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Small Bike shop owners… would you do it again??


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So mid-life crisis looms and career change is in the air. Owning a Bike shop has always been a dream but the reality is very different I hear! 
 

So, the question is for those of you who are “living the dream” and own a small bike shop, would you do it again if you know what you know now?

what is the reality REALLY like? Rough hours, stress levels, difficult customers?

Would love to hear you war stories. 

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Just now, BaGearA said:

I know a few and only one still has his shop 

 

" If you want to be A millionaire with A Small bike shop start as A Billionaire "

It as someone told me long time ago, if you want make a million from a bike shop start with 2 million ...

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No. Walk away.

Stock issues, massive first time buy ins and controlled stock allocation by some suppliers. Difficult customers, high property rental anywhere with parking and visible street view (Parking and visibility IMPERATIVE). 

Throw in proprietary tools on top of basic necessary workshop tools and it becomes a HUGE undertaking financially just to get off the ground.

THEN, add an online platform for booking, collection etc, creating a client base if you're not an already well established Wrench and then trying to keep just enough stock to run the workshop but not have things sit for too long they become dead stock.

IMHO there are better ways to lose money with a greater potential to earn it back. 

I'd go with buying and selling 2nd hand nappies

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Surely SOMEONE on here has something positive to say?😆

I’ll start! I have a Bike shop, a motorbike (accessory) shop, yet there is SOME commonality…

Appreciative customers telling you as much, for me personally, the sourcing new products is especially enjoyable, and starting off, a few Wholesalers assisted us with consignment stock, which was near-instantly paid back, to maintain excellent relationships. Less laying out for stock, Wholesalers were eager to find new markets.

then we have had mostly awesome staff, some of whom have gone on to greater things after getting their start with us; we now pay 9 salaries every month, and make a modest profit annually. Hard work, but GOOD work.

a word of warning; you need to be PASSIONATE, and need to SUSTAIN that passion for many years, to make a success.

Customers ALWAYS seek out good service, at fair pricing. 

The Web/Internet/online is playing an ever-bigger role, so that needs to be integrated - and well integrated - into bricks & mortar.

Finally, if you could turn Retail upside down/on its head, and do something REALLY different, I feel you would have a winner, but am unsure WHAT that would look like?
my 5c!

Good luck, whatever you decide.

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11 minutes ago, Zebra said:

Surely SOMEONE on here has something positive to say?

I’ll start! I have a Bike shop, a motorbike (accessory) shop, yet there is SOME commonality…

Appreciative customers telling you as much, for me personally, the sourcing new products is especially enjoyable, and starting off, a few Wholesalers assisted m with consignment stock, which was near-instantly paid back, to maintain excellent relationships. Less laying out for stock, Wholesalers were eager to find new markets.

then we have had mostly awesome staff, some of whom have gone on to greater things after getting their start with us; we now pay 9 salaries every month, and make a modest profit annually. Hard work, but GOOD work.

a word of warning; you need to be PASSIONATE, and need to SUSTAIN that passion for many years, to make a success.

Customers ALWAYS seek out good service, at fair pricing. 

The Web/Internet/online is playing an ever-bigger role, so that needs to be integrated - and well integrated - into bricks & mortar.

Finally, if you could turn Retail upside down/on its head, and do something REALLY different, I feel you would have a winner, but am unsure WHAT that would look like?
my 5c!

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Thanks for the feedback! Yes nice to hear something positive and you sound like you enjoy what you do, which for me makes ALL the difference. Profit is important but it’s not everything. 

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Ah yes. The sprocket mafia aka component suppliers that wont give start-ups the light of day. 

Tried to dip my toes in this industry with a direct to consumer online model for boutique brands including a very very unique frame manufacturer. 

Component suppliers said no straight away as South Africa doesn’t interest them. Clothing brands became impossibly expensive to import and sell at any kind of margin. Frame manufacturer was on board but without a good selection of components and frames it killed my concept. 

Oh and…. you need a LOT of money to start even an online store. The return is ok but don’t expect to get rich. 

