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21/01/2011 // INFO 15 Comments

A mobile mechanic, would you use one?

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Good Mechanic Guide

Our recent debate on bike mechanics brought a great deal of discussion and feedback on where is the best place for get your bike fixed and repaired. Most of the suggestions were typically bike shops of course. But what about a mobile bike mechanic coming to visit your home and repairing your bike while you wait. Is there a market for such a service?

At last weekend’s London Bike Show, we came across such a business, appropriately named Bikefixers.

Market for mobile bike repairs

Bikefixers is the brainchild of Jerry Toher, a cyclist who hit upon the idea of a mobile bike mechanic business, while having problems trying to find a timeslot for getting his wife’s bike fixed at local bike shops. Jerry told us that he was convinced the idea would work after testing whether a market existed for mobile repairs around Solihull, Brimingham, where he lives.

Mobile mechanics are not a new idea but Jerry’s aim is to run a successful national business as opposed to previous offerings that remain distinctly local.

A franchise business

To do this, he will run Bikefixers as a franchise business. The franchise buys a plain white van and will be supplied with the Bikefixers branding. Tools, uniform, training, parts and stock, will also be supplied. Interested mechanics will have to fork out 20k to buy into the franchise (15k for the first 20 who sign up). A typical franchisee would expect to earn between £20-50,000 per year, according to Jerry.

For the customer, Bikefixers can visit homes or work place at times to suit. If they can’t fix the bike on the spot and need to take it away, the mechanic/franchise holder provides a temporary replacement.

There is a lot to be said of the convenience of having a mobile mechanic come out and visit you, but this would probably have to be reflected in higher prices charged for repairs or a service as opposed to a bike shop.

(If you are a mechanic and are interested about taking up a franchise, then call Jerry on 01564 774472)

15 comments [leave one]
Michael January 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm

This is a good idea and one i looked into myself.
It’s a big step to take full-time though unless you have enough workload guaranteed for the months ahead initialy.
You should aim at families with a fleet of bikes i.e mum, dad and kids who find it difficult to get all the bikes to a shop outside of working hours.
This would be my dream job but the predicted salary range does seem a bit optimistic.
Great idea though.

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  • Andrew Dale January 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Another company that already offer what you are talking about here is cycledelik.

    Reply

  • elliot January 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Yes, I’d def use one. In fact, I have used one. He was pretty good, though not quite as conscientious as I’d have liked – I had to get him to adjust the gears three times before they worked properly. But that’s the case wherever you go.

    The only drawback is that you have to leave your desk to give them the bike (presumably unlocking it from nearby lamppost or cycle area) and then go back to pay them and check what they’ve done. For some people, that could be awkward.

    The guy was happy to come to work during the day (he parked on a yellow line and, because he was with his little van, the parking wardens left him alone), or offered to come to my home during the weekend some time.

    I guess it’s the equivalent of: do you like to buy good mail order and get them delivered for convenience, or do you prefer to go to the shop so you don’t have to wait around for the postman?

    Swings and roundabouts – or rather, wheels and pedals :)

    Reply

    James - Going Going Bike January 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Elliot – interesting to hear your experience…I can really see the attraction for some people of someone coming over to service their bike whilst they’re at work. It sounds like an efficient use of time, rather than having to take your bike to a store and then collect it.

    Reply

  • DaveW January 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    It is a good idea but it can be made much more economically viable by using a cargobike instead of a van.

    See http://tinyurl.com/464asry for a Roll Royce solution. Alternatively a workshop could be built onto most cargobikes and you can always carry around a Brompton as a replacement bike (many cargo bikes could carry a bike back to base for repair).

    In a city you will get around faster, no searching for a parking place at places of work (or paying to park). Setup the workshop anywhere and very quickly.

    For weekends you can setup at the nearest Sustrans route for plenty of work. Add a friend with a coffee bike and you are well away see http://www.metrofiets.com/profiles/trailhead/

    Reply

    James - Going Going Bike January 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Dave – I really want to see cargo bikes being used more in the UK and agree that in a city a cargo bike would be perfect for getting to bike repairs quickly.

    I know that our friends at Druid Cycles have been thinking about establishing a london bases SOS system with adapted cargo bikes going out to repair mechanicals.

    Nice links too!

    Reply

  • cycletech January 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    There is a Network of Mobile Bicycle Mechanics across the UK and Ireland. There is now over 100 Mobile Mechanics. And are all qualified. There is room for many more. You can view <a href="” title=”"> Also the is They can be found in Glasgow, Worthing and Buckinghamshire.

    There is also help for anyone starting or thinking about a new business Free advice and there is also a Forum!

    Reply

    James - Going Going Bike January 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    @Cycletech – How many mobile mechanics do you think are needed to cover the whole country? I can see a kind of cross over between AA/Mavic support rider concept being great for not only servicing bikes but also dealing with problems encountered out on rides.

    Reply

  • John Barrowman January 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    We have a great mobile bike mechanic in Lancaster and Morecambe. He picks up the bike from your house, services it and drops it back again.

    In my opinion he is better than the local shops and much cheaper! I guess less confident cyclists find usung him much less intimidating than bike shops.

    Reply

    James - Going Going Bike January 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    @John, that sounds like a great service…lucky you!

    Reply

  • METROFIETS January 28, 2011 at 6:24 am

    @DaveW
    Thanks for the link. Indeed, the bicycle service station is a gold plated offering – however other clients of ours use our bikes to bring folding bikes as loaners and take the disabled bike back to the main shop (if needed – they carry basic supplies) – fix it up and return it same or next day.

    Reply

  • Cycle Tech January 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    @James-The number of mobile bicycle mechanics is growing with the number of cyclists and fuel prices!
    Find a Mobile bicycle mechanic:> http://www.cyclefix.net

    Reply

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