Kevin Tackett loves what he does — restoring and selling vintage motorcycles. Most of the bikes and parts he deals with are 20 to 25 years old or older.
“I used to do property maintenance and would find old motorcycles buried in the weeds when I was cleaning up a lot. I took them home and cleaned them up. Six years ago, a friend steered me to some Web sites, where I started selling parts and the refurbished cycles. The business started in my backyard and just sort of grew from there,” Tackett said.
Tackett tried running his own business — Finishline Cycles — from a shop in Riverside, but found it too stressful. Today he works from his home in Trona.
“I like working at home. I was a slave to that shop in Riverside. Now, I’m with my wife, Teisha, and daughter, Audrey, there’s no commute and no boss. I’d rather work 12 hours a day at home than eight hours for someone else. I guess you could say I’m living the American dream — everything we have is paid for,” Tackett said.
A financial freedom course taught Tackett the basics of sound business practices. The borrower is the servant of the lender, he said. It’s better to have less and enjoy it more.
“Nine out of 10 new businesses fail in their first year. Ninety percent of those left fail in the next five years. I didn’t want to be one of those statistics,” Tackett said.
Because vintage motorcycles are a niche market, Tackett finds 95 percent of his customers through the Internet.
“There are only so many people interested in vintage motorcycles and only about 50 Web sites in the world dealing with parts and bikes. I keep an eye on the prices on eBay and the other sites. Some things have increased 300 to 400 percent in the last six years. It’s amazing,” Tackett said.
The oldest motorcycle Tackett has is a 1969 Suzuki; most are in the 1970 to 1984 range. With the scarcity of parts, he is only able to complete five or six restorations each year. Consequently, most of his business is focused on parts.
“It can take three or four old bikes to make one complete motorcycle. I usually find the old bikes by word of mouth. Someone sees one and calls me; I go out an purchase it. I buy street bikes, racing bikes, quads and dirt bikes,” Tackett said.
Tackett has established a reputable business, with positive feedback, over the years. He takes business calls at 372-5839 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Most of his parts and bikes are available on eBay or related Web sites.