Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

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Ykick
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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by Ykick » Dec 10, 2016 10:59 am

I would suggest for the OP (or anyone) to investigate Home Depot stores? Whenever I go to my HD store and roll my bike through it gets some attention and questions/interest but most people don't realize what it is. However, when I roll in pulling my trailer? Oh man, you wouldn’t believe the volume of questions about the eBike?

Home Depot (or similar) customer seem to carry DYI mentality along with technical expertise. Perhaps a good place to raise awareness of eBikes, kits and where to buy them?
Talent must not be wasted.... Those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.

- Frank Sinatra

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by LockH » Dec 10, 2016 11:53 am

^^ Can add?

OP/first post in this thread:"I am considering moving to Florida and will not have any job or really anything to do. I don't want to work a regular job and have some savings to possibly open up a small store. I'm in my mid 30's."

OK. Home Depot and DIY...

Hmmm... How `Bout: Approach a local HD/biz about renting store space after/outside regular business hours. (See prev. mention about classes.) So (maybe) can generate more biz for HD/wattEVer in return for cheaper rent. OOT maybe ("over the top"), HD/their biz gets % of any conversion kit and parts/stuff sold.

BTW OP... I escaped employment decades ago. To work self-employed/"independently broke" as an accountant (with past academics also in marketing - aka helping finance enterprises).
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 15&t=60564

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by tigcross » Dec 10, 2016 12:30 pm

Hi There, I can see that lot's of folks have already chimed in on this post, but I thought I'd add my two cents:

I used to own a MTB shop on a small gulf Island here in BC. I ran it for ten year until my lack of dough outweighed my love of bikes. I know two very successful bike shop owners. They both enjoy bikes, but got into the business as a business. They hire decent mechanics and staff, and keep a sharp eye on the books. That's what makes for any successful retail business.

The other model that succeeds—by succeeds I mean that it stay afloat, but usually no one gets rich—is roughly what you are talking about. The extremely knowledgeable and passionate Owner/Operator Businesses creates loyal customers and a great atmosphere but not a lot of revenue. Prepare for long hours, a low hourly wage but lots of rewarding customer interactions. And try to keep an eye on the bottom line.

Good luck

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by Okami » Dec 21, 2016 10:44 am

Great Discussion!

I think the tip - suggestion about how many motorcycle riders do you actually see on the streets are somewhat accurate and should be noted.

In this regard some sort of market research to get an approx numbers of bicycle riders (possible ebike users) could be valuable. Also try to determine what could be your niche, expertise on which you would focus (unless you can do all at once).

----

Im myself speculating how much e-board users there might be.. as it is a somewhat new category, you cannot really do great distances with it.. and it does not stand a chance against motorized ''beasts'' like escooter / motorcycle.

Though, for you guys in US, there seems to be a new trend with these electric skateboard.. boosted and evolve are probably the best examples and now there are chinese ones and some kick-starter/startup players, which also want to enter the market..

I dont compare them to hoverboards.. as for me hoverboards looks more like a toy.. unless you make a go-cart out of it and use it as a beach sidewalk transport..

--

So, in conclusion, I would also advise to slowly go into the market and ''test the waters first''. Does not take much to open the shop and conclude there are not enough customers and sit at an empty desk..

The method to work slowly.. build a few ebikes.. build your customer network / base looks like good ideas..

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by LockH » Dec 21, 2016 4:57 pm

Offroader wrote:Thanks for the link. It is more of a negative towards opening your own shop. I can't disagree...
May I?

Disclaimer: I've nEVer attempted operating a retail store... [add but here] My academics include accounting, and marketing... and advanced engineering (and chemistry) in high school plus first university to be an EE - electric engineer.

I've settled into just promoting the tech. :)

By "shop" I assume we're tapping about a retail outlet storefront location....

Disclaimer #2:The closest I got to a "store" was "inside sales" (taking orders from branches to head office).

I've already pointed out here/somewhere that the conversion business might be larger than the "store bought" bike...

... and that the after-sale market could perhaps be better supported.

In Canada we have lots of "stores" that'll sell you a "power-assisted bicycle" (legal term). Maybe not so many w/conversion motors and batteries, etc...:

Local to me:
http://www.goldenmotor.ca/

Notice anything missing from his site? (Talking after sale care and feeding of yer electrics and vehicle.)

Anyway.

