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JCKST1

Original Poster:

420 posts

30 months

[news] 
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 quote quote all
I am currently 19 years old and I am looking in to starting my own used bicycle business.
I have been promised a job for a while off a company now and it seems to be dragging on which is why I am looking for other routes.
The job was a Welding Inspector, It could still come up but I don't know how much longer I can sit around, Its driving me mental!

I am a time served Plater, Since leaving school at 16 I have worked my arse off to get the qualifications i have now which are listed below;
NVQ Level 2 In Fab + Welding
NVQ Level 3 In fab +Welding
BTEC National Award in Manufacturing Engineering
BTEC National Certificate in Manufacturing Engineering
Level 2 Autodesk Inventor 3d
Level 2 AutoCAD 2d
PCN Level 2 in MPI (Completed last month!)

I left to go travelling last year around Asia, Australia and parts of Europe. On my return I am really struggling to find work, I have had a job offers doing CAD in London which again wasn't (Would be getting paid a really low wage, just wasn't possible to live in London)

Since i have been 13 I have been in to serious biking and as well as enjoying the sport my business head always takes over and I have made a very nice little income over the years when i have needed to.
My idea is to open a used bike shop, Not the typical though. It would specialise in top end mountain bike ranging from £300 - £2000+. There is nothing with in 100miles+ which offers top end used bikes so competition is zero, bonus!
I have thought about doing things like offering a Part-Ex for there bike and the old 'We buy any top end Bike' (Something a bit catchier though) and stocking last years models instead of the newer stuff to keep the purchase cost down for the buyer.

I would initially start off from home with between 5-10 bikes and advertise locally but mainly online, Then progress on to a unit/shop and bring in the new bikes, new bike parts and the usual facilities but still keep it a used bike shop so its different from the rest.

I know there is money to be made it has basically supported me and my girlfriend for the last year whilst travelling! I have always got a lot of money from it, Between the 24th of august till now (Approx 6/7 week) i have made approx £3200, I haven't really bothered with advertising much and I haven't been sat on the computer all day, If it was a business this would be key so I would expect a lot more bikes. at the moment I don't really bother with the lower end bike were i only make £200 i mainly focus on the £600+ profit bikes, obviously I would start buying these bikes and this bringing the overall profit up.

I have a little bit of money put away and can lend money off family to start this off on a bit of a bigger scale, I have thought about going to enterprise and ask them for some advice and possible loans i could get.
I don't expect to become a millionaire from this but I think there is money to be made and why not give it a shot.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing your advice on this.
Jack

muppetdave

1,974 posts

111 months

[news] 
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 quote quote all
Hi Jack

I don't really have anything constructive to say with regards to the business, other than it seems like your mind is already made up - and from what you say I don't see a downside. Whilst you're waiting on finding your 'ideal' job you have a back pocket plan that might make you £1500/month without apparently too much work - crack on and spend a few more hours and see where you get to! What's the worst that can happen...

ETA - best of luck with it!

Mr Overheads

1,251 posts

62 months

[news] 
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 quote quote all
The time is now, it's working for you giving some income, sod the job on the table. At 19 you can get a job in a year if this fails.

Sounds like a great little business and sounds like you enjoy it, which means it's not really work.

Go for it.

sassthathoopie

772 posts

101 months

[news] 
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 quote quote all
Go for it. Even if it doesn't work out you'll have learned plenty from the experience.

JCKST1

Original Poster:

420 posts

30 months

[news] 
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 quote quote all
Thanks for the advice everyone. I could easily get £1500 profit in a month now but with a business on my shoulders I will be working full at it and hopefully will exceed this,

Its my brother in law who is getting me a job and his company take on a couple of new employees about this time every year so there;s always next year like you said, My MPI ticket is 3 or 5 years i believe.

