Naperville Scooters: Why Scooters? Why Naperville? Why now?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by KennyT, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    Theres an ass for every seat, Kenny. Just make sure the asses you're planning on catering to have wallets next to them with some dough in them and you should be fine.
    #41
  2. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    You are comparing a 125cc Lance to a Vespa GTS 300. Not the same class of scooter there at all. My GTS is quite comfortable on the freeway and for long distance touring of 300+ miles per day at 70mph if you choose. Our Buddy 125 or the Vespa ET 4 150 we used to own are good urban scoots but not the best for touring nor are they good on the freeway.

    FWIW, I'd have no interest in purchasing a Lance Cali for "vintage style". I'll take our Buddy 125 over it any day of the week. Completely reliable and has stood up to one teenage boy who rode it daily to school and his younger brother will be doing the same starting next fall. I bought the Buddy as my first scoot because I wanted vintage styling and a reliable scooter at a fair price. I've been happy with it for the last 6 years even though I rarely ride it. I never even considered a Lance, okay at that time they were all made on the mainland and were not using Sym engines but its reputation was not good. I'm still reserving judgment on the Cali.

    BTW, if a salesman approached me with the attitude that my preferred scooter was "overpriced" and tried to tell me I'd be better off with a knock off I'd walk out the door and not come back. Bashing others is never a good marketing plan since scooter groups share their opinion of various dealers between themselves and can be quite vocal about it.
    #42
  3. KennyT

    KennyT Adventurer

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    Hi CD, Billigan, GoGordy, and Barnone. Thanks!
    I wasn't comparing a Lance to a 300cc bike. I just used this picture because it was nice. This bike is actually $6,000...
    I have heard very good things about SYM. Similar to what I know of Kymco...
    Thanks again!
    Ken
    #43
  4. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    I think you were when you said:
    People who want a Vespa don't just want the "look" they want the quality and resale. First Vespa I bought was a used ET 4. I sold it 3 years later for $200 less than I paid for it. That same scooter now 8 years old is still worth almost 2/3rds of its original price. I know the current owner and what she has been offered by someone who wants to buy it. I could sell my GTS tomorrow for about $2,000 less than what I paid for it out the door from the Vespa dealership including title, tax and license five years ago.

    I see 6 month old off brand scooters regularly on craigs list that they are trying to sell and when they do go it is for less than half what the new purchase price was if the scoot is running well and hasn't been dropped.

    You seriously need to do more market research into scooter riders and who exactly is your target market along with the demographics of the area you intend to open a shop. If your target market really is people with incomes over $100,000k they will demand quality. If you are going to target students and others where low entry price is paramount make sure that you can do enough volume and make enough income from maintenance to pay your mechanic and make a living.
    #44
  5. KennyT

    KennyT Adventurer

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    Hi CD. Vespas are great bikes. I understand that.
    But there are dealers out there that succeed with other brands. And that is my plan...
    Thanks!
    Ken
    #45
  6. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    He's actually doing what salespeople do; making a biased case for their product. He will appeal to people wanting an inexpensive way into scooters in general for any number of reasons. I've heard Vespa salespersons bash other, lower priced scooters time and time again, so its a two-way street.


    The Vespas are typically a move-up scooter for people who have had a taste of scooter riding and their tastes have evolved. I don't get the impression his business will focus on those as he will be catering to first time scooterists and there's nothing wrong with that. With any luck he'll grow a new fresh batch of scooterists and enthusiasts in Naperville, and that would ultimately be beneficial to Vespa as those scooterists evolve and start demanding the "next level" of scooters.
    #46
  7. KennyT

    KennyT Adventurer

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    Thanks GoGordy! I wasn't trying to bash anyone, but do believe the Lance Cali is a beautiful bike, at a fraction of the cost...
    Thanks again!
    Ken
    #47
  8. KennyT

    KennyT Adventurer

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    Actually contacted the owner of DG Vespa yesterday inquiring about a sales position. I think he could use a boost...
    Not hiring right now (December) but he was interested in my social media knowledge and how it could help him...
    Anyway, it could be fun in the near term, and I love hanging out with scooters! We will be talking again next week to discuss possibilities...
    Ken
    #48
  9. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    Here in So. Cal., a few years back Vespa built a beautiful facility in downtown Long Beach. Geez what could be better than a crammed uban area with a new, fresh scooter shop a block from the beach. Sadly it did not last. I was in there a few times when I thought I would be buying my first scoot. Great shop with tons 'other' goodies for the bike. These are the bread & butter items where the mark up happens, and the conveince of the dealer installing it for you. Now most recently I understand that Vespa in L.A. has closed its doors also. I found this out from the folks at NOHO Scooters when I was in there not too long ago. NOHO was telling me that this really put a strain on their service department. Now, NOHO is out of bsiness also.

