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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:39 am 
Gold Trader
Gold Trader
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:19 pm
Posts: 7006
Location: Odense, Denmark
I offer all my bike sales customers free winter services for the first five years they have the bike.

It's a time they wouldn't come in normally - and half the battle with a business is getting feet through doors. And I have to be here anyway.

It also means you can spot stuff that is wearing out early and prevent follow-on damage, which is great for preventing future complaints. It's a win-win. And also means that my bikes work better than the competition's.

In a year I've managed to become Denmark's biggest Hope Technology retailer - I must have sold about 35 wheelsets since July... and my nearest serious competitor has also started to sell Focus bikes as the ones I've sent out of the door last year are becoming more and more visible and more and more people are saying good things about them.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:58 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:08 am
Posts: 847
Location: French Alps/Annecy
Love it or hate it, Facebook is one of your biggest allies, create a page, get lots of freinds and regularly upload shop news, photos of new stock etc. We used to run a little competition once a month a really close up photo of a wheel or deck or trucks and get everyopne to guess what make/model it is (never make it too easy) and the winner got something like a tshirt, set of bearings or bushings. The first week we ran it there were about 20 people who guessed, the last one just before I sold the longboard business just before Xmas had around 750.

Should go without saying but give have the same attitude with someone who is buying a gear cable and someone who is spending a grand, one LBS here has this attitude and it stinks.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:03 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:16 pm
Posts: 8658
Fix punctures cheaply and cheerfully. Its amazing how many cyclists cant do this or cant be bothered plus chatting to them may lead to further sales and its all money in the bank :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:26 pm 
Old School Grand Master
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:35 am
Posts: 12267
Location: Penarth
Hi Tel, best of luck with your venture

On a general note

Quote:
I've seeked out advice regarding what people want from a shop


Whilst this is fine you must have a very clear focus on what you want to offer...where are you pitching your offering, to what market? You can not be wooly and try to be all things to all people.

Negotiate the Lease very hard and get the best possible deal.
Rent free for six months, half rent for the next six months etc
Make very sure you know what your responsabilities are regarding the maintainence/repairing of the property. Take pictures
Ask yourself how long you want the lease for...three year with a break at two etc?
You will need a solicitor to tie up all the legals, factor about £800-£1000 to cover legal fees, searches etc

Get your utilities sorted from day one. You will get a zillion phones calls re gas and electricity when you take a new lease on. Get the best deal you can and tell the rest to sling it, do not engage in a conversation, you will waste so much time talking to call centres

Get the best deal you can for your PDQ/credit card machine and order it at least one month before you intend to open the store

Obviously do not forget your public liability insurance. If you intend to listen to the radio/play music in an area where more than one person can hear it, you will need a PPL licence

A few little things that you probably know already...and best of luck

Carl


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:42 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 4007
Location: uk
Customer service costs nothing but too many discounts do..............ie fall over backwards with helpfullness for the 1st year......(and continue if you wish)..but not too many silly deals........silly deals are just for getting your money back on somethings not selling, to either create cash flow for bills or new stock that will sell...........gain a good and faithfull customer base by giving time to talk to customers...............FOCUS on a having a great repair service as this , you can't buy cheaper on the internet :D


Last edited by greenstiles on Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:59 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:33 pm
Posts: 3973
Location: Brighton
no advice from me, just the best of luck and fortune :)
if i lived closer i'd happily volunteer myself for some of those busy weekends - never worked in a bike shop and would love the chance :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:45 pm 
King of the Skip Monkeys
King of the Skip Monkeys
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Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:34 pm
Posts: 26157
Location: Moomin Valley
I worked in a bike shop once - I had more trouble with the co-workers than I did with any bicycle or customer.

digital photo of each bike that comes in for repair especially if you discover cracks halfway through a major service. Inspect each bike very closely before confirming work - many come in for 'skipping gears' and you get a look of 'you're conning me' when you tell them they need a new cassette, chain and rings despite offering evidence.

Beware the 'just riding along when...' claims too as these are often exaggerated for effect.

Dont fit parts just because they work and that they fit - it sounds obvious but one customer did his nut because SRAM cassette/ chain was fitted instead of Ultegra...