I am going to have a look in to enterprise tomorrow and possibly arrange an appointment, Start off working from home doing mainly online advertising/sales.
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Globs

13,131 posts

117 months

[news] 
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 quote quote all
Another option is to buy 2nd hand motorbikes, and strip and sell them for spares - the value of the spares is always much greater than the cost of the bike!

JCKST1

Original Poster:

420 posts

30 months

[news] 
Tuesday 2nd October 2012 quote quote all
I used to buy/sell motorbikes as well over the years.
If i was to get offered a basic (£400ish) bike which had been upgraded, the main things would be stripped and sold and stock parts would be put on to maximize profit.

The Moose

11,685 posts

95 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
What sort of advice do you need?

If you've been doing this for a while, you'll have a good idea of how to source stock and how to sell it whilst not applying yourself for 100% of your time.

I don't see what you've got to lose? Your stock will most likely always be worth something.

Get it done!

Mr Overheads

1,251 posts

62 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
Pioneer said:
I'll just add :- the costs of rubbings shop will be quite large. At the moment you have zero overheads. The shop will cost a lot in rent/rates/staff/heating/insurance etc. make sure you do your sums correctly otherwise you will be doing more work for less profit.
Presuming you don't need footfall, buyers of specialist bikes will come to you. Then a cheap unit on an industrial estate would work I would have thought (but I know nothing about bikes!)

JCKST1

Original Poster:

420 posts

30 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
Most of the bikes I sell i either post or travel to meet the buyer so to start off with there's no point in getting a unit/shop. Once I start getting 15+ bikes then I will start looking in to premises.

How do I actually go about registering my self as self employed, setting up tax etc?
I will set up business account on the sites i use (Ebay, Gumtree etc) and probably set up my own website once I have a few bikes.

hman

5,795 posts

80 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all

Ok, reality check.

Source of stock
Ebay. The place for stolen and legit bikes of all types to be bought and sold.

"IF" you are using Ebay or elsewhere to buy bikes ( as I'm not aware of a registered acution house for bicycles) how will you check that a bike you wish to sell on has not been stolen?

Cashflow
How will you make sure you have enough cash to keep the stock - what will you do with slow moving stock?


Seasonal Trade
Whilst you seem to be making good money on bicycles now I would ask a local bike shop if there are any seasonal variations in the amount of trade - i'm guessing it could be the same as motorcycles which get crazy money in the summer and in the winter the income is all about maintenance as trade will drop off after september for anything on 2 wheels.

Warranty
What will you do about warranty, keeping a percentage in the pot for warranty claims would be good- I know alot of people who buy expensive bikes, do not maintain them at all, and then sell them at the end of the year to buy the next latest - their bikes are knackered after 12 months, and they've used up their factory warranty.

Accesories
Some people will want to customise their new bike - will you be keeping any accesories for the bikes?

Premises
It seems as if a high street shop is a waste of time for you - very expensive and you can (as suggested) use a trade unit for this - or even a lock up and bring the bikes home for someone to view.

USP
What is your unique selling point here? you need to make a big thing of whatever that is in your adverts.

Trade Events/Marketing etc.
Will you be attending shows/races/events to promote your company? what will that cost, which are the good ones, what will be the return on the money invested, will you be advertising in magazines etc, will you have a website? - how much will all this cost - you need a marketing plan.

Where will your business go in the future?
You need to write yourself a business plan - even if you use it just to check progress and to give yourself some goals to focus on.

Will you be VAT registered, limited company or sole trader?
You ned to investigate this.

You also need to register your business name - before someone else does!



I wish you luck it sounds like a great idea - put the groundwork in and I expect you will have a solid company- I'm on my 3rd company set up now and these are only the very basics that you need.

mattnunn

6,199 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
You could see your banks business advisor but to be honest an hour with your local chartered accountant would be more usefull, registering a ltd company is easy and costs next to nowt (£15 a year I think). Assuming you keep decent records of expenses and use your company bank account properly it shouldn't be more than £1500 a year for an accountant to file your returns. (Don't be tempted to do it yourself unless you've a sadistic streak for incomprehensable beaurocratic paper work)

As for the business it's sounds like it's already working for you, not all ideas scale up though, but if you're making money it can't do any harm to go all in and see you can always go back to running it part time for extra cash if a job comes along.

