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Old 05-16-2013, 07:18 AM   #28771
Chisenhallw
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Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
If there's a special tool needed, you really DO need it.
I used to sneer at tensionometers until I actually used one at a local hippie bike co-op. Fastest and steadiest I have ever trued a wheel. I'm buying one next paycheck.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:21 AM   #28772
Aurelius
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Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
I have experience with this with what I've done in sales; though it was a much different industry. Our $1-2k products would only be marked up 10-15%. While it was still decent profit off a sale that took a salesman working at $18/hr 20 minutes to make, the problem (in our case) as the products we were selling took up lots of precious retail space. OTOH, smaller items would be keystoned and take up much less space. The best items we had were the 'impulse buys' at the counter; little odds and ends that were useful, but hardly necessary. While checking out, customers would see them and throw them into the sale, all the while buying goods at 200% cost.

I could see that with a bike shop as well - I imagine you'll sell lots of tubes, pumps, locks, grips, tires, etc. at 200% cost, in order to get people in the door you'll need the bikes in the window. I also believe in some decent rides aspiring riders can come in and kick the tires on and maybe convince themselves to spend a little more on a nicer ride.

I'm still looking around for stats on who buys what in terms of bikes. My area is a fairly large scene for true, high dollar mountain/road riders, but I know to stock the 2-3-4k bikes means lots of overhead. I also know once you're getting into those price ranges, riders are informed and they know what they want, IOW chances are they won't want what you have in stock. I read somewhere (maybe here?) that the majority of bike sales are in the $200-$500 range; for bike pathers and ride-with-the-kids types. While easy to sell stock in that price range, you'd still have the issue of precious real-estate being occupied by bulky, low margin goods. One thing I know is I'll be looking for a smaller - is - better retail space so I'll either have to stock less or find a creative way to display bikes while leaving room for the smaller, high margin goods. One thing Gummee and Aurelius have stated is the big three may not be interested in working with me. I'm fine with that - everyone sells those bikes and for probably cheaper than I'd be able to. I've been researching some lesser-known brands I could order the high buck stuff from, and trying to find some lesser-known but still quality $200-$500 range rides.

Installation is huge, and again my experience has shown me people are willing to pay for being able to leave the shop with their goodies installed and ready to dispaly/ride/try/review when they get home. The install prices my company charged in my last job were almost crimina - but people paid it. Again, I have no intention of becoming wealthy or sacrificing my name for a higher profit, but as many of you have said, I know installation can be high-margin.

One last thing; I know many, many people (myself included) purchase bike parts on the internet at a huge discount. IMHO, you lose three things doing this;

1. The experience of being at the shop, experiencing all the cool shit, talking with likeminded people, looking at your dream ride, and, in the vendors eye, the impulse buys, the self convincing (I should get new brakes, shouldn't I?) I plan on making the shop (if this happens) a destination instead of a chore. Creature comforts go quite a ways here, and I think anything that makes a customer feel welcomed and comfrotable in your store is a good investment and use of real-estate.
2. Experience and expertise afforded by knowledgable sales people
3. Hassle free returns and free fittings.

Especially in the area I'm looking to open shop in, there is a big emphasis on keeping it local. I know this won't make everyone skip the internet, but I'll never be convinced the internet is goign to 'kill' the LBS, so long as the LBS doesn't screw their customers.
The LBS I mentioned doesn't appear to have a website of its own (yet), but you can contact the owner, Tommy Costello, on his shop's Facebook page. The place is called Olde Towne Cyclery, Inc.

https://www.facebook.com/rideotc

As I mentioned earlier, he has only been in business for a couple of years, so he can give you a good idea of the trials and tribulations of starting a new bicycle shop.

Be especially careful about unanticipated costs such as impact fees and permitting fees. In Florida, many municipalities are running what I would characterize as a criminal enterprise by coming up with specious reasons to deny occupancy permits. They know that in order to resubmit, the owner will have to pay the $750 application fee all over again, at which time they can look for another specious reason to deny his occupancy permit, and on and on it goes. The authority of the plans examiners office is absolute, and there's no one you can appeal their decisions to. The architect's hands are tied because the new building codes have been written in such a way as to leave it almost entirely up to the interpretation of the plans examiners to say whether there is a code violation. The only remedy is to sue them, but this is a very expensive and lengthy process which most people simply can't afford. Talk to architects/developers/builders in the area in which you plan to open your shop and ask them if this is what's happening there. If it is, steer clear of it.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:27 AM   #28773
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So... on another note,Fullmonte you are gonna have the National champships (Pro) out your way next month. You going? we need pics.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:30 AM   #28774
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Originally Posted by YakSpout View Post
Played hooky from work yesterday to go for a ride and watch Stage 3 of the ToC.

