Sunday, 30 November 2014

Reasons Why Some Mobile Bicycle Businesses FAIL

With the continued growth of the cycle industry, there are still some Mobile Bike Repair businesses that have not been able to succeed during the industries rapid expansion.

Owning any type of business on wheels in a good economy is still a challenge, but starting and running your business without a plan & support is even more difficult.

Branding & Image
  • Turning up in a car with a few tools, might get you the customers who are only looking for a cheap fix, that you wont be able to make a living from in the long run. In any business we all have to start somewhere and you maybe testing the water or starting part-time before you invest your hard earned money. Starting with the right image, gives your customers a better understanding what you offer. Also read: Our branding can secure long term success 
No commitment to learning.
  • There is no place for complacency when it comes to being a mobile bicycle repair entrepreneur. Successful mobile bike repair owners search constantly for new and better ways to get customers as well as to serve the ones they already have. They are aware of the latest cycle service industry trends and ideas so they can create products and services which best serve the changing needs of their target market. They learn about and implement processes that increase the effectiveness of their day-to-day operations. By committing yourself to learning and to implementing what you learn, you’re committing yourself to success in all parts of your business
  • If fear of failure is what is preventing you from running your business, you have to get around it and forge ahead.
  • I think if someone’s too nervous to start a business on their own, then definitely finding a friend to do it with will help.
Business Plan
  • Lack of a business plan is why businesses fail. The previous points should be included in your plan. 
  • The business plan is what everything your mobile repair shop will do is based on. It will force you to plan ahead, think about the competition, formulate a marketing strategy, define your management structure, and plan your financing, among other things. It is your roadmap to success. Do not proceed without a solid business plan.
  • When you sit down to start writing your plan, you must remember that it is your argument to show your idea is worth backing.
No strategic partners.
  • Successful Mobile Bike business owners typically don’t go it alone. They associate, partner, and network with other successful Mobile Bike Repair businesses. Partnering with others is a way to quickly expand the reach of your own mobile business. There’s a wonderful synergy that comes with doing things with other Mobile Bike Repair business. There are more ideas, more knowledge, and more resources to create products and services
  1. Communicate your ideas and passion to others 
  2. Start a business plan to help you spot potential pitfalls before they happen
  3. Write down your Strengths and weaknesses 
  • Lack of knowledge 
  • Looking for short cuts 
  • Laziness 
  • Lack of focus 
  • Our Network is a proven idea      
  • Our business is in high demand 
  • Offering a personal service
  • Going local 
Like any business there is no guarantee you will be successful, Cycle Tech UK gives you all the tools and support to make you successful.

"The best way to succeed in the mobile bicycle repair business is to be in the mobile bicycle repair business"

If you would like to receive a copy of our information brochure which provides further details, joining fee, including an overview of our business model then please contact the Managing Director Martin Wilkins Email: 

You may also like to read: Why some bike businesses fail and others succeed

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Oxford Bike Works

Steel Frame bicycle business

A small business owned by Richard Delacour, started out of a passion for riding quality bikes. Who builds quality tour bikes at a reasonable price. All bikes come with good components as standard and can be upgraded to each individual rider requirements.

I had the chance today to meet Richard to view the range of bikes at his workshop and a road test of two of his bikes.

The two bikes Richard so kindly let me road test

This is the bike that I first see on Tom's Bike Trip Blog that attracted me to view Oxford Bike Works. This bike is still in prototype as single touring bike for life, designed by Tom after 7 years of highly varied riding experience on 4 continents.

Middle Burn middle chainring fitted for longer life

Shimano LX hubs

Very useful Prop-stand and mudguard bolt fitting as part of the frame design

Head badge and Chris King headset 

Oxford Bike Works touring bike
Reynolds 525 has all the qualities needed for a good tourer

 Reynolds 525 tubing used for touring cycles.
Weight savings from butting provide competitively priced, light framesets.

Two frame build chooses, both steel with one being built in Taiwan and a British company with a historic reputation for making high quality, lightweight and strong tubes.

Powder coating by Professional Coatings Ltd Thatcham 

For enquirers of touring bikes made by Oxford Bike Works. 

Please view Referral form below for details. Then email your details including this link:- to  

If you would like to receive a copy of our information brochure to start your own bike business. Which provides further details, joining fee, including an overview of our business model then please contact the Managing Director Martin Wilkins Email: 

Happy cycling!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Micro Enterprise Award

Cathal O,Carroll won The Dunlaoghaire Rathdown Chamber Envirocom Award for Special Merit/ Micro Enterprise.

