Thing is I spent $650 for the 2 and that put me back quite a bit.
Even if the bikes are not stolen, it's simply not possible to make a profit here. If you went for the quick flip option, you'd probably just break even. If you tried to fix them up, you'd definitely lose money.
This is why it's important to do your research before you meet the seller. You've got to know what something like this can sell for. What's the desirability? What will it cost to get what you need to fix it up?
Making money flipping bikes requires a few things.
First, you've gotta be able to do that research quickly and have at least a loose idea of the market.
You need to be able to do most of the wrenching on your own to fix them up. If you're paying someone else for the labor, you're going to start losing money fast.
You probably ought to specialize is some smaller niche. I knew a guy who specifically flipped vintage Italian road bikes. He knew the bikes and parts intimately and didn't need to burn time doing a ton of research. He could make a reasonable assessment of a bike on the spot.
You're going to need to work
to find good deals. The guy I knew who flipped Italian road bikes, he didn't troll classified ads most of the time (sometimes he did when he needed parts or was looking for prices on comps). He worked to find people selling random stuff out of old barns. Estate sales where they didn't know what they had, etc. Ppl selling on classified ads typically either know what they have and are pricing it accordingly, or they think they have something worth more than it is. You rarely
find people selling low in those environments. If you can buy low, you have a little wiggle room in your budget to fix the bike up.
Just don't buy stolen stuff. You need to be able to assess the seller, too.
Search serial numbers on stolen bike listings. Check for stolen bike reports elsewhere like the local police, on Facebook, local forums, craigslist, etc. If those come up empty, then you can say you did your due diligence to make sure the bikes aren't stolen.