    I don't know what this says or indicates, but it makes me really leary about buying ANY scooter from ANY shop. You just don't know if they're gunna be there. Honda, Yammy, Suz are looking pretty good right now. I know there dealers close also, but not at the rate of the scooter shop level.

    All this being said, I sure want the Kymco 300.
    #49
  10. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    FWIW, NOHO scooters did not close because they were failing but for personal reasons. There are several threads about their closing on Modern Vespa and Modern Buddy.

    Kenni, good call on trying for a job at a local scooter shop. Even if they aren't hiring, if you can afford to do so and its okay with them see if you can hang out and maybe learn some wrenching skills. That's will help you when you are ready to open your own place.
    #50
  11. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    +1
    #51
  12. Warney

    Warney Been here awhile

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    My nearest Bintelli Dealer/Service Center is almost as close as my nearest Vespa Dealer.
    #52
  13. kruzuki

    kruzuki Gear in the Machine

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    The one successful scooter store here seems to survive because they've tapped into the scooter 'culture', meaning Vespa, as well as vintage scooters. And even they started selling Royal Enfields as a side-line.

    I can see this working, particulalry in a college town, but not if you focus on cheap Chinese units.
    #53
  14. buickid

    buickid Lets ride!

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    +1 on SYM, the DD50 is one of the most popular bikes in Hawaii, beside the old Honda Elites (The DD50 motor is a clone of the Elite). Tons of aftermarket for the motors, there are guys with 125cc bored and stroked motors flying around. DD50, solid bike.
    #54
  15. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    My local Vespa dealer is also a BMW and Royal Enfield dealer. I don't know about how other Vespa dealers operate, but if you bought that $6000 GTS300 from them, you would pay over $8,000 OTD. It seems that dealers that sell more expensive bikes seem to add more fees to them. This is known in the business as "additional dealer markup" and is pure profit. TT&L is a given, but paying hundreds or thousands extra for freight, setup, doc fees, etc., and then conning the customer into buying an extended warranty and a service plan, and maybe paint protectant, is one way to be certain they will never get my business. There is a difference between making a profit and highway robbery. I know the sales manager of a local Kawasaki only dealership, and he explained the whole racket to me, even showing me the paperwork. Most people would be absolutely astounded by how much profit a dealer actually makes on selling a new bike, if the customer allows it.

    I have bought 3 new Japanese bikes, including the Zuma 125, before ever going to the dealership. I saw their ad on the Cycle Trader site, and liked the price. I called them up and told them I was ready to put down a deposit right now, if the deal was good enough. It was surprisingly easy to get most of that additional markup dropped, they just could not bring themselves to make a guaranteed profit. I paid a $500 deposit with a credit card, got the exact amount owed, and went in with a cashiers check, so they couldn't pull something at the last minute. If you go in to talk to them, you give them a chance to scam you, which is surprisingly easy even if you are expecting it, when you are sitting there on the bike.

    The one piece of advice I have no matter what you are selling, is don't become known as a "stealerdealer" If you have a price tag on something, it should be at least close to the actual price. Trying to make easy money by ripping people off will definitely come back and bite you.
    #55
  16. InlineSkate

    InlineSkate Adventurer

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    Kenny,

    Do you have plans to sell anything to make up for slow winter sales or do you anticipate winter sales being enough to cover expenses during the winter? Salaried staff, utilities, etc.

