interest spike then - in Thunder Bay, at least.
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Old 09-04-10, 01:17 PM
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I wouldn't call myself a flipper, but I sold a couple bikes last month. Both sold pretty fast, once I could leave them up for a while(another story).

Miyata 610 sold for asking price within 2 days.
Fuji S10-s sold for $25 less than asking price within 3 days.

I have two more that I would like to post this next week, so I hope to have the same luck. Sadly, I am slimming down my collection.
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Old 09-04-10, 01:27 PM
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The summer sizzle has cooled here too. It is taking a bit longer and I'm going a bit lower on my prices too.
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Old 09-04-10, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Gthoro View Post
The summer sizzle has cooled here too. It is taking a bit longer and I'm going a bit lower on my prices too.
Last year I could sell darn near anything for the asking price - and I did a land office business well into Sept, turning bikes in just a day or two. This year it was OK too - until maybe around the end of July. I can't say it's dead, but it's not so healthy.
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Old 09-04-10, 01:59 PM
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Its not a business but a hobby. I rarely make a good profit. Most of the time I feel it is a public service to make a small profit on a bike and sell it to somebody who will actually use it for transportation.
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Old 09-04-10, 02:01 PM
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It's not dead, it just smells funny. I have noticed greatly reduced interest; I'm not sure if it's related to the blistering heat, the seasonal resident factor, or the economic situation

I don't sell many bikes (1-2 per month,) but I'm getting my asking price.
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Old 09-04-10, 02:25 PM
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Damn, I wish I could find something nice in my area. I've been looking for a decent 80's steel bike for a couple of months and have pretty much struck out. I'm about halfway between
Cleveland and Pittsburgh if anyone has something in a 58ish frame.
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Old 09-04-10, 03:32 PM
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I sold more on CL in the late winter/early spring than what I have this summer. I am an hour+ outside of the city and I know that does'nt help, but still much slower than last year.
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Old 09-04-10, 04:12 PM
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Maybe a lot of folks lost interest when Lance failed to win the TdF.
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Old 09-04-10, 04:17 PM
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Yeah, Its slow. There seems to be more CL drama and more trashed bikes with crazy prices then last year.
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Old 09-04-10, 04:18 PM
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I don't flip very often any more, but when I do, it usually moves right out. My e-mail isn't being overwhelmed like before, but that has more to do with raising prices to be closer to the prices everyone else is charging. With three universities in the area, I usually have no trouble moving out low end stuff. But I've got a couple of newer, $300 bikes I might be selling. The boat might have already saled on those.
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Old 09-04-10, 04:39 PM
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It was slow all summer for me and I had to drop my prices by $50 to get rid of the last 2 bikes that I had listed. For now I have been too busy with other projects so I am not even working on bikes to flip,I am trying to get my Centurion finished so I can hit the road this fall and it is turning out very good so far. I do have a ton of bikes to get ready but don't know if I should wait until next spring to list them. This year compared to last year I noticed that nobody wants to travel any distance for bikes as most of my buyers last year would drive 2 hrs from Philly to just check out what I had, this year I had a lot of interest in what I was selling and got a lot of compliments but only a few made the trip.
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Old 09-04-10, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Maybe a lot of folks lost interest when Lance failed to win the TdF.
Nailed it.

Seriously, If you have to ask here why your business model is not working, it's not ever going to be working. You need a job.
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Old 09-04-10, 05:31 PM
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I feel like my complete bikes have been selling for less even as complete crap bikes get listed for more by others.. scored today though...
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Old 09-04-10, 05:47 PM
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Sales and prices off compared to last year. Noticeable decline. Bikes that would have sold quick are taking quite a bit longer to move, and at a lower price. It looks like I will still meet my goals for the year only because I set them below last year's actual (last year was really good). I'll probably end the year about 20% below 2009.

And finding bikes has been more difficult. There are definitely more people hustling to make a buck. You will see a line in front of my favorite thrift store at least 30 minutes before they open, and the same people are out front EVERY day. Decent bikes last literally seconds (as soon as they come out they are gone), crappers last maybe a day MAX. Garage sales are jammed. C/L deals last nanoseconds. But if you are willing to spend serious dollars, the high end stuff is available at attractive pricing.

