Which Size Van To Start A Mobile Bike Business?

The Mobile Bicycle Workshop

The appeal for small business owners is clear, starting a mobile bike business, rather than a shop means overheads are reduced. 
One of the key advantages of having a mobile business is being able to test your product/service without investing huge amounts in a permanent site. I have learned a huge amount about mobile bicycle repair business running over the last 9 years, in that time I have tested the market, price structures and marketing tactics and built a customer base "Public and Online" and our network can help you find customers, do more repairs and make more sales.
Mobile means you are more directly connected with your customers - so you can get more feedback.
But there are also challenges associated with this type of enterprise, with the main one being; What about the van itself - Which model should you choose?

"Buy the biggest van you can afford"

The Mobile Bicycle Workshop will be one of the most important pieces of equipment you will buy for your business. It has to transport you, your tools and stock of parts from job to job and back again. So choosing the right van for you mobile bike business is very important and choosing wisely will save you money.

The Mobile Bicycle Workshop
The Mobile Bicycle Workshop Cycle Tech UK Citron Dispatch LWB 2016

Ford Transit Custom 2015
Ford Transit Custom 2015

The Ford Transit High Top Long Wheel Base was popular in 2012. Working from the side with pullout awning.

"The type of van, size and layout will depend on your business model"

As you will soon find out working for yourself, that you will work on all types of bicycles and that you can not stock every item. You will also need to have your stock stored to be organized, easily found and reduce chances of damage. Those who run clinics and attend cycle events, will also require a display area.

A bike shop in the back of a van

 Those looking to work inside their van, may require a box type van or something that has square sides, to maximize working area. VW, Mercedes, Peugeot/Citron or Transit Box van. 

The small van that I brought in 2007, in less then 6 months I had to sell and buy a LWB, H/Top Transit, as this van was just too small, as the business grew very fast. And I had to re-pay for sign-writing. But the new LARGER van allowed me to carry more stock, have a workbench and carry customers bikes in the back. 

Video from inside The Mobile Workshop

"Having a tidy, comfortable and well organised workshop is key to your business susses. With your tools and everyday parts within arms reach makes your job a lot more enjoyable" 

Before buying your van, something to think about
  • Where will your van be parked at night? 
  • Will you also have a shed or workshop as well?
  • Trade insurance?
  • The length of your drive and any height restrictions? 
If you don't have the luxury of a workshop but a good size drive, then it is more important to have the largest van you can buy. As this will be your workshop!!! 

How do you make an impact in a short space of time? 

A challenge for any type of business is to be found, build a customer base and make a return on your investment within a short space as possible. 
  • Your van being one of your best advertising tools. Being seen in a professional mobile workshop and by working on site, not only looks professional, it will attract customers, who soon tell their cycling friends about this unique friendly service that comes to their home. 
  • I encourage all of our mechanics to be as creative as possible with their mobile workshop and any stand space (Clinics, Events, Dr Bike) with freebies (Advice is priceless and free) and business cards/flyers always help at these locations! 
  • Build your business by tying in with our Cycle Tech UK established branding to offer a onsite service from your own local business under a notional network of mobile bicycle mechanics. We offer a great service, prompt and friendly - It is all about our mechanics: we are great to work with and have a super work ethic and a great quality product, our brand has grown organically by word of mouth.

Cycle Tech UK Event and Team van 2014

Money Save Idea: Buy a van that you can also use for private use and then there is no need to run two vehicles, to give you cash flow to start your new bike business. As your business grows and you start to carry more stock, then you can re-design the layout.
This van pictured has the workshop at the rear, the front can be used to hold stock of tyres and wheels. It is also used at cycle events, running ParkTool School and for team support.

Always a nice day to be out on the road.
Servicing bikes on location and meeting the good people who like to ride bikes gives you job satisfaction. Those who have worked in sales or commuted to their place of work, will now be working locally and doing less then 8,000 miles a year! 

Our personalized bike on-site services cycletechuk.com 
By being in personal contact with the mechanic, our clients have the opportunity to witness the work and discuss any further issues with him, keeping them informed and in control.

Day on the road
Our new Members are encouraged to spend a day on the road with a lead Cycle Tech UK mechanic, to get their hands dirty and talk shop.

Reaching for pedal spanner

Replacing pedals on a Brompton

Refitting crankset

Fitting freewheel removing tool in to vice 

Removing freewheel 

Please contact me now for more information, how you can start your own bike business, to arrange a meeting (View the mobile workshop) or Skype chat.

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