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Old 10-16-08, 06:53 AM   #1
Alpha52
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Would you spend money on this?

I am conducting a survey to determine the viability of a small business. What would you pay to use the following facility.

This is NOT an LBS. Our intent would be NOT to sell bikes or compete with the local LBS core business. It is also not roadie or MTB specific. Anything with pedals is cool (nothing motorized please)

We want to open a "wrench shop" where you can bring in your bike and rent a private booth/workspace with a high-end bike stand, a complete set of Park Tools, an Internet equipped PC, and high-quality lighting. Also, an on-site "trained" bike technician would be available to rent, to assist with those especially tough problems. You can take your bike home each day, or pay to leave it in a secure bike vault for as long as you want.

The business will stock a variety of common parts, and offer the ability to order parts online and have them delivered straight to your home or to the business. Our intent would be to stay open at least to 11PM each night, or later if the market dictates, to facilitate wrenching that doesn't conflict with 9-to-5.

Finally, there would be some type of regularly scheduled educational program each month, and local bike affiliated groups would be encouraged to use the site for meetings. Vendors and factory reps would be welcome as well.

I would appreciate any input you might wish to share. Specifically, I need to know:

-Would you use it?
-How much would you pay for the booth?
-How much would you pay to rent an expert?
-What other services would interest you?
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Old 10-16-08, 07:06 AM   #2
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People with $5000 bikes won't use it and people with $100 bikes won't see the point.

Sibley Bike Depot does OK as an advocacy org.

Grease Pit is open very limited hours.
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Old 10-16-08, 07:40 AM   #3
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Expensive version of a bike co-op without the warmth.

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Old 10-16-08, 07:43 AM   #4
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it might work, but I think you should have the tech be a free roaming advice guy, built into the cost of the space.

On second thought, I cant see anyone using this in a way that you can make money off of it.
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Old 10-16-08, 08:49 AM   #5
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-Would you use it?
Only if it had the atmosphere of a coop and the amenities of a clubhouse.
-How much would you pay for the booth?
Not much since I own a good stand and most tools. I'd also rather the repair location not be a booth but rather in an open area for conversation and informal consultation.
-How much would you pay to rent an expert?
$125 an hour with a fifteen minute minimum if s/he were good. I would not, however, not be a frequent enough customer to offer much help to the business plan.
-What other services would interest you?
Hot breakfast, coffee, showers, bar service, comfortable chairs, WiFi . . .
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Old 10-16-08, 09:08 AM   #6
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if i had the choice between that and a regular LBS, i would appreciate the LBS a lot more. even for my $300 Diamondback Transporter!

on second thought, why not pitch something like it to an educational institution, like a community college or library? at least for a temporary class.
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Old 10-16-08, 09:17 AM   #7
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Should buy parts through the LBS's to get spread the word on your facilities. Need to make it a social space so health foods (coffee and donuts) would be a good money making side line. Cost of expert help should be covered in charge for space. Need to consider a hassle-free system to recover your tools. Should have a separate area for cleaning bikes - my wife doesnt like me cleaning my bike in the kitchen. It should be located near a popular bike route. I would pay $8/hr to use it, but I dont think that would pay your rent for the space.
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Old 10-16-08, 09:29 AM   #8
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I suspect it's a really good way to lose money in the bike industry. There was a shop like that around here. I saw an article about it, and then nothing else. I figured at the time it wouldn't make it, can't find it now.

I can see something like a more traditional bike shop where the shtick is that you help people work on their own bikes, possibly for money or education. But I think the market for just repairs is severely limited.
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Old 10-16-08, 09:52 AM   #9
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Should buy parts through the LBS's to get spread the word on your facilities. Need to make it a social space so health foods (coffee and donuts) would be a good money making side line. Cost of expert help should be covered in charge for space. Need to consider a hassle-free system to recover your tools. Should have a separate area for cleaning bikes - my wife doesnt like me cleaning my bike in the kitchen. It should be located near a popular bike route. I would pay $8/hr to use it, but I dont think that would pay your rent for the space.
Good points... I would pay as much as $20 an hour to use it... That is still cheaper than a typical tune up at the local LBS.

To recover the tools consider color coding the tools so that they stand out and are different from other "booths" and shop tools.

Tend to agree about the "social issues." Would also suggest perhaps co-location with a laundromat, and location near colleges so that student/cyclists are motivated by being able to multi-task.
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Old 10-16-08, 10:46 AM   #10
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Not much - I agree with the others on here.