The other thing that is kind of odd, last year, I saw a lot of people getting into triathlons. During the summer of 2009, at least half of my bikes went to triathletes. This summer I have seen one or two......
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Old 09-04-10, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Ragooch View Post
...If you have to ask here why your business model is not working, it's not ever going to be working. You need a job.
Hi Ragooch -
Like a lot of flippers, I'm not doing this for money, but it's disconcerting when you spend 20-30 hours rehabilitating a bike and no one wants it.
I may do better to shut down "shop" and unload the extra iron in the spring when there is a little more enthusiasm, and better prospects of at least recovering my cost.

After all, this is supposed to be a pastime, not a charity....

Eg, Here is the BOM and costs for a bike I just listed for $160, but at this juncture, I will not necessarily even realize that much.

Purchased Frame w/ headset,
crank, bb, unpainted fork 30.00
Bar Tape 10.00
Spray Paint (for fork) 5.00
Cables 12.00
Tires 20.00
Tubes 15.00 (3 from LBS due to flat)
Housing 3.00
26 Miles @ .40/mi 10.40
Grease Reagents 0.50
~100 Ball Bearings 3.00
Maes Bars 10.00
GB Stem 10.00
Seat Clincher Bolt & nut 2.00
Road Pedals 0.00
Wheels 20.00
New Hoods 8.00
New Chain 6.00
Suntour DR 0.00
Shifters 0.00
Avocet saddle & post 0.00


Total cost 164.90


(The zero cost stuff is parts I already had around)
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Old 09-04-10, 05:58 PM
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Auchen,

We had PM'ed about this, but I'll give you an update.

The economy sucks, big time, in MI, and most likely everywhere else. My prices are lower than ever before, and frankly don't see doing flipping next year, at least for entry level bikes. That being said, I have turned over a fair amount of bikes this week alone, and only have a handful left. I have a few serious inquiries on some of the remaining bikes I have, so all is not lost. All in all, my profit has been about the same as prior years due to some fantastic finds.

The one thing I've found is that kids (I'm dealing with college students, for the most part) can afford the $50k tuition, a nice car, every electronic gadget imaginable, yet they hem and haw about a $200 bike that will last for years and has been completely rebuilt. Maybe I should offer trades for iPod Touch's. I'd like one of those

In most years I have sold 50-60 bikes by this time, this year I'm around 30, and it's been harder to find a decent bike at a reasonable price this year. I have had some huge scores, but for the most part its been a lot of skinned knuckles and broken nails trying to get some low margin bike back on the road.

My wife and I have discussed it, and we are only buying upper end bikes whose names end in a vowel from now on. I'd rather pay $200 for a decent Italian and resell it for $500+, than spend $50 on a Trek and sell it for $250+. The margins aren't as good, but by the time labor and parts are figured in, it's a no brainer., at least for me. I will buy almost anything in decent shape that has working STI's or Ergo's, though. They are a much easier sell.
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Old 09-04-10, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Seat's not level

You are paying to much for parts. If you are going to try to make any money from this, you need to buy in bulk. Tubes can be had for ~$2, tires ~$5, tape~$4. I buy cable and housing in bulk, very cheap, not nearly $15 fr a bike like that. I think cables are under a buck a piece and housing I get in 50m rolls.

You need to shop the sales and buy all you will need for a year or two when the price is right. It costs a lot up front, but shows on the bottom line.
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Old 09-04-10, 06:31 PM
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I've noticed a lot fewer road bikes for sale, and almost none at low prices. Of the ones listed most are listed too high.
I've had no problem selling at my usual prices - my bikes aren't cheap or expensive - a good value for the money - and in good condition. I put more work into them since it's more of a hobby than to make money. I have had a problem getting source material.
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Old 09-04-10, 06:34 PM
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I haven't noticed others doing it, but one of my two sales commented that he picked mine because I stated that I recently serviced everything. I suppose that it helped when he asked about it, I had pictures of the BB and hubs disassembled.
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Old 09-04-10, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Old Fat Guy View Post
Seat's not level

You are paying to much for parts. If you are going to try to make any money from this, you need to buy in bulk. Tubes can be had for ~$2, tires ~$5, tape~$4. I buy cable and housing in bulk, very cheap, not nearly $15 fr a bike like that. I think cables are under a buck a piece and housing I get in 50m rolls.

