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thinking of opening a small motorcycle shop

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I asked the question of "can a mx track be profitable" and got some really good advice. I kinda thought and had heard people just do it for the love of having a track. Thats great but i need an income on my investment first. So maybe the track will have to wait. But another dream i have always had was to own my own m-cycle shop. I had thought of combining the shop and a track on the same property but after hearing of all the costs involved with just the track i think i will focus on what it will take to get a shop up and running first.

My question is from a riders view point what would it take for a new shop to become succesful? Thanks again and i appreciate all feedback

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Customers, more and more customers, actively marketing your shop getting the word out, having a good website, doing SEO is a key investment as well, keeping the business coming in is how you make it. Creating a niche works well too, offer something others don't.

 

The track is a whole other story, insurance is going to be your biggest foe there...

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How about a pay-per-lap MX track?  The rider has to have gear but not bikes.  You buy a bunch of bikes and have them set up for different weights.  5 lap minimum charge and you've got their credit card if they break bikes.  A lot of people want to ride but can't afford or store a bike.   Pay-per-hit crack windows thrive in the ghetto (I've seen it) so why couldn't it work?  You would obviously need a bullet proof waiver for the riders to sign.  

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Not a bad idea with the bike rental on your own track. Obviously it would still have to be available for riders with there own bikes but i like the thinking. Would definitely be a niche in the world of track days. Thanks

Back to the shop. What are your main complaints with some others shops you have been to? I guess for me the main thing is price and do i feel comfortable there. Seems like the shops with high prices usually have bad service as well anyway. Not all the time but most i have been to. Just asking i guess what is the main thing you like in a shop or dont like. Thanks again

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I've often wondered myself when I've seen this subject come up. I think the entire consensus ends up with it's not really profitable to own a track and rent out. Most have said it comes down to the liability aspect of it, but I say, if you have everyone sign a waiver, then what's the big deal? Well, perhaps that one that doesn't sign it and then sues the shit out of you and takes it all away. That's all it takes, is just one to slip by the crack and put you under. Now the shop, that's a great idea and it's one of my dreams for many years. Specially while sitting behind a desk and watching the clock for many years while thinking I should be doing something I love, not this shit. I think it's a great idea if you keep it a mom and pop shop, but if you start to expand, hire people, increase inventory, etc., then you're just back to square one. I think too that if you do a really good job on someone's rig, they are your customers for life, specially if you don't try to screw them like most dealers do. For me, it was simple, just work on dirt bikes and nothing else, but then you hear the opposition telling you, you have to work on street bikes too, then quads, atv, just to stay afloat. Nothing would make me happier (well that is aside from riding) to be able to work on bikes all day long and come home with a paycheck doing it. It doesn't get any better than that in my wonderland world on how it should be and is not. :devil:

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A guy down the street from me opened a shop.  He was into cruisers (Harley type bikes).  At first it looked like he was trying to cater to only that type of crowd.  That didn't last long.  He now works on everything (dirt bikes, street bikes, quads, sideXsides).  It is just him and a friend who run the shop.  Says he is doing well and every time I've been in there he has had lots of vehicles he is working on. 

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I live in oregon and in Albany oregon there is a bike shop called Grand Prix and they have a track I do believe. You could probably call them and see if it would be worth it for you. I'm not sure I have never rode there but I do get parts from there shop every now and again.

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Thanks for the replys. That is what i was thinking was to keep it as simple as possible with very low overhead. I would prefer to specialize and work on only dirt bikes but i know i will have to cater to all motorsports surrounding motorcycles. Thanks again and please keep it coming i can use all the advice i can get.

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A guy down the street from me opened a shop. He was into cruisers (Harley type bikes). At first it looked like he was trying to cater to only that type of crowd. That didn't last long. He now works on everything (dirt bikes, street bikes, quads, sideXsides). It is just him and a friend who run the shop. Says he is doing well and every time I've been in there he has had lots of vehicles he is working on.

This is key. Road bikes are so similar to dirt bikes at the nuts-and-bolts level it makes no sense to exclude them. Believe me, unless you are in a really premium location you will be scrambling to find work for a while. Winter is always going to be hard.

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This is key. Road bikes are so similar to dirt bikes at the nuts-and-bolts level it makes no sense to exclude them. Believe me, unless you are in a really premium location you will be scrambling to find work for a while. Winter is always going to be hard.

Winter time is really slow, The Honda shop i worked for got dead one year so we talked the owner into letting us restore an old  LT500 Quadzilla that had been sitting in the back room for years, It was a customers bike they didn't want to spend the money to rebuild the engine and left it. That thing was tip top when we got done with it , with 3 of us it didn't take long. That would be a quad i would own .

