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Tips for Selling Your Used Bike

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Tips for Selling Your Used Bike

Old 05-15-20, 07:10 AM
  #1  
PoorInRichfield
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Tips for Selling Your Used Bike

As many of you have realized, it's a "sellers market" right now for new and used bikes. People are turning to buying bikes because it's one of the few "freedoms" we have right now during the COVID-19 lock-down.

As such, I sold 4 bikes this Spring (which totally surprised me) so I thought I'd share my selling experience tips. Feel free to post your selling tips as well.

Tips for Selling a Used Bike
  • Craigslist is Still King
    I posted my bikes on PinkBike.com, eBay (local pick-up only to advertise the bike, but not pay seller fees), and Craigslist. ALL of the bikes sold because of Craigslist, so posting on the other sites was likely a waste of time for me. The nice part about Craigslist is that you obviously have no seller fees, but please be safe when selling your bike in-person. Consider having alcohol wipes handy, keep your distance from the potential buyer, etc.
  • Clean your bike!!!!
    If people are going to spend top-dollar for a bike, they at least want to feel like they've bought something of value. I can't believe how many people put bikes for sale that are dirty messes that look like they've been abused.
  • Post a LOT of pictures.
    Make sure there are no surprises to the buyer. Take pictures of the "important bits" on the bike, like the drive train, brakes, wear items, etc. (Tip from Jicafold) You can upload a lot of pictures on Craiglist, so take advantage of that. Also, make sure the pictures are decent, well lit, and clear. I won't even bother inquiring about a bike when the seller took blurry, dark pictures that hardly show the bike.
  • Post pictures of the bike exactly as it will be sold. (Tip from Beach Bob)
    Too many ads show photos of bikes that won't actually be sold as is. For example, you see that awesome road bike with deep, carbon wheels for a crazy good price only to read in the ad that the wheels aren't part of the sale. Avoid "bait and switch" techniques like that!
  • Be honest about any issues.
    I post pictures of any scratches or issues I can find so the buyer isn't surprised and describe any issues in the description. For the most part, the bikes I sell are like new so this isn't much of an issue.
  • Post a lot of details.
    If you don't post details, like the year of the bike, component sizes, etc., you'll get bombarded with questions that don't result in sales. Post all the details to "pre-filter" buyers who won't be interested anyway.
  • Be patient if you know what you've got.
    I've been into bikes for ~30 years and have a gut feel for what my bikes should be worth. As such, I don't let Craigslist buyers dicker on price (which they will... believe me they will!) The hard part about being firm on price is that it may take time to find the right buyer. My Trek Crockett was for sale for about 6 months before it sold, but I got what I paid for it!
  • Be clear about payment BEFORE showing the bike.
    This was the biggest issue I had with selling. People would show-up to buy a $2k bike, but want to pay with a personal check. H#ll-no! No personal checks, no money orders (they can be faked). Tell the buyer what payments you'll accept prior to meeting. I found the following payments to be the only acceptable: Cash, meet at the buyer's bank and cash their check to get cash before releasing the bike, or use PayPal where the buyer sends you money as "Friends and Family" and must pay with a bank account and not and credit or debit card (This prevents you as the seller from being charged a transaction fee).
  • Is price "firm" or "negotiable"?
    If you know what your bike is worth, specify "Price is firm" clearly in the ad. You'll still get low-ballers, but less of them. If price is negotiably, make that clear as well. (Tip from AlmostTrick)
Good luck selling! If you have any other seller tips, post-up!

Last edited by PoorInRichfield; 05-15-20 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 05-15-20, 07:20 AM
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Rides4Beer
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Agreed on all points, being clean and lots of good pictures are probably the most important, imo.
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Old 05-15-20, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
use PayPal where the buyer sends you money as "Friends and Family" and must pay with a bank account and not and credit or debit card (This prevents you as the seller from being charged a transaction fee).
I would suggest that for any high-dollar item sold to someone you don't personally know and trust, avoid PayPal "friends and family." Yes, you'll get charged a transaction fee, but you also get PayPal's buyer protection if things go bad. Only accept "friends and family" reimbursement for amounts you're willing to eat if things don't work out.
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Old 05-15-20, 07:56 AM
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Good list... here's one to add:

Take the pictures of the bike set up as how you're going to sell it! No pictures of a nice bike and then notes saying stuff like "saddle to be changed out to original" or "comes with original wheels, no the Zipps shown", etc.

