Here's the second. Cheesy title suggestion, MoPeds R³ Us. The R³ (alt_0179 for cubed symbol) is meant to state the Recycle/Reduce/Reuse concept which is trendy enough to be a popular selling point. Reason for it is that the idea was formulated to be low cost, which would involve purchasing bike material (bikes and bike-lots) from auctions. Specifically, police auctions. Oftentimes good quality bikes which are unclaimed or otherwise seized, on their way to the dump if someone doesnt pay $20 bucks and take the dozen home. Some of those will be decent quality bikes. Many of them will have usable parts that can be stripped and saved as replacement parts. A good chunk will be sent to scrap yards for the various materials. As little as possible going to the landfill. Thats the 'reduce' part. The bikes and parts that are resold are the 're-used'. And then we recycle as much of the scrap metal and other materials as possible, rather than throwing them away.
Although the first thing that you'd find when you seek information about this place is that its a business... its just as much a social environment. Its a place meant for hobbyists and mechanical tinkerers. Its for the people who enjoy building for fun, and just need a place and a crowd to do it with. I (Company) will provide the bikes and the engine kits, and the Group will have a place to hang out, tinker with bikes (belonging to the Company, or themselves) and if they want to tinker-with or build MoPeds, they can choose from available bikes from the Company and use the provided engine-kits. Kits must be accounted for by those who use them, but MoPeds that are build may be purchased by Group members at very low prices, or sold, wherein the Group members responsible or involved in the Building take a percentage of the sale price.
Customizations, new designs, and general tinkering are strongly encouraged! It doesnt have to be "approved" per se, but safety and quality are important factors that may slightly limit the creativity of those involved, excepting the cases of personal hobby-craft.
One small side of R³ is the acquisition phase. Group members are encouraged to participate, by means of attending auctions, both online and offline, seeking bikes at low cost to replenish the supply for future builds.
A few things required to get this off the ground...
1) People who are interested in being Group members.
-- These people need to have mechanical aptitude and an interest in building/tinkering.
2) Location with space to hang out and tinker, as well as enough room for storage of bike materials and "potentials" (bikes waiting to be modified).
-- Note: I dont have or know of a place that qualifies. Possibly someone who's house has a garage they dont use could act as a decent starting place, until a suitable and affordable location is discovered.
3) The tools required to do the job. Basics are all thats really required, but the more specialized tools and skill that are available, the more options there are that become available in regard to custom work (important) and efficiency.
-- Just getting started, I have most if not all that is required. It would mean sharing tools, but most everything required is pretty basic. I've already built one, so I'd say that the "basics" are covered.
4) Capital for supplies to get started. Bikes come cheap at auctions, but kits still have cost. If we manage to get them in bulk it'll be a bit cheaper, but we're not there yet. On the other hand, I already have four bikes in processing and a Complete on the verge of sale, which would provide money for additional engine kits.
-- One bike is a beach cruiser in very good shape. Its intended for my next build. One of them is a BMX style that I will resell if condition permits. The other two are mountain bikes wuich need to be qualified, but may be Potentials.
Regarding location -- Near to me would be ideal. The Company is a kind of important factor, right? For the time being, I'd prefer if it was located near me, seeing as I'd be spending a good amount of time there. I am not abject to moving, however. This could thrive, whether its based in Long Beach where I am currently located, in OC, or in LA proper.
Possible side businesses related to R³..
"Auction Link" - (the website idea, just a possible name for it) can be tied into this if the same people who go for Company purposes also acquire the general data to fuel the Auction Link website. Only one bidder is needed for Company purposes, and can also bid in the position of Provider (see: Auction Link description).
Process Resale - Due to the nature of "lots" sold at auctions, there may be 20 bikes in a "lot" selling cheaply, and several of them appear to be good Potentials, then the Lot might be acquired even just to get those few usable bikes. The rest of those purchased at auction still have value. If the bike and everything on it is un-usable, then the materials can be sold to a recycling plant. If its a good bike that just doesnt qualify as a Potential, then it can be sold to the Populace as a cheap used bike via the Location, or an online source such as ebay or CraigsList. This revenue would likely be used by the Company to provide tools or materials for the Group.
Auction Link is an optional venture which would require a lot of extra effort to create the website, and a bit of maintenance.. once or twice a month when the auctions occur. Process Resale, on the other hand, is fairly integral and automatic within the workings of R³.
Major note - I am not a capitalist. A businessman I can be (if I must) but a capitalist I am not. Prices for parts and completed MoPed builds will stay LOW. The idea is to provide them to the Populace at extremely affordable rates... and to severely undercut the competition. If they lower their prices, then the Populace wins, and the industry itself wins. If it becomes more generally affordable, it may also become more popular, especially due to the fact that gas prices are starting to get a feel of reality. Also, these MoPeds are using engines that are EPA approved, so they are "green" for multiple reasons (like getting as much as 100 miles per gallon and much easier to find parking for).
Unusable scrap parts typically go to Material Recycling facilities, or to the dump. If there is a vagrant down the street who's has a junker in worse condition than the parts we're prepared to junk or destroy, they are welcome to take them for nothing, or next to nothing. Its usually better to re-use than to recycle, because it takes less energy to do so. The only issue here is to make sure the people doing Processing dont put usable or sellable parts or bikes into the "junk" category for the purpose of getting something for free. On the other hand, if they are part of the Group, they will get freebies and extreme discounts anyway.
So.. I have some bikes, I have some tools, and in a few days I will probably have sold my first Build for enough money to buy an engine kit or two. I already have customers lined up as well, at least for the Cruiser if not for Mountain bike versions, though probably both.
How to find people interested? I have a few ideas. 1) CraigsList 2) Local colleges - put up a flyer near the mechanics departments. 3) MotorBike forums - I know of two major motorbiking forums where I could post recruitment ads.
The only problem I foresee at the moment is location. It is an important issue, for now. It is likely that someone has a space available nearby, but at this point it is undisclosed.
A couple of people helping in the works may be manageable based on trust and comraderie, but something to consider without much delay is a non-disclosure/non-competition agreement for members of the Group. Of course, things can be negotiated with the Company to become an affiliate of some sort later on, but thats all grey area.
Rules that dont bend, get broken.
The non-disclosure wouldn't be very applicable, because part of the space and purpose is to help people and provide information that they need in maintaining their 'peds.
Aside from online advertising, a huge source of free advertising for MoPeds sales is test-phase. Group members will be encouraged to take home partially or recently completed Builds for purposes of testing the components for flaws and defects, as well as "breaking in" the engines and fine-tuning. By taking the Builds around town, they easily generate interest and draw customers.
-- In the two days that I've had my first Build completed, while riding I've gotten "interested looks" every few minutes, "interested questions" at most places I stop for any length of time, "potential customers" half a dozen times, and "serious offers" once or twice. I only decided today that it was ready to sell, and may have already found the future owner. I told them they could contact me in a couple days for the transaction.