Susses story of how one man who had been made redundant, built a mobile bike business by following a business plan and using initiative. He got out there and made his business be found.

Based in Dublin Cathal's Mobile Bicycle Repair Business "The Spokesman" is now in its 5th year

His clients include: Diageo, Ulster Bank, Facebook, Trinity College, Fineos, Oracle, AIB, Aecom, State Street, the IFSC, A&L Goodbody and IADT.

He sell's Merida bicycles and also rent road bicycles. With the option of delivering new bicycles to people’s homes or office in the Dublin area.

Message from Cathal
"Dear Martin I just want to thank you. Without your help it would not have been possible."

Cathal O,Carroll receiving the award

Back in 2010 Cathal O,Carroll had been made redundant for the second time in two years so he decided to start his own business. People recommend to him that his business should be:
  • Something that you are interested in. 
  • It should be different. 
  • It should be a growing market. 
  • It should be low cost to start up.
His business idea was a mobile bike repair workshop. Nobody else is doing mobile bike repairs in Dublin. It was low cost to start up. He is interested in cycling and finally it is a growing market. When he found out that this concept was already tried and successful in the USA, Holland, Germany and the UK he said why not. He completed a business plan, training and started operating in August 
2010. And no looking back! 

If you live or are cycling though Dublin, make sure you look the Spokesman up

If you would like to receive a copy of our information brochure to start your own bike business. Which provides further details, joining fee, including an overview of our business model then please contact the Managing Director Martin Wilkins Email: 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Cycle Trade "Suppliers"

Bicycle Suppliers/Distributors/Importers/Wholesalers = Buy parts at trade and sell at RRP.

To make a reasonable profit from buying parts whether to stock or to buy for a repair. Parts will have a 30% mark-up and fast moving parts could have a mark-up of over 100%

But it doe's seems like some trade suppliers want all of the cake.

You may find opening trade accounts difficult to open whether you are a mobile business or a shop. Some suppliers favour shops, even though the shop owner may not be qualified to fix bicycles, yet they can sell new bikes to the public. The supplier can also sell the shop owner a lot of stock to fill his shelves. Or the supplier wants to only sell to shops that have a on-line shop.

You have suppliers that just sell a brand or two of bicycles, you have suppliers that sell basic workshop parts & accessories and or bikes and you have the suppliers who sell medium to high end parts "the well-known brands"  
"Many start-ups choose suppliers based on price, but reliability and speed are just as important. You will need a supplier who can deliver the right number of goods at the right time. Larger suppliers can often be the most reliable as they have resources to spend on back-up if necessary. Seek out suppliers who have been in business for some time and have a solid reputation."
  • Some of the suppliers who sell workshop parts and most of these parts are the same brands, may not sell to you as you are in the area of someone who buys and sells these brands. 
  • Some suppliers also sell to the public at trade prices. 
  • Some suppliers have the latest b2b websites while others have a out of date catalogues and you don't know the quality of the part or whether it is in stock, until you receive your delivery and the parts you are waiting for don't turn up or are wrong. (Having to send parts back can be costly and time consuming) 
  • Suppliers will also have a minimum order for post free. This may mean you have to spend between £100 - £200 for free delivery. 
  • Like many businesses, items can often be found cheaper on-line with free delivery, than from your trade supplier. 
  • Many small businesses never see their rep
  • Suppliers can also lose a brand or two and this means opening new accounts to continue selling these products.
  • No one supplier sells all parts/brands. 
Choose your business suppliers carefully and treat them well.

But what suppliers do Cycle Tech UK buy from?
We support our suppliers by sticking to our main suppliers and recommending to our new members.
"Price, reliability and speed are important factors when choosing suppliers"
  • A supplier that will offer technical help/support
  • Suppliers who have been in business for some time
  • A supplier who will send small workshop parts out postage free.  
  • A supplier who has a b2b website 
  • A supplier who sends out a rep to visit
  • Suppliers who are happy to support mobile bike businesses 
  • Suppliers who sell to our network members at a premier rate 
  • Next day delivery's including Saturdays 
  • Don't rely on one single supplier
But we can understand a supplier not wanting to support some new businesses whether mobile or a bike shop, any business must be working to a high standard, qualified and professional looking.

