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Old 10-23-2012, 07:40 AM   #16
KennyT OP
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Hi red hand and vtwin. Thanks!
I have heard good things about Sym.
Genuine is out, but lots of good brands to think about...
Thanks again!
Ken
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:52 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtwin
Take a look at Sym along with Kymco. Sym is making motorcycles in the 150cc size. Good step up for scooterist to move up to. An inmate named Dabinche rode a Sym to Alaska and back. Kymco seems one of the better brands coming from the far east. I understand the Italian brands are not as helpful in the warranty department.
I would second this sentiment. I thought Sym started out as a Honda "out-sourcer" (for lack of a better term). I read a RR of a couple, from Seattle, that rode 'up' Africa, over to India and then the Far East after riding cross-country (from Seattle to NC). They were on Sym Symbas which is a Honda knock-off (IIRC). They sure seem to make a quality product.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:18 AM   #18
Warney
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Q: How do you turn a large fortune into a small fortune?
A: Open a Scooter or Motorcycle shop.
In order to reach the volume to succeed there are a number of steep obstacles to overcome.
Sales would be secondary to parts, accessories, and service.
The initial investment would be somewhere in the multiple six figures, difficult to sell your way out of that.
If someone had the desire and multiple six figures to invest, there are easier and less risky ways to make money.
There are a host of failed dealers to study before you take the plunge.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bronco638 View Post
I would second this sentiment. I thought Sym started out as a Honda "out-sourcer" (for lack of a better term). I read a RR of a couple, from Seattle, that rode 'up' Africa, over to India and then the Far East after riding cross-country (from Seattle to NC). They were on Sym Symbas which is a Honda knock-off (IIRC). They sure seem to make a quality product.

I believe that Honda did outsource to Sym for the Passport in the later years. That in itself is testimony to them that Honda would put their name on it. I second the opinion that parts and service it very important in bringing in the cash flow to float the business. I used to work at a dealership and when times were lean on sales, parts and service supported the dealership. I do wish you luck.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:19 AM   #20
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I forgot to mention that an inmate just opened a motorcycle store not too long ago. You may want to do a search and ask him for any hints on what to avoid. I think it was in either garage or shiny things.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:27 PM   #21
JerryH
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I am a 53 year old lifelong motorcyclist, and got into scooters about 10 years ago. I found them to be an absolute blast. Way cheaper than motorcycles, and if anything, even more fun. I still ride motorcycles, but not nearly as much as before. I usually just grab one of my scooters when I want to go somewhere. I have stayed with small scooters, the largest being 150cc. I would eventually like to have a freeway capable scooter, but at the same time don't want one of those huge 800 pound barges. I currently have a Zuma 125, Vino 125, and Stella 150 2 stroke. The Stella is way more fun than the others, but also requires a lot more effort to ride. Before scooters, I also went through a few years of playing with mopeds. Actual pedal mopeds from the '70s. A lot of fun but suicide machines in traffic.

If you are thinking about actually getting into the scooter business, I have some advice I picked up from local scooter dealers, some who survived the recession and are still doing well, and some who didn't.

1. Stay away from Japanese brands. Their dealer requirements require a HUGE investment, plus you also have to sell their other products as well, which means Goldwings and 2000cc cruisers.

2. Don't sell cheap Chinese scooters. One local scooter shop which is (luckily)n still in business decided to start selling Chinese scooters as a way of attracting customers who couldn't afford decent scooters. The Chinese scooters of course fell apart, and so did the reputation of the scooter shop. They dropped the Chinese scooters in time to save it.

3. Stay with scooters, and avoid other vehicles. One exception might be Tomos mopeds, depending on the local market. I would sell Kymco, Genuine, SYM, and maybe Aprilia. Piaggio's dealer requirements are probably harder to meet than the Japanese companies.

4. Sell lots of accessories and performance parts. I am NOT into performance mods, but an amazing number of scooter enthusiasts are, in fact thats why many people buy scooters. They see a brand new scooter as a "project" And if you can supply them with the parts they want, they will buy them.

5. You will need a mechanic and a complete service and repair facility. This is probably the most expensive part of the business, as it will require a large investment in tools and equipment. You will also need to maintain a decent supply of stock parts for the brands you sell. Also be willing to work on scooters you did not sell, but find a way to avoid working on Chinese scooters. You just can't win with those.

6. Accept trade ins. This is probably the biggest area where scooter dealers come up short. Most will not accept trade ins. I would accept any type or brand of scooter as a trade in except Chinese. While becoming a franchised Japanese dealer can bankrupt you, you can still sell their scooters used. Many scooter owners want to trade up, or just trade for something different. There are no scooter only dealers here that take trade ins. I would like to trade one of my scooters for a Kymco, but can't do it. Trying to sell on your own can be a very frustrating experience.

