can anyone make a living with this hobby?

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

  1. Large Filipino

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    I really do need to just build a bike to sell. It would be a Titan build and I would maybe go a hundred or two over what it costed to build in parts.
    So like 200 dollars for the stretch e bay cruiser,375 for the Titan kit then maybe a cover of some kind for it's a low rider some type of backrest/side skirt type of thing so without rider it looks right on fabrication and such maybe another 100 bucks and maybe 50 for extra little things you always find yourself doing when it comes to any build. So we are looking at 725 dollars but it's a 4 stroke and it will go forever it seems then I'll show potential customers my bikes and our knowledge bla bla bla.
    So. 900 dollars should be more than fair. But people all the time say yea I can build it a lot cheaper. Well sure. What's stopping you.
    My craigslist ad would honestly list all of that. There are roadie bikes out there selling for 2 grand and some actually move on craigslist so you have to get the fan base.
    And I do that by riding my bikes at every opportunity and get stopped by everyone. And currently I pass out cards to the Dax site so they know where to go.
    So I'm rather sure I can sell some bikes. No doubt about it. Flea Markets man if I can build a few that would show the people.
    I'm always sending e mails to news people about how I'm beating the recession and ride by malls and shopping centers every chance I get.
    But here's the thing though. If I build me another bike I may just give it a name. Then I wouldn't want to sell it.
    That to me would be the hardest thing to do. Give my baby away to a stranger.
    I shiver even the thought.
     
  2. TigerToothBikes.com

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    Remember average joe may have seen the HT engines or see yours and find the HT and not appreciate why yours is so much better. Thinking back to when i first got into this, i wanted to buy one fully built, saw the cost and freaked out. Granted, not everyone is as handy as me or the chaps like yourselves, but they still want something for nothing. We wish you the very best, and by all means have a go. But the people actually selling these full time are all reporting slack sales. If you find a way of bucking this trend let us know!
     
  3. mralaska

    mralaska New Member

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    This forum is a great place to get advice on building motorized bikes but I would seek a professional opinion when looking for legal advice. I have only formed an LLC in one state so other states might do it different. In NH it only takes one person, $100, and 20 minutes at the state house. It is a rather painless process and in my opinion it is cheap insurance but you need to keep it clean just like a regular corporation.

    I am not an attorney either so my opinion is just another voice in the crowd. Even if you have no assets at the moment, you never know what the future holds. There is nothing to stop people from suing you for more than you are worth. It would be a shame, years from now, to have to give up a large windfall because you did not feel the need to protect your assets back when you were dabbling in small business. Even without the windfall, it would be a shame to go through life with a judgment hanging over your head of any type. An LLC gives you a measure of protection against personal judgments.
     
  4. Hill of Beans

    Hill of Beans New Member

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    Easily the most depressing thread I have read on this site.

    Seriously considering purchasing insurance with my remaining cash, and leaving the door to my little shop unattended.
    A trickle down bailout.
     
  5. TigerToothBikes.com

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    Hill o beans, you're not alone, i think leaving a crowbar strategically leant against the door which happens to have a ridiculously small lock on might aid your insurance claim!lol we're a pretty devious bunch!
     
  6. toytime

    toytime New Member

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    I'd bet if you were able to get a bike or two into each Walmart you would do well.
    The thing with these kits is that there are so many out there that do not serf the web for sites like this. I swear 90% of those that ask me about my bike get that glazed look when I tell them to look for this site.
    They are just not marketed properly.
     
  7. happyvalley

    happyvalley New Member

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    Make a living? It's problematic.

    Offset costs of a hobby, sure but get serious about making a living and legal and liability issues are gonna rear their heads quickly.

    Check your states' moped laws for one thing, most say under 50cc and 2 bhp.
    Then, if we are talking about china kits, there is the huge reliability issue.

    A $100 department store bike and a china kit might be fun for the backyard guy who likes to tinker
    and whose expectations are low but would be a nighmare to supply to the general public who just wants to ride as the bike and kit starts to fall apart in the first season.
     
  8. leftywoody

    leftywoody New Member

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    I owned a collision shop for 15 years . We were lucky and never had a legal problem . Fact: Most shops fail within the first 5 years . Fact: Most business fail due to poor management . These management problems include , legal problems , tax problems , operating hours problems , collection problems , insurance problems, shipping and recieving problems , customer service problems , scheduling problems and more . If you are going to run an above board business , you will experience some or all of these problems . Any or all of these can stop the flow of income and you may have to close your doors . Which leads to the last problem . Getting out of the business can be as difficult as getting into it . You will have to pay taxes and close your books by April 15 of the next year after you close . Talk to any small business owner about making a move to self employment . It is one of the most life changing decisions you will make . And people attempt it every day . And some are successful .
     
  9. Large Filipino

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    Not to go too far off topic but I imagine if you're a young entrepreneur it may be a good idea to take up some business classes I would imagine.
    It's a rare thing to see an actual shop I imagine Spooky is about the only decent one with an actual shop most need to work from home to do away with a lease. Then there's that shop that got on MTV and their bikes are in the thousands of dollars.
    If I had the money I imagine I could start up a convenient store and have some motorized bikes on the side at least I wouldn't be 100% dependent on those sales.
    There's a lot to consider,huh.
     
    #49 Large Filipino, Mar 16, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  10. TigerToothBikes.com

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    Better still run a bicycle repair/building as your main revenue stream with motorisation as a side concern.
     
  11. Spunout

    Spunout MB Builder Extraordinaire

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    thats a great idea, for anybody except me. believe it or not, i dont know a damn thing about bicycles. to diagnose/fix anything with gears/derailleurs, etc. is beyond me.
    i keep it simple. single speed w/coaster brakes.
     
  12. Large Filipino

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    For the longest time the only thing I couldn't do to a bicycle was spoke rims but I achieved that milestone when I laced up the 3 speed for my buggy bike.
    Being a bicycle mechanic is really not that difficult to do at least in my eyes. The biggest things customers want is that when your handlebar shifter says 4th gear your bike is in 4th gear with no skipping and truing wheels.
    That's actually a nice dream to own a bike shop with motorizing on the side.
     
  13. TigerToothBikes.com

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  14. eDJ

    eDJ New Member

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    Tigertooth wrote:

    In my part of the world it's common for people to produce builds and test them with a few days
    of opperation and then resale to their affiliates who then resale them. It lets the builder concentate
    on what he's skilled at and tooled up to do, and those who are skillful at selling handle the social
    side of the transaction. In this, the item whether it's a boat, motorbike, offroad vehicle, and
    so forth changes it's classification to a "used" item. (which is considered to be a unique one of a
    kind)

    I'm sure the laws are different in other parts of the world. But much of this goes on here in this
    manner. The buyer assumes responsibility. In some of the states in the USA these motorized bikes would even be viewed as "personal property" opposed to a motorized vehicle. Again another consideration.

    But it has to be born in mind that these bicycles will be using the public road ways part of the time
    and I'm certain the Law Enforcement Agencies will have their view of these and the courts theirs
    as well.

    Yes, it's a depressing thread. These Chinese motors and their dependability, not being able to
    really make any money selling them after building them, and a market that doesn't understand
    the amount of maintenance, much less the tools required or the procedures involved in order to
    keep the bike working.

    I only hope Jim at Creative can figure out how to produce a quality motor that's nearly bullet
    proof while being affordable to sell. Perhaps he could then create a distribution network where
    capable installers could purchase $90 dollar cruisers at WalMart to mount them to. Then perhaps
    we can get some electronics guys on this board who could produce a combination digital LED headlight/speedo/horn/turnsignals/brakelight/Mp3 radio system that would have any bike so it could
    conform to road laws.

    When I first registered here one of the members "Uncle Kudzu" had an old bike he treasured and was
    going to spend $400+ dollars on an Italian Morini motor. People were questioning his thinking then, but now I'm begining to think his approach was the best reasoned.

