Starting Your Own Bike Building Business 1.5

Wraith-KvasirSo, lets assume that you have the passion for starting your own bike building business. Here are a couple of other things you will need to ensure some level of success.

  • Money. From my experience, you will have to support yourself and your business for at least the first two years. Building (or assembling) bikes is the easy part. Designing bikes that are the current fashion (thereby marketable) is something else. Find yourself a mentor who knows about the business. Someone who has been there and done it, and knows the who’s who of the bike world, and listen to them!!! In my business, I have invested around $200,000 over two years. This includes tools, truck, trailer, building several complete show bikes, trade show costs (average of $5000 per go), etc. etc. Its not a cheap business to start, and not cheap to maintain whilst you build your brand, which can take years, because there are many hopefuls out there.
  • Skills. Critical to building a successful bike is the fabrication process. Like so many other famous builders, I stick with what I am good at, and what I have the tools to do, and contract out the rest. I design my own bikes, but I have all the fabrication work performed by a company that specializes in one thing only – motorcycle fabrication. They don’t build bikes, they just do fabrication. Additionally, you need to have good metalworking skills, such as welding, cutting, shaping, etc. Not everything is going to just fit straight out of the box. You will need to alter and adapt on most bike frames, so be prepared for a steep learning curve. I look at it this way – I hate accounting, so I employ and accountant to do it for me. I really don’t like social media either (I like phone calls and meetings – I am just old fashioned like that), so I found an expert in that area to deal with it. Don’t be afraid to let others do the work that will take you too much time, or cost you too much money to do. More tomorrow!
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