Peloton coming down Copper Hill towards us with 70mi to go:



We rode back to my in-laws' house, got cleaned up and drove over to the finish line for the end of the race.

Leaders about 140m from the finish, they start the sprint and Orica GreeneEDGE's leadout man is popping:

Is this the stage where Sagan wins it from about 20 guys back?
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:40 AM   #28775
Tallbastid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
You've developed skills over time, you should get paid for that. Any yahoo can install a widget if things are perfect. Its when they're not perfect that skill comes into play.
Right, but there's a thin line between being fairly paid for your efforts and offending a customer. At my previous job we had some (rightfully) pissed off customers who needed it done and paid, but would not be back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
1. Group rides do the same thing. You get to see the gucci stuff that the other riders are on. Forums (like this one!) are another way to get ideas. Weight Weenies, RBR, Velocipede Salon, Paceline, et al are all places where 'serious' cyclists hang out and kibbitz. Oh, and sell barely ridden stuff for less than cost. Like my recent Ergonova handlebar purchase...
I plan on ordering a few boxes of jerseys with shop name on it for advertising, so when those ideas are flowing on those rides, they see my shops name, as do passing cars and other riders in the trail.

Great point about selling take-offs as well. We did this in my last place. Customer comes in with deep pockets, they want shiny X to swap in for their barely used Y. Great! that'll be $100 for X and a $25 install. Oh - but if we can keep your Y, we'll do the install for $10. Sell the Y for $20, make a few more bucks and help out both the spender and the next guy with less cash who needs a new Y; and retain two happy customers. Confused?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
2. Depending on the shop you go to I've found that I've been riding longer'n some of the shop rats have been alive. I've seen shite come and go and come around again.
Sure - but I'm also guessing you're the minority. Guys like you would get the jerseys so your beginner buddies have a local shop they can come to for questions/advice or the quick set of replacement XYZ they need bfore tomorrow's ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
3. At an LBS?! Depending on the LBS, sure. Across the board? No. ...and fittings are only as good as the person doing the fit. AMHIK
Sorry, I meant free fitting of clothes, gloves, cleats, etc. I'd make returns simple and easy; it keeps customers buying and trying. Have a well marked and absolute return policy, and stick to it. My old place drove customers away by not doing this, and it hurt business as we gained a reputation for such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
Not trying to dissuade you, but esperienced cyclists CAN do away with the LBS. I/we am not your audience. Only reason I go in is to hang out with my riding buddy that works there. What you want is the n00bs, the inept at wrenching, doctors, lawyers, and mtn bikers that keep breaking their stuff.
Absolutely. The are is filled with weekend warrior white-collar workers who I'm guessing don't wrench. I've seen lots of high dollar rides with shiny lycra and tire nipples out on the trails. There's also a local population, the true, gritty, more blue collar mtb riders with the trail dogs and post-ride PBRs in the parking lot. While those guys may not have lots to spend, they'll inevitably need tubes, grips, tires, etc... all high markup items. With a comfortable, destination shop, I hope to attract these types.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
So, I'd say set up accounts with the 'elite' brands like Moots, Seven, Firefly, Niner, Santa Cruz, etc. and sell those. Get a few locals riding whatever it is you think fits your riding area and work from there. You may have to do a 'cost + X%' for a select few riders. AKA they're the shop's sponsored riders/racers.
Ditto - high dollar custom order stuff ain't the issue I'm finding, it's finding a less expensive (family bikes) company who aren't the Specialized, Giants, Treks, etc, because, as Aurelius pointed out, the contracts are hardly sustainable for a small place (as I would have)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
Work on anything that comes in the door. I can tell you from personal experience that while its nicer working on the gucci stuff, the lawn furniture bike owners are MUCH more appreciative of your efforts.

