How to Flip Motorcycles for Profit

Buying and Selling Motorcycles is Fun and Hell

Buying and selling motorcycles can be frustrating and interesting. However, it’s smart that you are here to learn how to flip motorcycles for profit. It is not all rosy in the beginning, but when you gather the audience, experience, and reputation, it becomes massively profitable.

I do flip motorcycles, but never exceeded 3 per year. Moreover, I’m a motorcycle mechanic, so it’s easier to assemble salvage or older bikes for sale.

There is a decent number of motorcycles with promising profit to make after flipping. For instance, there is always that biker that purchased the Monster KX after watching SX. After a couple of rides, he dumps it, either too busy or bored, in the garage for months. The partner encourages him to sell it, and they get rid of it instantly. I landed my Honda CRF450R this way.

Is it legal to flip a motorcycle?

No. But flipping motorcycles become illegal when you exceed the number you can sell per year. You do not even qualify for titling and registrations in your name once you reach your state’s limit. But guess what? You can always bypass the limit. How? Keep reading!

How many motorcycles can you sell in a year?

Depending on your state, you may be allowed to sell between 2 and 12 motorcycles a year. Check your state laws to know the permitted number of title transfers for a private seller.

Meanwhile, as you read further, I have disclosed the method to sell multiple motorcycles without registration and title. Every motorcycle flipper wants to avoid the sales tax, titling, and registration cost to increase profit. While it makes sense to evade registrations and taxes, it is illegal, and the buyer might pay the price.

Can you make money flipping motorcycles?

Yes and no. You can make money flipping motorcycles when you shop smart, learn the tricks, and clear $500 to $1,000 per motorcycle. The profit you make flipping motorcycles depends heavily on the amount you spend to rebuild or refine them.

Regarding dollars per hour, you won’t make lots of money, even with the capital to run various motorcycles and turning at least a motorcycle monthly. Moreover, you can be out $5,000 in one transaction if you get burned. From what I have experienced, if you have no hook-up (such as an OEM relationship), flipping motorcycles for profit isn’t worth it.

How to Flip Motorcycles for Profit

Flipping motorcycles for fun is OK, but only when it isn’t an income stream. You can’t be flipping on a loss!

Below is how you can flip motorcycles for profit:

  1. Study Your Market

I’m not certain about the area, but in my area, the Cruiser market is stale. I recall having to sell two Cruisers I purchased out of state and swore not to buy even its tires again.

Before you start flipping motorcycles for profit, research your market, and make sure you can get the most popular motorcycles for cheap.

Some persons argue that you should be able to make at least $1,000, which is okay. However, you ought to be realistic with your numbers because it doesn’t leave you much. Never say, “This motorcycle is a $5,500 fixed up” when a similar motorcycle sells for $500 less.

Sadly, you would be cheating yourself but inflating the numbers.

  1. Pick a Flipping Niche

What motorcycles give you goosebumps? Cruisers? Sportbikes? Dirt bikes? Oh, meanwhile, check out how I recovered a towed dirt bike recently. As a beginner, it is better to start with one class of bikes you understand and can hype when selling. You can also go for heavier bikes, which may be harder to ride.

Cruisers are street motorcycles that offer the spread-eagled position. Sport bikes are expensive and designed for acceleration and speed. Dirt bikes are suitable for rough landscapes and sell faster at city outskirts and suburbs.

Which of these classes of motorcycles can you sell faster? How often do you find them in your streets? By answering these questions, you can establish what motorcycle niche to select.

  1. Have Cash in Hand

You need money to purchase one or more motorcycles for flipping, and you must be comfortable with the motorcycle tied up in your garage without offers for a while.

Being mechanically inclined is as important, which is why I recommend sticking with one class of motorcycle, especially as a beginner.

Take out some time to research the common problems of the motorcycle, the cost of replacing parts, and the profit margin. It’s easy; get in touch with a motorcycle mechanic for estimates.

If you are determined to make the most money flipping motorcycles, prepare a larger garage, specialty, and duplicate tools. Have some money tied up because you’re always going to fix things.

