Author Topic: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?  (Read 4678 times)

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« on: May 20, 2008, 10:38:09 pm »
So. I find myself in the job market. AGAIN FFS!

I need to get back in harness quickly but there's no harm in some idle speculation.

What would you think of a mobile cycle repair service?

J
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

FatBloke

  • I come from a land up over!
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2008, 10:50:50 pm »
Someone on C+/ACF tried it in Edinburgh I recall. Went bust after about 6 months. :-\
This isn't just a thousand to one shot. This is a professional blood sport. It can happen to you. And it can happen again.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2008, 10:52:24 pm »
I've used a mobile bike repair service intermittently for the last 15 years or so.
It is a great blessing to the car-free gal.
I should imagine you need to be near a centre of population and be prepred to spend quite a bit publicising your service.
Where do you live?
Do you have a van?

mr endon

Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2008, 10:52:43 pm »
Works for Francis Thurmer in the Bucks area, but he also has a static shop and a specialist line in hard to find components.

nicknack

  • Fledgling Swampy
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2008, 10:56:27 pm »
Do you mean like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/rxfzm9dfqBw&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/rxfzm9dfqBw&rel=1</a>
There's no vibrations, but wait.

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2008, 08:41:30 am »
I used one when I worked in Stevenage, it was useful as the only bike shop of any use (in fact the only bike shop full stop) there was a long way from work.  If you have the know how and there is a lack of shops in your area then go for it.
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2008, 08:59:21 am »
There's one in Barad-Dur Swindon, but I think it's an offshoot of Mitchells Cycles.
Never tell me the odds.

diapsaon0

  • Advena ego sum in terra
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2008, 09:14:55 am »
There's a guy in the village doing this as a sideline to his day job.  I've bought some bits (and borrowed a chainwhip) from him recently, but he's had very little custom  :'(

N
Advena ego sum in Terra

sas

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Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2008, 11:09:31 am »
By mobile do you mean being called out to people needing help AA/RAC style? Or setting up stand somewhere at regular intervals? In Oxford OCW are paid by the university to run a "Bike Doctor" clinic at various locations around the uni. The university pays for labour, you just pay for any parts.
I am nothing and should be everything

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2008, 11:13:08 am »
Someone on C+/ACF tried it in Edinburgh I recall. Went bust after about 6 months. :-\

Yebbut he was a frickin' idiot who would probably have managed to go bust selling water in the desert.  ::-)

Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2008, 11:19:37 am »
Works for Francis Thurmer in the Bucks area, but he also has a static shop and a specialist line in hard to find components.

Hard-to-find.

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2008, 11:27:07 am »
This was the guy I used in Stevenage:

Bicycle SOS{/url]
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

rae

Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2008, 11:30:34 am »
Quote
Yebbut he was a frickin' idiot who would probably have managed to go bust selling water in the desert. 

I made the following points to him and got a load of abuse back....

1) People don't want to pay for bike repairs, they don't value them.  After all, you can get a new one for £100 from Halfords.  People with a decent bike can probably do the basic repairs themselves.

2) What do you reckon you could charge for fixing a puncture?   After riding to the site, fixing it and riding home again...you're probably looking at 1+ hours.  Minimum wage is nearly £6 an hour....you might get that, I think a tenner would be tough to get.

3) Most of the time you'll be doing nothing - big void periods.

4) Unless you hook into offices, then you'll be doing most of the work in the evenings and weekends.  Offices might be a flyer - find the local BUG person and offer your services to the office bike park.   If you can get 2 or 3 jobs in the same location, the economics starts to add up.

5) Insurance and overheads will be annoyingly expensive.

6) You've got no upsell.  If you do a brilliant job, then the best you can hope for is repeat business.   If you're attached to a bike shop then it is useful as a way to persuade the punter to buy accessories or bikes off them.

