Learning how to ride a bike is like a rite of passage. Being able to balance yourself on a stainless-steel bar frame with two wheels and a handlebar while moving, does mimic what living life should be. It’s all about balance, moving forward, and if you fall—in riding a bike as in living life—the only thing you need to do is get up and ride again. Riding a bike is what you replace toys like Woody, Mr. Potato and Slinky with, because it’s all you’d like to do for the rest of your afternoon.
Those early stories with your Dad teaching you how to ride one, are still part of the reasons why you want to venture into opening your own bike repair business. You’ve been good with your hands and have experience working as an apprentice for several mechanical shops. Now you want to open your shop. What will it take to open a bike repair business?
Here are some things that you need to consider:
Melting ice caps and staying healthy, keep bicycle dealership and repair shop in good shape as it raked in total revenue of $4 billion for 2019. The industry is employing more than 114,000 people from nearly 16,800 businesses operating in the country.
That’s not too shabby for a foot-powered and no fossil fuel required piece of equipment. Growth is expected to be on the rise and up to a 2.3% rate annually.
Starting Your Business
Your skill as a mechanic is a requirement for the business. Apart from the general outlook of the industry, as discussed previously, you have the option to start your bike repair shop at home, provided you have the necessary space. This allows you to manage the funds that you set aside for the business because you will have lower overhead costs.
Cycling has gained an increasing following over the past few decades, with many races and events organized all over the country. A vital component of the success of your business is your ability to plug-in into this community of riders, clubs, and event organizers. They can be your potential customers. Here are other areas that you should focus on.
- Invest in tools. You need to have the tools for the trade. You need to have the basic set of wrenches, chain brush, chain lube and cleaner, tire levers, and floor pump with gauge. At some point, you would need to get a wheel and rim truing set.
- Know your services. If you want to attract and retain customers, you must demonstrate some level of expertise in providing services, like testing bikes for problems, cleaning, and maintenance of parts, fixing broken pieces and rebuilding bikes. If you’re not yet comfortable about the level of your expertise, practice with bikes from family and friends. Augment your knowledge by watching online tutorials.
- Stand out. A strong marketing push that clearly defines your brand as a bike service center will help generate new business. Slowly build your online presence by creating a website and social media accounts. Using these platforms are for free, but you can spend small amounts to market your shop. Talk about why you’re the better option. It may be your service, your price point, the ambiance at your shop, or the quality of your work. Invite customers to provide testimonials on your social media accounts and your website.
The cycling community will expand. New technologies will be developed. You need to stay connected and stay ahead of these developments to maintain the success of your bike repair business.