Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Well maybe it's not that easy, or is it? Just as the title says, this blog is going to be some of the insider secrets on flipping mopeds and scooters. *Que the death threats* Because it's all here, it's free, and it's easier than you think, all you need is a flat head screw driver, adjustable wrench, wd-40 and motivation! So where do we start? Well first off where do we find a moped/scooter for a cheap price? First we start with patience and persistence. Finding great deals on a moped can be like a full time job, but trust me it's worth it. Sometimes it takes me multiple weeks before I find something worthwhile to purchase. Where do I find the deals? Craigslist is hands down your best tool.(edit 12-18-19 Craigslist has since started charging to list motorcycles, listings have dropped drastically, try using the other services listed below.) People are motivated in selling and aren't just "testing the waters". Search things like 50cc, moped, puch and see what comes up, probably not much as around here, people scarf them up so fast it would make your head spin! As you can imagine this might be a daunting task of continually refreshing your browser as you wait for the perfect deal. This is what I used to do for hours in the evening and in the morning. There is a solution to save you from all of those refresh clicks, it's called Craigslist search alert. Its a service provided by craigslist which allows you to receive e-mail updates with deals that you may be interested in. Don't just set one alert up for "50cc" because you are severely handicapping your deal finding power! Set up several alerts for example, "puch, moped, scooter, two-stroke, sachs, tomos, scooter, taotao, etc etc. Once they are set up sit and wait for that deal. Don't limit yourself to just craigslist in your hunt! Use sites like facebook market place, letgo, Mercari to expand your searching power! One underestimated form of finding cheap mopeds and scooters is by just plain asking for them. Create a "for sale" ad on craigslist and list everything you're looking for. Be sure to include pictures and let them know you have money in hand! Just because someone else is already doing this doesn't mean you can't, just make your ad better. This also works wonderfully when you post a more simplified ad on facebook groups (and even better on college pages). Just make a little text excerpt asking if anyone has any mopeds or scooters they are looking to unload, and get ready for the responses. Below is a ad that you can use as a baseline when looking for peds and scoots.
You've finally found a moped! What's next? Simply put, throw yourself at it, and be adamant about it. Buying online these days is like the wild west. The only thing that matters is you are going to be the first person to message and the buyer thinks you're going to be the first person to show up, even if you don't know if you want the moped/scoot. NEVER NEGOTIATE OR SEND OFFERS ONLINE OR ON THE PHONE!! So send a e-mail immediately or better yet CALL, and set up a time to check the moped out and then examine the ad and details later. What to watch out for and what to avoid? Watch out for deals that are "too good to be true". If they list a beautiful 2017 Yamaha enduro motorcycle for $1200 and don't give much of a description or they say the bike is in perfect condition, it's a scam. Avoid them at all cost and do the community a favor, flag them. Another thing to look out for are cheap mopeds that have multiple wonderfully curated photos, perfect lighting, with seemingly perfect shiny paint that "ran when parked" or "it's their personal collection" but "doesn't have spark or run." Seems a little fishy right? That's because that's your competition. (We'll get into those tactics later) What you want is either no picture or a picture taken with a Potato Camera. A few key details and a cheap price. I once found a bike that I wanted, however they only listed their address. No phone number, no e-mail,no pictures, no price, nothing. So guess what I did, I drove to the address with cash and ended up making one of my largest scores of my flipping career. Don't be afraid! Stick your neck out, the deals are there. Now it's your time to show up! Like I said above, buying online is like the wild west. Your drive and motivation in these steps is what is going to bring home that killer deal! What's this you don't have a truck? Use your car, I personally have fit 3 mopeds in the back of my Audi wagon, I know of others who readily fit a single moped in the back seat of their 4 door compact sedan! (Just be sure to protect your seats such) If not, rent a u-haul truck, it's fairly cheap but keep in mind this will cut into your profits in the end. Hell you could even pedal it home! I can't even count the scooters and mopeds I've pushed back to my place, sometimes over 3 miles! What really matters is getting to the seller FAST. Not when you get out of work, not this weekend, not tomorrow after work, go now. The sooner you are able to get to the seller the sooner you are able to snag this heck of a deal! Many sellers, if not all, are first come first serve. Who's going to be there first? Negotiations. Personally I like to be the "perfect buyer" so majority of the time I just show up and pay the asking price (because the deal is so low already). There's a reason you don't make offers on-line. The reason is, it locks in a offer when in reality if you just waited you could tell the seller "oh the chain is rusty, the tank has rust, it doesn't turn over etc etc." and then you have negotiating power on your end. Plus when in person, sellers aren't as likely to be as bold navigating your offers, so they may bend to your offer.
I always like to set an amount I'm willing to pay and be willing to walk away with cash still in your hand if the buyer doesn't agree to your offer. I have personally had several different individuals change their mind when I decide to walk away. (One even driving down the road and flagging us down with his high beams), The "take away" is another strong tool.
