How to become a home based bicycle mechanic and get paid for bicycle services and servicing
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
Part 2 - The Business Model
Part 2 of a three part series about setting up a home based bicycle mechanic business.
In this part you will find out how I put a business model together for the way in which Big Beardy Bikes will function.
Sounds Great! Where Do I Start?
There are going to be quite a few things I will be doing to get the business started, some I have already done while others will happen further down the line. Let’s take a look at what I am going to do.
Done! Every business needs a business model otherwise how on earth will you make money if you don’t have a clue what your business is supposed to do?
This might not be as easy as it seems, I’ve been wanting to start my own business for years but never quite found exactly what I wanted to do. My inspiration came from a child’s game, from a single moment of fun an epiphany was had.
Now that’s not to say you need to take a notebook with you every time you play games with your kids, the point is inspiration can often come from the most unlikely sources or you can do your research on successful businesses you like to use as a template and adapt for your own model.
Write out your business model or draw it out even. I used mind maps to plot out the core business operations and expanded the business from purely fixing bikes for cash to something more financially robust.
Once you have your business model it’s time to take a look around, will your business work in your geographic area? What is your likely competition? What can your business offer that others can’t?
It’s important to do your research on the market you are aiming to enter otherwise you could go through the pains of starting up only to find there are already many similar businesses on your doorstep.
Use business directories and the likes of Google maps to track down local businesses, look at their websites if they have one and study them. What works for them? can you adapt your business model to offer something they do not?
By now your business model should be robust and you have a really good idea of what you are going to do and how you are going to compete in the business world.
Once you are confident your business model is robust and can compete in the big wide world, step on the pedal and move onto the next stage!
Create an Identity
Your business will benefit from having a bit of personality, an identity, it’s going to help you when marketing and is essential if you are going to take your business online.
My business is associated with big beards just for a bit of fun, yes, I do sport an exceedingly good big beard.
The big beard theme helps the company to be memorable, its unique, but why beards?
Why not? I say, and now the theme is stuck in your head, it will come right to the top of the list when you need something doing to your bike because it’s different and a bit weird and you actually stopped to think about the name!
So while you’re contemplating this check out the beard care products over at the shop pages – Beard Care
So be creative but don’t go overboard to the extreme otherwise people will just not think you are a credible business.
Now it’s going to all start to get a bit real! You are effectively going to be trading to public so you need to think about what you need to do to make your business legal. In the UK there are two main choices for a business such as this, a limited liability company or a sole trader.
I opted for sole trader as it’s a bit more lightweight for a part time business and the personal financial risks are minimal. There are advantages and disadvantages to each but I suggest you read up on what you need to do to be legally compliant in your country.
Create a Presence
Now your business should be really taking shape and it’s time to get it into the big wide world and let people see what you can do.
I started by creating a Facebook business page to try and cash in on my existing connections and take advantage of the many excellent groups available.
Getting the Facebook page up and running was fairly straight forward so next was the task of getting a website up and functional, this is where I opened my wallet for the first time to the business. I searched for the domains and got them bought, I then bought a web hosting plan with HOSTINGER and got a WordPress site set up. I designed the site myself based on a template and added all the other stuff myself, it’s not perfect but it will do for now.
For me I like the idea of building my own website, it’s fairly easy using the large selection of templates. If it fills you with fear at the very thought of it then don’t worry, you could pay someone to design your website for you. It’s not as expensive as you may think due to the relative ease and quantity of companies out there devoted to you building your own.
Now I can link my Facebook to my website so whenever I publish a new article I can announce this to all my connections to drive them over to the website.
A big part of my business plan is to produce video content to supplement the written articles, next step, secure a YouTube account and get it set up in preparation to publish content videos.
The last step for now is to sign up for affiliate schemes to help monetise my content and hopefully generate an income. This will ke the form of affiliate links in the descriptions of my YouTube videos with reference to the content. I will also be embedding links within the written content I publish and finally, I have set up a shop page with affiliate links to tools and various other products relating to bike mechanics and beards that I currently use or recommend.
I wrote about merchandise previously, there are lots of online businesses where you can upload images and get them printed onto products for them to send direct to your customer. This will involve using a bit of e-commerce on your website so I suggest if you want to do the same have a research into how to do it.
Or maybe I could write an article on that too hmmmm.
This is sometimes seen as the really boring bits but do not overlook this, otherwise, you can find yourself in a whole world of trouble.
Below is a brief list of things you will need to consider and have in place. They will vary from country to country and could quite easily warrant an entire article dedicated to them. So I will explain how it will work for Big Beardy Bikes in the UK.
- Insurance – I will be dealing directly with customers and their bikes so I will need insurance as simple as that! I have professional indemnity insurance to cover for any damage to customers property due to accidents or negligence. Then on top of this I have public liability cover in case the customer should have an accident and hurt themselves or damage something as a result of the work I did. Without this sort of cover you can quickly find yourself financially ruined should the worse come to the worst.
- bank account – You will need a bank account for your finance flow. If you decide to set up a limted company then you will need a bank account specific to your company. If, like me you are sole trading then it’s advisable to set up another personal account purely for the business as I makes it easier to track all finances to your business.
- book keeping – this is another big one along side insurance. You MUST keep track of all your business transactions by law! You can do this as simply as using a spreadsheet or bespoke software. I will be using spreadsheets with a double entry book keeping system to keep it low cost. There are a whole host of books and websites out there for bookkeeping check out the affiliate links below.
- Self Assessment – In the UK it is mandatory to carry out self assessments if you are self employed to calculate the correct amount of Tax you owe HMRC. Do not skip this process, it is illegal not to out your income and has some hefty consequences if you are caught out. Obviously it will be different in each country so I strongly recommend you research and become familiar with what your obligations are and to carry them out!
A selection of books to help understand accounting principles, business models and branding principles.