  1. Find the Bikes

While hunting for bargain bikes, find the barn find motorcycles too. Talk to locals, inform motorcycle mechanics, search barn find groups of social media, and discuss barn find without everyone you meet.

What is most important is finding good deals. I purchase and flip motorcycles less than half of their market value. And if I can’t secure at least $500 profit, it is not worth it. While searching for good deals, be careful not to purchase stolen motorcycles, except you are willing to go through the stress of getting rid of them.

Meanwhile, target motorcycles that sell; 2000s or newer bikes under 40k miles. 90s bikes are great too, but you would be relying on vintage fans to flip them for profit. It’s frustrating to rebuild a motorcycle and watch it sit on Craigslist over 3 months with no activity.

You can become a market predator. Purchase cheap motorbikes; navigate Craigslist till you find cheap deals. Snap them up, re-list and sell costlier for profit. You might have to jump titles, though. Meanwhile, follow my reliable steps to buy a motorcycle on Craigslist without getting scammed or buy motorcycle on eBay.

  1. Inspect for Theft

Unless you can flip a stolen motorcycle for profit, try not to purchase one. Most stolen motorcycles arrive with no titles or fake titles. Make sure to inspect it well, following my guide for detecting a stolen motorcycle. Nevertheless, you can always make stolen motorcycles legit.

Meanwhile, VIN is a decent option to protect yourself from buying stolen motorcycles. I assume you know how to run a VIN check. Lots of services to run the check depending on your location.

Search “motorcycle VIN checker” for the sites with VIN check services. Compare the VIN mileage and the seller reported mileage. If it doesn’t match, it’s a sign the bike was stolen, and no excuse from the seller is enough reason.

  1. Fix the Motorcycle

After acquiring the motorcycle, do not perform cheap repairs. Cost-saving repairs merely hide the problems in the motorcycle, and the buyer can sue you for misrepresenting safety standards.

Before I flip a motorcycle, I make sure it is up to standards and something I would feel OK riding. Although cheap repairs save costs, it endangers lives too.

  1. Register It in Your Name

After repairs, put the motorcycle in your name. If the motorcycle carries salvage or rebranded title, consider getting rid of it to increase the market value. Crooks typically make fake titles to bypass the branded identity, thus retaining the motorcycle market value.

Depending on your state, you might not be allowed to register motorcycles in your name more than 3 times. To exceed the limit, you must become a licensed dealer. You do not plan to become a licensed dealer now, do you?

  1. List the Motorcycle for Sale

The platform you list your motorcycle for sale determines how fast you sell it and the profit you make flipping.

Recently, Facebook Marketplace has become a decent platform to flip salvage or used motorcycles for profit. Find out the Facebook pages with a massive and relevant audience to place your ads. You can also create a page for targeted ads within your location. Placing targeted ads on Facebook is tricky; get a free Facebook advertising course online.

Craigslist and eBay are great market places. I discovered that 2 things let you flip motorcycles on these platforms faster; photography and add-ons.

While listing your motorcycle, do not be completely sincere if you want to sell them faster. Nevertheless, do not lie about its condition excessively.

Include the title and registration statuses (titled, open title, not registered, etc.).

  1. Optimize and Entice Shoppers

First, design your profile to look professional regardless of the online flipping platform you use.

My first attempt to flip on Craigslist attracted no activity for days. My mistakes? Poorly detailed photography, leaving out crucial information (title, registration, VIN, mileage, theft status, etc.), ignoring optimizations. The tags you provide alongside descriptions are important for the visibility of your motorcycle.

Use shorter tags that describe your listing. For example, ‘used Honda,’ ‘old Honda bike,’ etc. You can optimize with the model name too.

Next is to entice people’s interest. Depending on the closeness of the buyer’s location, you can include free home delivery.

Best Motorcycles to Flip for Profit

You need to buy a motorcycle that is popular and easy to repair to sell motorcycles faster. You might also need non-running motorbikes; otherwise, the profit will be small.

Suppose you are buying several motorcycles to flip for profit, get similar models, so you have donor bikes for fixing others.

