Naperville Scooters: Why Scooters? Why Naperville? Why now?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by KennyT, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. KennyT

    KennyT Adventurer

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    I purchased my first scooter this fall. I bought the bike as a cheap and desperately needed form of transportation, which became a hobby, then an obsession.
    It is now a business plan. I hope to open Naperville Scooters, a dealership, by May of 2013.
    In short, buying a scooter is one of the best things I have ever done, and I hope to share that joy...




    Naperville Scooters. Why Scooters? Why Naperville? Why Now?


    Why Scooters?

    1. Scooters are inexpensive
      I bought my bike, a 2009 Kymco Agility 125, used with low miles. It cost me $1100, roughly the cost of a new set of tires for an automobile. It is the best money I have ever spent.
      You can buy a nice scooter new for about $2,000.
    2. Low Maintainence Costs
      Insurance for a scooter costs about $10/month.
      Most basic maintenance issues can be handled by the owner.
      Need to fill up the tank? It costs about $4...
    3. Fun
      I have never ridden or driven anything that gives me the pleasure riding this bike does. I have owned Porsche, Mercedes, and Audi. None are as fun. I often catch myself grinning ear to ar when cruising down the road...
    4. Function
      I am blown away by the amount of travel I can do on a bike. I go everywhere. With storage under the seat, and a top case as an optional accessory, one can carry everything they need for the typical day. If you add a backpack, you can even take a scooter camping.
      Yes, it isn't much fun in the rain, and I won't drive it in the snow. However, when dressed appropriately, riding in cold temperatures is not an issue...
    5. Green Transportation
      Whatever side of the political scene, we all love the environment. Scooters get between 50 and 100 miles per gallon of gas. Their are also several electric options. So if you are worried about the environment, scooters are for you...



    Why Naperville?

    Naperville, Illinois is a perfect town for small businesses, especially a scooter dealership...


    1. Population
      With a population of 141,857, Naperville is the 5th largest city in lllinois. With Joliet to the south and Aurora to the west, there are almost 1 million people living a short ride from Naperville...
    2. Wealth
      The median household income in Naperville is $101,457, making Naperville the wealthiest city in the Midwest (population>75,000).



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    3. Commuters
      The Naperville Train Station near downtown has a 10 year waiting list for automobile parking. There is no waiting list for motorcycles and scooters, making a scooter a very attractive option for commuters.



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    4. North Central College
      North Central College, a private college located immediately to the east of downtown, has an enrollment of over 3000. College kids, who are often on a tight budget, love scooters.
    5. Local High Schools
      There are 5 area high schools serving Naperville students. Most of those kids take the bus to school. Some own cars. I believe many would love to own scooters.
    6. Lack of Competition
      There is virtually no competition in the scooter business in Naperville. If you google "Naperville scooters". You will come up with a few results:

      -Fox Valley Cycles, a company that sells a few models of scooters but is primarily a motorcycle dealership, is located in Aurora, about 10 miles from downtown Naperville.
      -Naperville Motorsports, on Naperville's far western edge, is a motorcycle repair shop that does sell a few accesories...
      -Mirror Look, a company that specializes on painting bikes...

      You will also find a whole bunch of posts about me, my dream, and my vision...

      As a scooter enthusiast in a town of almost 150,000, I find it amazing I need to ride 20 minutes to buy a motorcycle helmet.


    Why Now?
    I believe a Naperville Scooter Dealership would prosper in any economy, good or bad.

    1. Gas prices
      At $4/gallon, driving one an automobile can be very expensive. A scooter, however, gets up to 100 miles per gallon...
    2. Single car families
      I know many families that are functioning with only one car. Many can't afford the money that a decent used car might cost, or the additional costs of maintenance.
      However, buying a scooter for $2,000 can be manageable, even on a tight budget.




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    3. Low commercial rental rates
      As a Naperville Realtor with over seven years of experience in residential sales, I have been steadily increasing my involvement on the commercial side. I plan on using my experience to negotiate aggressively and expect to sign very favorable lease terms.
      In Naperville alone, there is a mind boggling amount of commercial real estate sitting vacant. This is a great time to rent commercial space...


    Why me?

