can anyone make a living with this hobby?

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by TyDow, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Creative Engineering

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    Ty,

    The real problem with this is: the fact that you are providing a finished product ready for use by the consumer. If you live in a rural area where the majority of the population is accustomed to being self sufficient, and able to repair mechanical things...such as a farm community, you won't have any problems. No LLC needed.

    If you are in a metropolitan area you will be inundated by idiots that want the same sort of service that they get from Wally World, "FROM YOU".

    I could sell bikes here as fast as I could build them. I won't because I know it will be a head ache, and the fun of doing this will be ruined.

    Jim
     
  2. Youngbird

    Youngbird Vendor

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    TyDow,
    I concur with the above. I plan to start small....maybe even stay small, who knows. Wherever it goes....it goes. Keep the liability at a minimum and put out a GOOD product. Best of luck with it all, Jim..trk
     
  3. comfortableshoes

    comfortableshoes New Member

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    Crime is up here, desperation crimes are on the rise. I live in what is considered a "nice" town and in the last 2 weeks the bank down the street and across town in the really nice area a quickie mart was ripped off.

    I've switched from selling out of my garage to putting it in my car and meeting people in the office parking lot down the street. Which is fine for bike frames, bike etc but not much else.

    I agree that this will only increase as time goes on.

    :-||
     
  4. Creative Engineering

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    You made me laugh Dan...that was good!

    Here's a fine example...In the late eighties I had an auto shop. I would go to the dealerships when business was slow and buy used cars to repair and re-sell. I bought a Toyota Cressida 94 model from a doctor who had bought a new vehicle. He had left his Cressida at the dealership; basically not knowing what to do with it. I checked this car over in the back-lot of the dealership and found out that the mechanic who diagnosed a new top end made a mistake...all it needed was a $30.00 oil distribution valve to the cam towers. I called the "Doc" and we agreed on a price of $500.00. This car was like new!!! Home-run I'm thinking to myself. The dealership was glad to get it off the lot, and the Doc was glad the dealership would no longer be calling and asking "what do you want us to do with your car". It was a win-win for everyone.

    I got it to the shop and put on the new part. I drove it 60 miles round-trip from home to the shop everyday for two months. It was a great car, It had a 5-speed tranny, I loved it! 90% of them came with a slush-box...the 5-speed was great behind a double overhead cam "6"

    I decided to sell it. I put an add in the paper @ $6,500.00 The phone rang off the hook. I was tight for money and let the first jerk have it, complete with a 90 day warranty. I had driven it for 2 months, so I felt confident offering a warranty.

    3 months later I get a call from the owner, who had given it to his teenage son after I sold it to him. There was a little white puff of smoke upon start-up, he said. I told him it needed valve stem seals, and that I had broken 3 Ribs and it would be a few weeks before I could fix it, but that I would honor the warranty as soon as I was able.

    This flaming Ass**** took the car to a gas station, (Literally), and had them replace the engine at a cost of $3,600, and sued me for the bill. The judge looked at me and said, "although it is clearly stated in your warranty that all warranty repair work will be performed by you", you're warranty was not written by a lawyer and my judgement is for the paintiff. It's a good thing I have a sense of humor...I told the judge "cool enough", I really wanted to call him an idiot, but I knew that probably wouldn't go over too well.

    I never gave this nit-wit a dime!!! He mentioned doing this and doing that...I told him I hope you have the balls for a hatfield and mcCoy re-enactment...he went away after that.

    Jim
     
  5. TyDow

    TyDow New Member

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    TOO FUNNY DAN!! LOL!!

    thanks for the advice everyone! !.rd.
     
  6. industrialphreak

    industrialphreak New Member

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    I am also starting to think about selling these as well, Gotta get my financials more in line and look into getting a small business liscence here in nebraska. Like anything that LLC sounds like it may be a viable option ontop of getting together with possible Technical services employers to build a promotional powered velomobile.

    I am also a cold weather powered bicycle enthusiast, just got back from a 15 mile -20 degree trip today.
     
  7. TigerToothBikes.com

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    Don't know bout you guys in the US, but i think pablo can confirm this, an LLC needs partners and "designated members".
     
  8. europorsche914

    europorsche914 New Member

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    to avoid being sued for the bike you could always demonstrate it in running condition, remove the carb and sell it to him as a bicycle for $499. Then after selling it in none running condition, sell him the carb for $1. With a witness proving you sold it to him in non-running condition what they gonna do...
     
  9. TigerToothBikes.com

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    Aside from the part about showing it running, the rest is in my opinion a sure fire way to alienate and lose customers. Yes you're protecting your own backside but what sort of message are you putting out. I certainly wouldn't buy from anyone who did that.

    Imagine going to Ford for your nice new Focus minus its carb......

    Jiminey Cricket would be shoving his umbrella into my brain through my ear shouting "RUN AWAY!!!!"

    The real way to avoid trouble and cover your ass is to conform to laws and regulations and ALWAYS ALWAYS be polite and friendly. I make BESTEST buddies with all my customers, because if your honest and true from the beginning of the transaction and with aftersales care, the likelihood of problems is minimal. But IF. IF. There does turn out to be problems, your customer will hardly sue someone he regards to be an honest friend.
    The flipside is if you do end up in court, the judge is more likely to swing your way if you can demonstrate you took all reasonable and required pre-cautions and delivered exemplary service through out.

    I do admit that the aforementioned is entrenched in old school values and morals of decency and loyalty which sadly is all too quickly traded in these days for a tidy settlement, but its the code i was taught and have always followed and its not lead me wrong yet.

    Just my thoughts.....bf.
     
