[Burp] I wanted to respond to this current ES thread, and thought I might chuck it into THIS thread as it sorta sums up my "ebiking life" so far? Astute readers may note I've been signing ES posts lately as "Eff. June, 2014 Phoenix Ebike PROMOTIONS"?
... `cause I actually forked over some cash to get me/the biz registered in Ontario as a BIZ (sole proprietor)?
There are OBVIOUSLY waaay more folks here that are WAY more knowledgeable than I about "Ebike technology"... so I thought I might try my hand at PROMOTING the tech. In any business, "marketing"/promoting ones goods or services is a "part of the equation" to profit (aka "making money")? ... and while I may have wasted my life as an accountant (hehe... they hate it when I say that...) before accounting I graduated from a local college - a "polytechnical institution", itself now graduated to be a degree-granting university - with a Certificate in Marketing (and went to my first university to be an "EE" - electrical engineer).
Anyway. The ES thread "Why are more of you DIYers not in the e-bike business?"
https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =3&t=89714
... and I can maybe "sum up" this thread so far with the OP and some responses:
So I am curious to know why more of you are not in the business?
Please don't tell me about the risks and aggravation. don't tell me about high costs
there is a sweet margin to be realized by assembling and selling your own.
... and ends: With that thought in mind, maybe we need a Professional E-bike Builders Association dedicated to dealers, and would-be dealers, who build their own, rather than importing over-priced ready-to-rides?
... and replies/Comments include: "making something you ride your self is one thing and making something to sell to the public is a whole different ball game"
"For what kind of bike and electric system? Suspicious Alibaba trinkets?"
(OP Henry notes "question is more concerned with the USA market.")
"Most of us can cook too. Not many of us want to start a restaurant."
"No money in it."
"From what I have seen, owning an independent bike shop has gotta be one of the hardest ways to make a living. You're open 7 days a week. It's seasonal. You stare at the walls in the winter months. You got people like me who come in and buy an inner tube, but otherwise get my stuff from amazon or ebay, plus you don't want to keep a big stock of parts anyway."
"Building for ones self is a passion, but start building to sell to others and it becomes tedious and monotonous."
"Batteries and time."
"Because it is not a good business to start with. Building good bikes is expansive and very few are willing to pay for them. Selling cheap bikes is a lot of problem for little profit.
We are not in China and the ebike market here is very small. Our typical ebike customer is looking for Western world service and quality, but conditioned by web publicity to Chinese price. Those who are starting ebike businesses are enthusiasts who want to contribute to the EV revolution. If they expect good profit, they are dreamers."
"The idea of business is to make money. If you don't need money..."
"These is no money."
(Written Wed Jul 26, 2017) "Eventually, the ebike markets will offer better ebikes for lower costs." (Ed: HUH? Read any newz lately?)
"The market in Orange County, CA seems small and growing at glacial speeds. There are enough good shops that it would be murder to try and compete IMO."
"It would be neat to know the percentage of people in America, that actually own a ebike. Maybe 1 out of every 20,000 people ? That's not a lot of room for sales/ profits. It is still a " niche" market."
OP Henry pops up: "Total cost: $624.00
I could assemble myself, but getting a little old--in fact, way to old for that--so I pay my assemblers $70.00 per bike.
So my total cost: $694.00.
My selling price: $1499.00.
Profit per bike: $805.00. Mark up: 86%. Margin: 54%.
In 2016 I sold 42 bikes. So far this year, I have sold 22. Not a big deal, but I am happy and my customers are happy, especially because they always know where they can bring their bike for service."
"Because people suck." (ED: ???)
"I personally would never want to own that type of ebike and where Iive, there isn't much of a market for it."
"Based upon the numbers you post here, this isnt a business, but a hobby. Why would you encourage anyone to get involved with a business that clears less than $40k a year pre tax?"
"I wouldn't do it here, where the sales would hardly reach a fraction of Henry's numbers, with the kind of bikes that I build especially."
"I've thought about doing it in my spare time, but I don't have a house to be able to do that."
(Henry again): "I am surrounded by 7 Pedego stores (within 25 miles of me), one in Long Beach, just 4 miles away. I love it 'cause e-bike shoppers hear of and go to Pedego first and come away with sticker shock."
"the liability factor is a pain in the ass if you sell a bike that's over the legal maximum it can cause no end of problems that's not counting issues with battery's fires and what not currently the bike shop just fits components provided by the customer or sourced online as a kit so that the shop is not legally responsible for the wattage speed and battery's."