I remember reading a thread somewhere else where a guy was kvetching about mechanic lifting his bike into the stand and grabbing TT along with brake cable. He was concerned that they were scratching his gucci bike. Yes, people like that DO exist!
Absolutely, those are the people I'd count on to move tubes, tires, brake pads + easily install cash. I've got experience with the Gucci crowd too... did I mention I sold contruction equipment? If it were up to me I'd much rather work with the Huffy owners looking to get into the sport on a budget... which brings up a good point... used bikes.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
If you're a 'destination town' develop a website with trail maps in there. When the map prints, make sure your shop logo/info are on em. I'm sure you can figure out the superlatives needed on the website... Preeminent shop in the area, blah blah blah

Sponsor trail-building days. Get people involved in the trails they're riding. It won't bring out many people, but it will bring out people.
M
Yes, this is a destination town, or rather, its a blossoming town in the middle of 3-4 year-round destinations. I like the map ideas and trail building days, that's great advice. Appeal to the nature-minded folk, the explorers and the tourists alike. Things like maps and jerseys are investments, and those are things that could make a business. Biggest thing there, from what I can see, is proper start up capital to be able to make such investments without an immediate return.


Thanks Gummee.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:41 AM   #28776
Tallbastid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
The LBS I mentioned doesn't appear to have a website of its own (yet), but you can contact the owner, Tommy Costello, on his shop's Facebook page. The place is called Olde Towne Cyclery, Inc.

https://www.facebook.com/rideotc

As I mentioned earlier, he has only been in business for a couple of years, so he can give you a good idea of the trials and tribulations of starting a new bicycle shop.

Be especially careful about unanticipated costs such as impact fees and permitting fees. In Florida, many municipalities are running what I would characterize as a criminal enterprise by coming up with specious reasons to deny occupancy permits. They know that in order to resubmit, the owner will have to pay the $750 application fee all over again, at which time they can look for another specious reason to deny his occupancy permit, and on and on it goes. The authority of the plans examiners office is absolute, and there's no one you can appeal their decisions to. The architect's hands are tied because the new building codes have been written in such a way as to leave it almost entirely up to the interpretation of the plans examiners to say whether there is a code violation. The only remedy is to sue them, but this is a very expensive and lengthy process which most people simply can't afford. Talk to architects/developers/builders in the area in which you plan to open your shop and ask them if this is what's happening there. If it is, steer clear of it.

Great information, and not something I would have thought of. Sounds like a racket to me I'll absolutely look into that in the area/building I have in mind.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:48 AM   #28777
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Sign me up for a jersey when you get em designed. I'll wear it even if I'm down here. You just never know...

If you get a KHS account, they have everything you'd need to start a shop. From bikes to bits and bobs. Personally, I think you're better off starting out with a shop and some retail space for clothing/stuff and special order the rest, but that's me.

Gloves
Helmets (at least a few low- to mid-range helmets)
Tubes
Multi-tools
Tire levers
Energy food
etc etc etc

The little shit that people 'forget' that they NEED RIGHT NOW! to go riding

Once you start making $$, THEN move up to a bigger space and carry a line of bikes. The shop I was managing was $25-30k in debt to Specialized from their very first bike order. Never did make enough to pay that off.

M
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:55 AM   #28778
Tallbastid
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Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
Sign me up for a jersey when you get em designed. I'll wear it even if I'm down here. You just never know...

If you get a KHS account, they have everything you'd need to start a shop. From bikes to bits and bobs. Personally, I think you're better off starting out with a shop and some retail space for clothing/stuff and special order the rest, but that's me.

Gloves
Helmets (at least a few low- to mid-range helmets)
Tubes
Multi-tools
Tire levers
Energy food
etc etc etc

The little shit that people 'forget' that they NEED RIGHT NOW! to go riding

Once you start making $$, THEN move up to a bigger space and carry a line of bikes. The shop I was managing was $25-30k in debt to Specialized from their very first bike order. Never did make enough to pay that off.

M
Absolutely, can't thank you and others enough for the advice. I'm actually talking with some people this weekend on this idea; possible investors. Things move fast I guess. Still writing business plan though, not rushing it either.

