If you have a passion for motorcycles, maintenance, modifications, and accessories, then opening a motorcycle shop may be a great career choice for you. Naturally, starting a business is always a big risk, and no business is able to grow without a substantial amount of planning and hard work. On the flip side, operating a successful business is among the most rewarding careers available. If you aren’t one to shy away from a challenge, the following are some important skills for a motorcycle shop owner and the things you’ll need to consider before opening your shop.
Obviously, you’ll need extensive knowledge of motorcycles to operate a shop effectively. This will preferably include some formal education from a trade school, even though you’ll likely have technicians on hand. Even if you aren’t performing repairs or modifications yourself, you still need to be an expert on motorcycle makes, models, parts, and motorcycle culture to appear respectable to your customer base. Riders tend to form close-knit groups within their community, and if they respect your authority, you’ll have an easier time networking and advertising your business in the future.
Any successful business has a plan of action before making investments. For a motorcycle shop, you’ll need to know how a successful shop makes money and who your target audience is. If you’re planning to operate exclusively at a local level, you’ll just be making money off the goods and services you offer in your shop. However, it’s possible to expand your income by selling goods online. Even if it’s products as simple as a motorcycle battery or headlights, the potential for extra income is worth looking into.
Motorcycles have been steadily increasing in popularity for many decades, so it stands to reason you’ll make a fair amount of income from many different demographics. An interesting point to make, however, is that the average age of riders has increased to 41 since the 2000s. This means that your target audience should be season riders who are looking for high-end parts, services, and modifications. You’ll need to plan your stock and other aspects of your shop accordingly.
Your inventory will be one of your biggest investments, especially in the beginning. It’s important to know in advance what motorcycles and parts you plan to sell on premises and how often you’ll need to restock them. You’ll likely want to make use of inventory tracking software to manage this efficiently.
Your location will likely be the biggest cost to you initially. It’s likely you’ll have to put down the first and last month’s rent and perhaps a security deposit. You’ll also have to factor in anything you might add to the location, if permitted. As a general rule, you should always have more money than you think you need, in case it takes longer than expected to break even.
Business structure and legal steps
Once you’ve planned out your business and investments, you’ll need ways to protect yourself. Determining your business structure is a huge step in the right direction. While you could simply start as a sole proprietorship, this will offer you the least value in the way of legal protection if issues arise. Forming an LLC is a fairly cheap and easy option if you want to limit your liability. Generally speaking, you’ll just need to choose an available business name, fill out some paperwork, and pay an application fee.
In addition to general liability insurance, you’ll likely also want to buy property and auto insurance for a motorcycle shop. You’ll also need to obtain a motorcycle dealer’s license if you haven’t already. It’s advisable to set up a business bank account and an accounting service for your shop. This will help you keep pristine track of your financial standings, as well as simplify your tax process when the time comes. With these details taken care of, you can focus on building your brand and growing your new business.