Bike doctor mobile

Bike Doctor Mobile

Bike Doctor Mobile are the new guys on the block, and in our opinion, the most intriguing. They recently launched in the summer of 2016, as reported in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (https://www.bicycleretailer.com/retail-news/2016/06/20/maryland-retailer-launches-franchise-mobile-bike-repair-service#.V7PHY_krLIU). As with Beeline, they’re still at the starting line so there aren’t a lot of vans on the road. But, some very interesting differences between Bike Doctor Mobile and Velofix/Beeline.

First, the ‘parent’ company (Bike Doctor) has been around since 1988 as a brick and mortar shop with a number of locations, including franchises. This sets them far apart from Velofix, but also to the sometimes-sketchy franchise world. That not-always-rosy franchise business is why Franchise Disclosure Documents, be they for an oil-change business or a chain restaurant, are often well over 100 pages in length. Lots of bad experiences between franchisors and franchisees (mostly the franchisees) that’s led to a litany of franchise laws, regulations, and requirements across all 50 States.

A super-nice thing about Bike Doctor Mobile, they’re the most up-front about their costs, fees, and management style. Very refreshing to see how much it’s going to cost to buy and operate one of their franchises, within moments of viewing their site.

The Bike Doctor Mobile franchise fee of $30,000 is more than Velofix and Beeline, but they’re offering a “Pioneer Rate” for the first franchisees who sign-on, starting as low as $10,000. That, alone, is huge incentive. Coupled with a known bike-business brand that’s already experienced with a successful bike-business franchise model, that’s yet another reason to give some serious consideration to Bike Doctor Mobile. But wait, there’s more! An even bigger sell for Bike Doctor Mobile, their royalty fees are the lowest of the bunch, 7% of total sales and another 1% for marketing costs, for an 8% total royalty and *no* monthly technology or other add-on fees. Bike Doctor Mobile plans to allow its franchisees to acquire inventory directly through wholesalers (similar to Velofix), but unlike Velofix, a commercial presence (e.g., storage unit) may not be necessary as Bike Doctor is already an established brick and mortar shop. This is similar to what Beeline did with their single brick and mortar shop in California, but the-other-way-around as Bike Doctor had a set of pre-existing commercial locations. Lastly, it appears that Bike Doctor Mobile may allow more flexibility with their franchisees when it comes to van selection and van build-out. Already an independent mobile bike shop with your own van and tools? They appear to be willing to work with independent mobile bike shops to bring them on board, at what could be big savings (e.g., if you already have a vehicle that passes muster with Bike Doctor Mobile, you might be able to sign-on with them for tens of thousands of dollars less).

More of this to follow? In 2016, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News queried a number of brick and mortar shops throughout the country and specifically asked if they had plans for opening a mobile option to accompany their physical-store presence. In almost every case, some for different reasons, they all said no. We’re arm-waving here, but the reasons were mostly because ‘it’s easier if the customer comes to us’ and ‘it’s not in the budget.’ A good follow-up comment, “Maybe your budget would be bigger if you went to the customer.” Bike Doctor seems to be the first brick-and-mortar shop, on a significant scale, to involve themselves within mobile bike shop operations.

As of January 2019, it appears Bike Doctor Mobile has few takers. With the exception of the company-owned van(s) based out of their Maryland brick and mortar shop(s), there may be only a single franchisee, in Florida, at least for now.