In "store" terms I'd be looking at opening a "hangout" offering classes where fees include membership... where sales of components, etc are an "after thought". :wink:
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 15&t=60564

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by LockH » Dec 23, 2016 10:11 am

Image

"Editor’s Comment: I’ve visited hundreds of bike shops and one theme links those I return to":
https://cyclingindustry.news/editors-co ... return-to/

Starts off:
It is increasingly said that bike retail should evolve to become more experiential, immersing customers with something far more engaging that slat wall and handlebar swing tags. This got me thinking back, pondering; out of the many hundreds of bike shops I’ve visited, which stand out for me. More importantly, what common theme links each. My conclusion; the shop’s method of gaining a captive audience and how they engage the customer once in store. Below I will attempt to explain which retail experiences have captured my imagination and why.
... and doesn't mention electrics once in article. [sigh]

Hehe
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 15&t=60564

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by Green Werks » Jan 29, 2017 8:45 am

Off Roader Greetings
We have a lot in common
I have been self employed for over 45 years as a tech I own and operate a motorcycle repair and modification shop
www.113moto.com
This year I am adding ebikes to the line up, over the winter I have built 3 ebikes
Low mid and hi grade, A low priced Wal-Mart bike with a ebay hub motor kit 800w battery 36v 15ah
a Garry fisher hard tail with a 1500w edge with a 52v24ah battery
and a Garry Fisher Cake3 full suspension with a cyclone 3000w mid drive with a 52v20ah battery
These 3 bikes will be my demo bikes for this summer
It will people the opportunity to experience the differences in what their money will buy
then let them decide what they want to do
At this point I will not sell kits I will just do the installs Like what you are talking about
I will provide them with sources that they can buy their parts from
this is the new site www.greenwerks.solutions, what this site is for is when I do my promotions
it will give the potential clients something to look at so they can decide if you are a sham or not
if they give you a lot of grief walk away you don't need them
America is starving for customer service and personal attention and they want to feel good about
what they spend their hard earned money on.
I think you are on the wright track anything is possible having a successful profitable business
is a matter of moving forward learning from your mistakes fix them and move on
The two books that have been great inspiration for me are Do what you love and the money will follow
and the Power of positive thinking
Good luck and keep posting on your progress you can be a positive influence for others who would like
to do something special remember when the tide rises all the ships set sail.
God's Speed Bill.

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by drewjet » Jan 30, 2017 5:29 am

Gheenwerks, where is your shop? You have absolutely no information about where you are on either website.

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by Green Werks » Jan 30, 2017 10:55 am

drewjet wrote:Gheenwerks, where is your shop? You have absolutely no information about where you are on either website.
My shop is in South Dayton Ohio possible the worst place in the world for the Business that I am in
the sites are for the locals who know me.
The motorcycle site is so I can post up the work as it is happening so the customer can see the progress
on their bike
The ebike site is new and is their so people can see what it is all about
I will go out in the summer and ride the ebikes and when people inquire about them they can take it for a ride then
I give them a card and they can go to the site and see whats up and if they want to go forward on a project the info is their
as far as I know I'am the only one in my area that is doing this at this time
That's how I built the motorcycle business I would ride my shop bikes around and when people would ask me about them
I would give them a card and the whole process starts again
In my neck of the woods you can't get your bike in at the dealers in the spring they are slammed
I pick up a lot of over flow from that and that's how I have built my clientele base.
This winter people have gotten wiser and are doing their repairs and modifications during the winter
I offer a incentive by giving a cheaper winter time shop rate
it is a win win they get done what they need at a discounted price and their bikes are ready to go for the summer
and I get work out of it so I am not doing nothing over the winter
This whole thing is a test bed I figured if I can make a go of it in ohio where we have about 6 months a year of great riding
I can make it work in a area where they ride all year around. When my wife retires in a few years
we would like to find a spot warm and sunny and set up shop.

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by LockH » Jan 30, 2017 11:31 am

"3 bikes will be my demo bikes for this summer
It will people the opportunity to experience the differences in what their money will buy"...

Dang GW... Wish I'd thought of that. Hehe...

Watt I'm sorta fascinated about is the news about the growth in ebikes *elsewhere* in this world? So, just a thought for your shop for posters showing about how they have been selling elsewhere... My current thoughts are to pick up some Falco emotors product to use in DIY classes. (And get one/some local bike store to then sell Falco...)
http://www.electricbicycleworld.com/

Carry On Sir! And G'Luck. :)

L
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 15&t=60564

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by Ocnamor » May 30, 2017 11:42 pm

Hopefully you never followed through on your fantasy about opening a ebike store. Your technical knowledge is the last thing you'll need to operate a business successfully. Have you ever sold anything before ? Have you worked wi customers on a regular basis ? Do you understand inventory and cash flow planning ? Do you have at least $75k in capital, and ability to do marketing, come up with a website design, and then continually know how to market yourself and create word of mouth references ? Who will do your accounting, handle your taxes, operate your quick books, and what inventory software will you use ? Oh, so you can just wing that ?