    1. Financial Experience
      With over 15 years in the financial services industry, I am well versed in various potential financial issues, such as insurance, interest costs, margin rates, returns on investment, etc.
    2. Track Record of Sales and Marketing Success
      With over 20+ years of sales and marketing experience, I have had success at every level selling a variety of products, and believe I am what is called "A born salesman".
    3. Small Business Experience
      With over 7 years experience running my own small business as a Realtor, I am well aware of both the challenges and requirements involved in running a small business.
    4. Passion
      I strongly believe passion is the number one asset of any small business. I wake up thinking about the joy of riding scooters, and talk about that joy to everyone I meet. I can't wait to get started with Naperville Scooters.

    Suppliers



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    I am looking at several potential distributors, and my two leading suppliers are Kymco USA and Bintelli Scooters. Both offer a nice range of scooters, ranging from smaller bikes to mid and maxi sized scooters. Both have reputations for quality, reasonable pricing, and great customer and dealership support.



    Sources of Revenue:
    I plan on revenue coming from four main sources.


    1. Scooter sales
      The average Bintelli Dealership sells 150 scooters per year. Given the demographics of Naperville and in spite of the cold weather we experience a few months of the year, I anticipate Naperville Scooters to be far more than an average dealership. Their more active dealerships are currently selling 300+ scooters per year, and this would be my target volume in the second year.
    2. Accessories sales
      Helmets, goggles, visors, t shirts, jackets, and scooter skirts. As a scooter owner, my Christmas list is filled with scooter accessories.
    3. Scooter rentals, both short and long term leases
      I believe the market for short term rentals (less than a week) as well as month or season long leases would be strong.
    4. The Service Center
      The average Bintelli dealership does about $50K in revenues per year in the service center. The larger ones do more than double those numbers. Again, I don't expect Naperville Scooters to be an average dealership.




    Expenses

    I plan to keep a close eye on expenses.


    1. Commercial Lease
      I am looking for a small space, perhaps 1000 square feet or so. I hope to keep rent around $1500 per month originally, and believe I can achieve this with the vacant space currently available in Naperville.
      I estimate first year costs of the lease to be $18,000.
    2. Inventory
      I anticipate an original inventory of 20 bikes. Enough for the showroom and some inventory to meet sales needs. I expect costs per bike to average slightly over $1000 per bike.
      I estimate original inventory to be $24,000.
    3. Employee Wages
      I anticipate being the main employee, handling sales, book keeping, marketing, as well as community engagement.
      I will need to hire a mechanic immediately, but hope to hire one on a part time basis until demand dictates full time or additional mechanics...
      I estimate initial wages of approximately $48,000/year.
    4. Miscellaneous Expenses
      There are always additional expenses, and I know my business will have them too. Insurance, Marketing, Utilities, costs of incorporation/legal fees, just to name a few.
      I estimate these costs in the neighborhood of $35,000 in the first year.
    I expect total costs in the first year to be approximately $125,000.



    Marketing

    I would market through various means, traditional as well as new age.

    1. Customers
      I believe my number one marketing tool would be satisfied customers. I plan on giving my customers a great shopping experience, whether they are buying a new bike, getting an old one fixed, shopping for accessories, or just browsing for fun. I want my customers to tell their friends...

    2. Traditional Marketing
      My costs directed toward more traditional marketing will be kept fairly modest. I believe there are better ways to market a business. However...
      I will be joining the Naperville Chamber of Commerce in January 2013 to introduce myself and my business to the community. I plan on hosting several high profile events, grand openings, clubs, rides, as well as high visibility signage outside of the dealership.
    3. New Age Marketing
      As the owner of Tracy Social Media Solutitions, I consider myself very adept at leveraging social media and its applications in business. I will be focusing much of my marketing efforts here.
      I am currently designing my website, www.NapervilleILScooters.com.
      I already have pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Google Places for Naperville Scooters, and have been developing a good deal of interest for a business that won't open for another 6 months.
      I anticipate dominant page one position on Google.


    With anticipated first year expenses to be $125,000, I would be extremely pleased breaking even in the first year. I clearly have lots of work to do.

    But that doesn't deter me from my goal. Opening Naperville Scooters in May, 2013.

    Ken


    Follow Naperville Scooters on Facebook
    #1
  2. Tork

    Tork Pinsetter

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    Best of luck for your plans !
    #2
  3. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    Sounds like you've done your homework Kenny, this country needs more optimists like you! I sincerely wish you the best.