Charlotte

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Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2008, 11:56:21 am »
I think Rae's got some very good points.  Unless you hook up with some local offices or clubs, you're never going to get it off the ground.

A very large pharmaceuticals firm near here has a BUG that would make most commuters green with envy.  Apparently, they have a mobile repair guy show up every week who offers heavily subsidized bike maintenance.  That's the sort of gig you're going to need, but maybe with schools, universities or other places with lots of regular commuters.

When it comes to repairing anything, bikes included, most people want a bargain.  You need to avoid being a repair man and instead, be a maintainer and an improver of bicycles.  This is what people will pay for.
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Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2008, 12:08:14 pm »
I wonder if there's an opening for a "fixie conversion" service.  As well as charging the fashion-afflicted to sort out all their irritating chainline problems, you can make a neat sideline from flogging all the old mechs and stuff on the Bay ;D
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2008, 12:51:05 pm »
There used to be a business around here somewhere which did PCs and bikes (bytes and bikes?)- the guy would come around and fix your computer, your bike, or both. No idea if he's still in business, just posting as an example- you might be able to combine it with something else.

Torslanda

  • Professional Gobshite
  • Just a tart for retro kit . . .
    • John's Bikes
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2008, 11:58:03 pm »
Like I said, idle speculation . . .

The real problem is cashflow, speaking of which if I can't bank a wage for the end of June I might well be in the clartes.

Does anyone know of a bikeshop position around the Manchester area? 'Cos I really don't want to go back into the car parts game unless I really have to.

luv'n'stuff

J

PS What's it like to work at B*keH*t?
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2008, 12:37:23 pm »
Works for Francis Thurmer in the Bucks area, but he also has a static shop and a specialist line in hard to find components.

Hard-to-find.

Francis is long-established and spends some days in London and some in Reading AFAIK.

He also attends events such as Mildenhall.

Lizzie

  • Quite harmless
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2008, 01:05:49 pm »
Can I be your first customer, torslanda - I've buggered up me gears  :-[

I think there may be one in my area, though, I sometimes see their van on my way into work (East Yorkshire).

Hill Slug

Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2008, 04:52:29 pm »
There's a company in Oxford who do mobile repairs - Back on Trax.

They've been around for at least 4 years and the website gets bigger everytime I look (though that's not very often). What was said above about service days/office BUGs seems to apply to them. They also sell bikes & parts.

Oxford does have a huge population of cyclists, mostly students but with a reasonable proportion of working-commuters and well-off people who just cycle.

Dave

PS I don't recommend the service - they replaced canti brake levers with V-brake levers on a friends bike (4 years ago...)

oldcobblers

Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2008, 06:44:47 pm »
I considered a similar scheme during my three year "rest" between jobs.  Even went on a "starting a new business" course at the local Business Link organisation.  Glad I did, too.  Armed with my new knowledge I did all the research, even drafted a business plan.  Rae's right.  It might be ok for a second pin-money job but I decided that it's a non-starter as a main job for all the reasons rae states.  I quickly learned why plumbers charge £55 an hour - simple economics.  People might stump up that kind of cash to get a dripping tap fixed, but no-one's going to pay that kind of money to get their punctures fixed.

Having said that, I do some bike repairs for friends and neighbours in exchange for money and it makes me a bit of beer money but that's all.

Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2008, 11:33:58 pm »
I would like a fixie-conversion service.

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2008, 11:39:04 pm »
Bicycle repair may well make you happy, but it will never make you rich.
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Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2008, 01:42:28 pm »
There's one based in Worcester at J.D. Cycles, Worcester, Bicycle Repairs & Servicing, Mobile Bike Shop Worcester

Also has static workshop and sells most spares from his home.

good friendly service and customers usually get a cup of tea at no extra charge

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Is There Room for a Mobile Cycle Repair Service?
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2008, 01:53:54 pm »
There is this one too, mobile bicycle servicing and repairs. They had flyers around central London but are based in St. Albans.