Don't go overboard on stock
"Product knowledge and understanding how your suppliers do business is key"
  • Do not over invest initially. Be cautious on doing so before you've built a relationship with your supplier. Or you may learn the hard way and place a larger order than you should have done with a different supplier to the one we have now. 
  • Learn what each of your supplier sells and are these other products in-line with what you want to sell your customer. 
  • Suppliers can be out of stock and you may need to look elsewhere on-line. And quit often the on-line seller will send the part and comes in a box from your supplier!  
  • Keep a order book or add to your on-line shopping basket to build a large order. 
Build a long term relationship

Reviewing your suppliers' performance at regular intervals can help you spot any areas for improvement. Check whether you are getting the best price, quality and delivery options for your business.
  • Have a plan in place if you switch suppliers to minimise disruption to your business
  • Do meet your suppliers at trade shows
  • Do call your supplier/rep and arrange for a visit
  • Do check your suppliers website and monthly news letters for special discounts of the month
  • Always make sure you are on the best price & payment plan, many suppliers give discount for paying on time and some charge you at a higher rate for being on pro-rota. 
  • Negotiating price with suppliers on large orders. 
Our Network will put you in touch with the main suppliers and trade contacts, to help you of to a good start.
  • By being part of our network you will have a list of all trade suppliers and what they sell.
  • Open accounts
  • Stock list of setup parts
  • Group email support
  • Meet and network at trade shows, including introduced to suppliers and open accounts 
  • Best deals on workshop parts, supplies and tools
  • Bulk buying with network members on fast moving workshop parts
Smart Business Builder

To help you on your business journey, we've created Cycle Tech UK "The national network of mobile bicycle mechanics" 

If you would like to receive a copy of our information brochure which provides further details, joining fee, including an overview of our business model then please contact the Managing Director Martin Wilkins Email:

Friday, 7 November 2014

3 Key Points To What Made My Business Successful

I always start any business plan, by putting down ideas on paper.

My 3 key points:

1. Being thrown in at the deep-end 
  • By starting with only a vision, very little money and a few tools, I had to make my new business work. 
  • This can be the same for starting a new job or for any life situation. 
  • By putting in real effort, having enthusiasm and believing in your vision 
2. Learning from mistakes 
  • You don't learn from doing it right, by making mistakes I can make the situation or idea better next time.
  • Don't be a busy fool! One of the hardest things to get right is charging the right amount for your time. Need to be considered in your hourly rate; skill's, knowledge, tools and running costs.  
  • I keep learning by developing new skills and working on my weaknesses 
3. Helping others
  • By being passionate in what I do and helping others with advise, I find others soon tell their friends.  
  • Being part of an network, I have support and trade contacts at my finger tips also I can share my knowledge and technical know how for all to benefit. 
Other advice:
Start your research and start your business while you still have a job so you don't have to borrow money or rely on making money in the first months, as most of your profit will be injected back into your business. 

Know how to price your product. Know what your margins are. Know what to set aside for insurance and TAX bills and pay your bills on time

Our business concept is unique, growing, potential and people are looking for our convenient services. If you like to know more please email and ask for an information pack. 

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Monday, 3 November 2014

The Bicycle Whisperer

The art of bicycle mechanics
The Bicycle Whisperer - As well as looking (observing) at a bike to find what's wrong, also requires listening and feeling.

"Cycle Technicians are not miracle workers but problem solvers" 

When a bicycle comes to the mobile workshop, the technician uses his knowledge and skills to diagnose problems, which the customer may not even be aware of. 
The technician can first ask the customer questions, while casting his eye over the bicycle. By checking the bike over "The M Check" the technician can start his diagnostic procedure.
Part of the M check is to apply the brakes, spin the wheels, feel and spin the bottom bracket and headset for wear or play. These are just some of the many checks the technician will go through to have a full understanding of not only what is causing the problem, but an idea of how worn out other components maybe. As this could also determine a costly repair or how much life is left before parts need replacing. 
A road test also may be required to diagnose a noise, poorly operating gears or brakes. 

 The Bicycle Whisperer

The next step, would be to put the bicycle in the work-stand and have a closer inspection, the bicycle may even require a clean to be able to closely examine components. 
By spinning the wheels the technician can see if wheels are buckled, feel/hear for worn bearings and check brakes are aligned correctly.
A good technician can use his skills and knowledge, an art built up over time and has become known as The Bicycle Whisperer.
What it does not involve is guess work, fitting parts and hopping will sort it out or saying to the customer see how it go's................

Service Check List

By using a check list the technician can make a report and estimate of his findings. Or further investigation may be needed to remove components.    
The technician will best advice the customer the best options available.   

Related articles you may also like to read:
As part of our Network Member you can spend a day on the road with The Bicycle Whisperer!