1059
7 min 5 sec

Geologist Rides Away From Full-Time Work

A Canadian geologist escapes the “cycle” of full-time employment by starting a mobile bicycle repair business, proving you can walk the walk if you talk the torque.
Bicycle Power of Observation Service Unique Ideas

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What It's About

A Geologist rocks on with his mobile bicycle repair business.​

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Bicycle Repair & Marketing
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Make sure to define your target market/client specifically. The overwhelming majority of bike shops target the high-end client. I have chosen to do the opposite. I focus on servicing "normal bikes" or department store bikes.

Fun Fact

There are an estimated 45 million cyclists in the USA who purchase approximately 17.5 million bikes per year. With that many riders purchasing so many bikes this is a huge market with plenty of opportunities to make money.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1059
Andy Tong was looking for a way to make some extra money outside of his day job. He was working full time as an oil and gas geologist in a role with rock-solid demands. But that was fine, Andy loved Geology, but he loved cycling even more.

You see, Andy was a bicycle fanatic. Zipping around on two wheels was something he’d loved ever since he was a kid. In the decades since, he’d learned almost everything there is to know about bikes. Beyond just riding them, he also knew how to fix and service them.

So, when the idea of earning some extra pocket money entered his mind, doing something with bikes didn’t seem like a terrible idea.

He placed a single ad on a Calgary-based buy and sell website, and received a call almost immediately. Then he hopped in his SUV, drove to their house, picked up the bike, and brought it home. After patching up the necessary repair, he returned the bike to the customer and collected a check.

Over the course of the next month he acquired three customers from that single ad and made over five hundred dollars, while charging significantly less than the local bike shops.

But, soon he encountered logistical challenges. First, his tools and parts were good but not exhaustive, meaning he wouldn’t be able to service every kind of bike. Also, picking up the bikes, bringing them to his house and returning them cost money in gas and took a lot of time.

Juggling all that, along with his day job, proved too difficult. So, with five hundred bucks in hand, he parked the idea in his bike rack for two years.

At that point, two years later, Andy unexpectedly lost his job. His company was restructuring and there was no longer a place for him. Instead of feeling panicked, the gears in his mind began turning.

He revisited his old bike service side hustle and thought it was an idea worth pursuing again now that he had plenty of free time. After all, he wondered, if he was able to make five hundred dollars without too much effort, what might be possible if he truly committed?

This time, he decided to do things a little differently. In cycling, you go where you aim your bike. In other words, pick your plan, focus on that direction and just keep pedaling.

Andy applied that logic to his new venture, which he called the Bicycle Repair Hub.

This time he offered mobile servicing. Instead of bringing the bikes home, he’d work on them at customers' homes. This would cut his time and gas bill substantially. He also committed to purchasing more tools so that he could service all different kinds of bikes effectively.

After a year, he decided to invest in a new van, something large enough that he could stand inside so it could act as his mobile workshop. Inside, he fit the whole thing out with his tools, parts, racks and work bench. It allowed him to work faster than ever before and therefore service more customers. It was so successful, that Andy’s only regret was that he hadn’t purchased the van sooner.

Andy has doubled revenues every year and makes around ten thousand dollars profit during the bike season months. At his current growth he expects to make one hundred thousand per year within the next two to three years. All while effectively taking half the year off.

No doubt he’ll keep the wheels rolling…

 
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Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"It's important to define your target market/client specifically. The overwhelming majority of bike shops target the high-end client. I have chosen to do the opposite."
—Andy Tong #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau