Thursday, May 31, 2007

TCB, Baby

In the past (particularly when I was still working for a malevolent employer) I ranted regularly about how things would be if I were running my own business. I come from a highly entrepreneurial family, and I've half-started a couple micro-ventures in the past.

For the last year or so, I've been daydreaming about selling used motorcycles. Originally, I thought I'd sell other people's bikes on eBay, for a commission. As I researched the opportunity, however, I discovered that while a "Sell it on eBay" store works great for antiques, collectibles, and other low-buck tchotchkes, it's not really viable for motorcycle sales.

Here's why:
  • To sell more than 4 bikes a year in Arizona, one has to have a dealer's license and a $100,000 bond (so if I need that, why not just own the bikes as well?).
  • By selling on commission, I'd have two clients to appease per sale, instead of just one if I outright owned the bike. If the seller isn't happy with how much the bike sold for, it'll be that much more unpleasant taking my (hefty) commission from them.
  • With a dealer license, I can get into wholesale auctions and buy bikes on the cheap.
  • When the seller still owns the bike, arranging shipping/pick-up/storage of the bike would be a huge pain.
  • Arranging the title transfer would be a lot sketchier, since I'd just be a go-between between the seller and the buyer.

So it makes more sense to just buy the bikes outright and resell them. I still like the eBay sales model, however, because (once I have a bike to sell) I can just take the photos, write the ad and wait for the money to come rolling in. Meanwhile, I can keep my job until the business is really rolling.

My plan is to first get the VX800 running (because I need to get that sucker going again), and then start looking for bikes to buy and resell. I figure I'll sell one or two to get the hang of how the process works, and if it seems like a feasible business model, I'll go ahead and get established as a business.

Why am I telling you about this? Mostly to force myself to go through with it.


irondad said...

Here's another idea. A guy I know bought a motorcycle scrap yard. There are now three people who work full time selling the parts on e-bay. It's amazing what parts from used bikes fetch. The sum of the parts would be worth more than the bike as a unit. Of course, why ruin good used bikes, huh?

Was in your neck of the woods last week. I thought about looking you up. Had no bike and very little time. We flew in, got a ride to Prescott,( about an hour and a half ) did our thing, reversed the ride to the airport, and flew home. I'll probably be back later in the summer for fall on the bike. Maybe then?

Surly said...

How about I send you a money order for $1000.00 over the asking price of the bike and you send me the cash and the bike? I'm in Nigeria, BTW.
No dice? O.K. wanna buy a used Honda CB550K? Fresh paint, new brakes?
Huh, huh?

Lucky said...

irondad - ...mmmm, selling bikes as parts. I'm going to need more space before I can do that though.

Definitely let me know if you're going to be in town and have time for a beer and a slice.

surly - Nigeria is in the midwest?

If you were here in Arizona, I'd totally buy your bike. But, alas, you aren't.