Try selling some ebikes from your home first and see if you can get people to show up by advertising on Craigslist. Have you ever incorporated before ? If you rent out ebikes do you know that liability insurance for just one year will cost you between $1700 and $2000 ? Maybe build a website, and then also sell from your home ? If you look at the margins, and your landed cost if each ebike, and then add up how many you might sell per month, take a wild guess how many you need to sell just to cover rent, insurance, electric, waste disposal, CAM, Internet,phone, advertising, etc.

Then after all of that, how much is left to pay yourself ? Let's say you sell 10 ebikes a month, how much capital do you need to have sufficient cash flow, to order enough in, to get them quickly enough so people will buy from you ? Also what mix and models and sizes do you need to have ? If you don't have them on hand, and you go to order a few at a time, what happens if the oem is out of stock,and you have to wait 2 or 3 months ? Which ebike oems will be willing to sell to you if ou dont have a storefront ? What happens if you order ebikes, and they turn out to be models you can't sell ? Then are you going to cut your price and be able to take a loss ? What if you get stuck with 10 or more for months, and you have $15000 in capital tied up ? What are you going to do when Crazy Lenny in Madison undercuts your price so low, and sells to anyone anywhere, such that his sell price is below what you paid for the ebike ? And multiple of your ebikes ?

So your technical knowledge about ebikes might be deep, but does it come close to solving the above problems ? I haven't even scratched the surface of what it takes to run a business, let alone specifically the ebike business. Back in the year 2000, there were more than 6000 bike stores in the US. Now there are less than 3800. Those bike stores should be dying to take on ebikes, but they are not. Ask them why, and ask anyone who is in the business why ? Everyone has lots of conjectures, but these bike guys who are still in it, and likely have been doing it for at least 10 or 15 years, are going to tell you how bloody hard it is to run a small business. You are going to need employees, and then that's when your real headaches start. Brands like Pedego,will tell you about their margins being at 40%. Well that's until you find every Tom dick and Harry selling ebikes at margins of only 10 or 15%. And if it's Lenny, it's even lower. There is no bike shop on the planet who can operate on less than 32% margin for all of his product sales and with the average price of an ebike north of $2000, if you sell it for anything less than 32% margin, you are going to have to sell at least that much in accessories that have north of 50% margin to get your margins high enough to cover your cash flow needs on a monthly basis. Every old white man over 50 today, probably dreams of owning his own ebike store. They think it'll be fun and easy and cool. Because there isn't anyone around hardly, who has an ebike store, unless you are in the state of california, where 30% of the stores exist that are in the entire us. I can count at least 20 different similar fads and fantasies that people have had since the 1970's about opening this or that small business or shop. That doesn't include all of the franchises either, of which there have been thousands. More than 8 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first 2 years. 90% don't make it to the 5 year mark. The carnage will be far worse with ebikes. Crazy Lenny started with a large fortune before he created his little piece of 'retail nirvana' in madison wi. He tells tales of selling thousands. His fortune will get smaller over time. And he fail at ebikes just like his retail appliance business got clobbered. Of course it took some years for him to gut that, but it failed miserably and small retail businesses today fail faster than ever, thanks to amazon, Walmart, the Internet itself, Google, and China. If you are making high profit, and selling in any kind of volume, predators will sniff that out, and your margins will be up in smoke in no time. Good luck to you though.

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by Bike_on » Jun 20, 2017 12:37 pm

Ocnamor wrote:Hopefully you never followed through on your fantasy about opening a ebike store. Your technical knowledge is the last thing you'll need to operate a business successfully. Have you ever sold anything before ? Have you worked wi customers on a regular basis ? Do you understand inventory and cash flow planning ? Do you have at least $75k in capital, and ability to do marketing, come up with a website design, and then continually know how to market yourself and create word of mouth references ? Who will do your accounting, handle your taxes, operate your quick books, and what inventory software will you use ? Oh, so you can just wing that ?

Try selling some ebikes from your home first and see if you can get people to show up by advertising on Craigslist. Have you ever incorporated before ? If you rent out ebikes do you know that liability insurance for just one year will cost you between $1700 and $2000 ? Maybe build a website, and then also sell from your home ? If you look at the margins, and your landed cost if each ebike, and then add up how many you might sell per month, take a wild guess how many you need to sell just to cover rent, insurance, electric, waste disposal, CAM, Internet,phone, advertising, etc.

