Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Bicycle Mechanic Supplies and Tools

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Bicycle Mechanic Supplies and Tools

Old 05-19-15, 04:41 PM
  #1  
storckm
Cyclist
Thread Starter
 
storckm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 587

Bikes: Yuba Mundo; Early 70's Free Spirit (Reynolds 531) fixie; 80's Shogun 500; Mid 90's Iron Horse tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Bicycle Mechanic Supplies and Tools

Advice, please: I've been thinking for a while about setting up a side venture doing some bicycle repairs, and today I was cleaning out and organizing my garage when someone walked by and asked if I repaired bicycles. I told him I did (though I don't usually get paid for it), and he said that his wife might bring her bicycle by some time. I have all of the tools I really need (with the exception of bottom bracket taps and a few things like that), but will need to invest in a small stock of parts. So two questions:

1. In addition to obvious things like cables, brake pads, chains, tubes, cable housing (I have most of a 50M roll), what parts will I have enough call for to keep on hand? What sizes and models of tires (I'm partial to Schwalbe, myself), what other parts that I haven't thought of?

2. Should I look into buying parts wholesale? What would be involved in doing so? Or is it not worth my while given the scale I'll be working at?

And if any of you are doing or have done something similar to what I have in mind, I'd love to hear advice or stories.
storckm is offline  
Old 05-19-15, 04:59 PM
  #2  
bikeman715
Senior Member
 
bikeman715's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Salinas , Ca.
Posts: 2,646

Bikes: Bike Nashbar AL-1 ,Raligh M50 , Schwinn Traveler , and others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 85 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
As far as tool goes only buy what and when need for the job and when you do buy the best you afford . Tools will return their price back to you by the third job . For tires buy the most common sizes , 700 x 23 , 26 x 1 1/4 and so on . For what little you be buying for now isn't worth going wholesale , but if you buy from your LBS and they might offer you a discount since you be come back over time . The biggest problem you be having will be being insurance in case anything go wrong . There always be someone who wouldn't like your work and keep coming back to have it done right .
bikeman715 is offline  
Old 05-19-15, 06:02 PM
  #3  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 15,051

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2973 Post(s)
Liked 1,261 Times in 883 Posts
If you ever do a repair for a child or some one's spouse insurance is important. The one arranging the repair might accept the risk but after they're hurt or worse the survivers might feel otherwise. Andy.
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 05-20-15, 07:00 AM
  #4  
storckm
Cyclist
Thread Starter
 
storckm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 587

Bikes: Yuba Mundo; Early 70's Free Spirit (Reynolds 531) fixie; 80's Shogun 500; Mid 90's Iron Horse tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I hadn't even thought of insurance. Would a standard personal liability policy suffice?
storckm is offline  
Old 05-20-15, 07:18 AM
  #5  
coupster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Flat Rock, NC
Posts: 433
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 91 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 24 Times in 18 Posts
Check with your insurance agent, but I doubt it. Personal vs For profit business.
coupster is offline  
Old 05-21-15, 10:08 AM
  #6  
storckm
Cyclist
Thread Starter
 
storckm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 587

Bikes: Yuba Mundo; Early 70's Free Spirit (Reynolds 531) fixie; 80's Shogun 500; Mid 90's Iron Horse tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Any other advice?
storckm is offline  
Old 05-21-15, 11:08 AM
  #7  
bikeman715
Senior Member
 
bikeman715's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Salinas , Ca.
Posts: 2,646

Bikes: Bike Nashbar AL-1 ,Raligh M50 , Schwinn Traveler , and others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 85 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
You need insurance for the business to cover you , it and any person you do work for .
bikeman715 is offline  
Old 05-28-15, 03:16 PM
  #8  
storckm
Cyclist
Thread Starter
 
storckm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 587

Bikes: Yuba Mundo; Early 70's Free Spirit (Reynolds 531) fixie; 80's Shogun 500; Mid 90's Iron Horse tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I talked to an insurance agent. He suggested a policy of one million dollars, about $400 per year. This is a bit of money unless I'm able to bring in a fair bit of business.
storckm is offline  
Old 05-28-15, 03:29 PM
  #9  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,850
Mentioned: 205 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14042 Post(s)
Liked 2,205 Times in 1,648 Posts
Originally Posted by storckm View Post
2. Should I look into buying parts wholesale? What would be involved in doing so? Or is it not worth my while given the scale I'll be working at?
I've found that some companies are frustrating to work with. For example, Shimano technically will only sell to a "Brick and Mortar" business.

On the other hand, many Chinese companies will sell to whoever buys their products.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 05-28-15, 04:33 PM
  #10  
RubberDuckie
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Go to your local BOE office and sign up for a resale permit, so you can start buying parts and not get stuck with the tax (although you will collect tax on the parts you sell/install.

and it wouldn't hurt to establish your business with the city, I would list it as a mobile repair service (in case there is an issue with you doing business out of your garage where you are from.

of course all of this is optional, unless you want to make it official, but since you are looking into insurance, might as well cover your a$$ as much as you can.
RubberDuckie is offline  
Old 05-28-15, 05:55 PM
  #11  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,850
Mentioned: 205 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14042 Post(s)
Liked 2,205 Times in 1,648 Posts
There are lots of "Craigslist Sellers" that skip most of the above.

