By Charlie Hobbs, otherwise known as ‘The BikeMonger’ and owner of Bum Butter
Hello Cycling Industry News’ readers.
I find myself writing this in my bike shop; mid-day, mid-week, mid-winter, between storms. Summer has certainly gone. It’s wet and windy, dark as soon as you get home from work, and the trails have turned to crap. Consequently, I find myself writing this on the slowest week of the year so far, with the workshop queue cleared, mail order sales posted and nothing to do. But I’ve been here before, so let me discharge my boring day wisdom on you:
Things to do in a quiet bike shop
Repair ye’ nets: That’s an old fishing expression. When it’s quiet, get ready for the next busy period. Tidy up, audit stock, clear some old products, and find new products.
Make sure you are busy tomorrow: So you have nothing to do today, go and spend the afternoon making sure you will be busy tomorrow. Find some stock to clear and email your customers, or shout about the deal on Facebook. Chase up any loose ends and custom build quotes.
Chiggle deals: It’s often worth having a look in the discount section of the big mail order outfits. I once scored 150+ stems at around 10% of their RRP, bought the whole bloody lot, re-priced them and moved them on over the next few weeks.
Buy yourself a bike: have you worked hard this year? Hell yeah, what’s more you have earnt a bonus, a bike bonus. Call it a demo bike to avoid any complicated accountancy and go and order yourself a nice new bike of your dreams.
Funny side of bike mechanics: This is an awesome Facebook group stuffed full of disastrous home repairs that have been bought into the bike shop. You get to wallow in your own self-importance whilst mocking those who don’t know any better. We might not make a whole heap of money in this trade, but we sure as hell can be self-righteous gits. Below is a picture of my favourite one so far this year: “we had to cut the spoke out to get to the inner tyre”.
Call a hungry sales rep’: If you are quiet, you can bet the reps are quiet too and worried about hitting their targets. There is no better time to score a nice bulk deal, so give them a call, they will appreciate it. This will pay off in the long term, you will soon be known as the “go-to guy” when they have mega deals.
Shut the hell up: It costs £20 per hour to keep my small shop staffed, and if no one comes in for five hours, that’s £100. We’re going backwards. And hey how many times did you put extra hours in during the summer? Take that £100, get on a bike and cycle to a pub. If you don’t want to let anyone down, stick your mobile number on the door before you take a well-deserved afternoon off.
Write something: Why not get a gig writing for a bicycle publication? You can quickly throw to together some words, perhaps about what to do when there is nothing to do. Ha!