    BTW-Dont discount Genuine scooters as well. KYMCO is great, so is Genuine...I have personal knowledge of both (As a long-time scooterist I have never heard of Binitelli FWIW)

    Keep us posted!
    #3
  4. GREY.HOUND

    GREY.HOUND Been here awhile

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    I'm excited for you also. It's great to see such enthusiasm. I'm following along on facebook also.
    Sean
    #4
  5. KennyT

    KennyT Adventurer

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    Hi Tork, Gogordy, and Greyhound. Thanks! Genuine would have been great, being just outside of Chicago, but are only accepting experienced dealerships at this point. Kymco I like for many reasons. Bintelli new distributor based out of Florida. Sell bikes made out of Znen mfg. in China (yes China). Have heard great things about them (two year warranty, etc).
    Thanks again guys!
    Ken
    #5
  6. soboy

    soboy Long timer

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    Glad to hear you are following your dream and have a well thought out business plan - best of luck to you!
    #6
  7. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    (this was posted in another thread but I wasn't sure if you saw it)

    Kenny, this is the scooter to which I was referring in my PM to you. For everyone else; I recently took a trip to France. In Paris, I think scooters/bikes are almost as prevalent as cars (about a 60/40 car-to-bike ratio). Scoots and bikes are allowed to filter and lane-split. Rush hour is basically a stop-light drag race (that is, crazy/nuts). I'm willing to bet that if you ride a scoot/bike, you're easily home an hour before your neighbor who drives.

    Most, if not all, scooters have hand mitts and skirts. I bought a pair of Tucano Urbano hand mitts and put them on my Reflex. They are awesome and have allowed me to ride, with my mid-weight gloves, in 20º F morning temps since my return. The skirt stays in place when you ride, keeping you warm (out of the airflow) and dry (if it's raining). There must be helmet laws in France because I did not see any helmet-less riders. However, they do not seem to like to wear any other moto specific gear (jackets or pants). A lot of women ride scoots as it's common to see riders with fur-rimmed hooded jackets and high-heeled boots. Both Tucano Urbano and Bagster (a French company) make hand mitts and skirts (among other accessories). The TU hand mitts seem to be most popular while the Bagster skirt is most often seen. I know Bagster's US distributor is in Naperville (I contacted them when I was searching for soft luggage for my TransAlp).

    Since scooters seem to have a reputation as being "summer" transport, if you could make them a little more weather impervious, they might be viewed as a viable three season option.

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    #7
  8. gogogordy

    gogogordy Long timer

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    Here in Southern California we just turn the heater to "high" in the winter :rofl

    Seriously, good advice and I know several riders (also here in So-Cal) who use those when it gets really cold. You know, like in the mid 60's!
    #8
  9. KennyT

    KennyT Adventurer

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    Hi Soboy and Bronco. Thanks!
    Bronco, I will post this today on Naperville Scooters Facebook Page! Interesting. Love options to keep us warm in cool weather! Something else to sell in my dealership too!
    Thanks again!
    Ken
    #9
  10. Dabears

    Dabears --------------------

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    Kenny- you have passion and that's a key to success. Really like the idea of including Kymco's in your inventory if you can swing it- they are a widely recognized and respected brand.

    I will admit in all my years of riding I've never heard of Bintelli, but then again I hadn't heard of SYM until about 2 years ago, so what do I know...

    Best of luck with your plans- Naperville is a great community and you'll have lots of opportunities to leverage the many events they have to show off your scooters.
    #10
  11. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    Anything I can do to help, just ask. Don't forget that my wife is a small business owner, in Schaumburg. You may pick her brain if you see the need. Her business has grown 5-10%, each year, over the last 10 years. To do that well in a crap economy is pretty impressive. Have a good business plan in place, stick to your guns and you should be OK.
    #11
  12. DaBinChe

    DaBinChe Long timer

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    With experience in the scooter industry I would say do not carry Bintelli or any china scoots. They are bascially just like any other chinese scooters, ie a marketing company here in the US buying from a chinese manufacturer with their own specs (colors etc) and slapping the Bintelli name on basically the same chinese scooters that everyone else has. All the talk about quality control is BS..they all claim that but the reality is that is not the case. The $50k service number is also BS too...maybe true if that includes all of a shops service and not just for the Bintelli brand. Stick with Kymco, SYM, Genuine..basically any of the Taiwanese brands and you'll be okay. I personally know and worked with one of the largest chinese scooter importers in America..the guy imports thousands of chinese scoots a year and is one of the main distributor/suppliers of various chinese brand scoots. He pretty much supplies most of the West Coast. Anyways enough of my ramblings, I just say that as a shop there is no profit to be made with chinese scoots.
    #12
  13. alicethomas

    alicethomas Been here awhile

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    Same opinion as DaBinChe.
    Focus on quality (Kymco, Honda & Co) exclusive_or on cheap. But any mixture will detoriate towards the lower quality.