Buy cheap.
Fix Up
Sell

Then a few tune-ups of neighborhood bikes. Are you really wanting to become a big commercial shop?

A million dollar insurance policy**********

I suppose you could totally screw up a $5000 bike... but then it is only a $5000 bike.

Otherwise.... Forget to tighten down a wheel causing a bad accident? Not mount a tire properly causing a blowout?
Exercise due caution with your repairs... a lot of it then will be thrown back to the cyclist to prove you are actually liable.

Somebody trips wile walking up your driveway????

You may still choose to buy a State business license. Although, it may really only be required if you also want to register a business name, at least around here.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 05-29-15, 01:19 PM
  #12  
eusebio
Member
 
eusebio's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 42

Bikes: '85 Bridgestone 400

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I've found that some companies are frustrating to work with. For example, Shimano technically will only sell to a "Brick and Mortar" business.

On the other hand, many Chinese companies will sell to whoever buys their products.
I respect Shimano's decision to only work with "Brick & Mortar" businesses. One method (probably not the best) to start your own small business is to work for an LBS and slowly build a workshop through a series of EPs (employee purchases) over the years.

Good advice about Chinese companies. Their stuff takes forever to get over to the States but they have good prices and good shipping fees.
eusebio is offline  
Old 05-29-15, 01:32 PM
  #13  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 30,155

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1547 Post(s)
Liked 538 Times in 316 Posts
1. I wouldn't bother to stock any replacement parts unless it's stuff, like cables and cable housing, that you know for sure that you'll eventually use up anyway. You might think that tires would be safe but there's a plethora of sizes and people will surprise you with brand preferences.

2. Never throw away brake parts. Keep a little plastic box for all the little funny shaped washers, noodles, anchor bolts etc. Those parts have a habit of going AWOL and are a PITA to source.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 05-29-15, 01:54 PM
  #14  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 39,974

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 486 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6902 Post(s)
Liked 1,540 Times in 973 Posts
I did this for a while in New Jersey. I got a much higher quote for insurance than that. I didn't end up getting it. I can't give you advice that says don't bother, but I can tell you that no one had problems with my repairs. I already had experience working in a bike shop.

I believe most wholesalers won't sell to you. If you want to buy in bulk, you can buy from Niagara Cycle, either from their web site or on Amazon. They charge for shipping, and they ship slowly, so plan well.

Keeping inventory gets expensive fast. There are so many tire sizes and other specs.

This little venture is not likely to make decent money. At a bike shop, you might only make $10/hour, which is lousy, but when the day is done, you ride home with no headaches or worries. I did it recently when I was under-employed. The money was insignificant, but I enjoyed doing the work. The same was true when I did repairs in my home.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 05-29-15, 03:19 PM
  #15  
skimaxpower
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: WA
Posts: 341
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
A million dollar insurance policy**********

I suppose you could totally screw up a $5000 bike... but then it is only a $5000 bike.
Bikes are cheap. Skulls are expensive. The insurance is for medical costs if the rider of the bike gets hurt.
skimaxpower is offline  
Old 05-29-15, 04:08 PM
  #16  
sickz
Senior Member
 
sickz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: los angeles
Posts: 366
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
imo there's no substitute for a mini lathe in a bicycle mechanics arsenal. resurface cups, make one off drifts/mandrels, polish up stuff, press in hub bearings, clean up fork crowns, resize seat posts, and the list goes on. plenty of $ to be saved when you can turn out special tools on the spot.

also, ppl want their **** fixed yesterday. not having to wait on another company to ship out a silly part increases business and builds a satisfied customer base.

Last edited by sickz; 05-29-15 at 04:12 PM.
sickz is offline  
Old 05-30-15, 09:04 AM
  #17  
digibud
Senior Member
 
digibud's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Further North than U
Posts: 2,000

Bikes: Spec Roubaix, three Fisher Montare, two Pugs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
If you are going to hang out a shingle and advertise and try to make a business of it then you should make a business plan and consider whether it really will pay off because as soon as you take money and charge you put everything you own at risk if you don't have insurance. It can cost you your home to WIN a lawsuit and all it takes is for somebody to simply fall for any reason after you have done a repair. Tools, insurance and advertising will all be necessary and if you don't want to do that, make the repair for free and be sure to recommend to the person to have the bike checked by a professional. You need insurance against making a mistake and you need insurance in the event somebody trips as they enter you home. You probably need insurance against bad breath.
digibud is offline  
Old 05-30-15, 09:42 AM
  #18  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,320 Times in 830 Posts
Unless you get a Wholesale account You cannot get parts at less than Retail , then all You can Extract is Labor rates to Make anything ..