I think most people who at first blush think it's an ok idea and might use it, probably own their own stuff already. I have a stand and a bunch of park tools and can do a number of things myself. I do think the "work on your own as we teach you" idea has merit, as I haven't really dove in to what I consider difficult areas. However, I think that is a losing proposition, because in theory as you teach me how to do it, I don't have to pay you to do it for me anymore (or teach me again).
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Old 10-16-08, 11:09 AM   #11
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I compare this concept to what used to happen at my favorite LBS back in the late 70's. For a 6-pack of good beer, and knowing the staff, you could use the tools and stands way in the back area... as long as you were not a pest. The best part about the whole thing was access to the solvent tank for fast cleaning of drive train parts. The other good thing about it was ready parts available at the front of the bike shop... they knew you'd buy the parts there.

Today I do in fact have my own stand and tools... and continue to acquire new tools, but I still don't have a good solvent tank. I use a paint can with a basket... which while somewhat suitable, is less than perfect... nothing beats a steady stream of proper safe solvent for fast parts cleaning.
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Old 10-16-08, 01:44 PM   #12
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expensive version of a bike co-op without the warmth.

-kurt
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Old 10-16-08, 02:42 PM   #13
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If I needed it, and my bike and I were in the right location, I would pay $20 per hour. $30 per hour if a little of the pro's advice were included with the time.

I agree that a little more open format would be good too. So if enough of a demand, perhaps a mix of privacy for those that want it, along with open work spaces.

I would probably be a very rare user, as I typically do all of my work at home, where I have everything I need.
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Old 10-16-08, 03:13 PM   #14
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Where I live we have things like this, but they are co-ops/non-profits.

You make it sound like a business, but I don't think you can make money doing this.
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Old 10-16-08, 04:04 PM   #15
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I would use it provided my living situation was what it is now......
Renting tiny but very exclusive apt where Wife and Landlord
dont appreciate bikes being taken apart on the living room floor.
If I was in a house or somewhat more skanky apt. with more room,
I dont think I would require this service.
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Old 10-16-08, 04:08 PM   #16
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I'd use the computer to surf porn, and the bike rack to well...

Never mind the shop would be a huge success.
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Old 10-16-08, 04:36 PM   #17
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Instead of petty 'per use' fees, how about a monthly / yearly membership fee ??
Must have coffee too !!!

A library of 'Zinn' type books ??
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Old 10-16-08, 04:50 PM   #18
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Sounds like the co-op I use -- six bucks an hour to use the tools and workspace, and three bucks for ten minutes if you need help or advice from the staff.

You'd be competing against volunteers who are in it for the sake of empowering people and teaching them to be self-sufficient when it comes to maintaining their equipment. It's possible that you could make a profit from it if you advertised it to people with more money than brains, but then those people are not likely to want to learn how to do it themselves. They'll pay someone else to do it instead.
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Old 10-16-08, 05:19 PM   #19
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Instead of petty 'per use' fees, how about a monthly / yearly membership fee ??
Must have coffee too !!!

A library of 'Zinn' type books ??
"Bibles" in the cycling industry.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw...Zinn&x=19&y=20

Actually not quite "the Bible..."

Park has the "Big Blue Book of Bike Repair," and there is yet another book that was always the shop reference... with spoke lengths, etc in it... I think that is "Barnett's Manual." I have only briefly seen it.
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Old 10-16-08, 07:27 PM   #20
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If it's anything like Yellow Bike (local community shop), expect to spend a small fortune in replacing broken chain tools...
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Old 10-17-08, 12:49 AM   #21
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looks like an online store that sells tools, stands, and advice might be a better idea for these guys.
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Old 10-17-08, 07:06 AM   #22
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I doubt it would be a viable business. I think it would work best as a charity/community centre where you could collect donated bikes and parts and sell them on a cost recovery basis. I wouldn't use such a service cuz anything I can't do with the tools I have at home I will go to a LBS to get someone who knows how to use the specialised tools.
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Old 10-17-08, 07:26 AM   #23
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Check out Broadway Bicycle School

...although now that I read a bit more about them, they are a co-op. Note that they also sell new bikes, along with parts--I like their selection of new bikes, which focuses on less expensive commuter models. $15/hr for booth rental; $36/hr for booth rental with instruction.

Maybe a commercial venture would work, but I'm guessing more as a shop, cafe, or other resource which happens to have tools and stands for rent.
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Old 10-17-08, 07:39 AM   #24
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I would not be interested.
On the other hand, a bike repair shop that is open late and early and does pickup and delivery would be pretty good.

Paul
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Old 10-17-08, 07:50 AM   #25
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Probably not, I'd continue to use one of the bays in my garage and hand tools.
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