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A guy here in my area recently started his own little shop. He built a good customer base by doing quality work and having good communication with the customers. He would run appts. by calls, texts, FB, whatever works. He attended trackdays and kept in touch with all the folks he did work for. His business has grown quite well over the past couple of years. Other shops in this area have come and gone....but I am pretty sure that the allure to his business and another in the area is that you keep it small. I frequent a local shop that is a total mom and pop type place but they do damn good work and are very straightforward and honest about prices and what has to be done to your bike. 

 

Of course you are gonna have to have the ability to deal with f-ing wierdos and losers in a judicious way. Their main goal in life is to do their best to drag your ass down. For that reason alone I could never own a small business that caters to the public. 

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My father was very successful in both of his boat businesses, he started small, he put in the hard work, long hour's and treated every customer with honesty and respect. Word got around and he was fortunate to retire at 55 year's old with only a 9th grade education. If you could ask him what to do, he would say,,, "What's holding you up and get started". He also lived by working and surrounding himself with good people that had the same work ethics. Have you ever heard of Procraft boat's ?  Yep !!  And yes, you can do this. 

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Just remember though location is going to be key; look at how many other bike shops there are around you, too many and you're going to have to work hard to stay competitive.  you're always going to have those nagging customers that you just want to yell at but cant so remember to not be a hot head in situations. A customer can walk in right when you're yelling at another customer; they won't know the whole story but they'll say "ya dude the owner is a hard head, he yells at his customers, hes a jerk" and words can spread like wildfire. Finally you're going to have to compete with online stores, that means being competitive with your prices. I dont know about you but when I go into shops I'll sometimes look at stuff, try it on, then go home and look for it cheaper. If you can do the 'meet the price' thing then you will have more of a fan base, if not you may lose some customers to the online shops. It's going to take hard work and the only way to stay afloat is to keep the customer happy, and promote yourself

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Dont have much time right now. But thanks a lot for the replys. Luckily im a pretty level headed guy so i dont see myself yelling at customers. The dog maybe. Thanks again for the good advice.

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Renting out bikes to ride at your own track is a good way to loose everything you own. WAAAAAAAAY to much liability.

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Everyone is going to hate my suggestion...but there is little or no money in MX.  It is a dwindling sport compared to 10-20 years ago.  Sounds like you are young.  Do yourself a favor and spend any money you were going to spend on track in your education.  Get yourself into a solid reliable career that brings in consistent income and then try and do the MX thing on the side.  If it were as easy as building a track and making money, LOTS of people would already be doing it.  I see too many bikes shops and other small businesses come and go.  You are going to compete in a VERY niche market segment (MX) against the big warehouses on the internet.  Even the big local dealers can't compete with the internet.  Most of the shops I walk into have little to no inventory on hand and do significantly less business then they did 10 years or so ago.  Unless you offer product at the lowest wholesale internet price, which you can't, you won't sell any.

 

This is going to sound terrible, but I realized at a very young age that being able to do what I enjoy to bring home income was never going to be a possibility and I just bit the bullet and went to school (which I hated).  I even majored in math (which I despise), but I did so that I could get a job with some decent income, not because I liked it, because I didn't want to struggle.  Struggling SUCKS! 

 

Sorry dude, reality pretty much blows.  Go get an education and a steady day job and save your money, maybe one day when you are better situated you can realize your dream.  If your not married, DON'T as all your money and time will just end up in the family's mouths (not a bad thing, but you have to prioritize your life).  Just a reference, I am 42 and are still a ways off from my dreams, but in the meantime getting paid (even at something I don't like) is the next best thing.

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I will offer this - In my area, a fairly large metro area, there used to be several small shops that specialized in certain brands, MX type and maybe an exotic no one else had in this area.   They are ALL gone.  Even a couple of the "big 5" brand  dealers are gone.  There was one that sold NO bikes but did everything else.  He operated it alone had an older building and little overhead.  He's gone.  When I actually sit and think about it, It's a little shocking!  It seems every year, another BIG dealer disappears.  Soon, there may be none left.  It's not even any security to be selling the big 5 any more.

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I wasn't going to say anything but, here goes.

Private shops and dealerships.

This will extend even into the automotive field.

If you want a small shop, just remember, that all of us work on our bikes.

Most everyone, works on their own cars and bikes nowadays. Miraculous internet has videos of, how to fix everything.

But, won't show you how, you can make a living, running a small shop or dealership.

Heck the manufacturer will soon, drop ship bikes to your house off amazon.

When it gets that far, there won't be any shops or dealers. So jump on line, buy your parts, and shut down another local shop!

If you even consider opening a shop, in this economy, just take that money and toss it in the street and walk away!

Same thing!

Edited by ridngslikecrack
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