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Become A Bicycle Broker

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So far as I know, this business has not been done. Someone should do it, and perhaps that someone is you.

The idea is that there are millions of bicycle owners who want to get rid of their bikes at a fair price for one reason or another. There are millions of potential customers who want to purchase a second-hand bike for the usual reasons - to save money, because it is more environmentally-friendly than having a new one made, or to get something that is no longer available.

What if you could get ten or fifteen percent of the price at which these bicycles are being traded? Your job would be to introduce the sellers to the buyers.

I can imagine several ways in which this could be done.

Via advertising on the Internet, a web page, in paper-based publications, by word of mouth, with business cards, and with the help of local businesses, you could get two messages to the general public.

One is that you help them sell their bikes. The other is that you can help them find the bikes they want at the prices they are hoping to pay.

On talking with sellers, you might offer to list their bicycle in your catalog, on your web page, or whatever you choose to do, and if it sells, and ONLY if it sells, you get your percentage. Now, you come to a fork in the road. What if while you have it listed, the seller's neighbor decides to buy the bike? Do you insist on your percentage or do you make a profit only if the sale is directly due to your actions? The choice is yours.

Another decision is how to handle discounts. Buyers may expect to wheel and deal to get the price down. Your choices are many, but your seller must know in advance what technique is expected. First, you can have the seller handle the transaction directly. You could just phone the customer, find out what happened, and ask that a check be sent to you. (Most people will be honest.) Or, you can handle the actual sale, working within a ten-percent bargaining range, or with a fixed price - your choice.

 

This brokering business assumes that you do not hold the bike. You'll probably want to photograph the bike, and get a complete technical description. The photo can be important in cases where the bicycle the customer gets is not what the customer expected. And, of course, you should have signatures from both parties on a standard document of your own design which states that you are not responsible for the actions of the buyer or the seller. Your only job is to bring them together.

There are variations, of course. You could rent a building where all bicycles are consigned to you. Customers come in because of all your various advertising, as well as your location and the signs on your building. You can offer each bike with a tune-up and a warranty, or as is. In the case of the extra service, you would naturally get a higher percentage. This is the way Downhill Services in Sun Valley, Idaho operates. They have a well-located building in which sellers bring skis, bicycles and other sporting equipment for consignment. Each bike is sold with a tune-up, so each customer gets a safe bike.

Another variation is done with cars in most communities. Perhaps you could do it with bicycles on a national scale. I'm talking about a newspaper dedicated to bicycle sales. The automotive papers have a photograph submitted by the seller. Some have a photographer who can make housecalls. The newspaper charges a fixed price, perhaps $20, for running the ad, and typically will run it for six issues, or until the machine is sold. Do you see how this can be adapted to bicycles sales?

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