The key to drawing customers to your bike shop is to have everything that a biker needs such as bicycles, bike parts, bike accessories, helmets, gloves, clothing, and tools. Good sales will mostly like depend on foot traffic (getting passersby in the store), repeat sales, having experienced and helpful staff, and competitive price.
Here are some useful tips that can guide you if you’re planning to start your own bike shop.
1. Determine what kind of bike shop you want to put up. Identify your target market before you invest on bikes, parts and accessories. What kind of riding will your target market do? The type of riding will dictate the type of bicycle that your target market will purchase.
Types of riding include:
- Recreation / Leisure
- Road Riding
- Off Road Riding
2. Learn about the business. Before putting up a bike shop, it is important to understand the ins and outs of the business. Find out as much as you could about the business by visiting bike shops and observing their operation. Talk to people who run their own bike shops. You can get practical tips by listening to owners.
Take time to do your own research about managing a bike shop and create a sound business plan. Consider various factors that can affect the success or failure of a bike shop such as demographics, location, marketing strategies, and competitors.
3. Choose an ideal business location. Select a location that is visible and accessible to customers. It is advisable to put up your bike shop in a busy area with cycling traffic to attract potential customers.
Determine the need in the area. Find out if there are other bike shops and services in your targeted location. It may be difficult to get customers if you choose to set up your shop where there are established bike stores in the same vicinity.
You’ll need a spacious area to display your bikes and keep your tools and equipment.
4. Get proper registration requirements and documents. Choose a good business name for your bike shop. Register the business at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for single proprietorship and at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for partnership or corporation. Obtain a barangay clearance and apply for a business permit from the city where you will put up the bike shop. Register the business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to secure TIN (Tax Identification Number). Get Social Security System (SSS), Philhealth, and PAG-IBIG coverage for employees.
5. Put up a good sign. To attract customers, it is important to put up a visible signage for your bike shop. It should be big enough to be seen by people passing by. The business sign should clearly state that you’re selling bikes and parts. If you’re offering repair services, indicate that too.
6. Invest on merchandise, equipment and basic supplies. The start-up capital of your bike shop will depend on the type of bikes you plan to sell, accessories, equipment, location, and the number of staff.
You can start with a handful of bikes for sale and add more as you go along. You also need to buy basic office equipment, display racks, initial parts, accessories, and general tools and equipment.
Determine your target market when you invest on bikes, parts and accessories. What kind of bike will suit your target market?
Types of bicycles include the following:
- Road bikes
- Touring bikes
- Mountain bikes
- BMX bikes
- Hybrid and comfort bikes
- Folding bikes
- Utility/Cargo bikes
- Electric or Power assisted bikes
- Multi-rider bikes
- Kiddie bikes
A bike shop should be able to meet the needs of the biker. You can do this by offering basic bike equipment, accessories, safety gears, and clothing.
Basic safety gears include:
- Eye wear
- Reflective clothing for night riding
Basic accessories include:
- Tail Lights
- Rain Gear
- Wheel lights
- Water Bottle cage
- Water bottle
- Hydration pack
- Patch Kit
- Multi tool (for basic repairs)
- Panniers, bags, baskets
Basic clothing includes:
- Biking shorts
- Bike shoes
7. Hire an efficient and reliable team for your bike shop. Labor is considered as the most valuable and highest margin commodity of a bike shop. Your staff should be one of the focal points of the business. You can begin with a few employees. It is highly recommended that you hire people who are knowledgeable and experienced in bike building and servicing.
Experienced staff can train the other members of the team. Someone should efficiently handle stock orders and supplier relations.
8. Determine what bike services you will offer. Examples of bike services that you can offer customers are:
- Basic tune-up (brake adjustment, shifter and derailleur adjustment, spot wheel true, lube cable and housing for brakes and derailleur, security check for accessories)
- Advance tune-up
- Installation of accessories
- Frame repairsCustom wheel building
- Major repairs (overhaul jobs)
- Individual service of parts
9. Provide quality service to your customers. Satisfied customers will be motivated to come back to your bike shop if they know that you offer quality goods and services. Stock on a good range of bikes, equipment and accessories.
Train your staff to work quickly and efficiently. They should also be accommodating and courteous to the customers.
Designate a comfortable waiting area for customers. You can put a few chairs, sofa or bench where customers can wait. Provide reading materials like magazines and newspapers that customers can read to pass the time. If your shop does not have air-conditioning, you can put an electric fan in the waiting area especially during summer.
10. Promote the business. A great way to promote your business is by word of mouth. Family and friends can help spread the news about your bike shop. Create posters with your business name, address and contact details which you can post on local community bulletin boards. Create business cards that you give to potential customers. You can also use social-networking sites like Facebook and Instagram to promote your bike shop. You can also sponsor cycling events.
Photo c/o Pixabay. Public domain.
Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. Rachel is a full-time mom to a charming young boy and married to an entrepreneur who has a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.