Meanwhile, below are the best motorcycles to flip for profit:

  1. Crashed Bikes

Get crushed motorbikes from lots, put some Chinese fairing, and flip for cash.

Meanwhile, do not put silly race replica or pink fairing; it oozes the replaced fairing from the crash. Put a copy of the original one and don’t say it was scratched.

Also, watch out for riders looking to get rid of old motorcycles! They may be old but the parts may be useful.

  1. Poorly Advertises Motorcycles

Some riders just want to get rid of their motorcycles from the garage. They sign up on any online marketplace after reading online or being told by a friend they can sell it there.

What follows? Poor pictures, non-detailed description, and lot more flaws. That’s the deal you are looking for, and I have purchased decent motorcycles at a bargain in this manner.

The only problem is finding these grades of sellers, but they are there.

  1. Honda CB125e

The Honda CB125e is not expensive, plus it’s a cool motorcycle to ride on a learner license.

It is also a low mileage, easy to fix, and easy-to-sell motorcycle. You can get it for cheap, depending on your location.

  1. 250 Rebels

You can get old 250 Rebels very cheap if not free in non-running condition. It’s easy to fix, and you can make at least $400 profit off it.

Rebels are dead simple to work on to get running. Most just require the fuel system cleaned and flipped for a profit.

  1. A Stolen Gixxer

The Suzuki Gixxer is a 154.9 cc naked motorcycle launched in September 2014. It has a similar design to the GSX-S1000, and the flipping profit margin is awesome. Nevertheless, make sure it is popular in your location before buying.

  1. Ex500

I flipped an ex500 picked up for about $610. About $100 went into the motorcycle, I took what I wanted and sold it for $1800. Since I knew a lot about the bike already, I fixed everything excellently, rode it for some days to ensure it’s safe.

How Do You Sell Multiple Motorcycles without a Dealer License?

Without a dealer’s license, you can’t put multiple motorcycles in your name before selling. Nevertheless, you can bypass this setback legally and otherwise. Meanwhile, follow our guide to get a motorcycle dealer license.

How you can sell multiple motorcycles without a dealer’s license:

  1. Sell Under a Dealer’s Name

A licensed dealer will allow you to sell multiple motorcycles in their name. However, you’ll compensate the dealer, plus they are responsible for the titling process.

Understand that the dealer pays for their license, so do not expect freebies.

In this method, you act as an agent. You can also use the dealership to build an excellent reputation buying and selling motorcycles for money.

Since your state allows a limited number of motorcycles without a license, always consume the option before selling under the dealer’s name.

  1. Sell Under a Relative

When you reach the limit in motorcycles you can title in a year, get relatives to extend your limit. Assuming you have to flip 12 motorcycles this year, and your limit is 3 yearly, register the motorcycles under three different names.

  1. Wash the Motorcycle Title

When you wash the title, you sell it as an open title, which is illegal. Unless your buyer knows what they are doing, they might end up with the tedious process of getting a bonded title.

Washing motorcycle title lets you avoid sales tax and registration costs. If the government ever traces it to you (which is possible if the buyer knows you), you’ll be fined.

When getting rid of motorcycles without title, the buyer must not know your address, not even the address of someone that knows you. You can sell it out of state.

  1. Sell Out of State

Of course, your state laws do not follow you out of state. If your state limits motorcycle sales to 2 per, increase the number out of state.

Consider 2 things—first, the cost of transporting the motorcycle and the buyer’s trust. Most sellers would want to know why you’re selling out of state. Explain that you helped people register in their name and that you can’t sell till the following year in your state.

Note that when your motorcycle is not registered in a particular state, you’re allowed between 2 and 30 days to ride legally, depending on the state laws.

Final Thoughts

Many flippers sell crappy motorcycles nowadays. Tell nobody you’re a flipper, it gives the impression that the motorcycle is salvaged.

Before I flip, I tinker in the shop with a buddy or two and fix it up for the market.

Finally, I recommend you don’t talk money over the internet. I show up with cash, evaluate the motorcycle me, and pay even lower than the listing. Make sure you deal at the seller’s address or a public location.

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