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Mobile Bike Mechanic

mattmarsden78mattmarsden78 Posts: 29
edited May 2013 in Road general
So I am thinking of setting up a business but am at a very early stage. I thought I would start off by finding out to see if there is a market for it.

The idea is as it says above, a Mobile Cycle Mechanic offering pick ups and drop off of bikes from home or workplace, performing a full range of cycle maintenance from minor serving to full overhauls and pro bike fitting services etc. n addition, I would offer my services to businesses to service their bikes and their employees bikes with the employer paying the labour and the employee paying for parts. Basically, I will come to you at a time convenient to you to sort out your bike, rather than you having to find the time to drop off the bike at the shop.

So, simple questions...
1. Would you use this service?
2. Why would you use this service over a conventional bike shop? or
3. Why would you use the conventional bike shop instead of this service?
4. What additional services would you like to see?

Thank you for taking the time..

Posts

  • rricerrice Posts: 23
    Hi Matt

    I'm not sure where you're based but I use a similar service in my area (Berkshire) and find it very useful - mostly as I am not at all mechanically gifted and because I never have the time to do the mechanical bit as well as ride. I'm sure there must be others like me.

    I would use the service over a conventional bike shop as it is more convenient and also because (hopefully) i would have a much better idea of when my bike will be ready to ride again.

    Might use a conventional bike shop for more specialist stuff - for instance work involving lefty hubs or the like. Assuming of course the bike shop does have the relevant kit to do the work (not always the case).

    Only my view but I think a useful service might be to set up a file for each customer with a record of what work has been done and when and then link this to a diary reminder so that you can email your customers when, typically, their bikes would next be due for a service.

    Hope that helps and very best of luck with the venture.

    Cheers
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  • 1. Yes
    2. Yes, particularly if I'd bought a bike on the internet and therefore had no allegiance to a particular shop
    3. I'd use a conventional bike shop if I'd bought the bike there
    4. Perhaps a fitting / setup / return / 'first free service' service for the online retailers; customers that want to try before they buy from wiggle / CRC / whoever could have a couple of bikes delivered to you, you assemble the bike for the customer to try and then repackage and return the rejected bike(s) to wiggle. Perhaps wiggle would pay you to perform the first free service offered by most LBS's?

    I've used a mobile mechanic locally and found it to be an excellent service.
  • NavrigNavrig Posts: 1,352
    Sounds like a great idea for the non-technical commuting cyclists who work in a large town/city. Convenient to have your bike repaired or serviced at work during work hours.

    I doubt it would be viable in a more rural setting due to having to drive between customers.
  • simona75simona75 Posts: 336
    I use a mobile mechanic and its an excellent idea. My bike is picked up at work and if its a small job it's done there and then or taken away and brought back later. The guy who does mine says he has work coming out of his ears
  • bernithebikerbernithebiker Posts: 4,148
    Sounds like a great idea, just make sure you're in a heavily populated area.
  • declan1declan1 Posts: 2,470
    I reckon you'd get a lot of business, however you'd probably need to hire some employees to cope with demand if you're in a highly populated area. Good luck with it!

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  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    There's an increasing number of mobile bike mechanics around so I guess they must have a big enough market to make some kind of a living. I actually live half a mile from my nearest LBS and they open into the evening so it's already pretty convenient for me, I'd consider a mobile mechanic though if they had a big workshop backlog. As someone mentioned before, marketing yourself to check out Internet/Halfords type bikes as well would be a good thing as I imagine a lot of people are a bit reluctant to take such a bike to a normal LBS (especially if they stock the same brand) - not that they should be ofc but I guess it's a British thing :p
  • goonzgoonz Posts: 3,106
    Yep sounds like a great idea, good luck with it.

    If you are in London would be interested in your pro bike fitting service.
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  • verylonglegsverylonglegs Posts: 3,415
    I know my local Uni had one who visits it one day a week so probably an area worth considering.
  • Drfabulous0Drfabulous0 Posts: 1,539
    1. No, I would do it myself.
    2. I wouldn't, i would do it myself
    3. See above.
    4. Come to my house and clean my bike because I can't be arsed.

    I did this for a year, there were three main issues.
    1. Marketing and getting business was hard work, flyers stuck on handlebars of locked bikes worked quite well.
    2. I had to hold quite a bit of stock or there would be a hold up while I got parts, I was lucky enough to already have trade contacts so I could get supplier accounts. make sure you have reliable suppliers, it can be hard because the bike trade is a massive old boys club.
    3. There was naff all work in the winter, in hindsight I should have got second hand bikes throughout the year to sell at Christmas.

    All in all it was OK as the money was good and I didn't have to work very much, but it was very seasonal. Next time I would just open a shop.
  • term1teterm1te Posts: 1,460
    Why not specialise in setting up bikes bought on the internet? Whilst it might just be fitting the peddals and straightening the handlebars, some people might be happy to let a "pro" do it, especially if you can "fit" the bike to them as well? There are enough people around our way who advertise that they will put Ikea furniture together for you, so there must be a DIFM (do it for me) market.

    My employers hire a guy from the LBS to service employees bikes twice a year, the service is free, but you have to pay for any parts. I've never used it, but it has become so popular that you now have to book a time, rather than just turn up.
  • arran77arran77 Posts: 9,260
    There's a company around here (N.E Hants) doing exactly this, not used them myself but I know people who have and were pleased.

    Might be worth thinking of setting yourself up some of the time in the car park of local train stations so that commuters could ride to the station, have you service it for them while they're off at work and then leave it locked up for them at the station for when they return at the end of the day, just another idea :)
    "Arran, you are like the Tony Benn of smut. You have never diluted your depravity and always stand by your beliefs. You have my respect sir and your wife my pity" :lol:

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  • MrSwearyMrSweary Posts: 1,699
    So basically like these guys then... http://www.nipnip.co.uk

    Good idea - they have got arrangements with a few big companies in London whereby they set up in their garage for the day / do call outs etc. Quite competetive on price too I think. I'm not certain all their mechanics are quite as experienced as they seem to allude to though. I could be wrong.
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  • Well thank you all for your replies. All very encouraging I must admit. And Thanks Dr Fabulous, that made me chuckle!

    Some good ideas for additional service, very much appreciated.
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