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Old 05-15-2013, 04:41 AM   #28636
Aurelius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
If you spent half the time on your bike as you do ordering shit for it...
The air must be very thin where you live. Aside from the pedals which it didn't come with, the bike is bone stock.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:35 AM   #28637
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Yeah, we have some mountains here. Just busting balls, you're making some bike shop's year(s). At least you're supporting the industry!

Does anyone have experience in starting/owning a bike shop, or know of anyone who's done it? I've only read the negatives, and how hard it really is to succeed with one. I'm moving to a small, artsy and health-conscious town up North that could really use a bike shop... an area packed full of outdoorsy types, with epic MTB trails all around. Little voice in my head is saying 'there's a reason there isn't a bike shop in town'. I have a business admin degree, sales experience and lots of experience with how a small business runs day to day. I'd desire to simply make a living doing something I care about, which is, getting people on bikes. Not looking to get rich and am under no illusion this will be a remotely easy task either. Any good reading on the topic?
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:40 AM   #28638
Gummee!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
Yeah, we have some mountains here. Just busting balls, you're making some bike shop's year(s). At least you're supporting the industry!

Does anyone have experience in starting/owning a bike shop, or know of anyone who's done it? I've only read the negatives, and how hard it really is to succeed with one. I'm moving to a small, artsy and health-conscious town up North that could really use a bike shop... an area packed full of outdoorsy types, with epic MTB trails all around. Little voice in my head is saying 'there's a reason there isn't a bike shop in town'. I have a business admin degree, sales experience and lots of experience with how a small business runs day to day. I'd desire to simply make a living doing something I care about, which is, getting people on bikes. Not looking to get rich and am under no illusion this will be a remotely easy task either. Any good reading on the topic?
Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) is a good bet.

How's this? Start small. Start with the smallest square footage you can rent and start with just wrenching and accessories. Special order stuff on a pre-paid basis. Be prepared to suffer days/weeks of no work till word gets around. If you're a member of RBR, PM PlatyPius for info. He did what you're thinking of doing.

You won't be able to order from QBP or most of the other wholesalers till you have an ad in the yellow pages, have a storefront, a shop, a display area, and send em pics. They don't want 'amateurs' ordering from em. AMHIK

Its a tough row to hoe and you'd better love it or you'll have 'issues.'

Old joke: how do you make a small fortune in the bicycle business? Start with a large fortune.

M
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:46 AM   #28639
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Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
Old joke: how do you make a small fortune in the bicycle business? Start with a large fortune.

M
no no... that's sailmaking
"how do you make a million in sailmaking? start with two million"
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:08 AM   #28640
mud
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) is a good bet.

You won't be able to order from QBP or most of the other wholesalers till you have an ad in the yellow pages, have a storefront, a shop, a display area, and send em pics. They don't want 'amateurs' ordering from em. AMHIK

M
That's just for Quality...... BTI, J&B and Merry sales are more relaxed.

Quality is more of a one stop shop though.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:29 AM   #28641
Tallbastid
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Good stuff over at BRAIN, thanks. Part of the inspiration for this is a row of small commerical spaces in a blossoming area of this town. Think breweries, pubs, rustic-type coffee shops and you get the idea.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:10 AM   #28642
fullmonte
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
Does anyone have experience in starting/owning a bike shop, or know of anyone who's done it? I've only read the negatives, and how hard it really is to succeed with one. I'm moving to a small, artsy and health-conscious town up North that could really use a bike shop... an area packed full of outdoorsy types, with epic MTB trails all around. Little voice in my head is saying 'there's a reason there isn't a bike shop in town'. I have a business admin degree, sales experience and lots of experience with how a small business runs day to day.
?
I know two people who tried to make a go of it locally. One lasted about a year. The other maybe 18 months. Make sure you or your number one employee is a good mechanic. I don't mean just turning wrenches on road bikes. Competency on fixing MTBs is key, because if ridden properly, they break more often. Pay attention to that voice in your head.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:16 AM   #28643
Aurelius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
Does anyone have experience in starting/owning a bike shop, or know of anyone who's done it? I've only read the negatives, and how hard it really is to succeed with one. I'm moving to a small, artsy and health-conscious town up North that could really use a bike shop... an area packed full of outdoorsy types, with epic MTB trails all around. Little voice in my head is saying 'there's a reason there isn't a bike shop in town'. I have a business admin degree, sales experience and lots of experience with how a small business runs day to day. I'd desire to simply make a living doing something I care about, which is, getting people on bikes. Not looking to get rich and am under no illusion this will be a remotely easy task either. Any good reading on the topic?
A friend of mine quit his stressful job in IT and opened his own bike shop two years ago. He seems to be doing quite well with it, from what I can see. His store usually has as many customers in it as the well established and much better financed chain stores in the area, although much of that could be due to its excellent location. The big downside is that he has almost no time to himself, since the shop is open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

One thing he did tell me that I found interesting was that he makes very little profit on bike sales: the big money is in parts, which he typically makes 70% profit on. I've been trying to interest him in capitalizing on that by selling parts on line, but so far he hasn't shown any interest.

