Bicycle mechanic and servicing restorations and repairs
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Part 3 - Getting the Business Rolling
Part 3 of the three part series about setting up a home based bicycle mechanic business.
The final part of this series, the business is set up, the gears are engaged. This part will detail how I intend to start the business off in the big wide world.
Setup Your Workshop
Now the magic starts to happen!
You are going to need somewhere to work on the bikes, a workshop! Big Beardy Bikes will operate from my garage and so space has been cleared in preparation.
Initially I do not intend to have customers at my premises, I will be operating a collection and drop off service so what my workshop looks like is not important so long as it’s functional.
Having said that my workshop will be the same area where I record my videos so I do need to make it at least presentable.
My workshop initially started out in my kitchen with my tools all spread out over the floor as my garage was so full of stuff even the tv show wipeout would have been envious of the assault course. It was quite inefficient to work in the kitchen especially when I had to play find the tool that my 3 year olds had run off with and hidden somewhere in the house. The best one was when I found a socket in the bed, which made me jump when the cold tool touched my leg.
I finally pulled my finger out and made a start clearing out my garage, it took me three weekends to get it to a state which was presentable. The setup I was working towards was a long work bench on the back wall with a tool board and curtains I could draw around to separate the work space from the rest of the garage when filming. At the time of writing this article the workshop setup is still ongoing, I will make a post about it once it’s finished for the grand tah dah!
Your workshop will need to suit your business model, if like me you are starting up as a part time venture then you could even clear a space in your house to work on the bikes with a simple toolbox for your kit. For those who will be allowing customers on site then you will need to think carefully about your workshop and make it as customer friendly as possible. You don’t want them to turn up and see you working on their super expensive pride and joy in a potting shed that’s about to fall over.
So, you have your workspace set up, now you need to look to your tools. Chances are if you are wanting to set up a bike mechanic business you are going to know what you need.
I will be writing a separate article on startup tool sets so keep an eye out for that if it will be of interest.
I have been collecting tools for a while now and have quite a robust selection that will enable me to do the majority of jobs I come across until I have some money saved for more specialist tools. I tend to pay a bit more for my tools now and buy well known brands for quality, materials and warranties.
There was a time when I used to buy the 5000 piece tool set for the price of a coffee thinking I have a bargain because of the shear volume of tools you get but they never used to last an often bent or broke on my right when I needed them the most.
Generally you need to be looking for well known brands with chrome vanadium forged alloy steel that has a good quality hardening and tempering process applied for hand tools. The exception to this is if you are using an impact wrench, then you need a different type of steel called chrome molybdenum or Cr-mo, more on this in another article to come. As a starting guide I would suggest investing in the following good quality tools:
- Hex Keys or Allen keys
- Socket set (metric)
- Spanner set
- Adjustable wrench
- Cable cutters
- Chain breaker
- Tyre levers
- Cone Wrench (13, 15 & 17mm)
There are obviously more bicycle specific tools but there are a lot of varieties of these and can be bought as and when you need them.
Something else you may have to think about early on is tool storage, you’re going to be acquiring a lot of tools so it’s best to get organised early on to save having a box full of bits that takes you ages to find what you need. I tend to have a smaller “ready” bag with tools I use most often with all the other tools neatly stored in tool chest drawers clearly marked.
You have everything in place, now it’s time to stroll out and shout out.
For Big Beardy Bikes I will be focusing on getting the virtual wheels rolling first by doing the following:
- Build up the shop pages with affiliate links to products I use or recommend so that I can hopefully drive traffic towards them later.
- Start creating useful content on my website, Facebook and YouTube to help explain what Big Beardy Bikes is all about and some useful tutorials to use the affiliate links.
- Join useful groups on Facebook such as home bicycle mechanics to engage, learn and create visibility of my business.
- Search popular online markets for used bikes at bargain prices to buy, service and resell for profit.
- When I am ready to accept clients to do work on their bikes I will advertise my business in the Facebook groups for the surrounding towns where I live and register the business on Google maps business directory.
This is my chosen sequence of workflow, it suits my personal circumstances and allows flexibility and generation of income before being reliant on paying customers. You will likely need a different plan of action, one for your own circumstances.
To end this series I wish you all the best and hope you have found these articles of use. Please check back regularly or follow the business on Facebook to know when the next article will be published.