Introduction: Buying and Selling Bicycles
Have you ever consider a small business? Well maybe setting up a bicycle store from home might suit you.
What is 'Buying and Selling'? - Buying and selling is a way of exchanging a low amount of money for an item and then re-selling it for a much higher price which allows you to make a profit.
Now that you have thought of the type bicycle store, you need to take into account everything you need and will need to know, its not something you can jump into. This Instructable will explain everything you will need to do below.
Everything you read is from what I have learned and taught myself and no means solid facts!! But it has worked well for me and many other who I have helped.
(I apologies in advanced for any misspelt word and incorrect grammar)
Step 1: Tools and Equipment
Now that you have embarked on your journey to start this new business idea, you will require the tools and equipment Apart from the bikes, these things I'm about to list are the most important thing to any successful 'home' bicycle store. I would recommend buying some high quality tools and equipment, you don't want your tools to break half way through a job or end up rounding any bolts due to cheap tools, this will also help you in the long run.
Socket set - You will want to go out and buy a socket set, you can get away with just spanners, but some bolts are just too tight and will require a bar to 'crack' them. There are also some bolts that spanners are unable to reach, but a socket will.
Hammers - Some parts will not come off bikes or go into their certain location, they will require abit of force. (Be careful as this could cause damage)
Screwdriver set - A set of screwdrivers are a must and can have more than one uses.
Spanners - This is obvious, you need away to remove bolts, this will do that for you. By buying a set will allow you to have a every size that you will need. The most common sizes are 10mm, 13mm and then 15-17mm for wheels. If you choose to make it easier on yourself, you could pick up a Ratchet Spanner Set.
Chain delinker - These allow you to split a chain which allows you to add more links, remove links, take a chain of the bike or put a chain on a bike.
Chain checker - This will allow you to check chain wear and give you a reading if the chain should be replaced or show you how many more miles it has left. (This too isn't required, but could help if you turn this into a professional business)
Floor Pump - This is going to be one of you best friends with this business. you are going to get a lot of bikes with punctures or flats and you will spend a lot of your time pumping these up. A floor pump is going to make it a lot easier compared to a hand pump.
Mini Pump - Some times its good to have a back up pump just incase your current one breaks. (I also take this when viewing bikes as it allows me to see if they have a flat or a puncture which can reduce the price.)
Allen Keys - You are going to come across a lot of bolts that have a hexagon
Tire Levers - This will be used to remove the tire from the rim of the wheel as well as helping to put the tire back onto the rim.
Scissors Good for trimming things down, such as: Handle bar tape and vinyl tape.
Cassette Lock ring tool - Allows you to remover the cassette.
Multitool - Handy to have when out collecting bicycles.
Cable Cutters - Says it in the name... Sometimes you will come across a cable that so bad that it will need cutting free and then replacing. Or when replacing an old cable, the new one can be tool long and will need to be trimmed down, this tool will cut the cable neatly.
Stand - This will hold the bike in the air allowing you to work around the whole bike, accessing all areas.
Work bench - This is a flat surface that allows you to clean parts, repair parts and do what ever you need to do.
Vice - Holds parts into place allowing you to work on them without them moving around.
Cleaning Equipment - You will want to clean the whole bike. By having a clean bike will increase its lifespan on certain parts as well as making it run a lot smoother. This will allow you to maximise your profit.
Step 2: Spare Parts
Now of course you are going to need some spare parts, I tend to use recycled parts which I have used from other bikes that are in a state that are un-repairable. If you get a bike that has a job that is to big to fix or wont bring any money in, then you can use that bike for bits. Take the wheels, tires, gear and brake cables, handle bars, stem, brakes and almost anything else that may come into use.
Take a look at the last image... I don't even know how they did that much damage haha.
The only thing I would recommend buying new is brake/gear cables and brake pads, but the rest you can buy second hand or just take of other bikes like I previously said.
Step 3: Locating Bikes
This is a big part to any business, you need to locate your stock and in your case... Bicycles, you will want to find these at a low price. Some of these places are listed below.
Facebook - Sometimes you are able to find some great deals or even get an amazing deal if you look around some 'For sale' pages, these can be pages in your local area. I have came across some bikes that's are being given away for free or at a very low price, you will need to be quick as there will be a lot of people asking about the bike.
Gumtree - If you check this site every day you might come across some great deals.
Carboot sales - Another great place, you can find some great deals, you will want to arrive early as a lot of people will be doing the same as you.
Freecycle - The best part about this is the fact everything is being given away for free and sometimes in quite good condition. Bicycles can be quite a rare thing to come across on this site, but it will allow you to get a free bike when you find one. You can also place a 'WANTED' advert asking for bikes.
Second Hand Stores - These are full of random items, almost anything and everything. Sometimes you might find a bicycles if you check most days/weeks.
eBay - You will find plenty of bicycles on here, but they tend to be selling at their top price, you can get find the odd bike going for cheap, but you will really have to look around.
Garage Sales - Where do most people store their bicycles... In a garage and after a while some people will do a garage sale. Almost every time I go to one, I always tend to find bicycles at a very low price.
Step 4: What to Look Out for When Buying Bikes
If you find the bottom bracket of the bike wobbling, this can be a tricky thing to repair, sometimes it can be repaired with a lot of grease pushed in and then being tightened up again. Sometimes it may need tighting up more due to the bracket coming loose over time these are easy fixes. But then again, I've had bikes with a loose bottom bracket and they will not tighten up at all.
Are the tires in good condition? Will the bike require new ones? If it requires some new ones or if you do not have any that can be used, this is going to cost quite abit and may leave you with a small amount of profit. (Depends on the bikes)
How bad is the body work, if there are dents in the frame, then give it a miss, unless you would like to use it for parts. If the paint is really rough and rusted all over, then you might want to give it a miss as well.
Step 5: Training
One main thing you need to take into consideration before you even start buying bikes and all the equipment you require is training. This means, how are you going to learn the skill of repairing bikes up to a fully working and high standard order.
Trial and error - This one will require bikes and time, but after a while you are going to pick up on the chosen topic you chose to learn.
Classes - Sometimes local bikes shops provide classes that will teach you everything you need to know about bikes which you can then take away and apply to your new business.
Videos and forums - Now we have access to the internet you are able to go onto YouTube and view tutorials which will show you step by steps for that chosen topic. you can also view step by step plans on website like this one... Instructables. Forums will allow you to ask people for help on certain things, these are a great for something that is new to you but others may of had experience with.
Step 6: Advertising
So this part is up to you, you will need to decide how you are going to sell your bikes and there are plenty of ways to decide from.
Free Websites - Gumtree, Friday free ads, Trade it and plenty more. If you advertise your bike on a free site, this will allow you to maximise you profit as you wont be spending money listing the bike. You still get plenty of people visit these sites, but you might be waiting a bit longer compared to using sites such as eBay, but these will cost.
Social media - List the bikes on your timeline for all your followers/friends to see or in groups for anyone to see.
Sites with a fee - This can be site such as eBay, they have a huge audience which will increase your chances of selling the bikes at a quicker rate. The only down side to eBay is the fact you have to pay to list the item you have for sale, additional fee for more than a certain amount of images and then a final fee once it sells. This is just eating at your profit.
Carboot Sales - You could take as many bikes as you can to a Carboot sale and sell them there, but people will knock you down in price and you may come out with less than you wanted. There is also a additional fee when entering.