How To Start a Bike Shop - 500 Ways

How To Start a Bike Shop

How To Start a Bike Shop

Complete Details For Building a Successful Bicycle Store From Scratch
Even If You Have Little Money, Time, or Experience.

Copyright 2014 – 2022, Jeff Napier

Table of Contents

Start Here

Why – The Benefits

Why Not – The Objections

About The Author – Is He Qualified?

The Evolutionary Approach


Some Ways to Start Small

Stepping Up to a Storefront

Licensing, Paperwork, Credit Cards


Sales Techniques

Managing Employees

Advertising and Publicity

Websites That Work

Social Networking


Leveraging eBay

The Guy Who Did Everything Wrong


Start Here

Table of Contents

This book is for anyone who is considering starting a bicycle store, and may be surprisingly profitable for people who already own one. By reading this book, you can avoid the pitfalls many of us had to blindly fall into, and enjoy building a bike shop easily and profitably.

Have fun and prosper, – Jeff Napier, author


Table of Contents

I once read that owning a bicycle store is the number one entrepreneurial American dream, and probably of people throughout the world. So, why on earth would anyone want to start a bicycle shop? Perhaps because. . .

* You get to be your own boss. You set the rules. You make and benefit from your decisions.

* You can make more money than most company employees.

* You will have a business with unlimited growth potential.

* You represent a good product. Bicycles are certainly earth-friendly. A human being on a bicycle is the most energy efficient machine on earth in terms of energy spent for mass moved. A human on a bicycle is also the most efficient animal on earth. Bikes play a central part in childhood, giving kids their first opportunity to expand out into the world, learning to be accountable for their own actions, pride and responsibility of ownership, and even mechanical skills.

* As a retailer, you meet lots of people and have wonderful conversations.

* You gain the esteem of being a business owner.

* You get to play with inventory management. This is a bit like stamp collecting. You manage an ever-growing collection of bikes, parts and accessories, and get to profit from ‘trading’ them.

* If you wish, you can participate in the rewarding craft of bicycle repair.

* As the owner of a bike shop, you have the opportunity to branch out. You can manage a fleet of bicycles for package delivery or rental. You can build custom human-powered machines. You can teach bicycle repair. You can lead tours or sponsor races. Your bicycle shop can even become the stepping stone to philanthropic pursuits.

* Your shop can be your legacy. It can outlive you, being something that can be sold, or passed on to your children.

Why Not

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You may have been told that starting a retail store is a very risky undertaking. That it costs a lot to start, and you could lose it all. Or, that you can’t ever get enough cash or credit to start a bike shop. Or that it is too difficult to learn and manage. Or that you are lacking something you may need, such as time, or experience. You may have been told you’ll need to spend long hours just breaking even for the first several years.

You may have been told these things by well-meaning people. Unfortunately, they don’t know what I know, and what you’ll know by the time you finish reading this book. While starting a bicycle shop without knowing exactly what you are doing can be risky business, I’ll tell you exactly the things that you need to know to do it easily and safely.

About The Author
Is He Qualified?

Table of Contents

Jeff Napier, your author

You may be wondering who I am to write this book. Sometimes, I wonder, too! After, all, I’m not going to sell many copies of such a specialized book. So, evidently, I’m doing this for something besides profit. I simplay want to share this information. By supporting bike shops, I’m supporting bicycling, and we all know the benefits – exercise, enjoyment, kids gaining a ‘can-do’ attitude, reduction of urban noise, danger, and pollution – the list goes on. I made mistakes when I started out, and I’m still making mistakes. I’ve seen so many bike shop owners mess up in various ways. There is no need! Read a bit, and you can benefit from what I picked up along the way. What way?

It all started in 1974 when I opened my first bike shop with six used bikes, a handful of tools, a few boxes of used parts and $400. This was in a small city of 350,000 residents, and there were already ten other bike shops. In five years, it grew into the leading ‘pro’ shop in the city. In the winter I taught framebuilding, wheelbuilding, and general bicycle repair courses. A local newspaper reporter stated that my shop was the ‘fastest growing retail store in town.’ How he compiled that information, I do not know. Perhaps he just guessed. In any case, customers frequently commented on the remarkably rapid growth of the business.

Being young, and full of enthusiasm, after five years, I lost interest, so I sold my shop, and traveled around the country in a motorhome for several years. Along the way, I coached the owner of a floundering bike shop that had fallen $140,000 in debt. In six months time, we had his debt reduced to $60,000, the owner knew how to move forward, and had his confidence back. That was more than 30 years ago, and his shop still exists today.

I started two other bike shops, one a sole proprietorship, and one was a partnership with two others. I also had several related and unrelated businesses, such as a mobile welding operation, a bookstore and a fairly large eBay business. At one point, in order to support some relatives who had got themselves into a bad financial position, I rented a large house, and started a Craigslist-based used bike business that was as profitable as a typical glass-front retail store.

As time went on, computers started to amuse me more and more, and the Internet came into existence. So I wrote After it entertained the first 385,000 visitors, I sold it, and moved on to other pursuits. BikeWebSite has changed quite a bit over the years, but here’s the original author page.


Having been successful in a varied assortment of businesses, I was being asked more and more often to coach people in business, so I became a business coach. By 2004 I was noticing that while several of my clients were doing well, some were evidently coming up against blocks. They seemed incapable of managing even simple changes they so much needed in their businesses. Convinced that the problem was some sort of psychology, I took two years off, studying Neuro-linguistic Programming, which is the applied study of human nature, and eventually became a certified master NLP practitioner. Now, I can help business owners with blocks, family and employee relations, and so much more. For instance, in studying the subconscious ways we communicate, I have even learned many inner secrets of advertising and publicity, which I will share with you in this book.

I’ve done all my business in America, so you’ll find American prices, and our silly non-metric measurements in this book. If you are outside the USA, I’m sure you can make the necessary conversions. In some of the business details, I discuss the American ways. With a quick check on the Internet or a phone call or two, you will be able to determine any differences in your country.

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