Any Bike shop owners here?

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Dustin07, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Dustin07

    Dustin07 New Member

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    I was curious to as whether anyone here had any experience running a bike shop and if there is anything you'd be willing to share with me.

    My biggest fear is coming across mechanical issues that I'm unfamiliar with. I've biked for years, Raced BMX, and cycled/MTB for fun/hobby. But never worked in a bike shop. There are some projects I still prefer to take in to have worked on rather then do it myself.

    Any suggestions on how I could further my learning on bicycle mechanics? (like good books or video instruction?)

    What are some of the bigger obstacles financially? Anyone know what type of profit margins there are on Bike and parts sales?
     
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  2. badkarma

    badkarma New Member

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    I don't own a bike shop, nor have I worked in one. From what I understand, the profit margin at a bike shop is not much at all, most of us make more than LBS owners - you do it because you love it, not because you want to be rich.

    If you want to further your mechanical ability, Sheldon Brown's website has a lot of great info on it (www.sheldonbrown.com). I've heard a lot of people recommending this book: http://www.themotorbookstore.com/ziartofrobim.html
     
  3. friedmikey

    friedmikey New Member

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    A very good friend of mine owns a bike shop. I can tell you that it's hard. Definitely a labor of love; not the way to make millions. I'm sure there are rewards, such as independence, a fun culture, controlling your own destiny, being in an industry you love, etc, but there are many challenges. If you love it, do it.
     
  4. AussieRob

    AussieRob New Member

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  5. Dustin07

    Dustin07 New Member

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    thanks for the links and feedback. I've gone after the gold bars and don't like it. I want to surround myself with something I thoroughly enjoy that I know I'll continue to try to improve at. I've flatlined at my current job and if I can't find away to improve upon where I am then I owe it to myself and my employer to move on.

    thanks again guys-
     
  6. mydaughterchili

    mydaughterchili New Member

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    That is awesome........................... I wish I had the stones to do something like that..
     
  7. Dustin07

    Dustin07 New Member

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    Me too! :D I haven't done it yet- ;)
     
  8. gimpy

    gimpy New Member

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    good luck with the bike shop. i own my own business and a really good way to check out if you want to pursue it is to consult with LBS not in your area. google a couple of areas like Boulder and san fran; converse with owners of big and small shops. they'll be up front with you, but i do think the profit margin is thin. it's competitive out there. you may want to work in one for a bit to learn the ropes before sacrificing your own dime.
     
  9. gimpy

    gimpy New Member

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    as an aside, i think shelden brown is some cool yoda master of cycling who cloaks his impressive bipedal powers. a cool dude; uses the force.
     
  10. Dustin07

    Dustin07 New Member

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    Yeah I had the fortunate opportunity to write the business plan and help start the company I work for now. I've just become bored is all. need a change of pace.
     
  11. lwedge

    lwedge New Member

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    What do you guys\gals think about adding a winter business to the typically fair weather bike shop. I notice REI utilizes their shop area for Snow Board and Ski repair and have an Isle or two dedicated to winter sports.



    Seems this would generate some off-season revenue.



    Your thoughts.

    lw
     
  12. dauphin

    dauphin New Member

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    I would be careful in wanting to own a business that deals with something you really enjoy. In this case it is cycling. I had a similar experience and it basically ruined my enjoyment of the activity that I had previously loved.
     
  13. lwedge

    lwedge New Member

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    This maybe the exception and not the rule. I do know one exception though. He owns a bike shop and used to ride. After 20 years in the business, working on so many bikes and talking to so many "know it all's". He has all but given up the sport. I can talk to him about the shop and the state of the business, but I can't talk to him about the art of riding a bicycle.

    He now spends most of his time riding his motorcycle.

    lw
     
  14. blindsaint

    blindsaint New Member

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    Depends on where you live, but I think, if both sports are popular in the area, go for it. I used to live in Reno, Nevada and that would be a great city for a shop like that. I also lived in Portland, Oregon and don't think it would be very successful tehre because there are so many of both kinds of shops.

    I personaly think it's a good idea. But I'm still a youngin'...
     
  15. lwedge

    lwedge New Member

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    I have known families who have owned each. The Helm's that owned Ski shop would be busy all Fall and Winter and the practically take the spring and summer off (and bitch about it of course) and the Bike Shop owner the same, Spring Summer, Fall, very good business and winter was time to re-arrange the store (and bitch about it of course). I have always thought the two would work well together.

    Like you said though, it would be regional as well. How about a bike shop and RainCoat Emporium ?

    lw
     
  16. cheapie

    cheapie New Member

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    i totally agree. the few years i spent as a pimp totally soured me on....:cool:
     
  17. Dustin07

    Dustin07 New Member

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    Where I live, we are basically the last town before a major ski destination. So I figured if I had a bike shop out here it would be more of a "bikes and boards" specializing in bikes, but still holding inventory on ski/snowboard and skate. Almost more of an extreme sports store would be my ideal setup.
     
  18. friedmikey

    friedmikey New Member

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    It all depends, I'd say. Like blindsaint mentioned, it really depends on the market. Lots of markets seem to be saturated with bike and ski/snowboard shops, so while hedging for the seasonality, it would also mean taking on two of the more competitive and tight-margin retail business models out there, in my opinion. You've also got to think about just how seasonal the things really are. Here in the SF Bay Area, there's some major overlap of the cycling and ski seasons. Think about other, non-seasonal profit centers that could be added, like general lifestyle products, clothing and accessories, etc., and wherever you can, services (no inventory risk!).
     
  19. free_rideman

    free_rideman New Member

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    I don't like that idea with the two different shops in one. It might work, but it would be very, very hard.

    I have a shop like that very close by, and it goes one way. They actually tried to sell more stuff. Made into an "extreme sports" place. The problem is they have no idea what they are talking about some time. And with bikes, forget it...

    So many bike shops out there don't know what they are doing, even with just one industry to master.

    Doing a bike shop like that will require major skill.

    I also recommend that you hold different types of events and stuff. Hold group rides maybe? Time trials? Etc...

    Oh, and definitely work at a bike shop first. Maybe for half a year or so. There is so much stuff to learn out there. My bike shop is kick a$$ but they still don't have enough time to set things up to perfection. They have other things to do. If you can expose yourself to how everything works, you will be able to tell others what to do. It would suck if the boss doesn't know what he is doing.

    Finally - find a friend that knows what he is doing. My favorite bike shop is the best. The owner isn't the best mechanic when it comes with new tech stuff, but he has this dude working for him, and that guy knows his stuff! Very impressive.
     
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