    A lot of bike/scooter stores in the midwest sell snowblowers/snowmobiles during the winter months. If not to keep you going but to at least allow more profit during those months.
    #56
  17. Motovista

    Motovista Parts is Parts

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    The reasons dealers add Freight and Setup is that they are charged freight on the bikes they get, and want to pass that cost along, they do pay a technician to assemble and prep the bike (many scooters come from the Mfg. in a crate that is about two and a half feet high and take someone who knows what he is doing two or more hours to prepare for delivery to the customer), they pay interest every month on the inventory on their floor, and the markup on motorcycles and scooters, and parts and accessories is very low compared to just about any other retail business except Walmart. Look at how much overhead a dealer has, and ask yourself how long you could be in business making $300 gross profit every time you sell a unit with a $2600 MSRP for $2600, then subtracting freight, the mechanic's time, and the interest you paid on the bike. Running a successful powersports dealership is very different than joining the Peace Corps and the internet has spawned a whole group of consumers that believe "making a profit" means the dealer should make close to nothing when they buy something but provide them the same level of service a dealer can when they actually make money on a deal. Most dealers got into the business because they are enthusiasts, and are not raking it in hand over fist. There are dealers who get a little carried away with extras sometimes, but most of the lenders have put a stop to that by limiting the amount they will finance on a vehicle and accessories. Gone are the days when a dealer could approve someone for $10,000 and then charge the customer that for a $5000 bike and paint protector.
    One reason a lot of dealerships have gone out of business is that in the Go Go days when you could qualify a kid with no credit for an R1 at $69 a month for three years, they figured it would last forever and built Taj Mahals. Many of them did that under pressure from the manufacturer that they would put in another franchise very near if the dealer didn't. New Unit sales dropped during the recession more than 50 percent a year for a few years, and a lot of them just couldn't tote that note anymore.
    #57
  18. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    ^^^^:clap^^^^
    #58
  19. MotoRandy123

    MotoRandy123 Been here awhile

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    Well the MSRP is supposed to be the price the dealer can sell it for and make a reasonable profit. I never liked
    having to wheel and deal for a vehicle. Do it like Saturn and set a price, if I like it I'll buy if not, see you later!

    I bought a scooter recently, the MSRP was $3499, one dealer wanted around $4000 the other said $3499 + $129
    document fee. If one dealer can sell it for MSRP why can't the other?

    So if you want to have happy customers, put tags on each one and show the out the door price. People can shop and
    know what they'll have to pay.
    #59
  20. scottro

    scottro Been here awhile

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    I would suggest planning another $3-5K in up front costs for a few extra rental/loaner scooters. If someone brings in a warranty repair that's gonna take you a week or two to complete, or you get in a bind, suck it up and provide a free "loaner". As you get better at the service work, you'll be lending out scooters far less often, but while you're learning the ropes, the loaner bikes will buy you a ton of good will.

    In the early 70's Subaru had just started selling cars in rural Pennsylvania. They were cheap so my dad and I went to look. The dealership was very small, and was a 2-3 man family operation at best. The shop owner was tied up w/ contractors installing his drop ceiling, but he greeted us warmly. "Is there a specific car you guys are interested in?" My dad said "The 4wd wagon." The dealer grabbed a set of keys and magnetic plate and handed them to us. "You can test drive that one if you want. If you come back in about an hour, I'll have time to talk to you." We drove that car all around and got a pretty good feel for it w/o high pressure sales. We came back to the dealership and my dad bought one. About a year later, the car needed some minor adjustment to the fuel system. We took the car in and pretty much got the same treatment. "I'm not sure when my mechanic can get to it. Probably within the week. If you leave it, you can borrow a demo off the lot until it's ready." I think he had our car for about 2 weeks, but how could we complain? He'd given us one to use in the meantime. My dad bought 2-3 cars from that dealership over the years, and the dealership grew... until Subaru went upscale/corporate and started behaving like every other dealer. He lost his franchise to a bigger multi-line outfit.

    Also, if I were opening a scooter shop, I'd think hard about carrying Honda clone bikes like the Skyteam Dax, Z125, PBR, etc. They're pretty nice and very easy to work on. I've also found pit bikes w/ that "Honda Monkey" style engine to be very tough. They could probably be sold for around a grand and still make you some profit. With a little practice an engine swap can be done in under an hr. Parts are very cheap too. Carbs for $30-$40, CDI boxes for under $10, etc.

    Good luck and have fun !
    #60