Anytime I see something like that, I just assume that the seller isn't that serious and just fishing to get someone to overpay.
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Old 05-15-20, 07:57 AM
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Yeah I'm not showing up to some guy's house with 2000 cash lol There is something called a cashier's check you know. Also money orders from the post office can't really be faked and are as good as cash.
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Old 05-15-20, 08:06 AM
  #6  
PoorInRichfield
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I would suggest that for any high-dollar item sold to someone you don't personally know and trust, avoid PayPal "friends and family." Yes, you'll get charged a transaction fee, but you also get PayPal's buyer protection if things go bad. Only accept "friends and family" reimbursement for amounts you're willing to eat if things don't work out.
If you're selling your bike online, then yes, you should absolutelyhave the buyer use the normal PayPal "buy goods or services" approach so they have buyer protection. It'll be up to you if you want to pass the 3% fee back to the buyer or bury that into your selling price.

My PayPal tip is from the seller's perspective, not the buyer's. The thought is that the buyer is buying the bike in-person and not paying you in advance. He/she is paying you while standing in your driveway, looking at the bike to be purchased. In other words, there is no need for PayPal's buyer protection because once the money is transferred, the buyer will be taking the bike home instantly. As far as I know, PayPal doesn't offer any kind of seller protection. Once the sale is done, do you really want the buyer that already has your bike making a claim against you through PayPal to get their money back when they have your bike?

Using PayPal "Friends and Family" is one of the few ways I can think of that the buyer can avoid having a large sum of cash on-hand when going to buy a bike from an unknown seller. Also note that if a person attempts to pay you via PayPal using a credit or debit card as a funding source, you as the seller will end-up paying a transaction fee even with the "Friends and Family" option because you'll be paying the credit card fees.

Last edited by PoorInRichfield; 05-15-20 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 05-15-20, 10:46 AM
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I just started using Venmo--making one transaction so far. Do you recommend using it for used bike sales?

I have two bikes I had been planning to sell since late 2019. I have held off due to health/safety concerns but I think I better get them out there before it inevitably turns into a buyer's market. When do you think that's going to be? Late summer as it looks like more and more states are opening up and some people flood the market with their unused Covid bikes? Or next summer as people hold onto their bikes in anticipation of another Covid winter?
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Old 05-15-20, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
I just started using Venmo--making one transaction so far. Do you recommend using it for used bike sales?

I have two bikes I had been planning to sell since late 2019. I have held off due to health/safety concerns but I think I better get them out there before it inevitably turns into a buyer's market. When do you think that's going to be? Late summer as it looks like more and more states are opening up and some people flood the market with their unused Covid bikes? Or next summer as people hold onto their bikes in anticipation of another Covid winter?
The shortage won't last long, China or local built bikes will be back on the shelves and then it will be over. Would bet you have to sell it by end of summer at latest but not sure if you will get even more money if you wait a bit or not.
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Old 05-15-20, 12:09 PM
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PoorInRichfield
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I'll update my original post with your additional good selling tips as you provide 'em so readers don't have to read every post for good selling tips.

Originally Posted by Oneder View Post
Yeah I'm not showing up to some guy's house with 2000 cash lol There is something called a cashier's check you know. Also money orders from the post office can't really be faked and are as good as cash.
Yup... showing-up with cash these days can be a risky deal.

But be careful with cashier's checks... there are scams out there for them as well: https://www.thebalance.com/cashier-s-check-fraud-315795
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Old 05-15-20, 12:15 PM
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And take pictures from the drive side… That’s where the components are.
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Old 05-15-20, 12:21 PM
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PoorInRichfield
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Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
I just started using Venmo--making one transaction so far. Do you recommend using it for used bike sales?

I have two bikes I had been planning to sell since late 2019. I have held off due to health/safety concerns but I think I better get them out there before it inevitably turns into a buyer's market. When do you think that's going to be? Late summer as it looks like more and more states are opening up and some people flood the market with their unused Covid bikes? Or next summer as people hold onto their bikes in anticipation of another Covid winter?
I totally agree that the seller's market we're seeing right now might be drawing to a close sooner than later. Here in Wisconsin, we had a mandated stay-at-home order that was in excess of all states around us by several weeks, but that just got over-turned by a lawsuit. Businesses started opening-up immediately after the decision (whether that's a good idea or not). As such, once people are able to get back to "life as usual", I suspect that bike purchases will die down. At least in the northern states, however, it is still Spring which is also the time when people want to buy bikes so if you live in a state that is finally starting to warm-up, the weather might be driving some of the sales.

