[CR] Lack of proper tools at bike shops: Might as well use their attitudes to your advantage

Example: Humor:John Pergolizzi

From: Tom Sanders <tesanders@comcast.net>
To: <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sat, 23 May 2009 07:28:25 -0400
Thread-Index: AcnbmZYO6tAJGFtDR1WCA8q6cC108w==
Subject: [CR] Lack of proper tools at bike shops: Might as well use their attitudes to your advantage

Well of course they don't have the tools we are discussing. Fact is they have little interest in anything like a vintage bike at all. They don't sell them and servicing them is strictly an after thought for most these days. This is often a great advantage to the vintage collector with many smarts. There will often be one shop in anything like a larger metropolitan area who will do good work on such bikes. You simply must cultivate a good relationship with such a shop and be sure you do what you can for them, like they do for you.

The point of this post, however is to point out that you very much need to cultivate a relationship with all the other shops, too. Folks often marvel at all the vintage bikes I come up with and nearly always these days pass along very reasonably to other List Members. Some come from basement finds. More often, however I get a call from some shop owner (I have been doing this long enough now where the calls may come from all over the state) who has a customer or potential customer who either wants his vintage bike modified in some way that is not realistic (Like the 1954 Urago track bike I picked up a couple of years ago when an old duffer wanted it converted into a "comfort bike"!) or , more likely wishes to trade it in on a more modern bike. The shop owner wants nothing to do with such a transaction, so they call me. I then go and look and make an offer to take the vintage stuff off everyone's hands and all are happy. I have spent years visiting shops with little else to offer me, introducing myself and telling the owners what I am interested n and leaving off business cards. They aren't bad folks, their business interests as they perceive it, just are with modern bikes and the bikes they sell.

I always make a point to not deceive them, but I seldom give a free estimate of a bike's worth, either. I make an offer and it is either accepted (about three quarters of the time) or declined. Occasionally I later wish I had offered more. It does me no good to offer an E-Bay price, obviously. Why would anyone buy such a bike from me, then? I need to buy them very reasonably and as anyone who has bought bikes from me can testify I offer them very reasonably. I have never made more than $200 on such a transaction and then only once or twice. If I can make $50 on such a deal, I feel have had fun and generally made a new friend of the buyer, too. Sure don't get rich. Sure have some fun. Sure end up with a few extra clunkers hanging around, though, too.

Well there, I've spilled a secret and now I suppose it may get a bit more difficult to do this, but I am getting less energetic in my pursuit of these things and maybe this will help some aspiring entrepreneur. Hope they make more $$ than I have off of it. I'd starve doing this for a living.

The parts do make you a bit more money when you find them this way (and you will) but they come along less often.

Tom Sanders

Lansing, MI