I’ve sold a few bikes over the past couple of months; cleaning out my inventory and discovering a few I didn’t know I had. I did experience a first for me however; I had a bike sale in Eugene, and didn’t sell a single bike. Very unusual for me; in ten years of doing 2 – 3 sales a year I’ve never been skunked.
One reason that it’s unusual is because I price my bikes to sell; I don’t want to take them home (back to the coast in my case). Because of this I tend to sell a number of bikes to the local dealers, and those who want to be dealers by buying and “flipping” for a profit. I know most of the dealers and quite a few of the flippers, we are after all trying to make a few bucks doing the thing we like; buying and selling bikes.
I’ll offer a couple observations on a couple of recent deals highlight the pitfalls of trying to sell used bikes that I’d like to share, and maybe a suggestion or two. I’ve been doing this for a long time after all.
First, don’t lie to the person selling you the bike. In this case I knew that the caller was a dealer and in a few moments knew that he wasn’t listening to the details. He immediately started negotiating price on the phone–even before he saw the bike. He started with a “I’m looking at another Schwinn…” My response is “Go for it dude.”
Typical flipper–I’ve heard this before. I wouldn’t meet his offer but I knocked a few bucks off my asking price. He came to purchase the bike, but since I wasn’t there, told my daughter that we agreed to his original offer. He lied to my daughter. Ok, not the end of the world, I still made a healthy profit on the bike, but he lied to save 10 bucks.
In the big picture it’s not a big deal. But he will never buy another bike from me for less than whatever price I make up when he calls. Yes, he called my cell phone and I have his number saved, and when that number rings–if it ever does, he’ll pay–or not.
Or he’ll never call me again which is fine, but like I said, I price my bikes to sell, and usually do sell them, and a lot to dealers (I just sold a batch of six to a local bike shop). But he’ll miss out on any good deal I’ll have. All for 10 lousy bucks. It’s his loss.
Treat the people you are buying from with respect, then treat your buyers with respect. Some of those people know one heck of a lot more than you do. In this case I was dealing in used bikes when this guy was still in elementary school.
The lesson? You want to buy and sell a few bikes? Great! But don’t lie, either to your sellers or your buyers. What goes around comes around. You do stupid stuff, stupid stuff will do you.
Next: getting in over your head, or Getting owned by a Peugeot.