Laugh loudly at those that say 'S Ram'

Not all cheap bikes are bad, not all expensive bikes are long lived.

Wear gloves.

invest in a parts cleaner.

if a bike comes in filthy, clean it, tell them why too as the shock of a suddenly mint bike for only a minor service can often disorientate them. The look of awe is confidence building.***

All Giant's under £500 are held together with monkey metal bolts, self rounding as standard.

All Giant's budget range which have steel hubs will cut into the rear drive spokes even after light use.

All Mongoose Tyax have shocking headsets

All budget Raleighs are very bendy!

However, a Raleigh trade catalog/ account will keep retrobikes going for years to come. Raleigh 'trubuild' wheels are excellent value.

Dont charge for easy wheel trues - see above***

Probably the best bit is to have someone check your service work - one thing I wish happened more often - that way no one mechanic can be responsible.

Make sure you have public liability insurance!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:47 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:46 pm
Posts: 304
Great post above off LGF, my mate has his own shop and he's been open for a year. It's been tough for him. His biggest problem is his repairs. He will fork out for parts, repair the bike for the day he stated to the customer and then they don't collect and pay for the work often upto 2 weeks.

I've told him to charge a nominal storage fee for each day as its taking up space to store in the shop and obviously he is out of pocket buying the parts in the first place.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:49 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:33 pm
Posts: 3973
Location: Brighton
legrandefromage wrote:
I worked in a bike shop once - I had more trouble with the co-workers than I did with any bicycle or customer.

digital photo of each bike that comes in for repair especially if you discover cracks halfway through a major service. Inspect each bike very closely before confirming work - many come in for 'skipping gears' and you get a look of 'you're conning me' when you tell them they need a new cassette, chain and rings despite offering evidence.

Beware the 'just riding along when...' claims too as these are often exaggerated for effect.

Dont fit parts just because they work and that they fit - it sounds obvious but one customer did his nut because SRAM cassette/ chain was fitted instead of Ultegra...

Laugh loudly at those that say 'S Ram'

Not all cheap bikes are bad, not all expensive bikes are long lived.

Wear gloves.

invest in a parts cleaner.

if a bike comes in filthy, clean it, tell them why too as the shock of a suddenly mint bike for only a minor service can often disorientate them. The look of awe is confidence building.***

All Giant's under £500 are held together with monkey metal bolts, self rounding as standard.

All Giant's budget range which have steel hubs will cut into the rear drive spokes even after light use.

All Mongoose Tyax have shocking headsets

All budget Raleighs are very bendy!

However, a Raleigh trade catalog/ account will keep retrobikes going for years to come. Raleigh 'trubuild' wheels are excellent value.

Dont charge for easy wheel trues - see above***

Probably the best bit is to have someone check your service work - one thing I wish happened more often - that way no one mechanic can be responsible.

Make sure you have public liability insurance!


listen to this and replace lyrics as necessary.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTJ7AzBIJoI


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:18 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
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Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:36 pm
Posts: 16747
Location: Yorkshire, England
Not a clue myself.
I do know what doesn't work from one that started up around the corner from me and vanished in under a year.

Do not sit on the floor with no furniture and play on your laptop/pad all the time.
Do not go home early and shut the shop people like me might turn up a few times and get pissed off.
Be open when people can get to you at least a few times in the week. I.e. night
Try and get close to CRC/Wiggle prices if needed, a bit more can be added as it saves me waiting for a delivery and I am there in the shop, but you make as bit of money as and I may well come back. This worked for me with buying a helmet, unfortunately said shop then kept not being open when I try to go buy it.

Have the little parts for bikes, a tub of cable end etc and even cable outer on reels don't cost a lot from CRC sales and ebay. Try selling little things on eBay if not just for local publicity, I know many who search by distance.
Etc....
But I wanted to mention, find your local skyride people. Get with them, they are getting popular if our local main event and smaller publicity is anything to go by, then use that other advertising venture... Word of mouth. Oh and leaflet your area and get in with the community.
One thing that never seems to work is getting a shop in an arcade, people just do not see you unless they are really looking. Get and keep visible.
Give Retrobike discounts ;-)


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