Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Questions Before Starting Your Own Bike Business

Below are typical questions I am asked. 

Please also view our Frequently Asked Question Page

(These and other questions you may have would be talked over in more detail at your first meeting or chat, as everyone's situation and needs vary.
Please email for an information pack.)  

"I have come up with some questions for when we are able to have a Skype chat - I know you may be busy so whenever is ok with you would be great."

1. "What resistance (if any) have you found from established bike shops – how have you handled this?"
No resistance, in fact there is plenty of work out there and it also offers the customer more choice. If you setup your business near an established bike shop that has an monopoly, they may feel upset. But competition is also good for any business.    
2. "Was getting a permit for a mobile service easy to get?"
In the UK, you don't need a permit to start a mobile bike business, (might be a good idea). Cycle Tech UK believes in training our mechanics properly. All mechanics are sent through Cytech (or equivalent) training in all aspects of bike maintenance. With nationally recognised qualifications in bike mechanics. Each Member is kept updated regular with training and product knowledge. Each member carries a full professional tool kit, and uses quality parts, enabling confidence to carry out all types of repairs. Also Members spend a day with me going over business plan and what is not taught on the 2 week training course, as part of the package in joining our network.
3. "How many hours per day / bikes fixed do you do in a day? – What is the norm for a full time gig and for those doing it as a part-time job?"
It's like asking; how long is a piece of string! How long you have been in business will also have effect, as with how skilled you are, your location, how much you charge and the job you are doing. As 1 bike could be enough to take up your day and cover costs or it could be 8 bikes serviced in a day if you are working at one location. How old and how much the bike is used you are working on, which may only require basic servicing or you could end up rebuilding the bike. It is difficult to say without showing you figures of past trading years. (If you need to have a business plan for finance) There are many types of bikes and cyclists along with the uses and the bike trade/trends can change from year to year. Once established, you will also have work in progress and other daily duties that may be non productive plus time lost between jobs that needs to be calculated in your hourly rate.  Cycle Tech UK only recommend this business as a full time professionally run. 
4. "What % of income is through the sale of spare parts / accessories?"
This can vary from job to job, spare parts are sold more than accessories and parts can total to more than 70% of the job total being invoiced. Over a year the profit from spare parts can be more then 50% of the gross turn over. By having trade suppliers that give you the best deals when buying stock, inc; bulk buying and stock control will make a big impact to your profit over 12 months. Spare parts will have an minimum of 30% markup to 100 % or more. 
5. "Did you ever regret your decision?"
 No, its a great job with challenges and job satisfaction. It was difficult making a living at first but I would never go back. Often when I asked people what regrets they had or what mistakes they had made, they replied, “I just wish I had done it sooner.”
6. "Have you found that after repairing a neglected bike a person was more willing to use it, especially if they had not ridden in a long time? – Has your business created a positive social impact within the general community and within the cycling enthusiasts?"
Definitely a yes, not only is it a good feel factor giving advice, but more people are cycling due to more cycle technicians and more choice where they can go to have their bike serviced.  
7. "I see that you are willing to teach people the skills through your training courses – has this affected your business in a negative way by sharing your “know-how”?
Our home mechanics school courses are genuinely 1/2 day and only teach the basics; How to change a tyre, general maintenance, cleaning/oiling and how to look for problems. It about getting more cyclists to have a basic understanding how their bike should be running and being safe on the roads. We all need to share our know how more and we will also gain more customers. 
8. "Do you do any partner work with established bike shops? – do they supply you hard to find items? / have you outsourced work for them to do?"
I don't do any work for any bike shop, as I have plenty of my own work. Not saying you can't do work for a bike shop, but if they are busy then so should your business be busy. You can't do both. I have had bike shops put work my way and vice versa, I have put customers in touch with bikes shops when a customer is looking for a typical bike I can't help with. I very rarely buy any parts from a bike shop, as I have accounts with all the trade suppliers. 
9. "What is the number one reason people choose you over an established shop?"
There a number of reasons, but the number one is ease of use. No more putting the bike in the back of the car and taking to the bike shop. 

There is a lot of info on this Blog. Please read first and I will be happy to have a chat and any questions you have. And help you start you own mobile bike business as Cycle Tech UK member or DIY. 

If your question has not been answered, please leave your question in the comments box at the bottom of this post.

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