and Wholealers usually want you to have a Business licence,tax number, and a Storefront.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 05-30-15, 11:05 AM
  #19  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,850
Mentioned: 205 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14042 Post(s)
Liked 2,205 Times in 1,648 Posts
Originally Posted by digibud View Post
If you are going to hang out a shingle and advertise and try to make a business of it then you should make a business plan and consider whether it really will pay off because as soon as you take money and charge you put everything you own at risk if you don't have insurance. It can cost you your home to WIN a lawsuit and all it takes is for somebody to simply fall for any reason after you have done a repair. Tools, insurance and advertising will all be necessary and if you don't want to do that, make the repair for free and be sure to recommend to the person to have the bike checked by a professional. You need insurance against making a mistake and you need insurance in the event somebody trips as they enter you home. You probably need insurance against bad breath.
I suppose since I've done all my bike maintenance, and most of my auto maintenance since I was young, I just don't stress the little things. If the handlebars are loose, I fix them (without crashing). If one is hiring a "professional", the expectations would be different, however, I still believe that an individual has to take some charge in assessing if their equipment is safe.

If you get a business license and incorporate as a LLC, then the waters get a bit more murky. You may still have some individual liability for your personal actions, but the business's liability technically doesn't extend beyond the business, so all your personal assets may not be at risk.

Anyway, I've searched on Google (not necessarily a good legal system) for liability cases against small bike shops and mechanics, and I'm not finding anything, other than a few lawyers that are advertising for clients with bicycle related injuries. Certainly there are a lot of people advertising "tuned" bikes on Craigslist that have major faults visible in the photos (without close inspection).
CliffordK is offline  
Old 05-31-15, 02:48 PM
  #20  
digibud
Senior Member
 
digibud's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Further North than U
Posts: 2,000

Bikes: Spec Roubaix, three Fisher Montare, two Pugs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
This falls under the "risk to reward" category from my perspective. What are the odds of being sued by a friend for whom you do a bike repair? Not much, but they increase quite a bit when you start to do it as a business, and as a friend you have very little legal liability. However as a business you are expected to be an expert. The classic legal "reasonable man" would expect a repair done for money to be done correctly. That said, the issue is your reward for doing a little part time repair work is very, very minimal. The risk, in spite of the small odds of being sued are huge. IF you are sued you could lose everything. At the very least if you are going to do it for a business, consult your insurance agent and honestly describe exactly what you're going to do and find out what it would cost to ensure and insure yourself that you aren't potentially hanging your families future on the meager money you'll get from occasional bike repair work.
digibud is offline  
Old 05-31-15, 06:46 PM
  #21  
1 Miyata Biker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Northwest Ohio
Posts: 176

Bikes: Schwinns and Miyatas

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You need a business plan to keep things from getting out of control for your own well-being. After that, insurance is a must, as well as the proper business license for your location. The competition hates it when someone may be taking their business away and not be licensed and charge taxes for their parts and labor. The type of work you do and bikes brought in for repair will dictate what tools are necessary. You may want to contact an insurance agent you trust or an attorney to make sure you have your a$$ covered!
1 Miyata Biker is offline  
Old 06-01-15, 12:29 PM
  #22  
exmechanic89
Senior Member
 
exmechanic89's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Richmond VA area
Posts: 2,713

Bikes: '00 Koga Miyata Full Pro Oval Road bike.

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 475 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
I agree about liability insurance. I work in litigation (not an atty) and I've seen how easily someone can get sued - it happens every day. The reality is that America is a sue happy country where tons of bottom feeder attys, and people with no ethics are looking for what they perceive as a big payout that they 'deserve' for your accused negligence. As someone else pointed out, all it would take is a child or adult to trip coming up your driveway, or someone to claim you didnt tighten a wheel properly, or their brakes werent working the way they should, etc, etc, etc. A lawsuit could easily wipe you out financially even if you ultimately prevail.

Btw I believe you'd need a business license for this venture as well.
exmechanic89 is offline  
Old 06-01-15, 01:10 PM
  #23  
KenshiBiker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,075
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
+1 on the need for insurance an. Remember, you don't need to be at fault to get sued, you just need someone who believes you're at fault (and is willing to hire an attorney). The cost of defending yourself (even I you have done nothing wrong) could be very great - what does a good personal defense attorney bill out at, maybe $400 per hour?

Also +1 on the business license, and you may wish to check your city zoning codes, and/or your home's CC&Rs.
KenshiBiker is offline  
Old 06-01-15, 03:21 PM
  #24  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 39,974

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 486 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6902 Post(s)
Liked 1,540 Times in 973 Posts
You folks are making good arguments. I should not have done repairs for neighbors without insurance. I got lucky that no one got hurt or became irrational.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 06-01-15, 04:09 PM
  #25  
digibud
Senior Member
 
digibud's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Further North than U
Posts: 2,000

Bikes: Spec Roubaix, three Fisher Montare, two Pugs

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I do them all the time. A friend is coming over today for help. I just don't charge anyone.
digibud is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.