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Local Overpriced Bicycle Sellers

Old 06-08-11, 09:02 PM
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hobbitman
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Local Overpriced Bicycle Sellers

I wasn't sure what to title this thread but I'm curious to see what people in other locations deal with as far as finding bikes to flip. I noticed a sign in someone's yard indicating they had bicycles for sale. I figured they would be completely cleaned up bikes that I would have no chance of making a buck on. As a looked more and more at what the gentleman had, none of them had really been worked on other than if anything was broken(no new cables, tires, etc.) So, I assumed that maybe this guy would be reasonable seeing as he hadnt done much to them. He had a lot of decent Schwinn Collegiates, Suburbans, etc. In the corner I found a primered Schwinn varsity with worn out tires and cables, but it did have a Selle (spelling?) San Marco saddle. To get to the point, I asked the guy what he was looking to get for it. He came back with 150 dollars and not a penny less for a bike I would regret paying 20 dollars for. I chuckled to myself, thanked the guy for his time and prompty left. I realize I'm probably looking in all the wrong places, but where does one find good flips? Craigslist doesnt work since decent bikes are gone within a few hours of listing. Any other experiences on flips, or ideas on where to locate them?
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Old 06-08-11, 09:11 PM
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Jerks are just that, they see a Schwinn for 200$ on CL or flebay and think they can haul out there junk and make some money. To be honest I get bikes from trash guys, they get them from the curb and toss them in a pile at the dump.
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Old 06-08-11, 09:14 PM
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randyjawa has this pretty much covered: Bicycle Finding Methods

Of course, it gets harder with every new guy.
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Old 06-08-11, 09:17 PM
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It's hard finding decent bikes. Anything with a Schwinn name on it is bound to be overpriced. Right now, Schwinn beach cruisers are going for stupid money. Actually, stupid money is being asked for them. Don't know if they are moving.
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Old 06-08-11, 09:18 PM
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Here in Portland vintage road bike prices have skyrocketed with the popularity of cycling and fixed gear conversions. It's not uncommon to pay 150-200 for a 80s high-ten 10 speed.
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Old 06-09-11, 06:30 AM
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Overpriced by definition means NOT a seller. Anyone who successfully sells a lot of bikes learns the market well, and what stuff is worth. Unless your market is flush with suckers, a seller like that is going to run out of suckers pretty quickly and the word of mouth is going to kill their business.

Now we might be upset at what the market dictates as true value, but I don't blame the seller. On the other hand, you have the people that think anything is gold. Around here, their bikes don't move, and either they adjust their pricing down, or they disappear.

I don't have a problem with people that don't fix the bikes, AS LONG as they don't represent it as road ready. I do have a problem with sellers that misrepresent their product. I have bought a lot of bikes from a DKO flipper, he sells a ton of bikes cheap, but everything needs work. His pricing was low enough that it was a "good" deal for me (only because I will do the repair work, otherwise forget it). I am sure he does sell bikes to people that are not mechanically inclined, his prices are good, but not low enough to be able to pay a bike shop to do the rehab.

I've been watching a guy trying to sell a Goodwill bike (I passed on it for $50). He started at $250, is now at $175, and has been trying to sell it for at least six months. Hopeless cause, its a $100 bike AT BEST.
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Old 06-09-11, 07:32 AM
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It all depends on the market. If you've got a lot of college kids or a strong youth market, 100$ seems to be the going price for even a barrel scraping Free Spirit or Huffy, as long as it has drop bars.