Then after all of that, how much is left to pay yourself ? Let's say you sell 10 ebikes a month, how much capital do you need to have sufficient cash flow, to order enough in, to get them quickly enough so people will buy from you ? Also what mix and models and sizes do you need to have ? If you don't have them on hand, and you go to order a few at a time, what happens if the oem is out of stock,and you have to wait 2 or 3 months ? Which ebike oems will be willing to sell to you if ou dont have a storefront ? What happens if you order ebikes, and they turn out to be models you can't sell ? Then are you going to cut your price and be able to take a loss ? What if you get stuck with 10 or more for months, and you have $15000 in capital tied up ? What are you going to do when Crazy Lenny in Madison undercuts your price so low, and sells to anyone anywhere, such that his sell price is below what you paid for the ebike ? And multiple of your ebikes ?

So your technical knowledge about ebikes might be deep, but does it come close to solving the above problems ? I haven't even scratched the surface of what it takes to run a business, let alone specifically the ebike business. Back in the year 2000, there were more than 6000 bike stores in the US. Now there are less than 3800. Those bike stores should be dying to take on ebikes, but they are not. Ask them why, and ask anyone who is in the business why ? Everyone has lots of conjectures, but these bike guys who are still in it, and likely have been doing it for at least 10 or 15 years, are going to tell you how bloody hard it is to run a small business. You are going to need employees, and then that's when your real headaches start. Brands like Pedego,will tell you about their margins being at 40%. Well that's until you find every Tom dick and Harry selling ebikes at margins of only 10 or 15%. And if it's Lenny, it's even lower. There is no bike shop on the planet who can operate on less than 32% margin for all of his product sales and with the average price of an ebike north of $2000, if you sell it for anything less than 32% margin, you are going to have to sell at least that much in accessories that have north of 50% margin to get your margins high enough to cover your cash flow needs on a monthly basis. Every old white man over 50 today, probably dreams of owning his own ebike store. They think it'll be fun and easy and cool. Because there isn't anyone around hardly, who has an ebike store, unless you are in the state of california, where 30% of the stores exist that are in the entire us. I can count at least 20 different similar fads and fantasies that people have had since the 1970's about opening this or that small business or shop. That doesn't include all of the franchises either, of which there have been thousands. More than 8 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first 2 years. 90% don't make it to the 5 year mark. The carnage will be far worse with ebikes. Crazy Lenny started with a large fortune before he created his little piece of 'retail nirvana' in madison wi. He tells tales of selling thousands. His fortune will get smaller over time. And he fail at ebikes just like his retail appliance business got clobbered. Of course it took some years for him to gut that, but it failed miserably and small retail businesses today fail faster than ever, thanks to amazon, Walmart, the Internet itself, Google, and China. If you are making high profit, and selling in any kind of volume, predators will sniff that out, and your margins will be up in smoke in no time. Good luck to you though.

OCNAMOR-

Dead nuts on and a good blast of sobering reality. The market will drive it. Some stores will make it, some won't. People don't want to pay for "bicycles". If ebikes get trendy and acceptable at $2k and North, there may be some life in that business.

Bike_on

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Re: Ideas about opening up an electric bicycle store.

Post by LockH » Jun 20, 2017 6:23 pm

Yah know?... So far in this thread the word "finance" or "financing" only mentioned once/twice so far? With thoughts about financing the business... Local to me (Toronto, Canada) with a thing "good credit rating" last I checked, one can purchase a new electric bike where monthly loan costs are about HALF a monthly pubic transit pass. So basically I like to promo the fact that ebikes are "cheap" transportation... that can get you around town faster than just about any other form of wheeled transportation. With "exercise club dues" included in costs to operate.

Maybe see ES thread "Reasons why the ebike is a world beater":
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =1&t=58884

... and in the history of the horseless carriage ("automobile") it was the "wealthy" that "bought in" first (re choice of stock for your store).

Think I already mentioned here that "Would you like a test ride?" is "Number One Selling Tool"... and recently I read that "after test ride" sales are running 80% a YES to buy for one outfit/retail shop.

:)

Edit: Sorry `bout any typos.
ES changed my life (for the waaaaay better).

Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike Promotions

(Current ride? High speed lawn chair.)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=57408

Phoenix Ebike Promotions conversion kit (work in progress. More drink holders, etc etc)
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 15&t=60564

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