  10. europorsche914

    europorsche914 New Member

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    Yea your right it would probably create more issues with customers especially since many people buyin these things don't know what there doin. BTW sorry everyone for bringin up an old thread, I didn't even realize it. -justin
     
  11. TigerToothBikes.com

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    It's sad we're even discussing "covering ourselves" - but thats what society's scumbags force us to do.
     
  12. industrialphreak

    industrialphreak New Member

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    Well i agree with the whole carb issue, if anything protecting ones arsh comes first. If anything making a living off them would be nice but why would you go to that extent when you're selling yourself and making your favorite past time into a drudgery by having to give the wally world experience when if anything we should show a little decency and respect by treating our clientele as friends and family hobbyists. These bikes if anything can and only should be considered part of a wide family of kit vehicles such as car's, airplanes, motorcycles, and air-boats.
     
  13. eDJ

    eDJ New Member

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    If I were taking this on, I'd find a way to build the bike and have it
    ready to ride. Then sell it to a second person who is to resell it.
    This partnership wouldn't be known of by the public. With a few
    "second person's" around the region reselling so that both could make some money on it. In this manner kits could be purchased in
    volume, bikes from WalMart etc, and resold as used stuff. (with very little use)

    In this way the seller can ride it a few miles himself and resell it as used with that
    understanding with the new buyer. The market should be to mature adults looking for high
    milage alternative transportation, and the possibility of having some fun too. But the buyer
    is buying USED. I think highschool students who are old enough to drive would be about the
    youngest I consider selling to.

    In Ohio you have to have proof of purchase of the bicycle and the same with the motor.
    So if the motors are purchased in volume lots the seller will have to work out some
    documentation for each motor. (which would have to be transferred from owner to owner)

    Should this come before a Judge as a lawsuit it would be understood that the present owner
    purchased it used from a second owner. Then a motion made to dismiss.

    And before doing this I'd first discuss it with a lawyer that "I" knew.
     
    #33 eDJ, Mar 15, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  14. Large Filipino

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    Man. there's just so much drama selling entire bikes that just selling kits would be a good bet it seems. But there's already a monopoly on that all over now.
    Maybe selling whole bikes sounds like a good plan but I dunno if I want to be "married" to my customers that need a chain adjusted every day.
    People do ask me if I can build them a bike.
    Maybe I'll start with one and see where that goes.
    I'm thinking this summer should be a great season of riding thank you global warming more and more out there just wanting a motorized bike.
     
  15. TigerToothBikes.com

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    I think what eDJ is saying is you should build up a dealer network similar to grubee's. The problem with selling used is it doesn't (in the UK anyway) relieve the seller of any responsibilities.
    A better way would be to market them as "tested".
    I understand the wish of sellers to protect themselves from the likelihood of being sued but one shouldn't be exploring underhand ways of doing it. This can only blow up in your face.
    A better idea would be to ensure the product is of absolutely top notch quality at the time of purchase, that way any problems could only be attributed to lack of maintenance or ill treatment. The idea of vetting customers is good as the people you want to sell to are those willing to get oil on their hands.
    Our main difficulty here in the UK is conveying to the customer that these are not just fire and forget items, they are a hobby in themselves and require looking after.
    Thats not to say they demand every hour of your day to get running, and its not to say it's down to poor quality they require checking over.
    That all said we are now shying away from selling complete bicycles and taking the spookytooth approach of selling motorised ready bikes with a kit. We will only sell them complete to those who can pick them up from our location. This way we can demonstrate them as working and the customer cannot come back later to say otherwise.

    Maybe its the financial climate, however recently we have had numerous returns mainly for bogus reasons and due to "buyers remorse" with customers requiring refunds and this alone has brought us perilously close to bankruptcy.

    All the very best to our brothers in the US, but be advised, it's not easy.
     
    #35 TigerToothBikes.com, Mar 15, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  16. Large Filipino

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    Yea and you really need to accept those returns to keep a good standing with everyone even though one reason could be too many people are "laughing" at them and they want to move on to a motorcycle or a (cough) scooter.
    I almost would want to interview potential customers like how Ferrari does their F50 cars. You cannot simply plunk down the money and get one. You have to be a Ferrari collector and even with that there are other variables they consider before they will TRUST their masterpiece to a potential customer.
    THAT'S how I would run my business. My bikes would be EXCLUSIVE. Like getting a job I would have to HIRE you to ACCEPT my work of art.
    And just because you have cash on hand does not mean you can have my craftsmanship.
    One of my demands to a potential customer is that you must already have owned a motorized bicycle knowing full well what to look out for and you want to upgrade.
    I need money. Lots of money.
    A store in Beverly Hills.
    It would so rule.
     
  17. Spunout

    Spunout MB Builder Extraordinaire

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    just an update. one bike sold in january. none in february. none so far this month.
     
  18. TigerToothBikes.com

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    same if not worse here
     
  19. toytime

    toytime New Member

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    Just for fun I posted my bike for $1,300 on my local Craigs and the only bite I got was from one of those scammers that wants me to cash a money order and send him back the "extra". Believe it or not my build cost me very close to that amount without counting my time.
    I think every one of us have thought about selling these for a living but for some reason, it's just not there. Maybe it's because of the cheap scooters and ebikes that everyone sees advertised . We all know they are junk but that is why we go with these kits.
     
  20. TigerToothBikes.com

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    You're bang on the money toytime.

    I think an inherent issue here is the type of customer required, is the very same that would happily build it himself.
    The other type of customer out there is the buy it cheap, never maintain it, let it breakdown, wonder how it happened, blame/sue the seller.

    This is why we're edging out of the business to concentrate on straight bicycles.
     

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