The thing is, almost every student that comes to me sets their price at about 100-150$. I keep telling them to go just a bit higher and either buy a bikes direct bike or wait until a better bike comes along. Locally, if a bike is at 200 or more, it will just sit, and the low priced stuff tends to move, no matter the quality difference.
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Old 06-09-11, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by hobbitman View Post
Craigslist doesnt work since decent bikes are gone within a few hours of listing.
you need to be the person picking up those bikes
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Old 06-09-11, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by frantik View Post
you need to be the person picking up those bikes
+1 Sounds like C/L is working just fine. If someone prices something under market, there are enough buyers out there that it does not last long. If you want to be one of those buyers, you will learn to act lightning fast, jump in the car immediately, with little/no information. Unfortunately, if you do not have this flexibility, someone else will. I have been regularly scooped out in the first 30 minutes, and I have been doing the scooping as well. Welcome to C/L. Move fast, lightning fast.
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Old 06-09-11, 09:24 AM
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Flipping bikes is a job. And like any job, you need to work hard in order to get experience to be better than the next guy. The people that are snatching up those CL deals in minutes are just more experienced...they understand what it takes to get the deal.
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Old 06-09-11, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad View Post
Flipping bikes is a job. And like any job, you need to work hard in order to get experience to be better than the next guy. The people that are snatching up those CL deals in minutes are just more experienced...they understand what it takes to get the deal.
...and if it weren't for the overpriced fools, the successful flippers wouldn't be selling at a reasonable price in order to corner the market.

-Kurt
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Old 06-09-11, 09:55 AM
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thanks for the replies

I guess you are right as far as I just need to try harder and try to be quicker about it. My only real issue at the moment is my 2nd shift job that doesnt allow me to be out in the afternoon when I would be able to pick up bikes. I guess I need to make a change in order for this to work. Another curiousity I have is goodwill. I've gone to several different locations multiple days a week and they never have anything besides little kids bikes. Am I doing it wrong? School me in the ways of flipping bikes people.
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Old 06-09-11, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by hobbitman View Post
My only real issue at the moment is my 2nd shift job that doesnt allow me to be out in the afternoon when I would be able to pick up bikes.
You don't necessarily have to be ready to go grab the bike on a moments notice but being one of the first few responders to the ad couldn't hurt. When I sell a bike on CL I contact people in order. I'm working with a prospective buyer right now that has a full schedule even though I've had numerous people respond after him that have said "I'll drive right up, NOW!".

Also, if you respond to a CL ad use proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. It sounds funny and maybe it's a bit 'Pet Peeveish' but if somebody responds to my ad and I'm having trouble reading/understanding it, I put it at the tail end of the queue.

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Old 06-09-11, 10:25 AM
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It depends on your area. In three years of searching, I have never found any bikes worth buying at thrift stores. However, I have come across some great deals on smaller stuff- awesome yellow Sidis, a Silca pump, a Zefal pump, a couple jerseys, a saddle. I was able to flip some of those smaller items for a little profit.
Like others have said, Craigslist works great for finding deals, but you do have to be quick and willing to take a chance, and look often. Flipping bikes requires a significant time commitment- to searching out deals, rehabbing bikes, then putting together the ads and selling them. Many things can go wrong- someone else might get the bike first, you may get it only to find the bike needs more work than it's worth, or it could take forever to sell.
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Old 06-09-11, 10:30 AM
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Sounds like you were outflipped . . .
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Old 06-09-11, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by knoregs View Post
You don't necessarily have to be ready to go grab the bike on a moments notice but being one of the first few responders to the ad couldn't hurt.
+1

On my most recent CL pickup, the seller told me I was the third responder. The first one lived out of town and wanted the seller to ship the bike, which he was unwilling to do. The second responder wanted the seller to hold the bike from Thursday till Sunday so he could come check it out; which the seller didn't want to do, either. When he called me, I was at his house in 15 minutes and bought the bike, for his asking price, on the spot.
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Old 06-09-11, 10:40 AM
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Why would you be upset at any seller?

ANY bike is only worth what someone will pay for it. Not one penny more.

If it was easy to find flip bikes, more people would be doing it!
Most times, the thrift shops, pre-sale the bikes, watches, jewelry are sold without ever hitting the sales floor.
I know this because I have had a deal with a couple of shops before.

Weekend yards sales, seem to work better, but it's very hit or miss.
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Old 06-09-11, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Sounds like you were outflipped . . .