    What I think is more critical than anything is this:

    The states all have different laws regarding these things. When fuel was $4.00+ last summer I figured I could have sold these bikes all day long. I filled my car's tank yesterday and paid
    $1.76 per gallon. None of the motorist fueling their vehicles was complaining at all about fuel prices
    where I was nor were they talking about wanting high fuel milage vehicles. Just happy SUV and 4X4 Pickup Truck owners.

    So, unless fuel prices are outrageous the public motorbike demand may dampen except for the hobbyist. Those into the hobby of legal age may be willing to spend a little extra money to pay an experienced builder to set the motor kit up on their first bike for them and that market would probably include the UNI students and poor working
    guys who need some affordable conveyance. Even those with DUI's (revoked dirvers license because of alcohol)

    And lastly, the cost in fixing up a motorized bike compared to purchasing a good low milage motor scooter or cycle that could get close to 100 mpg, service at it's dealership, replacement parts, and would be recognized as a purpose built factory manufactured motor vehicle.
     
    #54 eDJ, Mar 17, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  15. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    That is truly good advise and I retract my own and stand corrected. Thanks MrAlaska.

    Think I am the only one enjoying this thread. Some great food for thought. I keep giving up on the thought of selling 2 stroke kits and concentrate on 4 smokers. But the china girls sell. (many times better then 4's) with all 2 strokes looking exactly the same and no brand recognition being developed, the small dealer is always going to have a ruff go of it when trying to compete on any thing other then price on the internet. Just a thought. Multiple products is great advise. Selling MBs on consignment at local moto-sport shops might be a good way to feel out the local market.
     
  16. GoFastBicycles

    GoFastBicycles New Member

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    Spunout took the words out of my head .laff
     
  17. happyvalley

    happyvalley New Member

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    Yeah, not to nitpick but the above is where the other half of the thing falls apart.

    You mention the necessity of upgrading a cheap engine to be more reliable but then put it on a cheapo bike?
    IMO, the $90 bikes I've seen from the big box stores are barely safe as bicycles not less motorizing them.
     
  18. mralaska

    mralaska New Member

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    No, No, thank YOU! Whether you retract your advice or not, I am glad you did not delete it. Entertainment is a valuable commodity and your advice has mine beat hands down in that department!
     
  19. eDJ

    eDJ New Member

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    HappyValley, you may be quite right about the quality of those bikes. I've never owned
    one of them. What I was thinking was 1) availabiltiy, 2) price, 3) the fact that it's all new with a
    recipt from the store (to satisfy the BMV's requirement of proof it isn't stollen) and
    would represent a good faith effort on behalf of a builder (in the eyes of the court should
    the builder wind up there) to produce an affordable high milage vehicle as a solution to high fuel cost.
    Seems no matter what a person considers there is little money to be made with the current prices
    of motors and of bikes. It will probably require a return of $4.00 fuel prices to make
    people reconsider these. There's a lot of 65 to 100 mpg motor bikes and scooters that can be
    purchased quite reasonably. So a builder is between low fuel prices and available substitutes in
    the used motor scooter market.

    I noticed today on TV, "The Weather Channel" was reporting the demand for high gas milage Hybrid
    cars is down 66% from where they were last year at this time.

    If memory serves me, back in August of this past year we touched on this and concluded it's probably better that people set up their own so only those with skills enough to build and understand these bikes could have one and the clueless credit card buyers wouldn't ruin
    the hobby for all the rest of us. LOL
     
    #59 eDJ, Mar 19, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  20. Large Filipino

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    That's why I'm reluctant. If you built it yourself then you have some mechanical experience. You develop all the quirks and it's truly individualized to you.
    People want something you can just hop on and go like cars without tinkering with it at all. Then when something comes out of adjustment something happens then person walks away with the feeling these things are death traps. Ralph Nader would have most definitely put these bikes in that category.
     

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