Spinning your wheels during the off season keeps you stuck in your seasonality bike shop slump. Instead, confront the fall and winter decrease head on with practical ways to manage seasonality. Adding services, products, and events during the colder months keeps customers in the store to minimize the effects of seasonal income shifts.
Plan for Lulls
A full understanding of your revenue patterns through the year helps you better plan for the off season. Ramp up your income efforts during your busy season to create a cash reserve for the slower months. If you’re currently in your slow season, spend this time detailing your plan to make the upcoming bike repair season the best yet. Don’t wait to market your business. Start spreading the word even during the off season so people remember your name when they need repairs. Work with local bicycling or triathlon clubs to generate interest. Building connections during the off season increases your customer base as spring and summer approach.
Add a Gathering Spot
Expand your bike repair business to create the go-to gathering spot for biking enthusiasts. Heritage General Store corners the market for this type of service in Chicago. The shop combines bike repair and custom-built bicycles with a coffee shop inside the store. Customers stop by for a quality cup of coffee, whether or not they need repairs. Some may schedule tuneups or buy bicycle gear during these visits. Even if you don’t add a full-fledged coffee shop inside your bike repair business, creating a meeting space with some refreshments encourages major bicycling fans to keep coming back. Partner with a locally owned bakery for wholesale snacks you can sell, or set up a self-service coffee station.
Host Winter Bike Events
Bicyclists may not hit the streets during the winter, but you can still host bike-related events during the off season to generate excitement. Invest in indoor bicycle trainer stands that convert regular bikes into exercise bikes, and host workout sessions. Your customers can still get a biking workout even in winter weather. While they have their bikes there, handle repairs they need done. Schedule monthly speakers related to bicycling. Host winter tuneup workshops or appointments, marketing them as a way to get a jump on the biking season.
While some hardcore bikers keep their bikes on hand all year to take advantage of any opportunity to ride, others put them away for the winter. If you have room in your shop, provide winter storage. This option is particularly appealing to bicycle owners who live in apartments or small homes without extra storage space. Charge one amount for the entire winter or a monthly rate plus the option for a tuneup for an additional fee.
Reduce Operating Costs
When your income decreases, reducing your expenses can help you weather the period. You can achieve this by hiring seasonal or contract employees. This allows you to control your staffing expenses during slow periods. Decreasing your operating hours is another option. If you still get business in the winter from the hardcore year-round bikers, note when they typically visit, and create your winter hours around those times.
Expand Services and Products
If your business focuses primarily on repairing bicycles, find ways to expand your product and service options. Selling bicycle gear and accessories is an easy way to achieve this opportunity for increased sales. Customizing bicycles with graphics and accessories is another option. Use marketing strategies to encourage your customers to use this service during the winter to prep for the upcoming riding season. Sharing your expertise through a business blog is another way to market and potentially earn an income. Monetizing your bicycling blog and using it as means to sell more products and services keep your income up year-round. Snow and cold temperatures may slow your bike repair business, but seasonality is a problem you can overcome with a plan. Focus on generating alternate streams of income during the off season while putting effort into improving the success of the upcoming riding season to help your bottom line.