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10 hours ago, Scary Rider said:

Sounds a lot like dairy farming...🙈

I’d heard that but definitely doesn’t seem to be the case around me - I suppose lots of water and fertile soil means low feed costs and more cows per hectare. As my not poor dairy farmer mate says, they (the cows) even work on Christmas 

that said I see a lot of the dairy farmers here have accommodation as another revenue stream 

seems better than a bikeshop 

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15 hours ago, Cycle Fan said:

So mid-life crisis looms and career change is in the air. Owning a Bike shop has always been a dream but the reality is very different I hear! 
 

So, the question is for those of you who are “living the dream” and own a small bike shop, would you do it again if you know what you know now?

what is the reality REALLY like? Rough hours, stress levels, difficult customers?

Would love to hear you war stories. 

With a great location, seriously good cash flow and top Mechanics why not ?

ideally you’d like to own your premises and obviously get buy in from sram and shimano 

Their are very few easy businesses and most have supply challenges these days

if you have the resources and do a feasibility study why not go for your dream

it won’t be easy but what is ?

 

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17 minutes ago, Wayne pudding Mol said:

With a great location, seriously good cash flow and top Mechanics why not ?

ideally you’d like to own your premises and obviously get buy in from sram and shimano 

Their are very few easy businesses and most have supply challenges these days

if you have the resources and do a feasibility study why not go for your dream

it won’t be easy but what is ?

 

Try to open an account with Shimano now. 

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24 minutes ago, Danger Dassie said:

Try to open an account with Shimano now. 

I don’t need to, I don’t use their products and I’m not opening a bike shop - I have my own business challenges 🤣

But I would imagine it’s near impossible which is why cash flow is important as well as networking with other independents 

it is very easy to highlight the negatives in starting a business which is why there are always more employers and employees.

Nothing wrong with being one or the other but the risk in a small business lies with the owner as does the reward. 

a dream (with research) is always worth the effort 

 

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46 minutes ago, Wayne pudding Mol said:

With a great location, seriously good cash flow and top Mechanics why not ?

ideally you’d like to own your premises and obviously get buy in from sram and shimano 

Their are very few easy businesses and most have supply challenges these days

if you have the resources and do a feasibility study why not go for your dream

it won’t be easy but what is ?

 

Thanks 🙏 nice to have some positive feedback. 
 

looking at a small (affluent) town with great trails around it that only has one (albeit well established) bike shop in it that stocks well know but limited brands. Surrounding towns all have at least 3-4 shops. So believe there is some opportunity. And not looking to get rich out of it, just work in an environment that I enjoy. 
 

I believe supply issues will be an issue as well as getting an account with the “big boys”.
 

But what I’d really like to know is how the owners feel about the lifestyle, work hours, etc. Does your passion for bikes outweigh the negatives? 
 

im not naive about these “Cinderella” industries- I’m in one at the moment. Would just like to hear some real world feedback. 

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11 hours ago, Zebra said:

Surely SOMEONE on here has something positive to say?😆

I’ll start! I have a Bike shop, a motorbike (accessory) shop, yet there is SOME commonality…

Appreciative customers telling you as much, for me personally, the sourcing new products is especially enjoyable, and starting off, a few Wholesalers assisted us with consignment stock, which was near-instantly paid back, to maintain excellent relationships. Less laying out for stock, Wholesalers were eager to find new markets.

then we have had mostly awesome staff, some of whom have gone on to greater things after getting their start with us; we now pay 9 salaries every month, and make a modest profit annually. Hard work, but GOOD work.

a word of warning; you need to be PASSIONATE, and need to SUSTAIN that passion for many years, to make a success.

Customers ALWAYS seek out good service, at fair pricing. 

The Web/Internet/online is playing an ever-bigger role, so that needs to be integrated - and well integrated - into bricks & mortar.

Finally, if you could turn Retail upside down/on its head, and do something REALLY different, I feel you would have a winner, but am unsure WHAT that would look like?
my 5c!

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Sharing the same floor as a motor cycle retail division I get to watch and listen to motorcycle buyers daily. they are a rather unique breed and love their accessories. 

 

 

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