How to start a used motorcycle business from home

Buying and selling motorcycle is a good business and it has a six-figure paying potential if you become a full-time motorcycle dealer or trader. But you can also make a great living or additional income selling motorcycle from home. All you need to get started is a motorcycle to sell and a smartphone, it really is that simple.

But that’s not to say selling motorcycle from home is a good idea for everyone. Firstly you will have to give consideration to how you will conduct business and decide whether your home is suitable for this kind of operation, it may also be illegal in your state or country. You will also require suitable insurance and will need to adhere to local operation guidelines.

But operating from home can offer a much better work life balance than is traditionally found in the motor trade. Allowing you to start and end your day largely when you choose, as long as your work is complete and leads have been followed up.

Below we will answer the most common questions asked by people looking to start selling motorcycle from home so you can understand what you need to get started and learn if its the business for you.

Do you have to have a license to buy and sell motorcycles?

You don’t need a licence to trade in motorcycles at all in England and Wales. You do however require a licence to deal in motorcycles in Scotland, you can apply for a temporary or full licence via your local authority and fees do apply. If you are in the USA in most cases you will require a license to trade in motorcycles but the laws vary and you should contact your local authorities for clarification on the requirements in your local area.

How much money do you need to get started selling motorcycles?

To get started flipping motorcycles all you need is the money to buy you first motorcycles. You can then reinvest the same money once that motorcycle is sold. You then repeat the same process as many times as you like whilst taking a profit on each deal, with the initial money from the first motorcycle being reinvested again and again.

You can then decide whether you want to invest in more stock or simply flip the occasions motorcycle to subsidise you income. Either way selling motorcycles from home requires very little seed money and is largely self funding. 

Where do I find motorcycles to flip?

You can find cars in lots of different ways to find stock. But the easiest way to find quality used motorcycle is from you local franchised dealers. The reason your local franchised dealer is your best bet is that they have a constant supply of used motorcycles that they need to clear, and every garage has a limited amount of money and space. So most garages have a network of dealer they pass motorcycles on to.

But there are other options, you can also buy car auctions or search eBay, Craigslist or Autotrader for motorcycles to resell. Placing an advert in your local news papers classified section can also yield good results as can joining selling groups on social media sites.

Word of mouth is another great way to find stock. So let your friends and family know that you’re in the market for motorcycles. If you know the seller checking the motorcycle and its history is much easier.

So there are lots of ways to buy motorcycles, but whichever way you choose it’s important that you establish a steady supply as without this you are going to find it hard to be successful. If you plan to make motorcycle flipping a full time business you really need to nurture a relationship with a franchised dealer, this is the only way you will fine enough stock in the longterm.

Which motorcycles should you buy to flip?

If you are just starting out you should start by focusing on low cc motorcycles with low running and insurance costs. The sort of car that would appeal to a first time rider, senior rider or someone looking for good reliable transport. This type of motorcycle is usually easy to appraise. So if you make some mistakes you shouldn’t get any big bills, these motorcycle are also generally fast moving and easy to value.

Your ideal motorcycle flip should be:

  • ​​Small bikes with low running and insurance costs
  • Retailing between two & three thousand pounds, with a £1000 margin
  • In either Grey, Black, Blue or Silver
  • Having covered a low mileage
  • Have full service history
  • ​With no major panel or mechanical issues​​
  • and be HPI clear

Valuing a motorcycle

Putting an exact valuation on a motorcycle can be hard we cover how to do this in detail in our article How to value a motorcycle you plan to sell (with tips).

Detailing a motorcycle

Giving a motorcycle a thorough detail is the easiest way to add value and it’s import that every motorcycle you sell goes through this simple process. You can either detail every motorcycle yourself or outsource it to a local professional.

Advertising and marketing a motorcycle

The best way to advertise and market a motorcycle will often depend on your location. But in most cases social media will be most effective and cost efficient option closely followed by online classified adverts.

We would suggest you start with selling motorcycles on Facebook. Either via local Facebook groups and Facebook Marketplace as they represents a huge opportunity.

Posting to Facebook can be done via desktop or the Facebook app, and is super simple. You can post simultaneously to marketplace and buying and selling groups. Simply start by posting the motorcycle to the marketplace and Facebook automatically asks if you want to also add the advert to the groups you are a member of. All the motorcycles you have listed across all the groups can then be managed in app. Once a car is sold you just mark it as so and it’s removed from all the listings, notifying anyone who has enquired that the item is now sold.

Facebook Marketplace and groups guide you through the posting process. But it’s still important to list all the relevant information regarding the spec and options. Make sure to include the following facts in order:

  • Year of registration & registration plate info
  • List of equipment and special features
  • Approximate mileage
  • Full service history if it has it
  • Number of owners if low
  • Price
  • Contact details if you want to be contacted directly.

Great photos are also important on Facebook. They don’t need to look super professional but you do need to photograph the correctly. Check out my advice on how to photograph a motorcycle with a Smartphone here – How to photograph a motorcycle with a smartphone.

If you want to learn more about selling motorcycles on Facebook you can checkout our comprehensive guide to selling on the site here – How to sell motorcycle on facebook (with tips).

If you are looking for an alternative, Biketrader.co.uk, Craigslist, Gumtree, Motors.co.uk or similar could be just what you are looking for. Craigslist is hugely popular it some parts of America and can be a great way to buy and sell motorcycles and Gumtree offers a similar opportunity in the UK. We have written about selling motorcycles on Craigslist.

But it is import that you advertise where you local audience is looking so research your local area and experiment to see which option works best for you and the type of motorcycle you are selling.

Taking payment for a motorcycle

This can vary from country to country but in most cases taking payment via bank transfer, cash or debit card is the safest way to take payment for a motorcycle.

What paperwork do I need to complete once I’ve sold a motorcycle?

Again this varies depending on you location. But wherever you live it’s important that you process any legal documents that relate to a motorcycles ownership as your local laws require. But in addition to this it is important that you provide the buyer with either a bill of sale or an invoice.

The receipt or invoice should also include the following :

1.  The date
2.  Price
3.  Make and model
4. Registration number
5. Vin number
6. The names and addresses of the buyer and seller

Make two copies – one for you and one for the buyer – and make sure all parties sign both.

We cover the UK change of ownership process here – How to transfer ownership of a motorcycle in the UK.

Do I have to pay tax on the profits I make flipping motorcycles?

Yet again this varies depending on you location. But wherever you live it’s important that adhere to your local laws. In the UK HMRC have introduced a tax free allowance to cover “self-starters” with small, hobby-based businesses. We cover the subject in detail here – Do I have to pay tax on the profits I make flipping motorcycles?

Conclusion

It takes a great deal of time and effort to become successful motorcycle dealer, and it’s not always an easy business to be in or setup. But it most definitely is a good business and has the potential to make big profits. The barriers to entry are low and you don’t require any specific qualifications. But you will have to look and your own situation and need to decide whether this is the right strategy for you.