Worst case scenario for you, you post your bikes for sale on a free service like Craigslist and all you'll be out is a little of your time. If you know what your bikes are worth, be prepared to wait on the right seller. One of my bikes took 6 months to sell, 2 sold on the same day within days after posting, and the last one took about 2 months. Since it clearly sounds like you don't have to sell the bikes (i.e., you're not desperate for cash), you can be choosy about your buyers and time is on your side.

As for Venmo, I think it's a lot like PayPal in that you can send payments to other friends and family free of cost, but I'm pretty sure that only applies if the funding source is a bank account. No payment service is going to let you get away with using a credit card w/o passing the cost using the CC on to you.
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Old 05-15-20, 12:36 PM
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I make sure my bikes are 100% tuned, cleaned, and ready to roll. Then price them at or below what similar bikes (that usually need something or another) on CL are priced at. Often, I don't have to lower my asking price, especially from buyers who have "been looking around a while". "Firm" pricing is another option I've used at times. Nice way to weed out the low ballers just looking to flip for a buck.

I only accept cash. Most of my bikes go for much less, but late last year I sold one for $1400... my asking price. Yes, buyer brought cash because they wanted the bike, and frankly it was a good deal. I'd do the same if I were the buyer.

Seriously, if the bike is properly and honestly marketed, no interested buyer is going to show up and be disappointed. Especially on a high dollar bike! What usually happens is buyer and I correspond many times, asking and answering questions, sharing more photos and stories, etc. By the time they show up, there are no surprises.

Now that I think of it, I also sold $6500 and $9000 muscle cars for cash. Buyers showed up with a big pile of hundreds and we both were happy.
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Old 05-15-20, 08:28 PM
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PoorInRichfield Maybe I should buy a used bike from you. Some of the local here with their CL ads are questionable and we're not even talking about bikes lol.
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Old 05-15-20, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
I'll update my original post with your additional good selling tips as you provide 'em so readers don't have to read every post for good selling tips.


Yup... showing-up with cash these days can be a risky deal.

But be careful with cashier's checks... there are scams out there for them as well: https://www.thebalance.com/cashier-s-check-fraud-315795
Marking pens are your friends especially with large bills.
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Old 05-16-20, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Pugs2xLove View Post
PoorInRichfield Maybe I should buy a used bike from you. Some of the local here with their CL ads are questionable and we're not even talking about bikes lol.
Ugh! I like to think all my bike buyer's are happy customers. That's the one thing I don't like about Craigslist as that sellers don't earn any reputation points, so yes, there are a lot of not-so-good sellers there and everyone who buys on Craigslist assumes you're a schmuck
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Old 05-16-20, 12:13 PM
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If anybody tried to give me a check.........

I have had folks give me hundreds of dollars without issue. And I never meet them at my house.

Is this a common sense thread......
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Old 05-16-20, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I would suggest that for any high-dollar item sold to someone you don't personally know and trust, avoid PayPal "friends and family." Yes, you'll get charged a transaction fee, but you also get PayPal's buyer protection if things go bad. Only accept "friends and family" reimbursement for amounts you're willing to eat if things don't work out.
There could be different opinions about this, and I don't fully understand the details, but... I've read that if you sell something as merchandise, then you have to show proof of shipment, otherwise the buyer can claim that they never received the item. I've been a PayPal merchant for years, and have never had a bad transaction, but I've also read about some of its potential failure modes.
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Old 05-16-20, 12:50 PM
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Iíve had good luck on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

#1 rule know the market and donít overprice your bike.

#2 Either list a price as firm or expected low balls and deal with it.

#3 Unless you know the person personally do not take anything but cash. Not ever. No exceptions. There is literally no other safe way to buy or sell.

#4 If you canít trust the person to meet at your house or at a public place, donít buy or sell with that person.

#5. Bring a witness with you, and trust your instincts. If youíre not comfortable making a really high dollar transaction, and thatís valid, then buy from a Bike shop.

