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Making Money With A Cargo Bike

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Making Money With A Cargo Bike

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Old 01-23-18, 06:34 PM
  #1  
Mayonnaise
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Making Money With A Cargo Bike

Greetings,

I've fallen in love with the idea of a cargo bike and in particular the LvH Bullitt.

An old racing buddy of mine sells them and I've got the space in the garage to keep it. So I'm dialed in.

But, if I buy one more bike my wife will (fill in the blank).

I thought, well, if I can make enough money in one summer to pay for it, I'll pull the trigger.

Good, good...ok...how do I make money?

A delivery service of course.

In my opinion, I live in a perfect area for it. I live on the far south side of Chicago in the Beverly neighborhood. It's full of young families just getting started as well as an aging populace. Less than a half mile from where I'm typing is a brand new outdoor mall with many chain stores: Meijer, Menards, Sams, Walmart, as well as a ton of others.

There are 2 big hospitals within minutes, more grocery stores than you care to count, and plenty of liquor stores.

Making the picture even more ideal is the infrastructure. I can get into most of these places by cutting through neighborhoods and crossing very few major streets. It couldn't be much safer.

I work evenings so I've got mornings and early afternoons free.

I've got a solid foundation planned but I'm at a loss.

I don't know how to begin.

I've looked into the grocery delivery apps and am considering them, but I'd rather be more of an independent.

So I come here looking for advice/encouragement.

If I can make $200 per week that would be enough to pay for the bike. Also, I'm super fussy about my bikes and keep them clean and well maintained all the time. If things don't go well, I'd put the cargo bike on eBay and liquidate it.

Feel free to tell me to save my money for something else, like retirement.
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Old 01-23-18, 06:42 PM
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Cost of business insurance taken into account?
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Old 01-23-18, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
Cost of business insurance taken into account?
was going to ignore that until it presented itself as necessary
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Old 01-24-18, 05:42 AM
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Any licensing necessary?
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Old 01-24-18, 03:06 PM
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PL&PD insurance?




Many years ago a friend got an insulated box on their bike and some dry ice and sold ice cream at a public gathering ..

.. had a toy Xylophone, and played 'the Hoky Poky' on it to get the customer's attention..




...

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Old 01-25-18, 10:31 AM
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don't now about the various happenings around there, but I notice each year around derby time there are a few people doing the bike cab thing around the track area. they're using more rick-shawish looking bikes though.
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Old 01-26-18, 01:45 PM
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We have a business in Sacramento like that: https://www.ediblepedal.com/ They deliver from local restaurants and CSAs. The draw for the restaurants/businesses is to able to tout the sustainability of the food/business. Not sure how monetarily successful it is, but they've been around for several years now. I'd start by reaching out to the businesses rather than trying to approach it from the consumer side.
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Old 01-26-18, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Philphine View Post
don't now about the various happenings around there, but I notice each year around derby time there are a few people doing the bike cab thing around the track area. they're using more rick-shawish looking bikes though.
Some of the cargo trikes can be designed to carry either passengers or cargo (front or rear?)

To be effective, I think you either have to have a short-term plan, such as rickshaw at concerts and events, perhaps shuttling from the parking lot to the front gate, and accepting "tips". Bar hopping? University Campus cruises?

Or you have to have a long-term plan. 12 months a year... several days a week. Get your name out there, and have a service as dependable as UPS, and get some clients that trust your services. If you wish to work with hospitals, talk to them about their requirements (confidentiality, drugs, chain of custody, liability, etc).

This is the local bike co-op here in Eugene.



They also do valet bike parking for events, and have bike racks that can be disassembled and carried by bike & trailer.

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Old 01-26-18, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mel2012 View Post
We have a business in Sacramento like that: https://www.ediblepedal.com/ They deliver from local restaurants and CSAs. The draw for the restaurants/businesses is to able to tout the sustainability of the food/business. Not sure how monetarily successful it is, but they've been around for several years now. I'd start by reaching out to the businesses rather than trying to approach it from the consumer side.
I have heard Portland also has bicycle delivered re-usable food trays for the food carts. Rig to deliver clean trays. Separate rig to pick up the dirty ones, clean them, and send them back out.
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Old 01-26-18, 02:39 PM
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Another option to have a cargo bike pay for itself is to not earn any money on it at all, but rather displace other expenses.

If you can sell/stop using/stop insuring/stop licensing/don't buy a car, then it may well be worth a lot of savings. It might take a big commitment, but going from a 2-car family to a 1-car family, or a 1-car family to ZERO-car family may well pay for your cargo bike without resorting to building a commercial service.

I can often carry more on my bike than is convenient in many cars.

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Old 01-29-18, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post


is this your's? I've been collecting parts for an edgerunner type fatbike for a while, but I haven't tried to start the actual build yet.
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Old 01-29-18, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Philphine View Post
is this your's? I've been collecting parts for an edgerunner type fatbike for a while, but I haven't tried to start the actual build yet.
Yep.

It was a fun build from a couple of years ago, and it truly is a BEAST in many senses.

Front is a vintage Steyr Clubman.
Rear is a Mongoose Massif 20x4.25

It is a little flexy, and I think I ended up with some alignment issues causing a bit of a wobble when descending loaded/pulling.

If I do it again, there will be changes, but I haven't quite decided what. I'm not as excited about the small-fat rear end as I was when the idea popped into my mind, and don't really like the wide Q-Factor cranks.

Personally I don't use the "cargo" option as much as I had originally expected, and mainly use it for towing.

I may try something a little different as a tow vehicle. I've been thinking about an upright trike as a "tractor".
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Old 09-15-18, 02:50 AM
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Bullitt is nice, but you might be coming into this from the deep end.

I'm too afraid to tally up how much I paid to build up my Bullitt.
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Old 09-15-18, 10:17 AM
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Chicago? maybe Protection money ? Will have someone collecting it ,
and offering you , 'continued good health' in exchange..
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Old 09-24-18, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Another option to have a cargo bike pay for itself is to not earn any money on it at all, but rather displace other expenses.

If you can sell/stop using/stop insuring/stop licensing/don't buy a car, then it may well be worth a lot of savings. It might take a big commitment, but going from a 2-car family to a 1-car family, or a 1-car family to ZERO-car family may well pay for your cargo bike without resorting to building a commercial service.

I can often carry more on my bike than is convenient in many cars.

holy **** tell me you were actually able to ride that much weight?
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Old 09-30-18, 10:09 PM
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Finally, I can post links!

Here's my Bullitt build.

Rohloff-Gates-BBSHD-Bullitt
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