7. DON"T add a bunch of bogus fees to the price of a new scooter. Japanese and Vespa dealers are notorious for doing this, and it is not the way to get a good reputation or keep customers. Treat your customers the way you want to be treated. (I bought my Zuma 125 new from a huge mostly Japanese powersports emporium, and even though I new the price, and what I wanted when I went in, it was a very frustrating all day experience buying it. I almost walked out twice. All because of the bogus fees they kept trying to add, along with extended warranties and service agreements. I got it, and got out of there without all that stuff, but the buying experience was ruined. I won't be going back there)


8. I would start small, with a small building and inventory, and build a solid reputation as a good dealer. Be someone who takes care of their customers. Don't charge to put air in someone's tires, or charge some ridiculous price for something as simple as an oil change. Little things like that can do a lot more good at establishing a good reputation than tons of $$$ spent on advertising. Word will get around quick that you are a cool place to do business with. Interact with your customers and potential customers. Avoid high pressure sales techniques. That tends to turn customers off rather than result in a sale. Let them come back two or three times, if they are going to buy something they eventually will. The most important things for a potential customer are for them to not feel pressured or feel like they are being ripped off. Something the Japanese dealers will probably never learn.


Best of luck if you decide to start your own business, and enjoy your scooter. I have more fun with mine than I would with a $50,000 SUV or a $20,000+ Harley.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:19 PM   #22
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Take a ride to Lake Geneva and visit Midwest Action Cycle....that should be a model for how to be a scooter dealer.

They have their own scooter club and host rides and events like Amerivespa, a real good bunch of scooterists.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:32 PM   #23
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Good luck with your dream. Hope it comes true. Naperville is a great town; I grew up in Glen Ellyn and have relatives in Naperville.

Do think about what you will do to survive in the long winter months where scooters and motorcycles are useless in Illinois. You will still have to pay the rent, utilities and any employees (service or sales help), along with the paper on your scooter and parts inventory.

Scootering is a really limited activity in the midwest. Even in the south dealers struggle to find a business model that works. Scooters sell only a small fraction of PTW sales, so be sure you know the potential market, especially since you're in a far west suburb where motorcycles may be more practical than the more urban focused scooters.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:06 AM   #24
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jerryH, good advice

i would maybe say that the tooling investment for workshop wouldnt be prohibitively massive, you dont need much to work on a scooter.. then just keep service parts and performance parts for the models you sell in stock and maybe a small selection of service parts for the more common jap scoots in case one comes in.

maybe hire a mechanic on a part time basis to start with until business builds up?
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:13 AM   #25
Dabears
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Well several other thoughts- there are no Kymco, SYM or Genuine Scooter dealers close to Naperville, however, there is a Vespa dealer in Downers Grove. So there may be an opportunity going for those Taiwanese brands and staying away from Vespa.

Also, after looking at the potential property you posted on Washington avenue you do have opportunity to share space with another business- that could be a key factor in keeping your costs down.

You can pull possible sales as well for College of Dupage students as well. I'll keep my eye open to see how you progress. All the best.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:08 AM   #26
KennyT OP
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Hi DaBears, Forde, Salty, JerryH, Vtwin, Warney and Bronce. Thanks guys!
Jerry H, great advice. Special thanks for your in debth response...
Warney, all small business's have risk. Most fail. Sme become huge businesses...
I like the location of the building, but I wouldn't limit myself to it. I do believe there is value in the property, and would lease out space to other businesses...
Thanks again everyone!
Ken
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:02 PM   #27
Bar None
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warney View Post
Q: How do you turn a large fortune into a small fortune?
A: Open a Scooter or Motorcycle shop.
In order to reach the volume to succeed there are a number of steep obstacles to overcome.
Sales would be secondary to parts, accessories, and service.
The initial investment would be somewhere in the multiple six figures, difficult to sell your way out of that.
If someone had the desire and multiple six figures to invest, there are easier and less risky ways to make money.
There are a host of failed dealers to study before you take the plunge.
"If someone had the desire and multiple six figures to invest, there are easier and less risky ways to make money. "
Warney,
Please name some of these easier and less risky ways.
I bet we can shoot holes in them too.
Thanks
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:03 PM   #28
DandyDoug
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KennyT ;

Do not let the nay sayers destroy your dream before it even gets off the ground.
While it is true that more small businesses fail than succeed , if you have the capital and the staying power , I say , go for it.

A true entrepreneur sees the fog just like the the regular guy.
The difference is ; when the regular guy stops and changes direction or does nothing, the entrepreneur says CHARGE and runs in to the fog. Never thinking there might be a cliff out there to fall off of.
His dream is his reality

As a former senior level executive in a big company and later an entrepreneur I speak with some authority on the subject.
Did i succeed ?
Sometimes.
Did i fail at some things ?
You bet !!

Any regrets ?
NEVER !
I tried when the regular guys sold out for a pay check.

Doug
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:45 PM   #29
Warney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barnone View Post
"If someone had the desire and multiple six figures to invest, there are easier and less risky ways to make money. "
Warney,
Please name some of these easier and less risky ways.
I bet we can shoot holes in them too.
Thanks
Gee Vince, this is a Scooter board but you might consider some Berkshire Hathaway A shares, Microsoft, Apple, maybe GE stock? Fire away!
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:41 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saltydog86 View Post
Take a ride to Lake Geneva and visit Midwest Action Cycle....that should be a model for how to be a scooter dealer.

They have their own scooter club and host rides and events like Amerivespa, a real good bunch of scooterists.
I agree with SaltyDog. MAC is a nice shop and they sponsor a great club.
I used to ride with the Fox Valley SC out of as shop in Lake in the Hills. It was a great club, and many of their customers were members. For some reason, they stopped sponsoring the club.
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