Start a Bicycle Repair Business

By Eric Hammer

Look around any urban center in Europe and you’ll find thousands of bicycles on the road; in fact, in many cities, bicycles can be rented or even borrowed for free if you are resident. Here in the United States, we’re not quite as sophisticated about it, but we still have a tremendous "bike culture" and as such there is a tremendous amount of room for building a new bicycle repair business in your town or city, even if one or more already exists.

Bicycle repair technicians need to know more than just how to take the tires off of a bike and put them back on. They also need to know more than just filling up the tires or patching holes. They need to know bicycles inside and out. They need to be organized as there are thousands of tiny parts of which to keep track. One site on building a bicycle repair service even suggests that you actually learn to build a tire from scratch before you hang out a shingle.

Whatever the case may be though, if you know what you’re doing and you are good, the money can be extremely lucrative, especially if you work in a dense urban area like New York City where more bicycles are used by adults (who have more disposable income to spend for expensive repairs and who are more likely to rush to repair a bike they depend on for getting to and from work).

How Much Can You Make?

Most people who run a bicycle repair business maintain a list of prices for various services, including basic tune ups and even "clean and polish" services, however the basic charge per hour for labor should work as a good guide to how much you can earn – most shops charge a labor fee of $60 per hour. Mind you, that does not include parts, which you can charge for separately so your $60 is mostly profit (you still have to pay taxes and pay to repair or replace worn out tools and equipment).

Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities | Tips

One of the more interesting bicycle repair businesses out there is a new concept called a mobile bicycle repair technician. In essence, instead of telling people that they need to come to you and you will repair their bicycle in your own garage, these kinds of services off (for a premium of course) to come out to where someone is and do the repair on the road. It does entail keeping all your tools in a truck and being on call, but it’s a great alternative to the more traditional bicycle repair shop.

Another thing that many bicycle repair businesses do in order to earn extra income is to sell new and used bikes and accessories. This will depend on the size of your shop of course and on how much demand there is in your area for such facilities.

Qualifications / Requirements

Needless to say, you need to know how to repair bicycles. Some states and municipalities may have formal licensing requirements (check with the city or state chamber of commerce), however even if they do not have such requirements, you need to know everything there is to know about repairing bicycles. You should be able to strip a bike bare and then put it back together again if you seriously expect to work in this business.

First Steps

Start by learning. Ideally, go to school and take a course in bicycle repair. If you can’t find such a course, then read lots of books and start by stripping your own bicycle down to the bare bones. You need to be able to strip off every part of your own bike, including the gears, the wheels, everything, and be left with nothing but a bare frame and then reassemble the whole thing from scratch. Once you are able to do that and your bicycle is still road worthy and safe, you are ready to start taking on work for others.

Resources – This is an excellent resource in that it offers more than just the usual platitudes about how you can make a good living fixing bikes. It provides practical information that you’ll need to know in order to start your own bicycle repair service.

Cycle Tech: Start Your Own Mobile Bicycle Repair Business – This is where we got the idea for a mobile service. They have some great information here and they may offer franchise opportunities as well.

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