Another possible downside is that none of the major manufacturers (Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc.) seem interested in doing business with small shops. In the case of Trek and Specialized, it required a major financial commitment which he wasn't prepared to make. In reality that may not matter much, because Trek & Specialized have saturated the area with dealerships, and it's questionable whether trying to sell what everyone else in the area is already selling is a good business strategy. Many customers go to him precisely because they're NOT interested in any of the big brands.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:14 AM   #28644
Gummee!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
A friend of mine quit his stressful job in IT and opened his own bike shop two years ago. He seems to be doing quite well with it, from what I can see. His store usually has as many customers in it as the well established and much better financed chain stores in the area, although much of that could be due to its excellent location. The big downside is that he has almost no time to himself, since the shop is open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

One thing he did tell me that I found interesting was that he makes very little profit on bike sales: the big money is in parts, which he typically makes 70% profit on. I've been trying to interest him in capitalizing on that by selling parts on line, but so far he hasn't shown any interest.

Another possible downside is that none of the major manufacturers (Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc.) seem interested in doing business with small shops. In the case of Trek and Specialized, it required a major financial commitment which he wasn't prepared to make. In reality that may not matter much, because Trek & Specialized have saturated the area with dealerships, and it's questionable whether trying to sell what everyone else in the area is already selling is a good business strategy. Many customers go to him precisely because they're NOT interested in any of the big brands.
In *most* shops the shop is the big profit center. Bikes for sale are what get people in the door, but don't make the $ till you get to the gucci stuff.

Get over $5k/bike and you're talking $/transaction. Till then? Not so much.

One of the big ways to promote the shop is get involved in the community. Bike safety days at the elementary school, rides, support the local Team in Training, etc. Get the name of the shop out there ASAP. Shop rides are a great thing 'cause inevitably someone needs a tube, patch kit, pump, etc. All high margin items.

Speaking of which... Most shops I know keystone* most of the stuff they order. QBP actually has a program on their website where they'll actually label stuff with your profit margin already calculated.

M

*keystone = double the cost and call it retail
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:46 AM   #28645
YakSpout
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
A friend of mine quit his stressful job in IT and opened his own bike shop two years ago. He seems to be doing quite well with it, from what I can see. His store usually has as many customers in it as the well established and much better financed chain stores in the area, although much of that could be due to its excellent location. The big downside is that he has almost no time to himself, since the shop is open seven days a week from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

One thing he did tell me that I found interesting was that he makes very little profit on bike sales: the big money is in parts, which he typically makes 70% profit on. I've been trying to interest him in capitalizing on that by selling parts on line, but so far he hasn't shown any interest.

Another possible downside is that none of the major manufacturers (Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc.) seem interested in doing business with small shops. In the case of Trek and Specialized, it required a major financial commitment which he wasn't prepared to make. In reality that may not matter much, because Trek & Specialized have saturated the area with dealerships, and it's questionable whether trying to sell what everyone else in the area is already selling is a good business strategy. Many customers go to him precisely because they're NOT interested in any of the big brands.
That's true for most retail. The big-ticket items are low margin and you make your nut on the parts/accessories.

Most bikes shops hold true to that as well. They make money on fits, service and the crazy markup on tubes, energy bars, etc. They probably break close to even on clothing.

Not many folks are buying component groups at retail with so many discounts available online, but how many of those people can install the new parts?
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:47 AM   #28646
Gummee!
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Originally Posted by YakSpout View Post
Not many folks are buying component groups at retail with so many discounts available online, but how many of those people can install the new parts?
The answer to that last question is 'not nearly as many as think they can!'

M
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:51 AM   #28647
YakSpout
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Played hooky from work yesterday to go for a ride and watch Stage 3 of the ToC.

Peloton coming down Copper Hill towards us with 70mi to go:



We rode back to my in-laws' house, got cleaned up and drove over to the finish line for the end of the race.

Leaders about 140m from the finish, they start the sprint and Orica GreeneEDGE's leadout man is popping:

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Old 05-15-2013, 11:52 AM   #28648
YakSpout
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Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
The answer to that last question is 'not nearly as many as think they can!'

M
Which brings us back to service as a profit center.

"I could have installed that for you for half of what it's going to cost you for me to fix it."
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:53 AM   #28649
Gummee!
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Originally Posted by YakSpout View Post
Which brings us back to service as a profit center.

"I could have installed that for you for half of what it's going to cost you for me to fix it."
BTDT S'how I learned to wrench on things in the first place.

No! Don't do that! NOW y'all tell me!

M
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:56 AM   #28650
YakSpout
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Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
BTDT S'how I learned to wrench on things in the first place.

No! Don't do that! NOW y'all tell me!

M
I got that t-shirt, too.

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