Are you saying you wouldn't even stock the less expensive bikes? If I had to guess, the place I've inquired about is roughly 600 square feet, with a small office in back of that. I'm a big believer in keeping overhead and running costs down - my area is in an area with a long, tough winter where I'm sure sales will suffer a bit.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:59 AM   #28779
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Moodfart, if you are centrally located between several "destination towns" what about bike rental from the store as well? Could be a great way to increase revenue, but would take a bit of shop space to store the rental bikes...depending on how many you would go with....

Its an idea...LOL
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:06 AM   #28780
Gummee!
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Originally Posted by bogieboy View Post
Moodfart, if you are centrally located between several "destination towns" what about bike rental from the store as well? Could be a great way to increase revenue, but would take a bit of shop space to store the rental bikes...depending on how many you would go with....

Its an idea...LOL
+1 on the rental idea. Sell em off at the end of the season to recoup some of that cost. May not be a 1st year thing.

Be careful with investors. They tend to want their money back.

If you're a year round destination, learn to tune skis and snowboards too. Makes lots of $ with minimal equipment outlay up front.

If you have the $, then have some bikes in the store. I was going off the 'keep $ outlay to a minimum' outlook from your OP

M
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:23 AM   #28781
Tallbastid
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Absolutely with the Bike Rental idea, as the city keeps growing, there is a movement towards cycling paths in the area. Even without them, lots of nearby scenic dirt roads to explore. Good point!

We are a year round destination; I wouldn't want to sell skis/boards as the market is saturated there... however, tuning service is great advice as it won't take up precious room and it would be high-margin. Plus, the kid I'm eyeing as my bike mechanic is a ski tuner already.


When you said KHS for supplies, you don't mean the manufacturer, do you?

Tallbastid screwed with this post 05-16-2013 at 08:45 AM
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:28 AM   #28782
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Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
Absolutely with the Bike Rental idea, as the city keeps growing, there is a movement towards cycling paths in the area. Even without them, lots of nearby scenic dirt roads to explore. Good point!

We are a year round destination; I wouldn't want to sell skis/boards as the market is saturated there... however, tuning service is great advice as it won't take up precious room and it would be high-margin. Plus, the kid I'm eyeing as my bike mechanic is a ski tuner already.
If you do nothing else to the bike, clean it when you work on it. When a bike's clean, it proves you did *something.*

I can't tell you how many $75 tuneups involved nothing more than tweaking a derailleur, truing a wheel, and cleaning a bike. You can do LOTS of tune-ups like that.

Always have a second pair of eyes go over the bike before the customer gets it. I've caught things that the wrenches missed that would've made us look bad. ...and missed things that another mechanic found on the way out the door. It happens.

As you wheel the bike out, grab brakes, wiggle the front checking for a loose HS, spin the wheels, drop it from a few inches off the ground and listen for loose stuff, etc

Yes to KHS the manufacturer.

M
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:37 AM   #28783
RxZ
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I've got no advice for you Mood, but... Good Luck!!
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:47 AM   #28784
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Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
I can't tell you how many $75 tuneups involved nothing more than tweaking a derailleur, truing a wheel, and cleaning a bike. You can do LOTS of tune-ups like that.
M
I've done this myself. I was going on a big bike ride in Colorado, but hadn't ever had my bike adjusted or anything. So, I dropped it off at the local bike store to do a tune up. I am pretty sure all they did was tighten cables and adjust the derailleur. They certainly did not take it apart and lube everything. Anyway, probably took them 30 minutes or so, and they charged me $70.

I now know how to do this stuff, but I did not at first. I consider myself a noob on a bike. In the 8 months I have owned my new bike I have rode it less distance than the brevet guys ride in a couple of days

I buy tubes, water bottles, tires, etc from the LBS. High mark-up and good profit margin for them, but I still spend less than $20. No reason not to shop from them.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:47 AM   #28785
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Originally Posted by moodfart View Post
Great information, and not something I would have thought of. Sounds like a racket to me I'll absolutely look into that in the area/building I have in mind.
I've been doing commercial architecture here for 20+ years, so I'm very much aware of those corrupt practices. We now warn every new client about it beforehand, and in many cases deliberately omit certain 'hot button' items from the blueprints until the client has been granted his/her occupancy permit; then he's free to put these items back in. Without our knowledge, of course.
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