Speaking of cash, this is a incredibly powerful tool (but be tasteful) . Haggle on the price. If they are asking $500, pull out $300 in cash and count it. Tell the seller you have $300 right here and offer it. Sometimes sellers get froggy when cash is out and about and decide to jump on the lower offer, sometimes they don't. One thing is for sure...you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Worse they says is no. There is tons more reguarding negotiations that I could get into, but these methods ALWAYS work for me. Let's load that moped up and get it home!
Turd polishing. That's right, time to polish the other man's turd that YOU the cat just dragged home...This is where you can cut the corners! Don't know a single thing about fixing mopeds? You're fine, providing you only paid a couple hundred or less for this jalopy you now own. The most half assed way of flipping mopeds is simply by washing them, and spraying this wd-40 on them(or just skipping the wash and go straight to wd-40.) . After a good wash with water and this soap , clean every damn nook and cranny. Clean the wheels clean the spokes and even the bottom of the engine . Now if we're still on the half ass train apply the wd-40. If you want to be legit about making your new clean gem a shining diamond, below is my choices for the most effective tools to have! Maxima SC-1 - I absolutely swear by this stuff, it smells great( Like smarties) and can make old plastic and rubber look like new. It's expensive, but so very much worth it. Works wonders on four wheeler and dirt bike plastics too! Basic chrome polish - Believe it or not mopeds have a lot of chrome and this stuff with a little rag works wonders, be sure not to use it on aluminum. Mothers aluminum polish - At first I thought this stuff was so silly....then I incorporated a drill. I have achieved finishes so perfect no aluminum it looks like a mirror!! Sling Free tire shine - This stuff walks circles around that foaming crap which just runs everywhere. Shining the tires is such a small task but makes a MASSIVE difference!! I always have buyers comment on how great the tires look. 3m Head light restore kit - This little kit is my secret weapon! It can make old paint look like new! Works exceptionally well with the above compounds. Haze and scratch remover - This stuff can make 40 year old paint look like fresh paint. I have has several buyers think I had repainted the moped that was for sale when really all I did was polish it. Milwaukee Drill Set - This is my choice for speed detailing mopeds and scooters. Battery last forever and the drill is of wonderful quality That about wraps it up! Chances are the items I've listed are the cheapest you're going to find and easiest to just click and buy from these links. Don't waste your money by going to an auto-zone or Walmart. Speaking from experience. Minor repairs are up next (If you want) . Most moped/scooter flips are a simple carb clean on mopeds and a carb replacement and new battery on Chinese scooters. If you invest $50 of your money into key items to get a bike running, that will greatly increase your rate of sale and price you sell at. There is still the option to sell as is with it's new polished stance for 100-300 more than you paid for it.. But if you're going for big bucks....Fix er up! Check out our moped carb cleaning Blog post here. that is if you're a do it yourself kinda person. If you're not "Tim the tool guy" but know how to use a screw driver and wrench, I recommend trying to replace the carburetor. It's a fairly easy task and those with common sense should be able to navigate this task with ease. These carbs below are my recommendations for China scoots and most Puch mopeds . Do not search for the cheapest carb in this situation. If you do, chances are it will come from China VIA boat and will take no less than 1 month. Woof. For a China Brand 50cc 4-stroke scooter - This carb is a easy swap! For a China Brand 150cc 4 stroke scooter - This carb is just as easy, but bigger. For a Puch Maxi Moped - This carb requires that the stock air box is used, They are a little picky. 4l-bs - Battery used in ALL 50cc scooter applications 5l-bs - Battery used in MOST 150cc scooter applications. If you find this section difficult check out our forum, often times I or some of the moped crew will be available and can help you along! Time to list and sell your now AWESOME polished turd. What to list it for? If you're in Burlington Vermont, Running mopeds will sell within 2 hours if listed for $500. You can try $600, but it may sit on it for a while. Burlington is a weird place and I realize not everywhere will have this luxury of selling 40 year old motorized bikes for a premium. Just do your research. See what other mopeds are selling for! Worse case, just experiment! Nothing to loose. Just be sure you're making money on the deal! But where are you going to sell it? The same place you bought it from of course! A lot of people struggle here, not knowing what to do or say. It's simple, be brief, list the miles and current condition, running or not, and post a TON of very well lit detail oriented pictures. No need to tell everyone what it needs, get a buyer to show up and let them point out the faults and go from there. That's the most difficult part, is getting someone to show up. Be prepared for endless questions if you're SUPER vague in your listing, but just try and secure that time and place to sell it. See! A 10 minute read and you're off with the basics of making that CASH money! Don't forget you can still make a profit by bringing it to professionals like us! Let us do your dirty work, pay a small fee and then you profit with a running bike! There are many ways to skin the cat, how you choose to do it is up to you! I hope this helps someone on their journey as a moped/scooter/money enthusiast, please if you found this blog post at least gave you something to think about, my Patreon is https://www.patreon.com/join/BTCsteen/checkout and if your super lazy, a simple click on one of the banner ads will keep this chick motivated and writing more! Thanks so much for reading! Talk to you soon! -Steen