I thought about starting a bicycle breakers but I'm more of an ideas man than a do'er. Good luck to you.

hman

5,795 posts

80 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
Globs said:
Another option is to buy 2nd hand motorbikes, and strip and sell them for spares - the value of the spares is always much greater than the cost of the bike!
yeah, I looked into this- the problem with motorcycles is that the bits everyone wants are the bits which are crash damaged on the salvage bikes at auction.

If you look for a bike with a blown engine then it'll be privately owned and sold on ebay and they go for silly money - because people have cottoned on to the 2nd hand salvage bike parts market.

If you go looking for a whole bike being sold cheap then it will either be stolen or the bits that are worth anything are worn out /damaged.

I have a contact who setup a bike parts business and all he deals in are 70's and 80's bikes- as the parts are obsolete and theres a tiny resurgence for that market at the minute.... he has 85% tat in his unit though and sooner or later he's going to have to write off the stock/ sell as a job lot as all his captial is tied up in that rubbish!!!!

mattnunn

6,199 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
hman said:
Globs said:
Another option is to buy 2nd hand motorbikes, and strip and sell them for spares - the value of the spares is always much greater than the cost of the bike!
yeah, I looked into this- the problem with motorcycles is that the bits everyone wants are the bits which are crash damaged on the salvage bikes at auction.

If you look for a bike with a blown engine then it'll be privately owned and sold on ebay and they go for silly money - because people have cottoned on to the 2nd hand salvage bike parts market.

If you go looking for a whole bike being sold cheap then it will either be stolen or the bits that are worth anything are worn out /damaged.

I have a contact who setup a bike parts business and all he deals in are 70's and 80's bikes- as the parts are obsolete and theres a tiny resurgence for that market at the minute.... he has 85% tat in his unit though and sooner or later he's going to have to write off the stock/ sell as a job lot as all his captial is tied up in that rubbish!!!!
There was a time in the late 90s early 00s when ebay first started when you could buy normal private sale bikes, no damage or mechanical issues, and break them for decent profit, don't know if you could do it now, 3yr old bikes seem to hold their value so well with the rising price of new bikes.

JCKST1

Original Poster:

420 posts

30 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
Source:
I usually get my bikes of classified sites and bike sites, Rarely E-bay (Good place to sell, not buy!)
You can tell straight away if a bike is stolen just by the seller, knowledge of the bike, location and description. If i have any queries I can check via bikes sites and google search. When ever i collect a bike I write down every bit of info from the seller, Dates, Address, Number, Name etc.
I have been doing it for about 6 years now and luckily no problems.

Cashflow:
I have a bit of money put away to start it off and I can lend money off family if needs be, I know I can pay them back over a few months. There will always be the money in the bikes even if i only made £100 on bike it would just free up some money.

Seasonal:
There are times of the year were sales vary but not very much, December time is always good for xmas, Slows a little after that till about April were again it booms as people are getting them as the weather picks up, This carries on till about Sep/Oct. It never really gets slow though as theres always people birthdays or people just looking to upgrade their bike. I think that offering a PX service would help the bikes go out the door.

Warranty:
It isn't something I can offer at the moment it would be something i progress on to when I open a shop/unit.
All bikes are FULLY inspected before hand then they get serviced before sale, Buyer can test if they want. I could offer a 6 months free service or similar. There maybe the possibility of ringing the manufacturer and asking them after the first year if i can pay for an extra year which would be a bonus.

Accessories:
Used accessories are not worth a lot at all, I would be splitting some bikes and selling parts separately, I could always buy new or look around for the specific item they want and fit it free of charge, Over time parts see to build up any way.
Once i had a unit and more room I would bring in brand new parts and brand new bikes but still keep the majority used bikes and parts.