(... and AGAIN Henry):"I have purchased the domain name: PEBA (Professional E-bike Builder Association) and have already designed the logo and now in the process of building the website.
PEBA will be dedicated to professionals who build, or want to build. their own e-bikes FOR RESELL."
"Most bike manufacturers won't sell wholesale to a dealer who doesn't show proof of liability insurance."
(Henry):"The beauty of a dealer building his own e-bikes (instead of buying from an importer/wholesaler) is that he does not have to bet the farm. He can start one bike at a time."
(Don DiCostanzo and Pedego referenced repeatedly...)
BINGO: "I do the Ebike hustle, much like Henry. All out of my own garage. Mostly Kits and Custom conversions.
I do best when the customer buys all the parts (From me or elsewhere), and I charge a decent price for my labor to build the bike."
"They shop for the lowest price" (Watt EVer happened to "best VALUE"?)
(Henry again):"my personal ride is an electric scooter..." (ACK!)
"Motors don't really have a power rating. They have a thermal limit vaguely correlated to a power rating." <- Golden Words. Hehe...
(H again):"Well, ya ain't gonna see 35mph on a 250W bike."
"Aero drag rises exponentially with speed. 35 mph takes about 2.5 times as much power to sustain as 25mph." <- Watt he said. Hello? Hehe
"should have titled the thread "Why are e-bike businesses not more into DIY builds?""
(H again):"there are some really nice bikes selling ONLINE for less than $1500. They show up here all the time wanting me to fix those "higher performance features," because they can't get them serviced ONLINE."
... and again:"You might keep an eye out for the upcoming:
PEBA (Professional E-bike Builders Association) Dedicated to e-bike dealers and folks who want to be e-bike dealers who, I believe, should be building their own bikes instead of depending on over-priced importers that go out of business faster than dealers can get those bikes on their floors."
BINGO (again): "Customers DON'T REALLY know much about ebikes..."
"I get asked a lot when I am e-biking about
1) How far can you go
2) How much does it cost
3) How fast can you go"
"liability insurance" (Keeps coming up)
"I also get a lot of questions from observers when I'm on my ebike, but 99% of them are not interested enough, to actually buy a ebike. This is still a very niche market that wont appeal to most people." <- (... any interested in SAVING LOTS of money? Hehe)
So. That's mostly "it" so far (and sorry if I missed anybuddy out)...
In the "range of possibilities" of "getting into the ebike business" - other than promoting the tech I mean. hehe - it seems to me that choices include selling bikes made by manufactures "complete" versus DIY - to take an existing bike/trike/etc and "convert"?
One commenter noted ""It would be neat to know the percentage of people in America, that actually own a ebike. Maybe 1 out of every 20,000 people?"
... to which I might ask "How many people in America own a bike?" (Antique/vintage/etc pedal-only poop-mobile thingee.) In the house I'm staying in currently (ebiker joke. hehe) there are at least two bikes sitting unused/unloved, seen only rarely dragged out and pedaled for some "short" distances...
So anyway... I have a theory that there are a LOT/many bikes sitting around and in use around North America? ... and "just waiting for conversion"... to be "put on steroids", so to speak.
So. MY thought is to try offering regular/weekly maybe "conversion classes". Where "students" bring their own bikes - or one they've bought new/used - to actually do the conversion themselves (theory being one learns more by DIY). From some location like a bike shop or coffee shop, etc that can offer some munchies (for sale), "ebike bits" like one/two "suitable" motors... battery cells (and/or complete "batteries") and some basic tools (w/some for sale as well). In "ebike" terms items like a volt-ohm-ammeter for testing "stuff". Soldering guns and flux... ALL available (AND "for sale").
So turn this location into a "hang out" for ebikers. AND BTW... the "best"/"shortest commute" I've found in my life was to just roll out of bed and step across to my desk and computer. Hehe... Second "best commute" was two floors down stairs - past the kitchen where staff always has fresh coffee - to an office in the basement.
Anyway. So I would def. be looking for any location that combines work with home life to minimize time spent "commuting".
So in answer to the question "So I am curious to know why more of you are not in the business?"... I've just moved AGAIN - I've been moving all my life... a LOT - and am currently eyeing a large/well-kept garage on the property as a "base of operations". Haven't seen the inside yet but knowing the owner a bit suspect it full of "stuff". Parts for building maintenance, etc etc. How "full" this LARGE garage is, yet to be determined.