The first evidence of a bicycle dates back to 1534. The bicycle has been a part of everyday life for hundreds of years and is here to stay. With fuel prices rising constantly and the economy being in a “rollercoaster” mode, people are turning towards more affordable ways of transport. Bicycles provide the cheapest solution to transport with no need for fuel and low maintenance requirements. Starting a bicycle repair service business from home can be a highly lucrative opportunity that provides a real solution to building a profitable business venture. This guide will show you the steps you need to take in order to avail this business opportunity from home.
1. Well Acquainted with Bicycle Repair
While bicycles only require a minimal amount of maintenance, they can become faulty and require repairs at times. The first step to starting a bicycle repair service from home is to get familiar with the different parts of the bicycle and how it works. It is very important to learn its mechanics so you can analyze and determine faults quickly. These skills are essential for repairing bicycles.
Once you have acquired the adequate skills, it is time to put your skills to test. Find a broken bicycle and fix it. Getting firsthand experience is one of the best ways to test and improve your skills. If you have problems fixing the bicycle, go back to the learning board and get the skills needed to fix the specific problem. Do this until you can determine the fault and fix problems without having to refer back to manuals and training material.
2. Purchase the essential equipment
Bicycle repairing is a service that requires various tools and equipment. You will not be able to repair anyone’s bicycle without having the specific tool-set. Before you start promoting your services, make sure you have purchased the tools, equipment and other essential items. This will help you to fix up the faults without any fail and you need not to run your nearest hardware store every time you land a gig.
Here is the check-list of some specific tools and spare parts to repair any bi-cycle.
- A bicycle repair stand: This is a useful tool that is used to mount a bicycle while doing repairs.
- A gear brush: This will help to clean a bicycle after repairing has been done.
- Tire levers: These are essential for changing a flat tire.
- Portable pump: Make sure the pump works on Schrader and Presta valves as different bicycles have different valves.
- Hex wrenches: The full set of wrenches will help you make adjustments quick and effortless.
- Electrical tape.
- Chain tool: This is essential for repairing and modifying a bicycle’s chain.
- Spare outer tires
- Spare inner cables
- Spare outer cables
Once you have gathered all the essential tools and equipment, first try them all and ensure to know how each works. You need to know their usages and maintenance before you start offering your repair services to the public. This will definitely facilitate the process of repairing services offered to your customers.
3. Create a plan-of-action
Now that you have learned technical details of bicycles and acquired all the essential tools, it is time to create your plan-of-action. This is almost like a business plan, but simplier in nature. You are going to start a small home business of bicycle repair service from home, which means you need to create a plan-of-action. Setting up a professional business plan to work from will still be very useful in this case.
Start by deciding whether you want to name your business or just offer your services under your own name. Many people like to use their own name and add an extra set of words, such as “John’s Bicycle Repair Services”. You can go as far as creating a logo, but it is not required and should not be an additional expense in your business model.
Your plan of action should include the following sections:
- Services you will offer to clients. Ex. General Bicycle repairs, wheel replacement, wheel repairs, saddle adjustments, etc.
- Your target marketing. Ex. Kids around the neighborhood, mountain bikers, marathon riders, etc.
- How you will attract customers. Ex. Spread flyers around town, stick posters on notice boards, etc.
- A basic financial forecast. Estimate the amount of expenses you will have while operating the business.
- Pricing structure. Determine how you will price your service (fixed or hourly) and set out a pricing plan.
The plan-of-action will make things easier when you start operating as this plan will contain all the vital information about your business.
You should also prepare a pricing report to present to potential customers so they can know how much to expect to pay after you have completed the requested repair services on their bicycle.
4. Start operating and promote your services
After completing the plan-of-action, it is time to start operating. Things won’t happen automatically, so you will need to get the word out to notify potential clients that you offer a new bicycle repair service.
Before promoting your business and services, be sure to set up a workstation where you can work from. If you have some spare room in the garage, it would be a great place to set up all your equipment and tools. This is probably the most effective location to work from. If you do not have a garage, find another suitable location at home to work from. Make sure you have everything – tools, equipment, etc. – in easy to reach locations.
Promoting your business will help you get the word out and gain your first few clients. This is a vital step that should be implemented as soon as you start operating. You can start by notifying family and friends, and asking them to tell other people about your services. Whenever you get a client, ensure they are happy with the service you provided to them and ask them to recommend your service to their friends who ride bicycles.
Other ways to advertise and promote your bicycle repair services include:
- Print flyers and distribute them throughout your local area. Shopping malls, hardware stores and parking areas are all great starting points.
- Print posters and visit every local community notice board. Add your poster to them.
- Many businesses would allow you to place business cards or flyers on their reception desk. Determine which companies would work with this method and pay them a visit to ask for permission to place some flyers on the reception desk.
- Place an advert in your local newspaper’s classified section. This could help increase exposure and help you to gain more clients.
Once you have a few clients, aim to keep them as clients by offering a discount on continuous usage of your services. You should provide every client with a business card so they always have your contact details on hand.
5. Expanding your business
Building up a client base is your first step to creating a successful business venture. After you have found your first few customers and made some profit, it is time to think about expanding your business and increase your income. The more elements you welcome into your business model; the more opportunities you will have.
One of the best ways to expand your business in its early stages is to stock several bicycle parts. This will give you an extra opportunity to profit from part sales. If someone already has the knowledge to fix their own bike, they might come to you looking for a specific part that would help them complete the job. There will also be times where a specific replacement part is needed for a repair job to be done – if you have this part in stock it would provide more convenience and value to the customer.
Starting a bicycle repair service from home is a profitable opportunity that anyone with the necessary skills can start. This provides a great way to make money from home while providing value to your clients. The business venture poses as an ever-expanding opportunity with a lot of room to grow. If you put your heart into your business, it could even grow to a franchised shop.