    And at least in the EU: selling is nothing without competent service. Warranty is a legal obligation.
    Do you have a qualified master mechanic too?
    #13
  14. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

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    Very exciting, brother. Very exciting. You have answered most of my questions. I'm still going to call and chat a little bit. Maybe next week.
    #14
  15. hillbillypolack

    hillbillypolack Grumpy Old Goat

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    If I were you, I would also entertain a business case that includes time rentals or sharing. ZipCar is already established and is growing by leaps and bounds in college cities.

    It's another revenue stream that makes sense especially in a region whose sales might be affected by climate (snow).
    #15
  16. redhandmoto

    redhandmoto Been here awhile

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    Renting. Mmmm. What are the liability insuance burdens like for that? Reasonable? Have rented scoots on vacation before and often wondered.
    #16
  17. Warney

    Warney Been here awhile

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    Kenny: something to consider with your business plan...:deal
    http://www.sportiquescooters.com/in...-chinese-scooter-scourge-continues&Itemid=101
    Colin Shattuck of Sportique Scooters and Pride of Cleveland Phil have experience selling Chinese Scooters alongside their other quality brands, and it isn't good.
    Just like in Real Estate or any other type of sales, a positive experience brings loyal customers back for more.
    #17
  18. lifer

    lifer Been here awhile

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    In your city I think you need an upscale option for scooters along side a quality bread and butter maker like Kymco. You may need to start with just one and get the upscale maker a little later so you can meet their demands for new dealers. Many potetial owners there will have an image to keep. I would also sell discounted parts on the web as part of your buisness plan. This will help in the winter slow season.
    #18
  19. kfsinc

    kfsinc Chaingolian Observer

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    Congrats on a great plan!!

    If you haven't already, talk to the people at http://www.flatsquirrelscooters.com on Randall Rd. in Algonquin / Lake in the Hills. Very similar demographics to Naperville. They've been around for a few years and will certainly know a little about the market.

    I like your idea of rental, Americans in general don't know the joys of scootering and rentals will be a good way to get them into it (remember your first experience). I'd also find a way to market to the younger crowd, certainly to the college kids and even to high schoolers. In the Naperville demo, many kids have their own cars. You'll need to make a scooter 'cool'. Maybe a promo tie in with the high school or college??

    Here in Crystal Lake, we have started to see a few scooter gangs -- groups of high schoolers riding around -- very good to see and they are clearly having a blast.

    Regarding the comments on getting an upscale brand -- I fully agree that you will need to offer a known brand. Scooters are a tough niche -- between cool and can't afford a car. In Indiana, they are known as the only means of transportation for those with a DUI -- not the image you want in Naperville.

    Kymco may be a good start, but I would not go with an unknown. You might be able to fill in that niche with a few used Vespas or even Hondas. Given the upscale nature of your market, you customer will certainly want a strong brand image, and will be willing (and able) to pay for it.

    Best of luck -- always good to see a new venture!
    #19
  20. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I have to agree about the Bintelli brand. They have a good pitch, but they are the same Chinese scooters everyone else is importing/selling under an almost infinite number of different names. The styling is instantly recognizable as Chinese. The Vibe 150 is the same GY6 Honda Joker clone the Chinese have been making forever. There is just no way you can sell a decent quality 150cc scooter for $1599. The Kymco Agility 125 is the single exception to the rule, though they are 125cc and cost over $2000 now. They are a very basic scooter, Kymco opted for quality over style. They may also be a loss leader, it's very possible Kymco is not making a profit on them, and is using them for advertising for repeat customers that will buy something bigger and more expensive next time. I did find something interesting on the Bintelli site I have never seen before. "Does not include shipping and prep fees that each dealer may choose to impose" Most Chinese and Taiwanese scooter dealers here do not "choose" to impose these fees, while Japanese dealers double or even triple them.

    Money can be made selling Chinese scooters. It mostly seems to be a matter of luck. We have two scooter dealers here which sell Chinese scooters exclusively. Campus Scooter, and Performance Scooter. They are both located near ASU, and have been around for 3-4 years now. And Scooter Invasion is back to selling them, as "budget scooters" after almost going out of business some time ago because of them. I think if I were selling Chinese scooters, I would tell the potential customer about their poor quality, and that I did not recommend them, but sell them because some people want a scooter based only on low price. If they choose to buy one anyway, I would at least make sure they know what they are buying.
    #20