There are always risks. Iíve met people at police station parking lots before. Typically as a seller I just have them come to my house. For a particularly large sale usually I will meet in a public place to keep my address a secret so they donít come back and steel it after refusing a sale, but usually I just donít worry about it. If people are flaky or off I donít make the sale. If Iím buying something expensive, I go with a witness and or armed to a public place. Be smart, and do what makes you comfortable.
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Old 05-16-20, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
There could be different opinions about this, and I don't fully understand the details, but... I've read that if you sell something as merchandise, then you have to show proof of shipment, otherwise the buyer can claim that they never received the item. I've been a PayPal merchant for years, and have never had a bad transaction, but I've also read about some of its potential failure modes.

As a seller you have no 100% protection from being ripped off if you take anything but cash. Seller can charge back. They can claim itís not what they expected. They can call a CC company and request a charge back. They can claim it stolen. I buy and sell stuff online all the time and use PayPal etc and have had mostly good luck with really only about 5 issues/scams in 10-15 years. Face to face and in cash is the only thing the is secure money wise, and that has its own risks too.
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Old 05-16-20, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by StarBiker View Post
If anybody tried to give me a check.........

I have had folks give me hundreds of dollars without issue. And I never meet them at my house.

Is this a common sense thread......

I bought my Warbird with $1800 in 100ís. She wanted to meet in the police station parking lot. I had no problem with that. Iíve sold to bikes for cash and several guitars.
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Old 05-16-20, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ArchEtech View Post
I bought my Warbird with $1800 in 100ís. She wanted to meet in the police station parking lot. I had no problem with that. Iíve sold to bikes for cash and several guitars.
I always meet at my local library.

The pain for me not owning a car is I like to flip stereo equipment, and can't carry it. I have moved on from it because I never see anything that good anymore, but I do have a few pieces I will move. I have had numerous electronic sales from home. Just don' like doing it.
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Old 05-16-20, 02:32 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by ArchEtech View Post
Iíve had good luck on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

#1 rule know the market and donít overprice your bike.

#2 Either list a price as firm or expected low balls and deal with it.

#3 Unless you know the person personally do not take anything but cash. Not ever. No exceptions. There is literally no other safe way to buy or sell.

#4 If you canít trust the person to meet at your house or at a public place, donít buy or sell with that person.

#5. Bring a witness with you, and trust your instincts. If youíre not comfortable making a really high dollar transaction, and thatís valid, then buy from a Bike shop.

There are always risks. Iíve met people at police station parking lots before. Typically as a seller I just have them come to my house. For a particularly large sale usually I will meet in a public place to keep my address a secret so they donít come back and steel it after refusing a sale, but usually I just donít worry about it. If people are flaky or off I donít make the sale. If Iím buying something expensive, I go with a witness and or armed to a public place. Be smart, and do what makes you comfortable.
This is all good advice from my experience.
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Old 05-16-20, 04:03 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by ArchEtech View Post
As a seller you have no 100% protection from being ripped off if you take anything but cash. Seller can charge back. They can claim itís not what they expected. They can call a CC company and request a charge back. They can claim it stolen. I buy and sell stuff online all the time and use PayPal etc and have had mostly good luck with really only about 5 issues/scams in 10-15 years. Face to face and in cash is the only thing the is secure money wise, and that has its own risks too.
Indeed, and as with all retail, if you do more volume, then you can treat the scammers as a cost of doing business, and work it into your price.
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Old 05-16-20, 05:03 PM
  #24  
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Another tip is to hire a bike ad Copywriter!

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details...teLocale=en_CA
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Old 05-16-20, 05:45 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by ArchEtech View Post
As a seller you have no 100% protection from being ripped off if you take anything but cash. Seller can charge back. They can claim it’s not what they expected. They can call a CC company and request a charge back. They can claim it stolen. I buy and sell stuff online all the time and use PayPal etc and have had mostly good luck with really only about 5 issues/scams in 10-15 years. Face to face and in cash is the only thing the is secure money wise, and that has its own risks too.
If you sell something worth more than a few hundred bucks then I would sell it as individual parts, including frame and just throw out cheap parts or use them on junkers and sell the junkers cheap. People are only likely to want to return if they accidentally bought the wrong thing and scammers and liars will probably not bother trying to mess with you. And if they do want a return then it is less of a big deal. You're also less likely to be disappointed as a buyer that way. A part works or it doesn't and if you have closeup pics you will be able to judge the condition.
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