You need to shop the sales and buy all you will need for a year or two when the price is right. It costs a lot up front, but shows on the bottom line.
I think that the problem with this one was that the frame was too much of a project for too little yield. If I had a frame like that, I'd just toss it up for $25 and be happy to get $20.
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Old 09-04-10, 06:46 PM
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[QUOTE=auchencrow;11411158]Hi Ragooch -
Like a lot of flippers, I'm not doing this for money, but it's disconcerting when you spend 20-30 hours rehabilitating a bike and no one wants it.
I may do better to shut down "shop" and unload the extra iron in the spring when there is a little more enthusiasm, and better prospects of at least recovering my cost.

After all, this is supposed to be a pastime, not a charity....

If you are not flipping for the money then you are doing it for charity, and we do not need to hear how tough it is being a charity.

I'm really not trying to be a dick here, but honestly.... Flip for money or leave the rehabs for end users.

Putting labor into junk like like a a low end Raleigh is charity or a labor of love to give away.
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Old 09-04-10, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Old Fat Guy View Post
Auchen,

We had PM'ed about this, but I'll give you an update.

The economy sucks, big time, in MI, and most likely everywhere else. My prices are lower than ever before, and frankly don't see doing flipping next year, at least for entry level bikes. That being said, I have turned over a fair amount of bikes this week alone, and only have a handful left. I have a few serious inquiries on some of the remaining bikes I have, so all is not lost. All in all, my profit has been about the same as prior years due to some fantastic finds.

The one thing I've found is that kids (I'm dealing with college students, for the most part) can afford the $50k tuition, a nice car, every electronic gadget imaginable, yet they hem and haw about a $200 bike that will last for years and has been completely rebuilt. Maybe I should offer trades for iPod Touch's. I'd like one of those

In most years I have sold 50-60 bikes by this time, this year I'm around 30, and it's been harder to find a decent bike at a reasonable price this year. I have had some huge scores, but for the most part its been a lot of skinned knuckles and broken nails trying to get some low margin bike back on the road.

My wife and I have discussed it, and we are only buying upper end bikes whose names end in a vowel from now on. I'd rather pay $200 for a decent Italian and resell it for $500+, than spend $50 on a Trek and sell it for $250+. The margins aren't as good, but by the time labor and parts are figured in, it's a no brainer., at least for me. I will buy almost anything in decent shape that has working STI's or Ergo's, though. They are a much easier sell.
Hi OFG –

Maybe your focus on the upper end is the right thing – or maybe not. - I certainly wish you luck, but I suspect the potential customers are few and far between around here: (Too many people are in dire straights and the people who still have money seem to be holding onto it: Not a good recipe.)

– On the other hand, if you plan to become an eBay seller instead, you will have much wider prospects and good potential, but remember - shipping bikes is a PITA, and it takes the fun out of it.

BTW, if you do go that route, I have to say that the whole A2 area will lose their most valuable local C&V resource. As a flipper, you have my admiration, because I have seen that you really care about your product, and your customers.

I’ve thought about going “upscale” too, but in addition to the downsides I’ve already mentioned, I am not knowledgeable on high end Italian bikes AT ALL. (I suppose I could educate myself if I had to…)

PS- You couldn’t pry those fancy schmancy Droids or Iphones out of their cold dead fingers, so don’t even think about trading with them for a bike.
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Old 09-04-10, 07:13 PM
  #25  
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auchencrow, you spent too much on that Raleigh.

If I had more bikes, I'd be selling more. Right now, demand exceeds my supply. And I'm not even putting ads on craigslist. People are just asking me for bikes.
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