Premises:
Yeah it wont be a typical shop were kids can come in and get a bike for £100 so your usual high street bike shop wont help, Best of getting a unit near town were I have plenty of room, parking and space for customers to test the bikes.

USP:
Simple, I am selling quality used bikes in full mechanical order and near new condition for a fraction of the price, Why pay an extra £1000 for the same bike?
There is currently no shops like this around and I know a lot more people are buying second hand now as the prices are just going up and up.

Marketing:
I am a member on most of the main bike sites I would advertise on there, The usual classifieds such as Gumtree. I know a lot of the local bike spots so would also advertise there. Then there is always the local papers etc, They probably wont get much interest but it cant hurt to try.
I would also do things like open days eventually to let people come in and ride all the bikes, Interact more with customers and go out riding with them in my spare time to keep a good bond between me and the customers.

Future
Start off at home to begin with, I have plenty of room and time so that's no problem, Once I start running out of room that's when I would look for a unit.
I would aim for 60ish bikes in the shop, half new and half used. I would stock last years models as well as this years for people to catch the old stock bargains, I would stock new parts and accessories and stock as many used ones as I can. I would employ someone to come in twice a week and offer a more specialist servicing and possibly custom building with new or used parts.
Then there's the route of offering road racing bikes?

VAT?
I am not sure what route to take yet i will have to look in to it. Possibly a sole trader as there is not going to be a lot of money going in to it. If i was to expand to a bigger business is it possible to then re-register as a VAT registered company or are you still as a sole trader?

I have a name and will register it soon.

Thanks for that mate.





JCKST1

Original Poster:

420 posts

30 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
Another quick question.
My girlfriend is also unemployed (Same reasons, Back from travelling, no work!)
I would like to bring her in to the company as she has managed a salon before and knows how to keep the books and it spot on at paperwork, Which gives me time to focus on sale and marketing.
Daft question but is a sole trader just 1 or could it go down as both?


hman

5,795 posts

80 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
Looks like you have the makings of a good business plan if you elaborate a little on the reply post you put above.

I would urge you to put it into a proper document and get some info on 1/4ly cashflow, outgoings etc and expected turnover therefore expected profit for the year - then review every 1/4 to see if you are on track.


I think you can employ people as a sole trader?, - someone else needs to answer that, I've always set up limited companies (although my wifes new company that we are setting up will be sole trader, and she will be the sole employee/director)

PS. I meant brand new accessories- as a value added customisation service.

hman

5,795 posts

80 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
I would also start to think of a more robust way to defend yourself against buying stolen bikes inadvertantly.

Most people write down the frame numbers and then tell the police what the numbers are so I presume the police have a stolen bikes database?

There would be nothing worse than losing £1000's of stock as the bike had been reclaimed - you would get nothing bac kin tat event - and if it kept occuring I think they would invetsigate for handling stolen goods...

BoRED S2upid

10,694 posts

126 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
Don't knock the idea of getting a small unit the high street is littered with empty units, some councils / landlords will let them for a 6 month period with minimum costs.

Stocking last years models sounds sensible to me as does taking in Part Exchanges, front of your shop could be the new models and at the back are the part exchanges which you have serviced.

You need to get intouch with some suppliers asking about how to stock their bikes rather than their competitors.

Go for it I say.

liller

446 posts

55 months

[news] 
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 quote quote all
I agree with the above comment - you'll probably be able to find a decent retail unit with a workshop attached for less than you think (assuming we're talking about smaller towns here) as there are lots and lots of vacant retail units out there. This kind of set up can probably wait though until you have established yourself further.

The business idea sounds great though! And I think a showroom/retail premises would be a good addition. There is definitely a market out there for 2nd hand bikes.

you could become webuyanypushbike.com !!
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