...how easy or difficult it is to make money in the cycle trade?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Re: ...how easy or difficult it is to make money in the cycle trade?

Postby david12656 » 29 Jul 2020, 8:44am

a friend who owned a cycle shop told me the way to make a small fortune in the cycle trade was start off with a large fortune

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Re: ...how easy or difficult it is to make money in the cycle trade?

Postby LittleGreyCat » 29 Jul 2020, 5:40pm

This reminds me that 10 years or so ago we had a Halfords on the High Street with a long term independent LBS across the road and a third LBS just round the corner.

All gone now, although the local motor cycle dealer does some push bikes as well, and we have a Wilco which does bikes as well as motor spares, and a unit on the Sunday market.

Small town, but a reasonable number of cyclists.

As others have said things have changed and most things apart from a service or repair can be bought on line.

We have a Halfords and an Evans at shopping centres within 15 miles which are easily accessed by car and which also do mail order.

So I think it is a high risk business proposition.
There are probably openings for a specialist electric bike shop at the moment.
In the Netherlands nearly all bike shops sell electric bikes, many exclusively.
When we were touring there last year we didn't see any traditional LBS.
There isn't as much penetration in the UK at the moment, but if the push for more bike lanes actually delivers I can see a lot of people of a certain age shopping and making other short trips by electric bike.

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Re: ...how easy or difficult it is to make money in the cycle trade?

Postby JakobW » 2 Aug 2020, 2:20pm

Though a mobile repair business seems an appealing low-overhead option, with the ever-proliferating array of standards, you need to keep a large supply of parts to be able to handle the bikes you'll encounter. So cables & outers; cassettes and chains from 7- to 11-speed; bottom brackets, threaded (internal & external) and press-fit; brake blocks for caliper, canti, v-, disc brakes, &c &c...

One model that I've seen people do is a pick-up/drop-off service; this allows them to order parts online for next-day delivery and manage most repairs within 48 hours, but that then requires a van and a workshop with a reasonable amount of storage space.

Even with a repair-only model, the sad fact is that many punters want both cheap parts at online prices, but don't want to pay reasonable labour rates to cover the business's running costs.

I do most of my own repairs, but I try and give my custom to my good LBS's wherever possible so that they're there for when I need them for tasks I don't have the tools or the skills for. This does involve putting my money where my mouth is and paying RRP for consumables when I could get them cheaper online; I don't always manage this, but I do try.

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Re: ...how easy or difficult it is to make money in the cycle trade?

Postby Manc33 » 2 Aug 2020, 9:17pm

I sometimes look at Spa Cycles stuff and wonder how they can do such a cheap deal on it. For example those Zicral 7075 aluminium chainrings, dirt cheap for what you're getting.
When two cyclists get married, they should throw anodized cable crimps instead of confetti.

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Re: ...how easy or difficult it is to make money in the cycle trade?

Postby peetee » 2 Aug 2020, 9:46pm

I worked at home as a bike mechanic for nearly 10 years. I had a 8x14ft workshop with roof space where parts were stored. Beyond this was a 8x16ft garage where customers bikes were held when I was busy -the most I had was 14 bikes at a time but there was rarely more than half a dozen overnight. Half the wall area in here was used to store tyres (40+). This was by far the greatest demand on space.
My workshop had multi-point levers and dead bolts on the doors and security glazing. The house insurance was extended to cover £10000 of bikes and £5000 stock.
Current status report:
Back on two wheels in deepest Pastyland and loving every minute. Mission: to enjoy big, bad hills again.