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Old 06-09-11, 11:13 AM
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what i don't understand is why folks feel the need to constantly complain on there about sellers charging more than they want to spend. there's plenty of bikes out there, even vintage ones. if the price isn't what you want to pay, move on. the seller will either find someone who will pay, or they won't sell the bike.

if you're really into the bike, leave your name and phone number along with a written $ offer, so they can call you when they get tired of staring at their unsold bike.
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Old 06-09-11, 11:36 AM
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+1 It depends on your area a LOT. In my area, SE Michigan, there is a wealth of vintage (but not necessarily classic) bikes due to decades of a strong middle class purchasing those bikes new 30-40 years ago; however, the past 10-15 years have been a rapid, tumultous economic slide for most families, resulting in a market in which buyers look only to price in their buying decisions. Added to that is a widespread, misplaced notion that Schwinn bikes are worth their weight in gold, and you often get a seller with $$$ in his eyes when he puts up his dusty, rusty old bike for sale.

I'm now well-known enough in the neighborhood as someone who likes and fixes bikes that occasionally a neighbor will give me a bike, or several bikes. The OP can make word-of-mouth work for him, too -- hobbitman, let everyone you know that you are looking for a bike. And definitely read the article at the link randyjawa provided above, and then go out and practice it.
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Old 06-09-11, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by knoregs View Post

.............Also, if you respond to a CL ad use proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. It sounds funny and maybe it's a bit 'Pet Peeveish' but if somebody responds to my ad and I'm having trouble reading/understanding it, I put it at the tail end of the queue.

~kn
And be polite! Always say thank you and please. Make an appointment time, and keep it. These points will put the seller in a better mood to bargain. There was a guy around here who stripped bikes and sold parts. He'd throw in extra items because in his words I was "easy to deal with".

And yes, speed is your friend. Missed out on a complete first gen Dura Ace group for $50.00 because I had breakfast first.
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Old 06-09-11, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by knoregs View Post
Also, if you respond to a CL ad use proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. It sounds funny and maybe it's a bit 'Pet Peeveish' but if somebody responds to my ad and I'm having trouble reading/understanding it, I put it at the tail end of the queue.
+1

Texting shorthand doesn't fly with the older folks (me). It comes off as uneducated and ignorant, however many degrees the responder might hold.

When I get replies that exhibit poor grammatical usage and/or obvious intentional communicative laziness, I write the responder off as a flake and delete the message.
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Old 06-09-11, 12:35 PM
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Around here (SoCal coast), the deals are few and far between. I usually hit a few thrift stores on Friday morning. Last week was typical. Several low-end department store MTBs in bad shape for $50 and one road bike. Low end '80s Motobecane that needed a lot of work for $130. Road bikes on CL tend to be $200 and up regardless of condition.

I have picked up a few bargains but those were jumped on within minutes of the ad being posted. And I've gotten many "you're too late" responses over the years so there are deals if your timing is right.
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Old 06-09-11, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman View Post
+1

Texting shorthand doesn't fly with the older folks (me). It comes off as uneducated and ignorant, however many degrees the responder might hold.

When I get replies that exhibit poor grammatical usage and/or obvious intentional communicative laziness, I write the responder off as a flake and delete the message.
I don't allow texts on my phone - culls the herd even quicker.

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Old 06-09-11, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad View Post
Flipping bikes is a job. And like any job, you need to work hard in order to get experience to be better than the next guy. The people that are snatching up those CL deals in minutes are just more experienced...they understand what it takes to get the deal.
The problem around here is a few dirt knockers that buy up all the deals, don't fix a thing and jack up the prices on the bike to where you couldn't buy it to flip and even if it was the right size for a person to ride they'd have to spend another $50.00-$150.00 to get them rideable.

I've found a few other sources for bikes including word or mouth which works pretty well. I sell a bunch on CL and most of what I sell is in the $140.00-$200.00 range.

I shouldn't use the term "flip" since I don't "flip" bikes, I rehab/restore them and then sell them.



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